Episode 4 of The Teaching Space podcast busts cloud myths for concerned teachers.
Podcast Episode 4 Transcript
Welcome to Episode 4 of The Teaching Space podcast.
In this episode, we are talking about how to cure teachers' fear of the cloud. Let me just give you a bit of background on this topic.
As well as teaching trainee teachers, I also work with experienced teachers to help them use technology in the classroom more. A couple of years ago, my college "went Google". In other words, we use G Suite for Education as our preferred main tech tool.
I mentioned my experience of transitioning to a paperless classroom in episode 2 of the podcast.
We use Google Drive for document storage, and collaboration and we also encourage the use of Google Classroom as an online learning portal.
We officially went Google two years ago, and we opted for a gentle transition. In other words, we didn't switch off network storage for files on a set date, and we also provided plenty of optional staff development opportunities.
Our party line was that Google education products were the supported option at my college. People are welcome to use other products and other different types of tech, but Google was the supported option.
On reflection, I'm still not entirely sure whether that gentle transition was the right route or not. There are pros and cons with being gentle or being more aggressive with your approach. But we went gentle, and that's what we're working with right now.
Some staff embraced the change. They embraced moving to the cloud and they got excited about. There were lots of other lecturers, like me, who did their Google Certified Educator qualifications to find out more about what we can offer.
Other colleagues were terrified her the prospect of switching to a cloud-based document storage solution. The idea of using Google Classroom on top of that was just too much.
Top Three Fears
In my technology role, I have come across a lot of fear about the cloud. Here are the top three reasons:
- Lack of knowledge and understanding
- Lack of control
I'd like to dive a bit deeper into those fears in this episode and perhaps come up with some strategies you can use if you have a colleague who has some genuine cloud fear.
Everything that follows relates specifically to G Suite for Education.
Fear 1: Security
If I have a colleague who tells me they are very anxious about switching to G Suite for Education because of the lack of security in the cloud I tend to ask them this question:
What's more secure, an unencrypted USB stick or Google's servers?
What do you think?
Of course, the USB stick is not a secure option. It's so easy to lose or break a USB stick. Chances are the person that you're talking to about cloud security is a USB stick user.
After we've had this conversation, I'd probably go on to explain that:
Google will not sell or share any data that educational establishments place on their servers. If you are a G Suite for Education user, whatever goes into your Google Drive stays there. And it is not owned by Google. Furthermore, Google will not advertise to G Suite for Education users.
More information on G Suite for Education security <click here.
Fear 2: Lack of Knowledge and Understanding
It's to be expected that colleagues will be nervous about a new system that they are not experts at using. They are worried their students will find them out. This is a legitimate fear and definitely one that I can relate to.
However, what I would say is this: you have been using Google already for a pretty long time as a search engine. So there will be some familiarity there. It's quite intuitive.
Also, there are some fantastic resources online both on YouTube and on the Google product forums and Training Centre. I highly recommend you complete the Google Certified Educator level 1 program. The online learning materials are free to access, and the exam costs $10.
The other thing is that it's highly likely your learners already know how to use G Suite for Education (depending on the age group).
In my situation, many of my colleagues teach 16 to 19-year-olds as were a further education establishment. We find that the vast majority of learners come to us from a high school which has already been used G Suite for Education.
Often our learners feel empowered helping us learn how to use something new.
Fear 3: Lack of Control
Google Drive is a good example of something that causes this fear. It's so easy to share documents and collaborate on them that my colleagues sometimes are worried that they'll share things without realising and lose control over their documents.
The fix for this is a simple one really. It is all about professional development.
The way I work with my colleagues to help them understand how to control their documents and how to navigate their Google Drive. We look at how to use "shared with me". The only solution to this fear is training and support.
When colleagues see the benefits of using a cloud-based system, it becomes clear pretty quickly that the benefits are far greater than the concerns they have.
Those are my thoughts on curing teachers fear of the cloud. I hope that's been interesting for you. I'd love to hear from you if you've had similar experiences to me or indeed if you are a teacher with a fear of the cloud.
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Thanks for listening; I hope you'll tune in next time.