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How The New York Times used the Google Sheets API to report congressional votes in real time

How The New York Times used the Google Sheets API to report congressional votes in real time

There’s a common phrase among reporters: “The news never sleeps.” This is why many news outlets rely on cloud-based productivity tools like Google Docs and Sheets to share information, check facts and collaborate in real time. And The New York Times is no exception.

In May 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a new health care law affecting millions of Americans. To report the news as fast as possible, The Times’ editorial team used Sheets to tally and display House votes in real time on NYTimes.com.

Engaging voters with the Sheets API

“People want to feel connected to the decisions their legislators make as soon as they make them,” said Tom Giratikanon,  a graphics editor at The Times. But rules in the House chamber make reporting on how every representative votes in real time difficult. Photography is restricted on the assembly floor, and there is a delay until all votes are displayed on the House website—a process that can sometimes take up to an hour.

To get around this lag, Giratikanon’s team used the Google Sheets API. The editorial team dispatched reporters to the chamber where they entered votes into a Google Sheet as they were shown on the vote boards. The sheet then auto-populated NYTimes.com using the Sheets API integration.

Says Giratikanon: “It’s easy to feel like decisions are veiled in the political process. Technology is a powerful way to bridge that gap. Sharing news immediately empowers our readers.”

It’s easy to feel like decisions are veiled in the political process. Technology is a powerful way to bridge that gap.

Tom Giratikanon

Graphics Editor, The New York Times

House votes

How it worked

To prep, Giratikanon tested the Sheets integration ahead of the House vote. He created a sheet listing the names of legislators in advance, so his team could avoid typos when entering data on the day of the vote. Next, he set up the Sheet to include qualifiers. A simple “Y” or “N” indicated “yes” and “no” votes.

After a few practice rounds, Giratikanon’s team realized they could add even more qualifiers to better inform readers–like flagging outlier votes and reporting on votes by party (i.e., Democrats vs. Republicans). The editorial team researched how each of the 431 legislators were expected to vote in advance. They created a rule in Sheets to automatically highlight surprises. If a legislator went against the grain, the sheet highlighted the cell in yellow and the editorial team fact-checked the original vote to reflect this in the article. Giratikanon also set up a rule to note votes by party.

As a result, The Times, which has roughly 2 million digital-only subscribers, beat the House website, reporting the new healthcare bill results and informing readers who were eager to follow how their legislator voted. 

NYT GIF

Try G Suite APIs today 

You can use Sheets and other G Suite products to help speed up real-time reporting, no matter the industry. Get started using the Sheets API today or check out other G Suite APIs, like the Slides API, Gmail API or Calendar API.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Docs, Drive, G Suite, Google Cloud, Journalism & News, Sheets

Track projects with G Suite and Asana

Technology has transformed the way businesses operate—your teams likely do not look like they did 10 years ago. Now, companies rely on a mobile workforce and require productivity tools to help them collaborate no matter the location, and more importantly, without holding up work.

Businesses are using Asana  and G Suite to collaborate and manage projects from start to finish. Asana is a project management tool that helps teams plan, manage and track work, and is a part of the Recommended for G Suite program. With these two tools, your organization can:

  • Create tasks in Asana directly from Gmail
  • Add files directly from Google Drive to tasks in Asana
  • Keep track of deadlines by syncing your tasks in Asana with Google Calendar
  • Build custom reports in Google Sheets to analyze project data in Asana

How OutSystems uses G Suite and Asana to drive marketing launches

OutSystems is a low-code application platform that uses Asana and G Suite to manage digital marketing and advertising projects to reach its more than 7 million users. With 30 marketers across the globe, it’s important that OutSystems uses tools to streamline reviews and track project status. 

With more than 90,000 apps built on their platform, OutSystems relies on Asana to prioritize projects and create templates for marketing launches. G Suite apps are built in, which means OutSystems employees can access their favorite productivity tools, like Google Drive, Docs and Sheets, in one place. 

Teams use Drive to attach files to tasks in Asana, Docs to edit web content, and Sheets to analyze project data. OutSystems marketers also work with external freelancers, and G Suite’s permission sharing settings make it easy to protect proprietary information.

You can get started using Asana and G Suite at your business. Sign up for this free webinar on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Calendar, Docs, Drive, G Suite, Gmail, Google Cloud, Sheets
Four signs you’re wasting time at work and how G Suite can help

Four signs you’re wasting time at work and how G Suite can help

We all waste time at work, whether it’s on purpose (brushing up on Wonder Woman’s history) or on accident (really should have budgeted more time for internal reviews). Luckily, G Suite can help you accomplish more at work, quicker. Here are four tell-tale signs you’re spending time on the wrong things, and tips on how to avoid these time-sinks.

1. You’ve spent more time emailing co-workers than you have actually working 

The average worker spends an estimated 13 hours per week writing emails—nearly two full work days. Luckily, you can cut back on time spent replying to emails with Smart Reply in Gmail. Smart Reply uses machine learning to generate quick, natural language responses for you.

2. You’ve spent the past hour formatting slides for a presentation

Is an image centered? Should you use “Times New Roman” or “Calibri?” Formatting presentations monopolizes too much of our time and takes away from what’s really valuable: sharing insights.

But you can save time polishing your presentations by using Explore in Slides, powered by machine learning. Explore generates design suggestions for your presentation so you don’t have to worry about cropping, resizing or reformatting. You can also use Explore in Docs, which makes it easy to research right within your documents. Explore will recommend related topics to help you learn more or even suggest photos or more content you can add to your document. Check out how to use Explore in Slides and Docs in this episode of the G Suite Show:

Explore feature for Docs and Slides | The G Suite Show

3. You can’t find a file you know you saved in your drive

Where is that pesky file? According to a McKinsey report, employees spend almost two hours every day searching and gathering information. That’s a lot of time.

Curb time wasted with Quick Access in Drive, which uses machine intelligence to predict and suggest files you need when you need them. Natural Language Processing (NLP) also makes it possible for you to search the way you speak. Say you’re trying to find an important file from 2016. Simply search “spreadsheets I created in 2016” and voilà! 

Another way to avoid losing files is by using Team Drives, a central location in Drive that houses shared files. In Team Drives, all team members can access files (or manage individual share permissions), so you don’t have to worry about tracking down a file after someone leaves or granting access to every doc that you create.

4. You’ve fussed with a spreadsheet formula over and over again

According to internal Google data, less than 30 percent of enterprise users feel comfortable manipulating formulas within spreadsheets. “=SUM(a+b)” is easy, but more sophisticated calculations can be challenging.

Bypass remembering formulas and time-consuming analysis and dive straight into finding insights with Explore in Sheets, which uses machine learning to crunch numbers for you. Type in questions (in words, not formulas) in Explore in Sheets on web, Android or iOS to learn more about your data instantly. And now, you can use the same powerful technology to create charts for you within Sheets. Instead of manually building graphs, ask Explore to do it for you by typing the request in words.

GIF

Stop wasting time on menial tasks and focus more on important, strategic work. To learn more about other G Suite apps that can help you save time, visit https://gsuite.google.com/.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Docs, Drive, G Suite, Gmail, Google Cloud, Machine Learning, Sheets, Slides

English county council saves millions switching to G Suite and Chromebooks

A day in the life of an employee at Northumberland County Council in northern England involves everything from running schools, repairing roads or literally putting out fires. It’s work that never stops and that stretches across a rural area the size of Greater London with 330,000 citizens and three million sheep.

Two years ago, the Northumberland IT team started to notice strain in their service infrastructure which connects 380 locations across the region, and recent budget cuts made that system feel increasingly unworkable.

“We had a very big legacy setup that was costing us a fortune in licensing and devices,” says Neil Arnold, Chief Information Officer at Northumberland County Council. “We decided to bring people together in a central hub to make teams more agile.”

Creating G Suite champions

After evaluation, Arnold and his team chose G Suite for its functionality and flexibility. The team relied on Netpremacy, a Google Cloud partner, to train 300 staff members to educate colleagues on how to use G Suite. Within months, 5,500 corporate users and 11,500 schools users had been set up with G Suite accounts. “Without the support of Netpremacy, we wouldn’t have been able to implement as rapidly as we did,” says Arnold. “They recognised the cultural challenges. There was skepticism at first, but users really took the tools to heart when they could see the benefits.”

From different locations across the region, staff began working collaboratively on Docs and Sheets and inviting others to join. The team saved money by switching to Chromebooks and Arnold and his colleagues started using Hangouts to join meetings to stay synced on daily work.

Even firefighters, who were reluctant to try out Hangouts at first, started using it regularly. “Firefighters now use Hangouts at the scene of fires to communicate with central command, monitor the fire, and decide how many vehicles they need,” says Arnold. “The chief fire officer doesn’t have to get in his car and drive out to the scene to help — he can do it all from wherever he is.”

Firefighters use Hangouts at the scene of fires to communicate to central command, so the chief fire officer doesn’t have to drive to the scene.

Neil Arnold

CIO, Northumberland County Council

Saving big by going cloud-first

Arnold expects switching to Chromebooks will help Northumberland County Council save close to £2.5 million on licensing and hardware, without sacrificing data security since Chromebooks have multiple protection layers.

The next step for Arnold and his team is to bring G Suite to the classroom. “We’ve got a lot of schools using Google Classroom successfully,” he says, “and we want to roll G Suite out to more schools. It’ll be a big efficiency for them, because many have small file servers on site, that they manage themselves or pay a third-party to manage. Drive will help them decommission that.”

Meanwhile, outdated exchange and file servers are being closed down across the council as data is seamlessly transferred to Google Cloud. The new central office for the county is set to open in 2019, and Arnold does not plan to have a datacenter at the new building: “That footprint’s going to reduce over the next three years to virtually nothing.” 

“I’ve been working in IT for over 30 years and this has been one of the most successful and satisfying projects I’ve ever been involved in,” says Arnold. “We’ve achieved more than we expected and using G Suite has been a tremendous catalyst for change.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Chromebooks, Connected Workspaces, Docs, Drive, G Suite, Google Cloud, Google in Europe, Hangouts, Sheets
Visualize data instantly with machine learning in Google Sheets

Visualize data instantly with machine learning in Google Sheets

Sorting through rows and rows of data in a spreadsheet can be overwhelming. That’s why today, we’re rolling out new features in Sheets that make it even easier for you to visualize and share your data, and find insights your teams can act on.

Ask and you shall receive → Sheets can build charts for you

Explore in Sheets, powered by machine learning, helps teams gain insights from data, instantly. Simply ask questions—in words, not formulas—to quickly analyze your data. For example, you can ask “what is the distribution of products sold?” or “what are average sales on Sundays?” and Explore will help you find the answers.  

Now, we’re using the same powerful technology in Explore to make visualizing data even more effortless. If you don’t see the chart you need, just ask. Instead of manually building charts, ask Explore to do it by typing in “histogram of 2017 customer ratings” or “bar chart for ice cream sales.” Less time spent building charts means more time acting on new insights.

Sheets GIF

Instantly sync your data from Sheets → Docs or Slides

Whether you’re preparing a client presentation or sharing sales forecasts, keeping up-to-date data is critical to success, but it can also be time-consuming if you need to update charts or tables in multiple sources. This is why we made it easier to programmatically update charts in Docs and Slides last year.   

Now, we’re making it simple to keep tables updated, too. Just copy and paste data from Sheets to Docs or Slides and tap the “update” button to sync your data.

Sheets bundle - still

Even more Sheets updates

We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our customers’ experience in Sheets. Based on your feedback, we’re rolling out more updates today to help teams get work done faster:

  • Keyboard shortcuts: Change default shortcuts in your browser to the same spreadsheet shortcuts you’re already used to. For example, delete a row quickly by using “Ctrl+-.”  
  • Upgraded printing experience: Preview Sheet data in today’s new print interface. Adjust margins, select scale and alignment options or repeat frozen rows and columns before you print your work.
  • Powerful new chart editing experience: Create and edit charts in a new, improved sidebar. Choose from custom colors in charts or add additional trendlines to model data. You can also create more chart types, like 3D charts. This is now also available for iPhones and iPads
  • More spreadsheet functions: We added new functions to help you find insights, bringing the total function count in Sheets to more than 400. Try “SORTN,” a function unique to Sheets, which can show you the top three orders or best-performing months in a sales record spreadsheet. Sheets also support statistical functions like “GAMMADIST,” “F.TEST” and “CHISQ.INV.RT.”

These new features in Sheets are rolling out starting today. Learn how Sheets can help you find valuable insights.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Docs, G Suite, Google Cloud, Machine Learning, Sheets, Slides
Bring your idea to life with G Suite

Bring your idea to life with G Suite

You know that feeling when you present on a project after working on it for too many months? It’s great. Perhaps the most gratifying part of wrapping a project (besides finally being done), is reflecting on how your idea came to be more than just an idea.

For most of us in the workplace, ideas take shape in many forms—and G Suite can help you along the way. Here’s a snapshot of how you can bring an idea to life using G Suite’s intelligent apps:

1. You mention an idea to a teammate over lunch

Some of our best ideas happen outside the confines of the office. You mention an idea to a teammate in passing and they tell you, “Hey, that’s not a bad thought, but we should meet to flesh this out.”

Take your idea to the next level by getting your group together with Find a Time and Find a Room features in Calendar. Find a Time intelligently suggests times that you and teammates are available to meet and books a time for you. Find a Room takes over the hassle of finding an available meeting room. All you have to do is show up and brainstorm.

Find a Time gif

2. Step into a meeting room and map out your idea 

Now that you’ve booked a room, you can put more structure behind this “thing” you’re creating with Jamboard—our collaborative, digital whiteboard for sharing ideas in real-time and mapping out your project plan. Check it out:

If you used legacy systems in the past, you probably brought documents, sticky notes or other prep materials to a brainstorm. With Jamboard, you securely access all of those files directly in the cloud within your “jam.” Simply use the sticky notes tool, pull information and images from the web, or add files from Docs, Sheets or Slides to your brainstorm directly from Drive.

3. Give your brain a rest and come back to your work later

Sometimes the best thing you can do for a project is take a break and revisit it with fresh eyes. Jamboard makes this easy because it saves your work directly to Drive. If you’re on the go and want to revisit a file, you can rely on Drive’s Quick Access feature to automatically find files for you. And if you use Team Drives, you can add relevant files to securely share access and edit rights with others that need to weigh in.

team drives transparent

4. Make final edits and present your idea

Once you’ve put the final touches on your “jam,” you can present your work through Hangouts, which integrates seamlessly with Jamboard. Add team members to the Hangout to see your work, and they can even use the Jamboard companion app to make edits from their mobile phones or tablets. 

For a presentation you really want to polish, you can also import your work from Jamboard into a presentation in Slides. If you don’t like to fuss with formatting, use Explore in Slides, powered by machine intelligence, to make your presentation look top notch. Choose from dozens of design recommendations and apply them instantly with one click. Now you’re ready to sell your idea.

Explore in Sheets

5. Track your progress

Coming up with the ideas is the fun part. Executing and tracking success is often more difficult. G Suite can help with that, too. Use templates in Sheets to create detailed project trackers or manage employee shift schedules. Sheets can also help you quantify results at the end of your project. Use Explore in Sheets (powered by machine intelligence) to get insights instantly. Just ask questions—in words, not formulas—and get actionable insights from your data. And once you’re finished, create a Form to solicit feedback on how to improve for the next time.

These are just some of the ways that G Suite can help you create—and execute—your best work. For more tips on how to use G Suite products, check out the G Suite Show.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Calendar, Docs, Drive, Forms, G Suite, Sheets, Slides

Protecting you against phishing

As many email users know, phishing attacks—or emails that impersonate a trusted source to trick users into sharing information—are a pervasive problem. If you use Gmail, you can rest assured that every day, millions of phishing emails are blocked from ever reaching your inbox.

This week, we defended against an email phishing campaign that tricked some of our users into inadvertently granting access to their contact information, with the intent to spread more phishing emails. We took quick action to revoke all access granted to the attacker as well as steps to reduce and prevent harm from future variants of this type of attack.

Here’s some background to help you understand how the campaign worked, how we addressed it and how you can better protect yourself against attacks.

How the campaign worked and how we addressed it

Victims of this attack received an email that appeared to be an invite to a Google Doc from one of their contacts. When users clicked the link in the attacker’s email, it directed them to the attacker’s application, which requested access to the user’s account under the false pretense of gaining access to the Google Doc. If the user authorized access to the application (through a mechanism called OAuth), it used the user’s contact list to send the same message to more people.

Upon detecting this issue, we immediately responded with a combination of automatic and manual actions that ended this campaign within an hour. We removed fake pages and applications, and pushed user-protection updates through Safe Browsing, Gmail, Google Cloud Platform, and other counter-abuse systems. Fewer than 0.1% of our users were affected by this attack, and we have taken steps to re-secure affected accounts.

We protect our users from phishing attacks in a number of ways, including:

  • Using machine learning-based detection of spam and phishing messages, which has contributed to 99.9% accuracy in spam detection
  • Providing Safe Browsing warnings about dangerous links, within Gmail and across more than 2 billion browsers
  • Preventing suspicious account sign-ins through dynamic, risk-based challenges
  • Scanning email attachments for malware and other dangerous payloads 

In addition, we’re taking multiple steps to combat this type of attack in the future, including updating our policies and enforcement on OAuth applications, updating our anti-spam systems to help prevent campaigns like this one, and augmenting monitoring of suspicious third-party apps that request information from our users.

How users can protect themselves

We’re committed to keeping your Google Account safe, and have layers of defense in place to guard against sophisticated attacks of all types, from anti-hijacking systems detecting unusual behavior, to machine learning models that block malicious content, to protection measures in Chrome and through Safe Browsing that guard against visiting suspicious sites. In addition, here are a few ways users can further protect themselves:

How G Suite admins can protect their users 

We’ve separately notified G Suite customers whose users were tricked into granting OAuth access. While no further admin or user action is required for this incident, if you are a G Suite admin, consider the following best practices to generally improve security:

Here is a list of more tips and tools to help you stay secure on the web.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Docs, G Suite
How machine learning in G Suite makes people more productive

How machine learning in G Suite makes people more productive

Email management, formatting documents, creating expense reports. These are just some of the time-sinks that can affect your productivity at work. At Google, this is referred to as “overhead”—time spent working on tasks that do not directly relate to creative output—and it happens a lot.

According to a Google study in 2015, the average worker spends only about 5% of his or her time actually coming up with the next big idea. The rest of our time is caught in the quicksand of formatting, tracking, analysis or other mundane tasks. That’s where machine learning can help.

Machine learning algorithms observe examples and make predictions based on data. In G Suite, machine learning models make your workday more efficient by taking over menial tasks, like scheduling meetings, or by predicting information you might need and surfacing it for you, like suggesting Docs.

Time spent chart

Source: Google Data, April 2015

Eliminating spam within Gmail using machine learning

One of the earliest machine learning use cases for G Suite was within Gmail. Historically, Gmail used a rule-based system, which meant our anti-spam team would create new rules to match individual spam patterns. Over a decade of using this process, we improved spam detection accuracy to 99%.

Starting in 2014, our team augmented this rule-based system to generate rules using machine learning algorithms instead, taking spam detection one step further. Now, we use Tensor Flow and other machine learning to continually regenerate the “spam filter,” so the system has learned to predict which emails are most likely junk. Machine learning finds new patterns and adapts far quicker than previous manual systems—it’s a big part of the reason that more than one billion Gmail users avoid spam within their account.

See machine learning in your favorite G Suite apps

G Suite’s goal is to help teams accomplish more with its intelligent apps, no matter where they are in the world. And chances are, you’ve already seen machine learning integrated into your day-to-day work to do just that.

Smart Reply, for example, uses machine learning to generate three natural language responses to an email. So if you find yourself on the road or pressed for time and in need of a quick way to clear your inbox, let Smart Reply do it for you.

Smart Reply GIF

Explore in Docs, Slides and Sheets uses machine learning to eliminate time spent on mundane tasks, like tracking down documents or information on the web, reformatting presentations or performing calculations within spreadsheets.

Explore

Quick Access in Drive predicts and suggests files you might need within Drive. Using machine intelligence, Quick Access can predict files based on who you share files with frequently, when relevant meetings occur within your Calendar or if you tend to use files at certain times of the day.

Quick Access

To learn more about how machine intelligence can make your life easier, sign up for this free webinar on June 15, 2017, featuring experts from MIT Research, Google and other companies. You can also check out the Big Data and Machine Learning blog or watch this video from Google Cloud Next with Ryan Tabone, director of product management at Google, where he explains more about “overhead.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Docs, Drive, G Suite, Gmail, Sheets, Slides
Work hacks from G Suite: make meetings more efficient

Work hacks from G Suite: make meetings more efficient

At work, we spend a lot of time with meetings—from scheduling and hosting them, to following up on tasks after they wrap. In fact, the average technology CEO works 14 hours per day, 300 days per year, and nearly 30% of those hours are spent in meetings. It’s hard to tell how much of that time is actually spent being productive, so this month’s work hacks focus on how to make your meetings more efficient.

1. Set up your meeting faster by skipping scheduling

Coordinating a meeting time that works for the group can be tedious. Why not have your productivity tools do that for you? Instead of manually coordinating availability for your team, use scheduling tools in Calendar and Hangouts, like Find a Time and the intelligent @Meet bot.

With Find a Time, you can bypass scheduling and ask Calendar to intelligently suggest times that work for your team, regardless of time zones. Simply go into your Calendar app, enter the names of team members you want to schedule a meeting with and then click the “Find a time” option. Select the time slot that works best and an invitation will automatically be sent.

You can also use Find a Room to book a conference room. Within Calendar, click “Add a room” and select the space you want to meet in, and the room will be booked on your behalf. Check it out:

Find a Time GIF

Another option is to use the all-new @Meet bot, which finds and schedules meetings for your team within Hangouts Chat (now available for G Suite customers through the Early Adopter Program). Simply message @Meet and ask it to schedule a time for your team. It sends an invitation and includes a link to Hangouts Meet. That way, when you’re ready to start your meeting, you can join instantly without having to worry about downloads or plugins.

@Meet image

2. Assign work more quickly to your team

You may remember, in the not-so-distant past, assigning a designated “note taker” during meetings (or maybe you were that person?). The note taker’s job was to collect everyone’s notes, compile and share to-do’s with the team to keep projects on track. Talk about a time sink.

You can skip that by using Google Docs, which lets everyone take notes simultaneously. But more importantly, you can move beyond simple recording and dive straight into assigning work. That’s where comments and action items in Docs can help.

Thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP), Docs can intelligently suggest action items. For example, when you type a comment like “Emile to schedule a weekly check-in,” Docs will intelligently suggest Emile as the owner and allow you to assign that task. You can also manually assign action items within comments by mentioning a name and checking the “new action item” box. Notifications are sent to team members on their laptops or mobile devices. Here’s what it looks like:

Action items

3. Follow up on and execute action items

Assigning tasks is the easy part. It’s following up and executing that’s hard. To make it easier, try out Chat, a dynamic communications tool that creates a space for teams to discuss and complete work outside of email or meetings.

You can enter Chat, create a room, discuss ideas with coworkers, share relevant files, filter and search previous project discussions (so nothing is ever lost) and accomplish more. Chat is integrated with G Suite tools like Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and more, plus third-party apps are teaming up too, so you can use your favorite apps without having to switch between tabs.

For more time-saving tips, check out the Transformation Gallery. You can also watch this video from Google Cloud Next ‘17:

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Calendar, Docs, G Suite, Hangouts
Creating a professional growth culture: 3 lessons from school districts

Creating a professional growth culture: 3 lessons from school districts

Whether it’s a 3D printer, a language app, or a Chromebook on a student’s desk, technology represents potential. The results can be profound, but learning how to make the most of new tools often requires dedication outside of the standard school day.

We spoke with teachers and administrators at Cicero Public School District 99 in Illinois and Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools in Ohio about how they designed technology professional development programs to engage teachers for the long term. Here we share three lessons learned from their experiences building programs that impact educators and students alike.

Lesson 1: Incentives help overcome inertia

When the Cicero Public School District 99 board set the goal of giving every child access to a Chromebook, professional development for teachers became a top priority. CIO Cao Mac believed any tech rollout was bound to fail unless teachers got the right training. So his team came up with a plan to motivate teachers to get Google Certified—they’d offer them early access to new classroom devices.

The district now has 104 Google Certified Educators, and has seen a shift in how teachers use devices in the classroom. Before the training, students used laptops and tablets for activities like math games and music videos. Two months after the Chromebook rollout, the top five sites accessed across the district included Google Classroom, Google Docs and Khan Academy. “Right off the bat, they were no longer using their machines randomly,” Mac says. “Their use was more focused.”

Superintendent+StaffLincolnTrainingRoom.JPG

Lesson 2: Time is a precious resource

Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District is the first public school district to train all of its teachers to become Google Certified Educators. Administrators say they achieved 100 percent participation by customizing the program around teachers’ schedules.

“We made it easy for teachers get certified whenever it was most convenient,” says Nancy Kevern, a technology integration and instructional coach at Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools. “Grouping teachers by grade level helped us emphasize the lessons they would find most useful.”

The district also started a committee that works on solutions for fitting professional development into teachers’ busy schedules. They’ve proposed incorporating trainings into the school day—for instance, by delaying student start times.

Lesson 3: Community makes a movement

Cicero Public School District 99 took a grassroots approach to training its teachers. A group of technology resource teachers actively recruited teachers to get certified, leveraging their relationships to build a team of early adopters. This group influenced the rest of the district.

“We knew if these ambassadors were on board, their friends would be, too,” Mac says. “Adoption needs to happen teacher by teacher, grade by grade.”

This momentum has led Cicero Public School District 99 to extend its 1:1 Chromebook program to grades K-8. None of this would have been possible without support from teachers and the entire district.

This isn’t my initiative,” Mac says. “This is the village of Cicero’s initiative. This is ours.

Cao Mac

CIO at Cicero Public School District 99

Professional development is about more than introducing new tools. By helping educators develop the skills and confidence to grow professionally, school districts are investing in their students and building cultures that embrace technology. “It doesn’t matter how many devices you have,” Mac says. “If you don’t know how to integrate technology with teaching, it becomes just another add on.”

Visit the Training Center to learn more about the Google for Education certification programs. And if you’re a district interested in help from a Certified Professional Development Partner, learn more here.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Chromebooks, Docs, education, G Suite