FCPS has had a Google domain now for over a year. All students and staff have accounts and can use Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Classroom, etc… We also have many schools now using Chromebooks too. One feature I haven’t talked much about (zero times on this blog) is using Google+ Communities with staff.
Google+ Communities are a great place to search for ideas and ask other people questions about specific topics.
I know what you are thinking. I was thinking it too at first. “I thought Google+ failed / is going away.” Well, it’s true Google+ didn’t do very well when it went head to head against Facebook, but it has its uses. Just my opinion, but I consider Facebook as “personal related” and Google+ as “work related.” Both Google and Facebook would disagree with me, you may too, but I like separating the two that way.
Google+ Communities are a great place to search for ideas and ask other people questions about specific topics. For example, I am the GAFE (Google Apps for Education) Admin for our domain. I have joined a few Google+ communities for GAFE Admins. They have been a great way to learn and pick up new tips and tricks. I’ve also, attended some trainings/conferences with other FCPS educators and we have started a communities to share what we have learned, let others know who has the best swag during the events, and continue discussions after the events are over.
So why use Google+ Communities over the other options out there? Well one simple reason is every staff member in our district already has an account. Believe it or not, not everyone uses Facebook. Plus, their account is the same email address and password that they use for all of their school “Google stuff” so there is nothing new to remember.
Communities can be public or private.
- A public community is…um….public. Anyone can see it.
- A private community can be setup so that only users with FCPS accounts can see/join it. You can also choose between letting any FCPS staff member access the community or you can make them request to join.
Speaking of private communities. Did you know that FCPS has one setup specifically for discussing Google Apps for Education? It’s called FCPS GAFE.
WHY? Maybe you are beginning to use Google Drive or Google Classroom in your classroom, but your an early adopter at your school and not many teachers are using it. Where do you turn to to ask questions and find out what other teachers in FCPS are doing with GAFE? Check out the FCPS GAFE community!
WHO? Any administrators, teachers, STCs, who interested in using Google Drive, Google Classroom, Google Docs, Google Sites, etc… or plan to implement using Chromebooks may want to join the FCPS GAFE community.
To access the FCPS GAFE community, sign in with your FCPS email at plus.google.com. In the search box at the top, type FCPS GAFE. Again, this is a private community only accessible to FCPS staff.
Note: We do not allow students to access Google+ and therefore they cannot access communities.