A Teacher of Technology in Education


me at gafe sydney 2014

This is a page for all things GAFE
(Google Apps For Education)

The Journey So Far….

As part of my learning about GAFE and the rollout of GAFE at my current school and at many schools in my area, I am putting all the resources and information that I come across here as a central location for my own reference and for others who are on this journey.


It all began: visiting the GAFE website: http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/education/ lots of support, feedback, step by step help and guidance from Celia Coffa. 🙂 (Eastern Area ICON Coach) -Catholic Education Office Melbourne

After registering our school domain and being accepted as an educational setting, our school GAFE account was created 🙂

At my school it was decided to trial one device to one student in 2014 and the iPad was selected as part of the trial for our upper primary students in Year 5 and 6. It has been an interesting journey looking at  GAFE + iPads


A letter was sent home to parents explaining what GAFE is all about. http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/education/products.html  At the end of 2013 students in Year 5 & 6 were introduced to GAFE and absolutely loved exploring this new tool. They were thrilled with the ‘share’ feature.

At the beginning of 2014 staff were asked to complete an ICT survey which was created in Google Forms. This was to introduce our staff to the ease of using an online form.Some staff commented about the ease of completing an online survey as apposed to previous years of completing a MS Word document then emailing it then waiting for it to be compiled and analysed.

Also an eLearning Team has been set up with representatives from different parts of the school.  We meet twice a term to discuss all things related to eLearning.

The first task the eLearning Team looked at was the results of the ‘Staff Survey’ (which was completed in Google Forms). I gave the team members a copy of the results using the wonderful tool in Google Spreadsheet (Responses) -Form- ‘Go To Summary’. Just showing the eLearning Team the summary of collated responses was itself a selling point.

This summary enabled us to clearly view where the staff need was and begin to plan our ‘Techie Brekkies’ based on these results.
An introductory letter was emailed to staff to introduce GAFE: similar to the one sent home to parents.

4. TECHIE BREKKIES: Time For Take Off
After our eLearning Meeting and with assistance from our resident ICON coach Celia Coffa, I created a Google Doc that would list all the ‘Techie Brekkie’ topics.  I shared this doc with the staff and encouraged them to once again use their GAFE account, log in and then view the ‘Techie Brekkie Topics’ and sign up to attend.

The different Techie Brekkie topics that we have covered, I have created step by step guides, once again using ‘Google Presentation’ or ‘Google Docs’ to create them, share them with staff, update them if required without having to clog up the school email with copies and copies of the same document (hip hip hooray).

I have also created a staff eLearning Blog and have uploaded all the Techie Brekkie topics and associated resources so staff who do not attend are still able to access the information.

The link to the ‘Techie Brekkie Topics’ and the ‘Staff eLearning Blog’ has been placed on the staff Intranet page.

Staff were also introduced to GAFE via our staff calendar which is embedded on our Intranet page but could only be visible if staff signed into their GAFE account 🙂

**UPDATE** Feedback From Staff re: Techie Brekkies 2014:

Here is a link to a post about collecting Feedback from staff


Also at the beginning of the academic year another  letter was sent home to parents of students in Year 5 & 6 explaining what GAFE is all about. http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/education/products.html as a reminder and also for new students and parents in this level in 2014.

Here is a link to some samples: http://k12guide.googleapps.com/get-the-word-out/communication-templates

Here is a link to a sample letter similar to the one was sent home to our parents: 2014 Sample GAFE Parent Info letter

As part of our Student Acceptable Use Policy and Agreement, parents have agreed to students exploring Web 2 Tools and Google Apps for Education is a Web 2 tool. However as a school we felt it was important to explain to parents/guardians in further detail this tool that students would be exploring. Our aim is to inform parents if any new part of GAFE is wanting to be introduced to students.
Students also participated in a variety of online ‘Cybersafety’ activities to reinforce the message: http://mrsgrasso.global2.vic.edu.au/cybersafety/
In the first week of Term 2 I organised workshop sessions with ‘Greg Gebhart’ from ACMA Outreach  for staff, students and parents to reinforce ‘Cybersafety messages.

7. LETS GO..
On the first day of the academic year 2014, Year 5 & 6 students and their parents attended an information session. On this day students and parents went through the ‘Student Acceptable Use Policy and Agreement’. Parents and students also had the opportunity to ask questions. Students also received their iPads /iTunes cards and an ‘App List’ of required apps.

As part of using GAFE, the teachers in Year 5 & 6 wanted to explore another Web 2 Tool ‘Edmodo’.  A letter was also sent home to parents outlining this tool and its intended use at school and at home. Here are some sample letters: https://support.edmodo.com/home#entries/21855920-classroom-rollout-resources-teacher
The intended outcome of using Edmodo is a way of staff posting homework and other information in a secure space that is only visible to students. Also for students to contact their class teacher if they require further information or assistance out of school hours.


In ICT lessons in Semester One, Term One, I worked with the Year 5 & 6 students to gain confidence in using GAFE tools specifically: Draw, Presentation & Docs. Students also created folders as per their class teacher requirements  to ensure they put documents in the correct location.
Term One was spent exploring the features of ‘SHARE’, what that means, appropriate use, Cybersafety and copyright. Students have also been instructed to ‘SHARE’ their work with their class teacher.


In April 2014 I travelled to the wonderful city of Sydney to attend the Sydney GAFE Summit. It was a truly eye opening experience for me as ICT Leader. Here is a list of the amazing sessions I attended. 2014 SYDNEY GAFE SUMMIT WORKSHOPS
I met some fantastic people, made some new connections, caught up with educators I had worked with in my previous role with CEOM, attended a huge variety of sessions and came away even more keen to share all this ‘googly greatness’ with staff at my school.


In Term 2 in ICT lessons the Year 5 & 6 students explored: ‘Forms and Spreadsheet’ as students began to design, administer and collate information.
Here is a snapshot of the tasks students were asked to complete: Students will explore some technologies that have changed our world. Students will devise questions to collect data from families and friends to compile their ‘Top 5’ Technologies. Students will create a visual presentation using Google Docs to present the most popular technologies and why they have had such an impact on our world.

The underlying purpose for this was to show students the powerful features of these tools and the ease as to which they can be used.
An unexpected outcome was… it showed the inappropriate actions of some students when completing a survey form and how it then alters/skews  the data for the person who created the survey.  Very interesting learning!!


At the end of Semester One, our principal enabled the use of ‘Hapara Teacher Dashboard‘ Management Tool for the Year 5 & 6 staff to enable greater management of student work, less use of ‘sharing with the teacher’ as the teacher can view ALL documents in students Google Drive.

Also at the end of Semester One, our principal agreed to the purchase of a ‘Chromebook’ to explore its full potential prior to purchase of other devices for students. I was lucky enough to take it home over the winter break to explore.
Many thanks to Corey Alyen and his fabulous documentation to enable this Chromebook to be seamlessly enrolled into our school network 🙂

At the end of Semester 2 I was looking for some feedback from the Year 5 & 6 students so I again designed a Google Form survey 🙂 (love how easy it is to use, collates for me )

I could easily share this information with our principal and year 5/6 teachers as to the reflections of using an iPad as a new learning device.

I also used Google Form survey with year 4 students as I was looking for their feedback to their learning using ‘Scratch‘ and ‘Code.org‘. I reviewed their results and feedback over the winter break and this assisted me with my planning for Semester 2.


I am very passionate about engaging students in their learning and it came across loud and clear that students at my school particularly in year 4 that they wish to explore more ‘creative’ type activities using technology. It is so powerful student feedback and voice.  Google Forms is one way to enable this to become ‘visible’ to educators.


**At the beginning of Semester 2, I visited Corey Alyen at his school to explore how they have become a ‘Google Apps for Education’ school and to discuss the thinking behind deciding to roll out ‘Chromebooks’ to students in Year 5 & 6. It was a very interesting afternoon and I came away with lots of thoughts and some clearer possible solutions for my current school in the future.

**I also attended the ICT Leaders eLearning Network for my Eastern Zone. It was a ‘Google Apps for Education’ focus day. It started with a ‘bang’ with the passionate Google Certified Educator ‘Kimberley Hall’. It was a ‘mini summit’ with a number of educators in my sector ‘stepping up’ to run break out sessions on all things GAFE. The sessions I went chose to attend were:
**How to enrol Chromebooks –
**Google Sites – What, how etc
**Getting Around Google Drive

**Also this term I arranged for the most passionate Google Certified Educator ‘Kimberley Hall’ to come spend half a day introducing Google Apps for Education to our staff. I participated in my first Google ‘Hangout’ with Kimberley and Celia. That was a great session of virtual planning 🙂

Kimberley explored these 4 areas with our staff:
**Introduction to Google
**Getting Going with Google Drive
**Going Further with Google Drive
**Other Googley Goodness
Here is a post I wrote about the feedback from my staff: https://teachteched.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/google-apps-for-education/

15. GOOGLE+:

I am loving this tool, a brilliant place to share, learn, comment, celebrate and encourage. I love the different ‘Communities’ that I can join and I can see real potential for this tool in my school in the future.

Thanks to Kimberley Hall for this info – I signed up to ‘Google Gooru’ for my daily fix of all things Google http://www.googlegooru.com/


I also signed up to participate in the ‘Google Classroom Trial’ as I am keen to explore the different features of ‘Classroom’ and also to compare it to ‘Hapara’ and whether this will do what we can currently do with ‘Hapara’.

Here is a post about my reflections from the amazing GAFE Melbourne Summit September 2014
GAFE Melbourne Summit: Reflection:

Here is my reflection Post GAFE Summit and how some staff have moved on in their journey of adopting GAFE tools in Teaching and Learning
Post: Following GAFE Summit..


As a school year ends and preparation begins for a new school year there are numerous ‘tasks’ required to be completed:

*Staff were asked to fill in a survey (google forms) to gain feedback about ‘Techie Brekkies’

*results were shared with the eLearning Team to explore how to best manage professional learning using Technoloy in the new school year

*Hapara Teacher Dashboard- (content management system) was needing to be archived, staff who were leaving were asked if they wish their data in their school Google Drive was required and forwarded on to personal Google Drive accounts if requested


Our ICT Lab has been repurposed into classrooms so mobile digital devices have been purchased.

Our school has decided to introduce a variety of devices across the school in the 2015 academic year

Yr 5 & 6 1-1 iPads

Yr 4 Introducing Chromebooks – class set shared between 2 classes (so exciting!!!)

Yr 3, 2, 1, Prep – Windows 8 laptops shared across these classrooms as well as each class in Prep – Yr 4 having a variety of desktops.


At the beginning of the year, staff were introduced to 3 shared folders that were created by GAFE administrator ( Me)and shared with ALL staff. This reduced the complication of sharing documents at this inital stage and replicates our school server drive. I began to add folder names to replicate our current server.
Our top level school GAFE folders are:

ADMIN – sub folders: rosters, timetables etc

CURRICULUM – sub folders: work programs, term newsletters, learning and teaching, professional reading etc

OTHER –  Sub folders: Art show, Book Week, Concert etc.

Our staff this half of the year have begun by creating their Term Curriculum Letter in Google Docs, then shared with Curriculum Leader for proofreading.  This enabled comments to be added which then sends off an email alerting those who created the document that changes have been made. This document is then downloaded onto our school server for archiving and also printed and added to our school newsletter for our school parent community.


In ICT lessons, students in Yr 4 & 5 have been introduced to GAFE, again revisitng cybersafety issues by completing a whole term of ‘Cybersafe’ activities to reinforce our focus.

To showcase the power of GAFE – students were shared a collaborative google Doc whereby all students added information to. Wow was this an incredible scene to witness students collaborating for the first time in ‘real time’ online, together as a whole class.


As part of my role as eLearning Leader, I have been asked to support our our whole staff who have been asked to set ‘technology goals’ based on either Australian Curriculum Digital /Design Technologies or on GAFE or on Digital Tools (eg iPads, Win 8 etc).

Staff were then grouped together and throughout this term myself and other staff in the eLearning Team will be supporting staff to gain skill in their particular ‘goal’. We will then have a ‘showcase’ session at the end of the term to celebrate our new learning around Technology.

Instead of running ‘Techie Brekkies’ for the time being, our staff will be introduced to tools, tips and techniques at the end of some professional learning team meetings throughout the term.


As a whole staff, the eLearning Team decided to introduce the ‘ Interactive GAFE TRAIN’ (created by Sylvia Duckworth)to extend staff skill in the use and adoption of ‘GAFE’.

Checkout Sylvia’s Blog:

GAFE Interactive Train:


**I am exploring ‘Google Sites’ as a possible tool for documenting student learning as a digital portfolio as we explore ‘student voice’

**explore alternatives to our current Intranet and begin to develop a new Intranet using ‘Google Sites’

** Continue to explore Google ‘Classroom’

**Learning more about ‘Google Teacher Academy’ http://www.google.com/edu/programs/google-teacher-academy/

**I also hope to get to ‘TeachMeetMelb‘ , participate in ‘Google Educator Groups Melbourne’ and and really looking forward to ‘Teach Tech Play’ monthly webinar.
So many exciting professional learning opportunities!!

Comments on: "GAFE" (2)

  1. Thats brilliant Raff, well documented and fantastic links

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