This I decided that three of my portfolios would become totally paperless: managing the master calendar, field trips and excursions and staff meetings. With the whole of our system converting to GAFE I thought there was no reason why this couldn't work. I've also been pretty patient in the last few years that I've been at my school to really go gang busters with technology so I thought I'd seize the opportunity. So far, not too bad! The calendar has been shared with everyone and many have commented that they appreciate the access as it allows them to plan more than just a week at a time. I still prepare a weekly, informing staff of the comings and goings around the school, but as people get even better at keeping me in the loop, I see that as a thing of the past very soon. Using Google Calendar has allowed me to provide even more information: specific times and locations, notes about which staff is going out on a given day and when its provided, I can copy and paste a list of student names so teachers can account for attendance. The process of requesting field trips, I would say, is mostly successful. There are staff who, regardless of all the materials saved to their Google Drive (a folder with EXPLICIT how-to instructions, field trip requests guidelines and the Board forms) still continue to give me paper. So, I give it back. I've done it, to the complete shock of some, about 5 times so far this semester. The response was that they didn't think I was totally serious. The reality is that these very individuals are growing increasingly uncomfortable with the direction our profession is taking and their insecurities are so apparent. I have offered to sit next to them to show them how this process is more about leveraging the technology to work smart and not stress them out about the use of technology. I do wonder if some people will simply opt to not request a trip by virtue of the process. That, I would view as a bit of a failure on my part, regardless of the amount of PD I have already provided... As for the staff meetings, the secretary who normally would have prepared my agenda or typed the minutes is thrilled to be off the hook! With my Chrimebook in hand, I prepare the agenda at our weekly Admin meetings. Using Google Docs allows me to share the document to be edited with the staff member assigned to type minutes and he or she is given editing permission to to type right on the document. I review the minutes and place the document in a shared folder I have placed in everyone's Drive. Staff receive minutes faster and can access them anywhere.
Despite some of the systemic glitches encountered using GAFE, the apps have definitely helped me to work smarter and I will definitely be seeking out new ways to use the apps. My Admin colleagues seem to be inspired to do the same: the othe VP has implemented a paperless process for our Academic Council meetings and the principal is experimenting with blogging to replace the monstrous, time-consuming newsletter. These are some really exciting times!