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Google Apps for Education European User Group #GEUG14

The following is my live blogging from #GEUG14 in York on the 23rd and 24th of June 2014.  I will be editing as I go and after the event but please feel free to comment and share.

Event Website:
Hashtag: #GEUG14
Live stream:


Good start to the day, first train on time thus far. One man seems to have brought his whole office with him and is insisting on getting everything out on the table.

At Manchester Pic waiting for train to depart.  Have met up with Matt, Dan and Alex.  Looking forward to a great day.

Arrived safe – in the main room – yet again a new theatre and no power sockets in useable locations 🙁


Welcome by Vice-Chancellor Koen Lamberts.
Provided us with some impressive stats from York – surprisingly few google hangouts (~3k).  I’m sure I do more than that per year.

10:00 – Living in the Cloud: A year with GAFE and Chrome OS (RCH/037)

(GAFE – Google Apps For Education)
Matthew Collins

Promoting the benefits of Google Docs to reduce number of text documents being sent around with ver 64 as file names.

Gave us some background to who he was and where he came from with regards to using technology.

Useful Chrome apps for living in the cloud:

For a year he tried a chromebook(CB).  (isn’t currently as he is programming in language you can’t on CB)

Used to use Palaeo but now moved to google apps.

LucidChart (which I’ve been using) was promoted as a great addon app for google.

Tried to get a group to collaborate on Google Doc for a grant bid.  Some people started out by emailing Matthew with suggested changes.  After a few weeks they started to get in to it and use it.  They still suggested at the end to format the bid in MS Word.

Interesting feedback on his bid as he was suggesting Google Apps and a lot of feedback was suggesting ‘no’ because google isn’t reliable etc. – He didn’t get the grant.

Paperpile – allows you to share the papers you are reading with your team.

Plotly – allows great graphical representation of data in Google drive.
-Has built in APIs

Google+ Community – created a community to share information.  Community is closed off.  Because it is searchable (from within community) it becomes an archive of their collaboration.

Matthew demoed how he uses some of the apps.

Google drive – Google Docs – Paperpile allows linking and storage of papers in the drive.  Drive will also parse the papers to allow you to search the content.

Lost access to Google Drive for three weeks.  Google thought that because they were using it so much that they might be a scam.

Asked students to all put their results from exercise into a google sheet.  Whole class then had access to data for reporting.  Very easy to see who had engaged by looking at revision history.

Spoke about the benefit of creating a Google group for a class of students.

Note to Google: “Please allow merging of cells in Google Docs!!!” – I agree!

I asked if Matthew still felt there was a need for a VLE – only for MCQ exams.  Google does everything else better.

10:45 – Product Slot – Chrome Products (RCH/037)

Ross Mahon, Google

You have Google Apps for Education as a platform.  A recent development with that is Google Classroom.  (This will be rolled out in September – part of GAFE and free).  There is a MSI for IT teams to install a managed browser for desktop images.  Allows for auto or managed updates.

Evolution was to Chromebooks.

Speed: 8 second boot time, auto-load websites, install required extensions

Security: Sandboxing, Verified Boot, Data Storage and Encryption

Simplicity: Students only see one page if you want, Disable spellcheck / USB etc, Easily and quickly switch back to normal mode once done.

Scale: Very easily to roll out to large numbers.

Chromebox: simple ability to hold online meetings using any screen.
Great product sell – could replace video conferencing kits in a lot of rooms.

🙁 Just found out there will be an annual fee for them once purchased.  Need to check if it is per chromebox.

11:30 – Ideas for Exploring Learning Analytics with Google Analytics (RCH/204)

Martin Hawksey, ALT

Optimal video length before people drop of viewing.  You have a great deal of information available to you in YouTube analytics.

Google Analytics allows you to delve into demographics etc to help you check your target audience.

Google Tag manager. Add your tracking code on your page once. You can then manage how and what you track via the cloud without having to update your code / page.

You can track in real time or as a summary over time.

Google Analytics APIs – lots of tools to collect the data you need.

Google Analytics Query Exporter.

Great session with a lot for me to go away and explore.  Could have done with giving more time to this session so that more detail could be provided.

11:45 – Google-centric UC: Integrating Google Apps with Enterprise Voice (RCH/204)

Chris Daniels, University of Sheffield

Unified Communications – Integration of synchronous and asynchronous communications.
Wanted to give a unified inbox.

So how do you bring voice communications into Google?
Demoed how it works for voicemail.

I like this but an not sure Keele would adopt at present. Will bring up at next meeting.

12:00 – Going Google Nexus 1to1 (RCH/037)

 (this and next session in same video)
Simon Thomson, Leeds Metropolitan University

One of the biggest factors of nexus vs iPad is cost.

Once given out 40% of academics used in a taught session. 70% of students responded yes to same question.

BYOD – students 17% personal 39% Don’t mind 44% prefered institutional equipment.

Vast majority said staff and students should have the same devices in a classroom.

Just showed us the cost as a fraction of a studentes 3 year course is 0.0073

Great benefit to students for little cost.

12:15 – Keep Taking the Tablets: How mobile computers and cloud computing can transform journalism education (RCH/037)

(video above)
Sean Dodson, Leeds Metropolitan University

Conventional classrooms are good for conventional lectures.
Conventional IT suites are good for content creation but usually poor for presenting lectures (PCs usually face the walls).

Takes a bag full of iPads into a classroom to transform the lecture.

(Suggests giving 1 iPad between 2 students as this will stop them using Social Media)

Collated data from this site onto a Google Sheet to allow for visualisation of MPs in Leeds.

iPads are very portable
Transform any space
Collaborate in the cloud

14:00 – Roundtable Discussions – Data Protection

A lot of worry over Google being shown for the intros.

Interesting that some HEIs hadn’t signed up to the additional model clauses.

Interesting mention of Google Takeout: download an archive of your data.

Interesting that Keele seem like they’re pretty good on data protection compared to some of the others here.  Making me feel better about storing data in the drive.

14:30 – Google at University College Lillebælt (RCH/037)

Jan Apollo, University College Lillebaelt, Denmark

Took 3-4 years to roll out GAFE to everyone.

They currently do not yet use GMail.

They use to create their support documents.

Embedding YouTube videos into Google Forms then embedding into the VLE.

Telepresence – aim is to make it feel like you’re in the same room. Using to allow for greater attendance in lectures.

Will Google be here in 3 years?
Someone suggested that they are more worried we might have to pay for it.  Response was suggesting that this might help remove the worry from some people as we will then have rights are we have purchased the service.

15:00 – Quick Customisation of Google Apps for Teaching and Learning with Google Add-ons and Google Apps Script (RCH/037)

Martin Hawksey, ALT

Google Apps Script – allows you to script apps and have the script run on Google servers. Because of this you can script tasks to run even when the users browser is off.

Our own Dan Harding’s presentation side is being used to demo example:

Some great examples of what can be done, convert your Google + into an RSS feed, control document access, implement signoff workflows.

no control over which apps are available to students – all or nothing.

16:00 – Panel Discussion: Strategy (RCH/037)

Data protection / governance seems to be the single biggest issue when it comes to discussing the implementation of Google Apps.
I think we need a big red flag saying it is safe and it is ok to use it.  Personally I see the risk of data loss being less than in local solutions.

Good to see some other HEIs have a ‘turn it on’ default with a turn it off if there are proven issues.

16:45 – Close (RCH/037)

I’m afraid as I publish my blog publicly I am not allowed under our NDA to put information up from day 2.  If you’re from Keele you can come and talk to me – as long as you conform to the Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

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