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I've been trying to get my district's IT department to allow access to Google Docs. To bring some data to them I would like to get replies from teachers/administrators that have access to use Google Docs in your classrooms. I have a
feeling I work in one of the only districts to block the Google Docs website. I'm not asking if you use
the website in your classrooms. I'm just asking if you have access to
the site. Please respond to this discussion if you do or do not have
access to Google Docs.

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Replies to This Discussion

Yes ... we have access in my district. I'm using Google Docs heavily for a PD class for teachers.
Yes, we have access. We use calendars for computer reservations, forms for middle school attendance, and I'm hoping to include even more next year.
I have all my students get an account with Google at the beginning of school. Our district is thinking of moving from Microsoft Exchange to gmail. Tell your IT people to get on board!
What is their reasoning for blocking Google Docs? Is it because they think that all districts block it? You'll find that they are wrong, though many do. But to make your case, it seems to me that you need to be able to present pedagogical reasons, how might Google Docs improve, enrich, make more relevant your students' learning experiences?

If they would not respond to that, then the wrong people are making that decision...
The last effort on my part to have Google Docs unblocked was met with a denial saying that the chat feature of it is unacceptable to the district's IT dept. It seems that they do not understand that if the site is setup for a school that the chat feature can be turned off. I'll be attending the CUE conference in March. Maybe I'll get some good pedagogical ideas at that conference.
What seems to be a constant in so many districts is that the IT department makes instructional decisions. Why is that? And why are social networking sites - including chat features, etc. - viewed as a "problem" at best and contrary to established policy at worst? How did the use of technology in schools get placed outside of the usual curriculum review with input from teachers - and in this case, teachers who use technology effectively? This situation seems to be getting worse as web-based options for creating and collaboration become more available but our IT departments and administration tighten control even more to block access. It seems to show that despite having technology, including Internet access, in schools for nearly 20 years now, our policies, systems, and integration has not progressed in practice past those early years of implementation. Unfortunately, this is a bigger issue than Google Docs access and inhibits all of our efforts to use these resources. Something needs to change!
My district allows Google docs, and it's amazing what we can do with these diverse tools! My sixth graders created surveys on the topic of survival (answer formats including multiple choice, scales, check boxes, open ended answer, etc.) and then shared them with peesr to answer. The resulting spreadsheets were pretty amazing! Plus Google docs readily accept the projects made on a ton of sites where kids create content (Glogster, Bubblr, Bookr, Sumo Paint).

The survey/form function alone allows a ton of possibilities for teachers as well as students!

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