On February 15th 2011, Loughborough University hosted the first Google Apps for Education UK User Group meeting at the Holywell Park Conference Centre.

Here's what people said about the event...
Word cloud by Matthew Mobbs

Jo Badge (University of Leicester)

posted 17 Feb 2011, 03:55 by Martin Hamilton

My highlights and thoughts from the day:

1. This stuff is free – still struggling to get my head around the fact that Google Apps for HE are free. A four-year contract, yes, but for free. So why are we paying for email?

2. Meeting Mark Allen and Zoe Ross in person, and loving the Google Apps ‘VLEcosystem’ for (mostly primary) schools that Mark has developed using google apps and other free tools to get children and teachers working effectively online.

Via twitter, Kevin McLaughlin pointed at his take on this idea that he has written up in the ALT newsletter. This is a wonderfully inspiring example of how home-grown solutions using free tools can provide the flexibility and simplicity that children and staff need online.

3. I have to admit to being rather star-struck by the Google brand, their people and the great stuff they do (the majority of which I’d already seen and used, like live collaboration in Google Docs and the google goggles solving suduko puzzles). However, I think I checked my critical faculties at the door.

4. I got a first look (albeit at a distance) at a Chrome OS notebook . This made me think about when ubiquitous always-on wifi will be good enough in schools and universities for us to use this type of OS with students.

5. Interesting to hear that the OU help desk cross charges course teams for any errors on their moodle sites that result in increase calls to the helpdesk. Certainly focusses the mind…

Overall it was a mind-expanding day in many ways, even if I didn’t even come close to winning the war of the tweets with Steve Wheeler ;-)

Matthew Mobbs (University of Leicester)

posted 17 Feb 2011, 00:23 by Martin Hamilton   [ updated 17 Feb 2011, 03:55 ]

Had a really interesting day at Google Apps for Education UK User Group or #guug11 conference, there were some great presentation and discussion around how google applications are been used at all levels of education.

In terms of some of the educational presentations, there was a very interesting talk by  Niall Sclater, Director of Learning Innovation at the Open University, who discussed the OUs migration over to google apps. He spoke about and how they plan to enable each student to have an iGoogle as their student homepage. One of the key issues that he raised was they are discovering some accessibilty issues with some of the apps. One of the highlights of this talk was how they intend to ingrate the google apps to make an ePortfolio system for their students.

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Paul Shoesmith (IET Associates)

posted 16 Feb 2011, 09:20 by Martin Hamilton   [ updated 16 Feb 2011, 09:28 ]

My PhotoYesterday I attended the 2011 Google Apps for Education User Group at Loughborough University. It was an excellent event, attended by over 100 people from higher education through to the schools sector, and well organised by Martin Hamilton.

This is a run through of some of the highlights for me. I stayed with the strategy strand of the event, though I was disappointed that it meant missing the very interesting looking technical strand. And the amplified nature of the event via Twitterand elsewhere added to the value of the event for me and others.

Sheila MacNeill (JISC CETIS)

posted 16 Feb 2011, 07:24 by Martin Hamilton   [ updated 17 Feb 2011, 00:32 ]

Yesterday I attended the Google Appls for Education UK User Group meeting at the University of Loughborough. Organized by Martin Hamilton, the day provided a really useful update and insight into how google apps are being used throughout the education system, from primary schools to Universities.

Though the day was focused on google, the presentations, discussions, tweets did show an increasing demand from educators for more flexible, easy to use systems that just do what you want them to and are either free or have little cost. Google do seem to provide an awful lot (including jelly beans and rubik cubes). However they're not the only game in town. But they do have awfully deep pockets, and I did have an overwhelming Pinky and the Brain sensation (what shall we do tonight, the same thing we do every night try to take over the world) but they have a much more successful strategy than my cartoon friends

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Picture by Jo Badge

Steve Wheeler (University of Plymouth)

posted 16 Feb 2011, 07:20 by Martin Hamilton   [ updated 16 Feb 2011, 09:34 ]

Tonight I'm travelling up to Loughborough University to speak at tomorrow's Google Apps for Education User Group meeting

Together with the University of Portsmouth's Manish Malik I will be presenting a paper on our latest thinking around Cloud Learning Environments. Other speakers include Tony Hirst and Niall Sclater (both at the Open University), Nick Skelton (University of Bristol) and presided over by Martin Hamilton (Loughborough University). You can follow the entire day's proceedings by checking the Twitter hashtag #guug11.

Chris Sexton (University of Sheffield / UCISA)

posted 16 Feb 2011, 07:11 by Martin Hamilton   [ updated 16 Feb 2011, 09:31 ]

Today I spent the day at Loughborough University at the first Google UK User Group for Education. Very good attendance - well over 100, probably more, made up mainly of Google customers but also some who were in the process of making up their minds. A good mix of sessions, some business and strategy based, some more technical. Lots of backchannel action as well with nearly a thousand tweets. A very useful day, and some notes rather than a carefully thoughtout blogpost follow.

Arthur Clune (University of York)

posted 16 Feb 2011, 07:08 by Martin Hamilton   [ updated 16 Feb 2011, 09:32 ]

Some key points from guug11 noted by Arthur:
  • Google CloudConnect for MS Office to be released next week. Looks very nice. Allows storage of docs in Google Docs complete with versioning etc.
  • Google Apps can do OCR on pdfs. I had no idea.
  • There was a very nice demo of the translation facilities - live real-time translation in chat and demos of Google Sites being made available in any language via translation. They stressed it was machine translation so not perfect but good enough for people to understand.
  • Nice ideas about using templates with Sites to give easy setups for projects etc
  • Google also demoed the Chrome laptop. If we went with Apps this would be ideal for use as lending devices. Cheap, no local data, usable by anyone with a Google account. They are aiming for 99.99% uptime next year (including all downtime - any duration, planned + unplanned). No price or release date given.

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Zoe Ross (DoDigital Ltd)

posted 16 Feb 2011, 07:03 by Admin Istrator   [ updated 16 Feb 2011, 09:37 by Martin Hamilton ]

Zoe RossYesterday I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the Google Apps for Education UK User Group or #GUUG11 organised by Martin Hamilton at Loughborough University.


the opportunity to meet the hugely enthusiastic Google Apps for EDU team again was great, especially the open question and answer session at the end of the day. As someone mentioned yesterday, the opportunity to hear it from the horse’s mouth is invaluable when dealing with the ever-evolving innovation of Google Apps.

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Image cc Graeme Fowler

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