Valeria Torreblanca, of MDSystems: “The Implementation of Google Apps for Education Is a Positive Look Towards School Improvement”

Kids and more, we have the pleasure to make a interview with Valeria Torreblanca, A degree in administration of the UBA (University of Buenos Aires), and that for more than two years form part of the team of MDSystems, being the one in charge of the implementation and training of Google Apps, in schools and SMEs. The interview aims to learn more about the tools of Google Apps for Education are being implemented in schools around the world. In this case Valeria explains kindly experience in Argentina which also has points of contact with Spain.

Valeria Torreblanca works in MDSystems. It is a company that started giving support to acquaintances in the implementation of Google Apps for your project or business, then on Google forums expanded the scope assisting any person or company in the world that had problems with the settings and are currently one company in Argentina that offers services to anywhere in the world, using the Internet. Two years ago, they are specialized in the configuration, implementation, training and advice from Google Apps, for organizations of any type and size. The scope covers from ventures one-to-one, to SMEs, passing by centers educational. Its base is to apply the technological concept of computing in the cloud (cloud computing).

What is Google Apps For Education?

Google Apps for education has the same tools that Google Apps for businesses. It is a package of customizable and scalable web applications. It only requires that the establishment that implements it has good Internet access in whole school and computers, netbooks, etc., distributed for proper use of the applications. Web applications are available from any device, anywhere. And they can start with few users and grow according to the need of the establishment.

It is an especially useful, economical, and accessible resource. For a company, this same service, has a cost per user, while Google offers licensing completely free of charge and without limitations of users, for educational establishments. That we consider that schools should not fail to take this opportunity, no?

Of course, there are other products on the market. The closest thing, is Microsoft Live@edu, which is a good product, with many differences, and always there will be those who prefer one over the other, but there’s no denying that the existence of both creates competition. This allows that companies strive to improve products, benefiting the end users of these products.

What features does have school which is implant?

One of the main features that must have an establishment education for the implementation of Google Apps for Education is a positive look towards school improvement. Think of a current scenario, one possible and an ideal. Thus be considered a future scenario, contemplating the future educational demands, taking into account its strengths and weaknesses. The opportunities and threats of the environment.

An essential condition for access to Google Apps For Education Service, with free licensing, the establishment should be recognized by the Government of his country, and to prove it, otherwise Google will not enter the order. For example, here in Argentina, is shown easily to request extension .edu or. ar. Also with the number of DIPREGEP (for private schools) and the officialization in State school, given to it by the direction General of schools of the province of Buenos Aires.

The inclusion of Google Apps for Education, involves a radical change in different aspects of mainly pedagogical, administrative and educational centre, therefore it is essential that legal and managerial representatives are fully convinced of this implementation. From the good use of different applications, both communication, management, such as classroom management, inside and outside of the school will be changed.

It is very important to always consult the expert in Google Apps For Education, to help it in the configuration of the installation, in the definition of the policies of the College for the proper use of applications, and mainly in training to administrators, teachers and students.

What is the technological trend in education?

Everything tends to be simpler and that simply works.

To do this, the applications that we use for our daily activity must comply with the following requirements:

  • Available at any time
  • From anywhere
  • From any device
  • With any team

Google Apps complies with it, and is updated permanently, without noticing the user, without the need for a specialized technical team to update each computer or device. The end user will do and will be a normal and easy activity for it.

What does Google Apps for education?

The licensing is completely free and without advertising, for students, teachers and administrative staff. It has the same security that includes companies, and Google guarantees a 99.9% of the operating time of the system. It enables the establishment provide different services to teachers and students. For example, making only students can communicate within the domain of the College, if that is the same policy, while teachers can do so to the outside also. It increases the involvement and communication in realtime through calendar, shared documents, as calculation form, text, forms, presentations, drawings, public or private sites, groups or forums, including processor.

How does help to students and parents to work from home?

Train them to know very well the establishment policies, to evacuate doubts, but the reality is that when using Google Apps will be using applications that already use in their homes, and it is everything easier for the end user, since they will take the form of email and communicate easily.

What successful experiences you can share with the readers of kids and more

We carry out not only implementation of Google Apps in schools, but also to accompany the process of change (Change Management) and in the decision-making process for the definition of policies and training to teachers and administrative, since, in the majority of cases, did not have a computer system with similar characteristics. Whereas in the implementation of the companies, mostly, they migrate from one system to another and only need the implementation and deployment, since in many cases training is self-taught and usage policies already are defined.

Currently attending schools in Argentina, Colombia, Spain, Mexico to manage your order of Google Apps For Education and provide training online and through videos or documents made for this.

Also we assist small and medium enterprises, from anywhere in the world, in the use of Google Apps standard or business edition, manage the configuration and management of the domain, and train the users who require it, in the same way that we do with teachers. As mentioned above, thanks Internet can provide assistance without borders, and the client only pays for the service provided and accepted.

In addition, Valeria wants to share success stories with us. The first the of Anabella González, Vicedirectora-Coordinadora pedagogical of the Centro Cultural San Rafael of Buenos Aires in Argentina and that summary below:

“We are a team that deals of meet the current demands of education.” Economic barriers are to carry out different action plans towards the improvement of the learning of our students, improve communication within and outside the institution and administrative aspects. When we were offered and showed Google education applications and told us that they could adapt to our needs, in addition to the free licensing, we do not doubt accept and start to work. If starting work. This group of applications was at our disposal and we should basically set them, with the help of MDSystems, according to our needs. So we started with the unification of emails, each person received an institutional user, e.g.: anabella.gonzalez@colegiosanrafael.edu.ar. Since communication began to establish clear, specific and common channel for all institutional actors. At the same time, and we are convinced it is one of the conditions for the success of the implementation, we began to train teachers in the various applications: Google Docs and groups (using default templates, presentations, calculations, etc.) The first made it possible to establish a collaborative, efficient, and contextualized work, i.e., teachers began to work as a team, at the same time in a single document. Plan team and made warm feedback on the work of their colleagues, always orienting them towards the improvement.

Also working with the implementation of technology in the classroom. Soon, every student in 5th and 6th year (11-12 years) will have user without e-mail, allowing the class to work in groups in such a way that the teacher is who can observe and monitor all students work and reviews. In groups the children rise quotes, videos, graphics, etc. “This is one of our goals from the implementation of Google Apps: transcend the walls of the classroom and work collaboratively school-family.”

In addition also says his experience Nora Reyna, Director of San Luis School of English, who has a degree in education:

“As part of the project of school open 2012 of the colegio San Luis, ‘I and Internet’, I decided that in the school of English I had to produce a transformation in the way of doing our work.” It is what we set out to learn how to use the Google Docs, an application which not only allows us to improve our project communication and intercommunication equipment, but also work online, both teachers and students, and mine in particular. MDSystems is helping to organize the presentation of our project through a web site, which will be accessible to parents and members of the College Saint Louis school open day at the end of September 2012. The collaboration of MDSystems has surpassed all of our expectations in what it has to do with professionalism, creativity of your suggestions and the layout of the Google Docs of 23 teachers, through meetings with them. The next step in this process is entering the site which is in preparation using electronic and key directions prepared by MDSystems and be able to manage content independently.”

We give the Thanks to Valeria Torreblanca for sharing the experience in the use and implementation of Google Apps for Education. We leave the door open in kids and more for when want us to comment more experiences and extend the offer to other companies that are carrying out processes of change in schools to learn from other experiences.