Sunday, May 15, 2016

Free Google Apps Training for All with @Synergyse

Innovative educators sometimes express frustration that their students and/or colleagues come to them without the foundational skills to use basic applications like documents, spreadsheets, presentations, productivity tools like email and calendars, and other applications like video conferencing, website creation, and engaging in online communities.  It’s as though everyone was magically supposed to come to them knowing how to use these complex technologies, but when is time set aside for them to learn?


Some districts and organizations were fortunate to have funding for products like Synergyse which provides interactive training directly inside apps, but for most, the $10 per person, per year, placed such options out of reach. Rather than users being able to get on-demand support for just those skills they needed, to learn to use basic applications in the old-fashioned, whole group, sit-and-get style. With schools and organizations having users at all different skill levels, this learning method is not very efficient.


Fear not!


This week, Synergyse is joining Google. This means the in app training will be available to all Google users at no cost. You can read the announcement here.



Once installed (read this to find out how), you can access the training program by clicking the red, blue, green circle with a question mark in the center. You’ll be brought to a lesson outline that shows users how to get started as well as a menu of additional lessons.  There is also a search function if you want something specific.  The image below shows what this looks like.  


Once you click into a menu, you can see all the lessons and how long each one is.  New lessons are in bold. You can see what that looks like below.  


Innovative educators understand the power of resources like Synergyse. It puts an on-demand tutor at every user’s fingertips. It also frees up the time of educators to move beyond how to use and application and onto how to create and share your amazing work with an authentic audience who is interested in what you have produced.  


Educators will also love the analytics and reporting tools to track and measure usage and progress. They can use these reports to count towards their own professional learning requirements. In places like NYC the certification requirement is 100 hours every five years. They can also use these reports to track student usage.  


School tech support will appreciate that there is updated training content provided whenever new features are added to Google Apps for Ed. Rather than supporting staff piecemeal, they can send direct links to training lessons to answer common support questions..


Want to see what the tool looks like? Check out this video:

What’s next? A wish list.
A scope & sequence and/or a curriculum map outlining which tools are recommended and when.
Assessment: Add a tool that lets users assess and demonstrate proficiency that also provides recommendations for additional lessons.  


So what do you think? Have you used Synergyse with your students? If so, what did you think? If you haven’t will you? What are you excited about? Any concerns? Please share in the comments.  

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Update: Syngergyze is now called "Training for Google Apps."
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