Sunday, January 17, 2016

Transition: Microsoft To Google

2009 was the first year that Google and all of it's products was piloted in our district.  Since then, collaboration, creativity, and sharing has occurred thousands of times among Pulaski Community School District employees.

Starting in March 2016, All Microsoft products will be unavailable for teacher use.  

Specific questions have been asked with our Director of Informational Technology answering them:

Per email from Mr. Fraedrich on Friday, January 15:
Q.  Why March 25th and what is happening on that date?  What do I need to do before March 25th?  
     A.  Our goal is to have Microsoft Office removed from staff computers that aren't keeping it by the start of next school year (September 1st, 2016).  The reason we picked March 25th is that it is the first day of Spring Break and it gives us a chance to get a start on the removal process.  We will be starting the process on March 25th, however it doesn't mean that during spring break it will be removed from all computers.  With some staff teaching Summer School and staff taking their laptops home frequently it gives the Technology Department plenty of time to complete the process by September 1st.  We will have a better idea of the timing of the removal and will communicate that schedule as we get closer to March.  Before Spring Break we ask that you start looking through files on your U: Drive to determine what you want to convert and what you want to leave in Microsoft Office format on your U: Drive or upload to Google Drive for storage.  We ask that you try to do this before March 25th so that you can be sure you have access to Microsoft Office to help in that process.

Q Can I use my classroom or department budget to purchase Microsoft Office?
     A.  The transition from Microsoft Office is primarily a budgetary decision, but it is also to encourage collaboration with staff and students, utilize free unlimited Google Drive cloud storage, and take advantage of the access from anywhere that Google Apps for Education provides.  For these reasons and in fairness to all staff in the district we are discouraging the individual or department purchase of Microsoft Office licensing.

Q.   Are the files in my U: Drive going away if I don't convert them?
     A.  Nothing is happening to any files in anyone's U: Drive.  Microsoft Office files that aren't converted and/or uploaded will remain, you will just no longer have Microsoft Office installed on your computer to open and edit them.  All other files (videos, pictures, PDFs, Etc.) will remain in your U: Drive.  We encourage you to use this opportunity to do some file cleanup to help identify what files you want to convert and upload, what files you can delete, and what files you might want to upload without converting to store in Google Drive.     

Q.  Can I request to be on the list to keep Microsoft Office installed on my computer?
     A.  We are currently conducting meetings with departments or content areas to determine Microsoft Office needs and working with staff to determine alternatives or making decisions on retaining the software.  See question below for more information.  

Q.  Who do I contact to get help with Google Apps or for help finding alternative programs to accomplish tasks I performed in Microsoft Office?
     A.  Your building LMS can assist with helping you accomplish what you need in Google Apps or find an alternative.  They will try to help you with your question and if need be reach out to the Technology Department for assistance.  We are also conducting Google Apps basic training sessions with building staff over the next couple weeks.  Elementary training sessions will be during the January 22nd inservice.  High School and Middle School staff training opportunities will take place in the next couple weeks as well.  There will be time for questions during the training.  There will also be Apple Core training classes focused on utilizing Google Apps for Education to its fullest potential.

On Tuesday, January 19, at 7:10 AM, Mods 7-10, and 3:10 PM, Adam Juelich and I will show a few steps that will make the transition efficient.  The entire presentation is below.  We will be answering questions and giving further details about the presentation.

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