People (especially educators & administrators) often ask me to talk about how I use Google Drive to streamline processes. This project is an example of how Drive made a cumbersome & lengthy process, impossibly swift & efficient.
Last June, CES Tech was contracted to conduct an audit of the Pioneer Valley Regional School District’s 5-year Technology Replacement Plan, and quickly. In prior years (and with collaborators less enthusiastic about Drive) this process would have taken no less than 2 weeks with hours of work by one person charged with coordinating the effort. Let’s imagine how this would have worked using Word & email. Each document would have been created then emailed to multiple people as an attachment:
- initial meeting notes
- draft proposal
- final proposal
- Tech Plan & materials
- reviewer comments via track changes in separate documents
- questions for district
- answers from district
- revised version of reviewable Tech Plan with answers
- draft report
- reviewer comments on draft report via track changes in separate documents
- revised draft report based on compiled comments from all reviewers
- final report for internal approval
- final report to district
- questions from district
- answers to district questions
- revised report for internal approval
- revised report to district
- draft presentation for district stakeholders
- revised presentation for district stakeholders
- final presentation
If all involved worked diligently, this would have been at least a 2 week process and the admin support person would have spent at least 20 hours on tasks that are unnecessary when using Drive. I estimate over 25 separate files would be generated in this process. I haven’t bothered to calculate the hours of meeting time this would gobble up.
Here is what the process actually looked like:
- initial meeting notes prepared & shared in real-time – 1 Doc
- proposal drafted & finalized – 1 Doc
- Tech Plan & materials converted & posted – 3 Docs – All reviewer comments and questions were contained. When the Director had a call with district representatives, others could watch the answers fill in (remotely) and add follow-up questions, which were addressed immediately. Results from additional research were added directly.
- report was prepared, finalized, & (later) revised with all collaborating asynchronously – 1 Doc
- presentation prepared, finalized, & presented – 1 Doc
This process was completed in a few days and required no time or energy from an administrative staff person and no synchronous meetings to be held among the reviewers. A total of 7 files were generated.
I’ve known for years that Google makes my life more efficient, but this project made me realize that Google makes the impossible, possible. By using Drive (and other Google Apps for Education), we can provide services to our member districts with speed, quality, and savings. Google win!
To read about the outcome of our audit, take a look at this article in the Recorder.