After yesterday’s post about Google for Educators, Mimi Tanner from the Richardson Adult Literacy Center asked how to sign up for Google for Educators. Great question! Hope this helps:
Google for Educators and Google for Non-Profits have multiple levels of involvement, depending on what you want to do. I’ll give you two sets of instructions depending on whether you want to use this individually or for your whole organization.
Instructions for individuals looking to use tools independently:
STEP 1: Go to the home pages linked above and enter your email to sign up for their email lists.
STEP 2: Sign up for a Google account. Create a Gmail address here. This Gmail address will link together everything that you sign up for in Google. (It helps to create a separate work account from any personal accounts you may have) You will use your Gmail address & password to sign in to any other tools offered by Google.
STEP 3: Decide which tools you want to use. Start with looking at the descriptions for the Google tools for Educators. Use your Gmail account to sign up for any tool for free with no strings attached. If you have questions about how to use the tools, Google offers tutorials and videos (search YouTube if they are not posted from the Help pages). There is also a Google for Educators Discussion Group where you can view or post questions and answer about using Google for Educators.
Instructions for tools for a whole Non-Profit organization:
STEP 1: If you want to sign up your entire organization for these tools, then you should apply for Google Apps starting at this webpage. Google Apps is a whole set of tools that offers email service, websites, intranet, document sharing, video sharing, and calendar services for everyone in your organization. On that webpage linked above you will also see information about Professional Consulting available for organizations to start using the tools.
STEP 2: Go back to the main homepage for Google for Non-Profits. Consider some of the other options available for you for free. You could apply for Google Grants: in-kind grants of advertising space on Google’s search results. I won’t repeat the whole page: you can read it yourself. But similar to Google for Educators there is an online Discussion Group where you can read and post questions and answers about using these tools for your non-profit organization.
The nice thing about Google is that it is very integrated: once you start, everything connects to each other. The problem is that the possibilities are endless! You could spend all day posting on YouTube or Blogger or making maps on Google Earth. Before using this stuff, it saves a lot of time to have a plan for what you want to DO with it. Then after you get comfortable, continually analyze how what you are doing is working to see what tools you shouldn’t bother wasting any further time on. If none of your coworkers reads the Google docs you share with them, or lots of people read your blog but no one volunteers or donates, then reconsider your strategy. These are just a set of tools like any other tool. Even though the belt sander might be really cool, it’ll be useless if you don’t have a project to sand!
Another IMPORTANT NOTE about using Google Tools: it is your responsibility to guard your security. NEVER share your password with anyone for any reason. You can set the security settings on what you use in Google to decide exactly who can access what you create, including documents, videos, websites, pictures, etc. When you share that content, you should also check the security settings to see if they can share with others. On the other extreme, it is your responsibility to get your content noticed online! There are all sorts of things you can do to increase your visibility online (including applying for Google Grants) but the most important thing you can do is to create something that is useful for people and sends a clear message. My message is that it’s never been more affordable to join the 21st Century and hopefully by using these tools, adult literacy programs can become more efficient and reach a broader audience.