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.
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
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.
Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.
Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.