I use G Suite all of the time. Well, mostly Drive and Docs to be honest. And Gmail. I still can't use Calendar very well, but that's not a function of Google. I've been part of schools that were Google Apps schools and have seen the capacity of the platform to support engagement.
There is no doubt that this suite of tools has been incredibly useful for schools and for teachers and kids. The uptake and use of the Google Apps system has been a remarkable success. In late January (2017) Google announced that over 70 million users were part of the G Suite for Education platform.
If I were to ask you about innovative practice in your school, would you cite G Suite as a set of tools that encouraged innovative practice? I'm guessing that many of you would. I would have too. The simplicity, the access across devices, and the features of the tools have made it a staple in education. With 70 million on board, it's a major player and rightly so.
But I'm wondering what's next. Because there's always a next.
In my mind, being innovative means seeing your world through a lens of imagination and curiosity. That view is translated through an iterative process that yields an outcome of unique insights, solutions or products. The outcome ultimately benefits human beings in new ways.
If you believe that the use of G Suite has made you, your students, or your school more innovative, that's good. My question: how long will G Suite continue to be something that inspires innovative thought and practice?
My guess: Not forever. G Suite will have a shelf life. Everything does. Of course, it will continue to grow and improve-but will that be enough for you and your kids? More importantly, will it become more interesting for you and for your students and will it help kids learn differently? Will G Suite still be a catalyst for innovative practice in a year? Two years? Five years? How long before G Suite becomes the next interactive whiteboard? It's available, it's useful, but...
We can imagine that there will be new certifications to achieve, and modifications to existing tools that make them better. There might even be additional new tools like Classroom that streamline classroom practice but don't particularly move the innovation needle. In the end, how will you grow beyond a functional dependency on tools to engage in innovative practice?
Maybe I'm completely wrong. When Google announces a new tool, like being able to insert a video into a Doc from Drive, Twitter lights up with excitement. That answers a problem and streamlines workflow, but it's not necessarily innovative.
And that's the danger - considering that inserting a video from Drive instead of YouTube is innovative.
Earlier I admitted to being a heavy user of G Suite. That's true. For me, it's a functional system that enables me to be productive. Unfortunately, it doesn't take me anywhere else.
Is the meter running out on G Suite as an innovative set of tools? If so, what is your life past G Suite? What's next? Are you thinking about that?