Google claims that it isn’t very difficult to get set up on Google Apps for Education. However, it is a little trickier than they say. This article tries to translate Google’s own help page into an Irish primary school context, which I hope is useful to Irish schools. If you want to find out more about why you should sign up to GAfE, it would be a good idea to read some of the other articles on Anseo.net about it.
There’s a couple of things you’ll need to set up Google Apps for Education in your school. The first, most obviously, is a school! This school must be a recognised school and must be non-profit, which is basically every Irish primary school. OK, so that’s easy!
Now it’s time to sign up to Google Apps. Before you sign up to Google Apps for Education, you need to sign up for the normal Google Apps (Google Apps for Work) at this web site: https://www.google.com/a/signup
You simply fill in the form here and click next.
In order to use GAfE, you need a domain name. For example, my school, has the domain “carloweducatetogether.ie” Schools with addresses like scoilsomething.wordpress.com or weebly.com or anything else that isn’t their own can’t sign up to GAfE. A school needs to get a domain from a hosting service. My school uses Blacknight as it is Irish (and based in Carlow) but any place will really do. Google lets you sign up for one with them but I prefer to use a local one. The screen below gives you the option. The only annoying thing about signing up with an alternative provider than Google is that you have to do some technical work, which can be a bit tricky.
You’ve you’ve signed up, if you’ve used Google’s hosting service, you’re ready to sign up for Google Apps for Education as opposed to the not free Google Apps for Work. If you have your domain from another host, you have to verify your domain exists. As I said, it is a little tricky and you might need help but for what it’s worth, here are the steps from Google:
- Sign in to your domain’s host account.
GoDaddy and eNom are examples of domain hosts. Who is my domain host?
- Locate the page for updating your domain’s DNS records.
The page might be called something like DNS Zone File, Name Server Management, or Advanced Settings.
Get specific steps for your domain host
- Locate the TXT records for your domain.
They’ll look something like the image on the right.
- Add a TXT record using the value in your Google Apps domain’s security token.
The token is a 68-character string that begins with google-site-verification=. There are two ways ways you can find it in your Admin console, explained in the image to the right.
- Save your changes and wait until they take effect. The changes can take up to 72 hours to go into effect depending on your domain host, but generally occur within a few hours.
If the changes don’t take effect after 72 hours, please contact us.
Now to sign up to Google Apps for Education.
While logged into your Google Apps account:
- Go to the Google Apps for Education signup form.
- Provide information about you and your institution.
- Click Next.
- Provide the domain for your institution.
- Click Next.
- Provide information to create an admin account. This is the account that you’ll use to sign in to your Google Apps for Education account.
- Read and agree to the Google Apps for Education agreement.
- Click Accept and signup. You will receive an email that includes information about your new account.
That’s about it. These steps are much easier that the first part and you should be good to go. Google have to manually confirm that you are genuinely a school and this takes up to two weeks to happen. You’ll get an email to verify that you’re accepted. The next stage is setting everyone up to use the various apps you’d like them to use and stop them from using the apps you don’t but that’s another day’s work!