Saturday, May 30, 2009

Change is Hard - Thoughts on our switch to Gmail

We are in the process of switching our email provider from FirstClass to Google Apps for Education. I am excited about the switch and feel that we will be gaining a great deal by moving to Gmail. However, I do acknowledge that we are also loosing some features (conferences and history to name a few) and that from many user perspectives FirstClass works just fine. Here is part of the email that I sent out to our community. (Thanks to my Twitter network for helping me with this list!)

We believe that Gmail is the best email client for Belmont Hill as an organization. Here are a few of the benefits that Gmail offers:
  • More Space - Share and store large files, emails are saved forever.
  • Collaboration Tools - Collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
  • Personal Calendar - One calendar to rule them all.
  • Web Based - Get your email easily anywhere you have web access. No client to install.
  • Easy to use - Same interface as regular Gmail, similar to other web based emails (Yahoo, Hotmail).
  • Searchable - No need for folders, search your mail as you would search the web.
  • Portable - Get your email on your mobile phone.
  • Spam Filtering - Built in spam filter catches most unwanted solicitations.
We are excited about this switch, but also recognize that change can be difficult. We ask in advance for your patience and understanding as we embark on this new adventure. We will do everything we can to help make this transition successful.
I started training on Friday and will be training all next week. It has been interesting to see the way different people have responded to the change. Some people are very fearful, some are excited, some are angry, some are anxious, but willing to give it their best.

I wonder if this would be the response to any type of change, or if technological change is more difficult in education?

I wonder what it is like in the business world when these types of technology infrastructure changes take place. Do businesses provide training and information and hand holding? Or are employees just expected to suck it up and deal with it?

If we just expected our teachers to figure it out and deal with it, would they?

What do you think?

Image Source: Mail Box from the Flickr photostream of zizzybaloobah
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