Change Management Guide

Google, Inc.

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Change Management Checklist and What’s in This Guide




Secure and Demonstrate Leadership Support


Marketing, Promotion, and Communications


Training, Professional Development, and Change Management


Integration, Customization, and Extensions


Support, Community, Stay Up-to-Date


List of External Resources



This guide serves as a resource for IT professionals, project managers, and educational institution leaders in charge of managing or promoting Google Apps for Education. Inside you will find an outline, best practices, and resources for increasing Google Apps usage and improving change management at your school(s), college, or university. Moving to the cloud has tremendous benefits, but it’s a big change. Sometimes the success of the change hinges not on the change itself, but how its managed. There’s no single approach to change management—what’s best often depends on your organization’s size, culture, and experience with technology. This guide captures the best practices successful schools and institutions have used when “going Google.” Use this guide to create an effective change management plan for deploying and using Google Apps for Education.

This material is not technical, so please share this guide with colleagues who manage training, professional development, and communications of Google Apps at your organization. If you are looking for assistance on a technical deployment, please refer to our Deployment Guide and Technical Transition Guide. If you need more help or ideas, please visit our Community Support Forum and join Google Apps User Groups. We hope this guide will inspire new ways of adopting Google Apps and the web to enhance teaching, learning, and working at your school!

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Secure and Show Leadership Support

“Having top-down support is very important. We had our CIO visit all departments and had them buy-in. We also got the President’s and Provost’s buy-in.  It helps to address the fear of change.”  — Brown University

“Get the leadership on board. Once the principal uses it, everybody uses it. If the principal shares a Doc, teachers get the idea they need to do that.” — Richland 2 School District

In most organizations, your executive or leadership sponsor is usually the CIO, CTO, Principal, Superintendent, President, or IT Director - someone with authority to promote decision-making and change management. This individual or team will have a respected, authoritative name to back up the mission and will speak to it as part of your organization’s strategy.

Secure Leadership:

Go Google!

“Going Google” means deciding to choose, deploy, and use Google Apps for Education - a free set of web-based products including Gmail, Calendar, Drive, and Sites - at your school, district, entity, college, university, or any other educational institution. Google Apps allow for more  team-oriented collaboration, new learning modalities, and learning inside and outside the classroom.  A leader or executive choosing to “go Google” allows your organization to enhance learning, collaboration, and preparation for your students for the workforce in the 21st century and beyond. Watch this video to get an overview of Google Apps for Education.

Show Leadership: Support

Now that your executive/leadership sponsor has been identified and has decided to go Google, they can communicate why Google Apps is the best solution for your organization and show a model of how it can be used effectively. Your leader should not be shy; we encourage you to be creative with communications such as videos, blog posts, keynotes, or fliers. We also encourage your leadership sponsor to actively use Google Apps with users in typical settings: use Docs for meeting notes, use Calendar for events or appointments, or use Sites for project management. Your leadership sponsor has the opportunity to model the use of our technology to the community!

Marketing, Promotion, Communications

“Get people excited so they are not afraid of change.” — University of Michigan

"Emphasize that this is an upgrade. Knowing it's an upgrade, users will see it as a positive & discover how to use the tools" — Wake Forest University

It’s not enough to tell your users that something big and important is coming. You’ve got to do it in a memorable way that feels fresh but is also part of your school’s culture. A good marketing strategy creates a positive perception about the project, gets people excited about Google Apps, and increases the impact of your communications. This section will guide you on developing a marketing strategy and communications plan. It includes examples of branding, logos, and sites to use when spreading the word about using Google Apps.

Develop a

Communications Plan





Saves time



Easy Access


Develop a marketing and communications plan to help profile the various user groups and the key messages you want to send to these groups.

In your plan, identify the audience, message topic, how and when you will communicate it, and what channel or medium you’ll use.

Think about what works best with a particular audience. For example, teachers will appreciate saving time while students will appreciate easier sharing and access. View templates for school and parent notifications here!

Get Creative: Swag, Logos, More!

Abilene Christian University’s “GDay”

Create an elevator pitch about why your school is going Google. The pitch quickly and succinctly identifies the benefits and the costs of not using Google Apps. Next, develop a creative concept, name, or branding that you’ll use to connect all of your communications and usage of Google Apps. The concept can be a logo, slogan, or unifying theme. Lastly, make sure to incorporate swag and multiple channels in your marketing. Use t-shirts, stickers, pens, buttons, and fliers to build excitement. Use blog posts, videos, or newsletters to spread the word. Check out our Google Store or school launch campaign examples for more ideas!

Training, Professional Development,

and Change Management

Find early adopters that you can leverage who are willing to go first. Don’t expect everybody to learn everything at the same place at the same time. Let students help each other out and create more of a collaborative classroom”  Council Bluffs School District

Training and modeling it within current practices and demonstrate how it enhances your practice. I.e. ‘this is how we’re gonna conduct our meetings now’, and show benefit. Show how it makes people’s lives easier.”

 Leyden School District

“Find out what the needs are of the users: Google ALWAYS has a tool set that you can put to use to solve the problem. That’s what we do; we go around to talk to people and get feedback.”  

 Wellesley College

Google Apps for Education is easy to use, but everyone learns at their own pace and learns new things differently. A training plan lists the training courses or resources needed to educate your users. With a simple list you’ll identify what skills and knowledge users need, how they will be trained, and when to hold the training. It is especially important to profile your user audiences (teachers, students, and staff) and incorporate targeted training for specialized groups, such as administrative assistants or executives.

Develop a Training Plan,

Start with Basics





Gmail, Calendar, and Docs

In person classes


Control Panel, Support

In person and webinars

Admin Assistants

Advanced Gmail and Calendar

In person, 1:1 consulting

After you develop a training plan for your users, you can focus on developing resources and content for your courses, handouts, and online assets. Work with your IT, Academic Technology, or HR department to determine how training is typically delivered. You’ll also want to identify trainers for your courses and create materials. You can work with an Enterprise Partner, a Google Apps Edu Certified Trainer, or find your own experts at your school to help train others. Based on our experiences with existing customers, we recommend you first determine if users need basic computer literacy training. If needed, start with a digital literacy class and then move onto training with the most-used apps, such as Gmail and Calendar. As users get more familiar with the basics, you can introduce other Apps or have more advanced classes. See our Google Education online courses here or our Google Apps Learning Center for existing tutorials and guides!

The Power of Collaboration Apps

(...) the switch to Google Apps has created the most significant enhancement to my performance and workflow since I started at Wake Forest, and when the whole campus is on the system, I expect that much more improvement.”

— Wake Forest University Faculty

After users are more familiar with the basic Apps and functions of Gmail and Calendar, introduce the Google Drive suite and Sites. Focus on each app (Docs, Sheets, Slides) and simple steps at a time rather than overwhelming them with features. You may want to map uses of the collaboration apps to certain activities, tasks, or classroom practices. Examples include: using Forms for Tests, Sheets and Slides for Project Management, or lesson plans using Docs. Also encourage teachers to share ideas, challenges, and best practices with each other.

In addition to providing user training, we recommend you encourage users to use Google Apps in a web browser. You’ll receive an optimized experience and most features - such as offline access and drag-and-drop features - in a modern browser like Chrome. Download Chrome for your school now!  You can set management policies and use it with legacy browsers as well.



To set goals for your students, teachers, and staff to show their knowledge of Google Apps, you can use our Training Certification Programs to become Individually Qualified, a Certified Trainer, or a Certified Organization. Teachers are also encouraged to apply to the Google Teacher Academy to become a Google Certified Teacher. These certification programs will help your users learn functionality and use cases for Google Apps, and they’ll earn a certificate or badge to show upon completion! We’ve seen customers arrange Google Apps bootcamps during the summer and professional development days so groups of students or teachers can complete the courses and exams together.

More Apps, Partners, and Communities

Your training and professional development does not have to stop with the core Google Apps (Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Sites, etc).  In a second phase of training you can explore other Apps, such as YouTube, Google+, Chrome, or Apps Script. Find experts at your school or in the community to start workshops and create resources. Facilitate and attend events or hackathons for opportunities to learn. Check out Google Education Community Events, Education on Air, or join Google+ Communities. There’s a larger community outside of your school and network to learn from and collaborate with - join the family!

Measuring and Tracking Success

Reviewing progress against your project goals can help you see what’s working and what’s not. Tracking metrics or feedback can also show impact to many audiences. We’ve found that sharing data with your community may even help drive more usage and engagement. One customer developed a Docs adoption dashboard and after users saw low usage they rallied to boost the stats, leading to a significant increase in adoption! You can measure metrics such as product usage or feedback surveys on training events and communications.

Resources for Special User Groups

  1. Google Apps for Administrative Assistants 
  2. Life After Microsoft Outlook
  3. Life After Microsoft Outlook Calendar
  4. Life After Lotus Notes
  5. Life After Windows Internet Explorer 

Integration, Customization, and Extensions

“We’ve done a good job with integrating it with daily systems and regular services. We don’t even call it Google Apps, so it doesn’t feel as different. (...) If we brand it as a service they don’t need to know about the changes or who’s involved.”  Northwestern University

A strong trend we’ve seen with successful customers is the integration of Google Apps with existing school systems, workflows, and curriculum. Google Apps for Education provides extensive technical controls, open APIs, and ready-made tools to integrate with legacy IT systems and next-generation learning management and information systems. You can integrate Google Apps with Blackboard or Haiku, use Apps Script to trigger automated workflows for project management or reporting, or use App Engine to develop your own apps on our platform. You can even supplement Google Apps with third-party services for customized tools or content, such as edmodo and Hapara for teacher dashboards, Clever for easy account provisioning, Khan Academy for videos, or Engrade for grading and classroom management. You can also extend the Google Apps platform with additions like Google Apps Vault for email archiving and retention holds, or Chromebooks for classroom computers or 1:1 programs.

Integrate Google Apps with

Your School Systems

Integrate Google Apps with your primary system for identities, directories, or learning management at your school in order to provide a comprehensive experience for your community. Work with your IT department, an Enterprise Partner, or search in the Google Apps Marketplace to integrate Google Apps with your identity management, LMS, or SIS. See our integration page to view a full list of capabilities, case studies, and documentation. For example, you can use our tools or third-party tools to automatically create accounts for new students or teachers within minutes.

Integrate with Curriculum, Pedagogies, Activities


Now that you’ve addressed Google Apps training and technical integration, you can focus on cultural, educational, and curriculum integration within the school community. Evaluate your curriculum, current pedagogies, and community activities. Instead of starting with what functionality exists with Google Apps, think about how Google Apps can fit into existing practices or workflows. In some cases, simply using a new tool may make processes faster, more efficient, or more engaging. In other cases, Google Apps might offer a new way of working or learning. You should also think about new approaches or practices that are possible with learning on the web and Google Apps for Education.  

Integrate with Curriculum, Pedagogies, Activities


Modifying or Redefining

Docs for notes

Flipped Classroom: You can share lecture notes using Docs before class.

Calendar for meetings or events

Time Management: Students can use Calendar to track assignments; teachers can use it for course schedules.

Sites for class page

Project-Based Learning:

Students can use Docs, Sites, and Groups to create and manage projects or show learning outcomes.

We encourage you to form a committee or team focused on technology integration to ensure that Google Apps, the web, and other tools are adopted in the classroom. The team can include multiple stakeholders - students, teachers, IT, leadership, and parents. Let teachers know that this initiative does not mean they have to use technology in every class in every lesson. Instead, have teachers explore when it is appropriate to incorporate technology into the lesson, and how it can enhance teaching and learning. Can they now do new things they haven’t before? Can it help them be more efficient or save time?

You may want to showcase the SAMR model: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition. This model helps teachers explore how they can move from just substituting technology to modifying and redefining their classroom with technology. It is common for teachers to stay in the substitution phase for when getting familiar with the technology. You can help them expand into the other phases. See examples in the table for ideas.

Leverage Additional Google Solutions

In addition to Google Apps, we also offer supplemental solutions to help you make the most out of the web at your school.

Chrome: Our fast, safe, and modern web browser also comes with a Web Store and Classroom App Packs for more apps and extensions.

Chromebooks: These affordable, powerful laptops are for learning, exploring, creating, and everyday use.

Vault: Can be used as an ediscovery, archiving, and retention solution to manage email at your school.

Support, Community, and Stay Up-to-Date

“Have Flexibility. When we are training (have a course once a month) we’ll go ‘oh that changed, or where did that go’. You have to have the right mindset.”  Fairfax County Public Schools

Congratulations on making it this far with your Google Apps implementation! You’ve learned about the importance of garnering leadership support for your project, developing a marketing and communications plan for spreading the word, training your users, and integrating Google Apps and the web into your school. This last section is to ensure you that Google and the community has your back. Our Support team is here for you 24/7/365 by phone or email for any troubleshooting or technical questions. We also have a thriving community of other customers and users to learn from, and we have resources to help you stay up-to-date with news, products, and events.

How to Contact Support or Get Help


You can contact Google Enterprise Support for assistance with Google Apps. Have your IT Admin use this page, or go to the Support tab in your Admin Console.

Join the Community


You can join the following communities to get ideas on deployment plans, training activities, communications, and using the web for teaching and learning. These groups can also help you leverage communities, teachers, and leaders to grow adoption of technology in your school. We specifically recommend you join:

  • Google Education Google+ Page: for news, resources, and events from the Google Education team. Anyone can follow us! A Google+ account is not required to view content, but it is required to participate in Hangouts.

  • Google Apps User Groups: for IT admins or project managers to exchange best practices and resources for managing Google Apps.

  • Google+ Communities: user-driven communities for many audiences, including teachers, developers, and leaders. Search for any topic or audience you like!

Stay Up-To-Date

Google is always rolling out incremental updates and features, so it’s important to watch out for the latest communications to get the most out of Google Apps. To be prepared for updates, we recommend you:

  1. Make sure your primary admin contact info in the Admin Console is up-to-date.

  1. Bookmark and check out the What’s New in Google Apps site (

  1. Subscribe to the Google Apps Updates Blog

  1. Bookmark the Google in Education webiste (

Thank you for giving us an opportunity to share resources, best practices, and recommendations with you to drive awareness, drive usage, and integrate Google Apps for Education in your organization! Please share this guide freely with others, and if you have any feedback or ideas to share, please fill out this short survey - we’d love to hear from you! Good luck with your implementation and we hope our solutions will help make the world’s information universally accessible and useful to your students, teachers, staff, and community.

List of External Resources


p. 3: Google Apps for Education Deployment Guide

p. 3: Google Apps Technical Transition Guide

p. 3: Community Support Forum

p. 3: Google Apps User Groups

Secure and Demonstrate Leadership Support

p. 4: Google Apps for Education website

p. 4: Google Apps for Education and Other Tools Overview Video

Marketing, Promotion, and Communications

p. 5: School and Parent Notification Templates

p. 5: Google Store

p. 5: School Launch Campaign Examples

p. 5: Abilene Christian University’s G-Day Communications Plan

Training, Professional Development, and Change Management

p. 6: Google Enterprise Partner Search

p. 6: Find a Google Apps Certified Trainer

p. 6: Google Education Online Training Center

p. 6: Google Apps Learning Center

p. 7: Download Google Chrome Browser

p. 7: Chrome Management Policies

p. 7: Chrome Legacy Browser Support

p. 7: Google Apps Training Certification Programs

p. 7: Google Teacher Academy

p. 8: Google Education Community Events

p. 8: Education on Air

p. 8: Google Apps for Administrative Assistants

p. 8: Life After Microsoft Outlook

p. 8: Life After Microsoft Outlook Calendar

p. 8: Life After Lotus Notes

p. 8: Life After Windows Internet Explorer

Integration, Customization, and Extensions

p. 9: Google Apps and Blackboard - Bboogle

p. 9: Google Apps and Haiku Learning Management System

p. 9: Google Apps Script

p. 9: App Engine

p. 9: Google Apps + edmodo

p. 9: Google Apps + Hapara Teacher Dashboard

p. 9: Google Apps + Clever

p. 9 Google Apps + Khan Academy

p. 9 Google Apps + Engrade

p. 9 Google Apps Vault

p. 9 Chromebooks for Education

p. 9: Google Enterprise Partner Search

p.9 Google Apps Marketplace

p.9: Integration and Customization

p. 10: Chrome Browser

p. 10: Chrome Web Store

p. 10: Chrome Classroom App Packs

p.10: Chromebooks for Education

Support, Community, and Staying Up-to-Date

p. 11: Contact Google Enterprise Support

p. 11: Google Enterprise Support site

p. 11: Google Education Forum

p. 11: Google Apps User Groups

p. 11: Google+ Communities

p. 12: What’s New in Google Apps Site

p. 12: Google Apps Updates Blog

p. 12: Google Education Site

p. 12: Google Apps for Education Change Management Guide Survey

Customer Acknowledgements

The recommendations and information in this guide were gathered through our work with a variety of customers and partners. We thank our customers and partners for sharing their experiences and insights with us.

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana


Prince George’s County Public Schools

Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Council Bluffs Community School District

Council Bluffs, Iowa

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities


Brown University

Providence, Rhode Island

Department of Education and Communities

New South Wales, Australia

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Wellesley College

Wellesley, Massachusetts

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

Monash University

Melbourne, Australia

New York University

New York, New York

Richland School District Two

Columbia, South Carolina

Leyden High School District 212


King Solomons Academy

London, United Kingdom

Fairfax County Public Schools

Fairfax, Virginia

Paganel Primary School

Birmingham, United Kingdom

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