Random Thoughts

Bring Buzz to Edu Apps

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Google BuzzGoogle Buzz has been out for a while now and has been slowly making its mark on the social-networking scene.

As I’ve been investigating Buzz (a.k.a. playing with it…but investigating sounds so much more important!) and how it changes social-networking, it hit me the other day how this might just be the communication tool I’ve been looking for in schools ever sense Twitter came out.

I’m hoping that Google brings Buzz to the Education Apps soon. There are a lot of schools (including mine) that are embracing Google Apps and taking a serious look at using the set of tools as the default mail, calendar, contacts, docs application for the school. Doug Johnson has been writing about Google Apps a lot lately and his latest post is a must read if your district is considering the move.

I don’t know about your school but at my last two schools the ALL MAILS that get sent around are frustrating to many. Like a lot of schools teachers already get close to 100 e-mails a day and adding a couple ALL MAILS that are someone looking for this book or that supply, someone who lost their keys, or a jacket for a trip to cold weather (OK….this one might be Bangkok specific). You name it, it’s probably come through in an ALL MAIL.

Buzz Update

There has to be a better way to handle these right? Like many schools ISB created a “Public Folder” that was suppose to be a place for people to post such requests. The problem is nobody goes there unless they know that something new is there to look at, but how do you let people know there is something new…..you got it….you send an ALL MAIL.

It’s a frustrating circle that Google Buzz might just solve. Think about having a Buzz type program running at your school. A place that you check off and on to see the “back channel” of your school. The latest social gatherings, the 1st grade teacher looking for Paper Towel tubes for a project. or the high school teacher sending a reminder about the art show. What if the school used Buzz as a social back channel. That was there, but not in your daily inbox. A place to share resources, links, and have conversations as a school community.

As excited as I am to see Google Groups get added a couple weeks ago, I hope we’re not to far away from seeing Google Buzz. I really think this could be a communication channel that schools have been missing for awhile.

Update: Thanks to krea_frobro747 on Twitter who pointed out that Google released a blog update stating that Google Buzz will be coming to Google Edu Apps “in the next few months“.

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Hi Jeff,

    My first reaction was exactly the opposite – PLEASE don’t turn on Buzz in Apps for Education. My folks are still in a fairly steep learning curve (after 2 months) on the features and mindset of Docs, Groups, and even some aspects of Gmail.

    But reading your post I can see how Buzz would be useful. I’d just ask that:

    1. The controls for privacy become more transparent.
    2. That Buzz, like other components in Apps, can be turned on or off as a district chooses.
    3. That there are some good support materials prepared just for educators on how this tool can be used.

    Now remember that I am not a big social networking user, so take these comments with a grain of salt. And quite frankly, I need to turn my personal Buzz back on and get more familiar with it!


    • Bill Willis Reply

      I’m also looking forward to getting the buzz. I hope Google adds the same controls (or better!) found in the the other EdApp cpanels. Two months to go for the release.

    • …and I think you’d have to pitch it to teaches not as a social-networking piece but as a replacement for “All Mail” type of communication. Or school/district communication piece. I agree that the other things you list need to be in place, and I’m not sure if it would work…..just thinking that there is a communication channel we’re missing at our school and this might be that “nearly now” channel that we’ve been looking for. Because it’s integrating into what we’re already doing (Google Apps) means…I think…the adoption process would be must faster than say another stand alone product.

      …we’ll see what happens.

  2. What about Edmodo? It does all of the “status updating” that Buzz does plus much more.

    The only way I’d want Buzz to be turned on with Google Apps Ed is if there were no truly Public option. The “public” would be public to all users in the district.

    • Agreed and that’s how I hope they allow it to be. You can do that with the rest of the apps so my hope is they stick with that model. I like Edmodo, but if a school (like ours) is going with Google Apps for teachers than having everything in one place is just easier for all.

  3. All this talk of Google Apps in the classroom has me wondering about Google’s phone, the Nexus One. If it truly is the biggest competition to the iPhone, how will it take over in terms of student learning applications? Apple has such a large market share, but it makes you wonder what impact this may have.

  4. Agreed and that’s how I hope they allow it to be. You can do that with the rest of the apps so my hope is they stick with that model. I like Edmodo, but if a school (like ours) is going with Google Apps for teachers than having everything in one place is just easier for all

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