It's always nice to talk with people in other districts to find out how they accomplish the same tasks as you. I met someone yesterday at a barbecue who works in another district in my county. The topic of communication came up - and to no surprise, it's a struggle in both of our districts! There are too many different forms of communication going on that it makes it difficult to stay organized and up-to date. I'm referring to everything from communication to families as well as communication from administrators to staff members.
During our conversation, I found out that this teacher has access to shared drives on the district's network. He collaborates with his coworkers on documents, presentations, budgets - you name it. He's been doing this for years. He's also the head of his department, so he puts curricular items in his department folder for his colleagues to access. I've been asking about shared folders in my district for a couple years. We don't have any. I've been told it's a management issue, since no one would really be managing the folders. I know lots of districts that have Sharepoint or a shared folder system in place to provide an accessible spot for staff members to find resources. Everything in our district is communicated via email. Everything. Staff members are constantly saying they can't keep up with their emails. I don't blame them!
Here is my question/dilemma: My tech department has been 'working on Microsoft Live@EdU' for close to 2 years now. The decision to move to Live@Edu was not made by Curriculum and Instruction. It was made by the tech department because it ties in nice with active directory. Yes it offers a ton of storage space and the ability to share files and folders. Is this the right tool for what we need? Does GoogleApps work the same way?
Here's my vision: I would love to implement a file sharing system where users can be members of groups (similar to Facebook) so when a file is added to the "Math department" folder - members of that group would be notified. I'm not talking about a message like Ning where it says "A new post has been made in this group." I'm talking about a message that communicates the name of the file and provides you with a link to go right there. Or maybe they don't have to be notified, but once they login, they can see this under "recent activity" (like a newsfeed).
I don't think users should have to log into that system in order to upload a file. I feel that is 'one more step' that teachers have to take. Just like on a shared network, you would click "Save as," it should be that easy for teachers. The wiki collaboration that I tried did not work because teachers had to take extra steps to upload their files then add them to a page.
Am I asking for too much? I know we need a file sharing system in the cloud so teachers can access from anywhere on or off the network. I feel that this would enable our teachers to start collaborating! What are your thoughts? Do you have something in your district that is working?