Apr 14 2023

Online Community Offers Connection and Support for K–12 IT Admins

The North American Google Technical Collaborative is a community for K–12 IT teams with plans to expand its offerings for Microsoft districts.

Who supports tech support? The North American Google Technical Collaborative does. Known as the Collaborative for short, this community of K–12 IT professionals based in the United States and Canada serves as a meeting place where IT leaders can solve problems, network and learn more about their schools’ Google environments.

Started through a grassroots effort to support K–12 IT admins in several major North American cities, the Collaborative now serves more than 1,250 school districts across North America and plans to expand its reach even further this year. The group intends to create a Microsoft-focused branch offering the same levels of connection and support to school districts using Microsoft’s operating systems and productivity suites.

Today’s Collaborative provides K–12 IT teams with access to a monthly calendar of livestreams, an online community, a monthly newsletter and special relationships with partner vendors. There are different levels of membership within the group, offering K–12 leaders access to resources based on their needs. Ultimately, the Collaborative is a hub where users can easily find the content that is most relevant to their needs while exploring other areas and potential content for their organizations.

Here’s what school districts can expect to find through the North American Google Technical Collaborative:

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Online Resources Benefit All Collaborative Members

A monthly calendar of livestreams is bookended by two key events:

  • A Google Updates session, where Melissa Benson, the Collaborative community lead, aggregates information on Google changes into essential need-to-know items for busy administrators
  • A Google Deep Dive where Benson and guests explore coverage of specific topics more closely

Filling out the calendar are special events and regular product showcases featuring offerings by CDW product partners.

Meanwhile, the online community allows Collaborative members a private forum for asking questions and connecting with other districts. This dedicated environment offers a moderated space where members and experts can hold conversations in which everyone feels free to share, wonder and learn. As noted by one tech director, “I don’t know what we’d do without the Collaborative!”

The Collaborative also offers a monthly newsletter, which is filled with community-specific news and insights, and the ability to connect with CDW vendor partners in a holistic, needs-based environment.

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Collaborative Members Come Together for Learning and Networking

The highest level of membership in the Collaborative is held by the Contributor members, who — in addition to all the above benefits — participate in local in-person meetups hosted by Benson and featuring experts from across CDW. These thrice-yearly events are hosted in California, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Virginia, Alberta and Ontario.

The goal of the Collaborative, beyond supporting its members, is to create a community and provide connection in the often-siloed environment of K–12 IT. As best said by its members, the Collaborative is a “community where we all jump in to say, ‘OK, how can we help you? Let’s figure out a way!’”

This article is part of the “ConnectIT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology” series.

[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology

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