Digital collaboration around Adult Education and Integration in Andøy Municipality

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Andøy is the northernmost municipality in Nordland county and part of Vesterålen. The municipality's administrative center is Andesnes. Andøy Municipality is 356 square kilometers and has a population of just over 4600 inhabitants.

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The department of Adult Education and Integration in a municipality in Norway called Andøy, was looking for a learning platform that was easy to use for both teachers and students. After researching various solutions and consulting with other municipalities, the choice of Google and G Suite for Education – a free tool for public education institutions – fell.

But it wasn’t straightforward to get started. Google did not get that it was an adult school when Stig Johansen, head of adult education and integration, was doing the registration. It was at this time that Stig Johansen reached out to The Cloud People, a Google partner in Norway.

“The people at The Cloud People were very familiar with the Google system and had the right contacts. They took over the dialogue with Google for us and made sure the registration went fine. They also helped us with the setup of the solution,” says Stig Johansen.

Before the Adult Education and Integration department in Andøy Municipality started using G Suite for Education, they didn’t have a platform for collaboration, but stored documents in shared folders on a server. In connection with participation in a national project under the auspices of the Ministry of Education to test new curricula for adult education, the municipality saw a need for a common platform for teachers. They wanted a system where they could easily share documents and work in the cloud.

Initially, it was the teachers who started using the solution. But when the corona crisis hit the country in March, there was an urgent need to also get students in, to be able to follow up through homeschooling. With good help from Nicolai Skogheim at The Cloud People, this was also resolved in a short time. Despite the low general computer knowledge of some users, this has worked surprisingly well, says Stig Johansen. They find that the system is very easy to use.

“The biggest benefits of the system as I see it is that it is easy to administer for teachers and easy to use for students. It requires no, or minimal training, because it is intuitive and user friendly. It also facilitates collaboration between teachers and students when it comes to sharing and retrieving documents, digital meetings and emails,” explains Stig Johansen.

The Adult Education and Integration department in Andøy Municipality is also looking at the possibility of getting the students to start using Chromebooks, which will further simplify the use for teachers and students. But also without Chromebooks, Stig Johansen recommends G Suite for Education to other municipalities and educational institutions.

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