In 2019, Google brought on experience agency Hawkeye as its creative agency of record for Google Workspace for Education, the tech giant’s virtual education product.
The task was to develop a training website for teachers to learn how to use the product to solve classroom problems through a series of five to ten-minute learning videos.
Little did the agency know, however, Google Workspace for Education would become a fundamental part of how schools operated throughout the lockdowns of 2020.
“We wanted to show [teachers] how [Google for Education] could help enrich their teaching experience,” said Caroline Cahill Canty, creative director at Hawkeye. “But when COVID hit, it became necessary to survive.”
When lockdowns hit, Hawkeye needed to get the word out fast about how teachers could use Google Workspace for Education to power their remote classrooms.
The agency identified the top 8 apps within Google Workspace that teachers are most likely to use, and distributed weekly emails to Google’s school district partners directing educators to short videos on each. Lessons included Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Classroom, Google Forms, Google Slides, Google Sheets, Google Drawings and Google Sites.
For each video, Hawkeye developed lesson plans that align to what educators are teaching in the classroom. One lesson, for example, featured powerpoints and essays about Shakespeare using Google Slides and Docs. Each short tutorial closes off with highlights and a review session.
Teachers are then redirected to another page to test the product and take a short quiz to test their knowledge on the subject.
“Let's be honest, we're all a little competitive and feel pride in doing well on a quiz,” Canty said. “We wanted to make sure that this would be something that they would enjoy and fully understand the benefits of.”
The bite-sized learning videos were convenient for teachers, who were able to run through lessons “on their commute, on their couch after work, or even in between classes or on lunch break,” Canty said.
Put to the test
Thanks to Hawkeye’s work, Google nearly doubled the number of school districts using Workspace for Education to at least 130,000 educators over the past year. That number is expected to be larger, as Hawkeye couldn’t measure participation from districts that distributed the learning emails to staff themselves.
The program has also spread globally to include the largest magistrate in China, and has been translated into 18 different languages.
“Students [and teachers] were forced into this,” Canty said. “But going forward, everyone will now have these tools.”