In the next few days, every student and teacher within HWDSB will have a Google Account. This is not a Gmail account (*you will still rely on First Class for email); what we have done is provision access to the Desktop publishing suite of apps (Docs, Forms, Presentations, Spreadsheets, Drawing, Sites). Why, you ask? Well first of all, we love the collaborative capabilities of Google Docs. The ability for multiple users to view and edit content simultaneously, paired with the way having a Google account eliminates the need for an easily lost USB key, makes it a great addition to a teacher’s quiver of available tools in the classroom. The Google Apps for EDU account has a different TOS (Terms of Service) agreement from the commercial platform. It doesn’t advertise to our users, it doesn’t data mine our users, and you don’t have to be 13 years old in order to use the service (elementary students, you can stop lying about your age).

There is still work to be done. Although usernames are syncing with our username directory, currently password management is a different story. Those of you who rely on the “forgot my password” link in Web 2.0 tools will need make an effort to remember you password. Currently passwords can only be reset by sending an email from your First Class account to This will be problematic if students forget their passwords, but require immediate access during Computer Lab time, so PLEASE ensure students use passwords they will remember, or find a mechanism to manage those passwords for them (keep a record of student passwords if you are working with younger students.)

We are very excited to provide this service to you, and look forward to leveraging these tools in your classroom practice. Please contact Tim Kivell (North), Thomas Ro (South), or Jared Bennett (West) to help implement these tools into your current practice. Paul Hatala is currently working on integrating this tool with our elearning/Blended Learning platform. Expect more shortly.

Published by jarbenne

Jared Bennett is the Student Information System Consultant at Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.

Join the conversation


  1. Exciting news. What about people that have a Google account registered with their board email address already? Will it be absorbed seamlessly, duplicated, or otherwise affected?

    1. Because we are provisioning the accounts based on, we will avoid conflicts with Commercial Google Accounts previously set up in the Board. Your commercial google account will continue to operate, but you will also have a board provisioned account with a different username.

      If you decide to opt for the HWDSB account, place all the files in your old account into one folder, and Share that folder with your new HWDSB account. Once that folder is shared, go into the Share settings again and make the new HWDSB account the owner of the folder. From that point you should be able to delete your commercial account. Once you do this, we can add an email nickname to your account, which will ensure that when people attempt to share something with you using your board email, the document will still go through.

      As an additional note, email aliases have been added to all HWDSB email account to ensure that is a live address that can accept incoming mail.

  2. Good question – I created a Google account with my FC email address.

    [I started a google doc for parents to view and edit so we could collaborate on conference/interview dates & times (hasn’t been shared with them – so they haven’t seen it yet or interacted with the content)].

  3. This really is great 🙂 Just confirming after watching the video – if someone edits the document, the other versions are still on Google docs? Wouldn’t want one person to edit and delete work that might still need to be brought back into the document….?

    1. Clicking on File/Revision History will reveal a detailed list of the edits and changes made to a document over time, and will allow you to revert back to a previous version if necessary.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *