Sometimes the ideal way forward isn't the most time appropriate.
I realised this morning that the best way of enabling my staff to collaborate on Google Calenders to set up the school rotas for the year would be to set up a Google Apps for Education account and do it within there. Then I could have each individual user logging into the school calendars and updating them together in the same session. The steps that led to that realisation included setting up the current school calendars to be shared with the e-mail accounts of each of the staff members (that's the screenshot above). But unfortunately that would include setting up each of those e-mail accounts with an iGoogle account, which is time-consuming and pointless because most staff wouldn't log on to iGoogle if they're not already in the habit of using it. Hence I needed a Google Apps for Education account to tie it altogether. And of course that takes a few weeks to set up, because Google have to check that you're actually an education establishment and not a company looking for a free-ride.
A few week that I didn't have.
And three hours that I'd spent effectively wasting my time.
Each decision I'd made had led to at least two problems needing to be answered. Two more decision to be made. It was a network of ever-increasing complexity that, if I'd have the time, might have worked well, but the thing is that this particular opportunity will have lots its effectiveness if I don't have it ready by Wednesday 1st September. I needed to get something sorted.
So I took a step back and looked at the best way to make my choices converge to a solution that would work. The ideal solution would have had staff working collaboratively to create the rotas in a way that will be continued throughout the year. The time appropriate solution is to cut-out the ideal methods of collaboration and just get the rotas done.
So I now have two gmail accounts - one called email@example.com and the other firstname.lastname@example.org. The first holds the calendars, the second is what all the teachers will log on with to adjust the calenders. It's not ideal because I'd prefer each teacher to log on with their own account - but as I've explained that isn't possible yet. Maybe later on the year, I'll be able to tie these things together with a Google Apps for Education solution and get closer to my ideal solution.
Next I will post the video I made to explain to the teachers how to add things to Google Calendar.