Thursday, 5 April 2012

It's Google - but not as we know it! Google Teacher Academy

Google HQ London
With a building that looks like this, who else could you expect to occupy it?
Fifty of us arrived, bright and early yesterday morning at 8am to start the second Google Teacher Academy UK and the thirteenth overall. Having been told that nobody in a Google office is ever more than 150 paces from a kitchen, we started with breakfast in the Marketplace. You will notice a recurring theme beginning to develop around food through this!
From here there was an amusing attempt to get to the next floor using the most amazing lifts that seem to have a mind of their own -   and no buttons.
Danny Silva from Cue kicked off the day with an overview and introduction. The breakdown of where we all came from and what we all did, should about as wide and varied range as you could get.
With only 24 from the UK, Sheli Blackburn (@SheliBB) and I were really chuffed to find that there was a third person from Norfolk, Alan Garrec (@alangarrec).
The first group discussion of the morning focused us on innovation we had seen in education, without the use of technology. Some of the key themes seemed to be about the importance of the physical surroundings of learners, the need for learners to be exposed to risk and the need to engage learners through activities that capture their imaginations.
Many people might assume that a 30 minute input on Google Search would not bring gasps of amazement from an audience who probably thought they knew most things about it already - wrong! The ability to drag an image into the Google Image Search bar to find out more about it was a winner for me.
We moved into a packed programme that whizzed us from breakout room to breakout room to catch up on the Core Apps. My highlight was watching Tom Barrett (@tombarrett) seamlessly move from tool to tool, demonstrating what he called a transmedia story.
Google cupcakes
I should point out that we didn't escape the continuing flow of amazing food. Moving between sessions, I couldn't resist taking a picture of just one of the trays of Google cupcakes. And they tasted as good as they looked!
Discussions within our team (Team Land), and with everyone else, carried on throughout the day, and well into the evening!
The rest of the programme was a mixture of guest speakers, inspiring ideas, lightning rounds, electives and demo slams. Some of which I intend to write about once my brain feels slightly less frazzled, and I have had time to digest the many, many things we did.
In the final session, a hangout with Mark Wagner, we were encouraged to think about what impact does our school/institution have on the world and how we could make a difference. It is a requirement of the Academy that we each produce, then apply an action plan.

During the unconference today, we will be working on them, as well as exploring the many themes and ideas from yesterday. Just think - 50 educators with a plan to change the world - I think I may need to keep writing about this for a long time to come!!

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to see a great session from Jill Duman and hopefully many more Norfolk Educators at the first annual European Google Apps for Education Summit in Prague October 13/14 2012