During Spring Break, I attended the Google Apps for Education Summit presented by the EdTech Team. It was a great conference and here are my notes and thoughts from the sessions I attended.
Keynote – Iterating Education – Jamie Casap – www.jcasap.com – @jcasap
I didn’t actually take any notes during this session, but it was still a great way to start out the GAFE Summit. The main message was that at Google, it is ok to fail as long as you own up to it and learn from it. Also, everyone collaborates, so we should in schools as well.
Here are some other places that I have heard Jamie Casap speak:
Google Educast – Episode #135
YouTube – National Academy Foundation – Technology & the Web
In this session Monica Martinez went through the main Google Apps and gave some great ways to implement them into a teachers workflow. A few of the tips that stood out to me were giving commenting rights by adding an email address to the comment in Google Docs, how to remote log out of all other sessions, and using a script to generate QR Codes automatically in Google Sheets. The Google Document for this session can be found here.
In this session, Jim Sill went over the new Google Maps and some of its features. He talked about how Maps can update themselves & sync over devices based on previous searches and information from an Android Phone. He also talked about Street View and Underwater Maps. The real new “wow” information came when he showed the Google Maps Engine (his resources here). He showed how easy it was to create your own map and add media like images or YouTube videos. We also filled out a Google Form with information and he used it to populate markers on the map. This would be a great resource for anyone working on any learning objects that were place based.
Peter Henrie went over the Google Apps Console and set-up procedures that would be helpful to someone that was setting up or maintaining a Google Apps for Education adoption. Unfortunately for me, I only have access to be able to manage devices. It was nice to see the options available in the Google Apps Console, and if I ever have more access, the information he provided will be useful. Cory and I made it into the picture that was shared on Twitter.
This session was set up at a “choose your own pace” based on the information available here. Chris went over some of the basics of a Chromebook then allowed us time to explore. He then circulated throughout the room and answered individual questions. It was a nice change to the “sit&get” sessions and the resources provided could be used to facilitate the same type of session with staff that are unfamiliar with a Chromebook.
Monica Martinez started this session talking about how her parents chose her name and added to a Google Doc using the research tools. She inserted photos and information then added where the information was from to a bibliography instantly. The main focus of her keynote was that if students can Google the answer to a question, it is not a question that will enhance thinking. She shared many websites and services that could be useful in the classroom.
WolframAlpha – Teach Parents Tech – Constitution Project
In this session, Chris Bell talked about Online Classrooms and best practices for a teacher in them. The sticking point was making sure that the teacher still connects with students on a personal level. He talked about adding photos of himself and his family even though they may not have been “learning objects” because it allowed students to know more about him. He also talked about the importance of giving individualized feedback using Screen Casting or tools like Kaizena. He talked about how easy it is to add video using the My Webcam feature of YouTube, and also using the YouTube Video Editor. Other tools mentioned that can be used in an online/hybrid classroom setting: Google Hangouts, Google Voice, Google Groups, Google+, Google Drawings.
Monica Martinez showed off the Scripts Gallery in Google Sheets in this session. When she gave this presentation, the Script Gallery was not available in the New Google Sheets. As I’m writing this, it is now available. She showed us scripts like GMail Meter – which gives you data about your Gmail use, Flubaroo – used to correct multiple choice forms (available in Add Ons), and Map Mail Merge which can add photos and mapped directions to an automatically created document. I have used Flubaroo quite extensively, but GMail Meter was new to me. It gave me a ton of information about my Gmail use over the last month.
I went to this session thinking it would be a “break” from all that was going on. I was getting tired from all of the great information we were receiving and this session was in the room where the projector wasn’t very good and the lights needed to be turned off. I thought I’d be able to just sit back and relax. I’m sure I could have, but then Jim showed us the Google Art Project. Wow! I barely took any notes in this session because I was “playing” with the content the entire time. If you want to end up using up an entire day of your time, just go to the Art Project link and start looking around. The gigapixel paintings are amazing, and the ability to “walk” through an art gallery is incredible. Here are some links to more information: Art Talks, For Educators, Jim Sill’s Gallery.
Closing Keynote – Reckless Creativity - Jim Sill - @mistersill
In his closing Keynote, Jim Sill talked about how everyone desires to be creative. Students are able to “talk” to millions of people using tools like YouTube and Instagram and they use these services as a “proof of travel” by using the location based features. Students are “living in a time of reckless creativity … without a safety net.” They will fail, and fail often (iteration). “How can we change the world with an idea?” “You are living in a __________ world & We are a _________ girl (or boy)!