My World has Turned Googly!

During the September school holidays, I was fortunate to attend the Google Apps for Education Summit at Xavier College, Melbourne for two full days of googly goodness. Before attending, I was already using some Google products in the classroom such as Google docs, sheets, slides and forms. One feature that I particularly like about Google’s products mentioned previously are that they can be saved automatically and allow for collaboration (say bye to version control). Oh and they are FREE ūüôā

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The keynote speaker Suan Yeo was inspiring and his statement ‘strong teachers don’t teach content, Google has content’ really resonated with me. He referred to the fun theory website here¬†and made me think how I can make all learning activities, no matter how uninspiring they may seem, fun. This website has a piano staircase to encourage people to use the stairs and a rubbish bin that plays music to encourage people to throw rubbish. How cool is that?

The Summit had a wide range of speakers from across the country and internationally. These are some of my highlights:

  • Seeing the benefits of using e-portfolios using Google Sites. How one sets up an e-portfolio should be dependent on your vision and what you want to achieve. E-portfolios have a wide range of benefits, some include: it encourages reflection; it can assist in the curation of assessment for, as and of learning; it provides students with a sense of identify; it can be interactive, and stored/accessed without physical limits; anyone in school community can access the e-portfolio.
  • Becoming a GAFE school is ¬†a long process and you need to be selective about which part you implement first based on the needs of your school.
  • Some tips for using the Chrome browser include:¬†Command or control T for new tab; Shift + Command/control + B – to turn bookmarks bar on and off; you can¬†bookmark all the tabs by right click on a tab and click and put into a folder.
  • Some great Chrome extensions include:¬†Clearly – awesome to get rid of things you don‚Äôt need (eg it gets rid of ads); Awesome screen shot can take a screenshot of your¬†entire¬†screen and then you can annotate it;¬†Chromespeak – good for reading out text.
  • Google Maps and My Maps have some amazing features that include: adding pictures/images/videos to markers; measuring the distance, area and perimetre of places;¬†¬†

Dorothy Burt did an amazing closing keynote on how she has used technology to transform her school community. It is all very easy for people in high socio-economic schools to say technology is just a tool, but as Dorothy Burt pointed out, ‘it‚Äôs not just a tool when it transforms and opens up new opportunities’. Her student are empowered to do fantastic things such as ask the minister of education some questions, repairing a couch at school by watching youtube, connecting with other students around the world through blogging and learning to cook with a Michelin star chef.

All in all, I really enjoyed the GAFE Summit and hope to go again next year!

What Google tools do you like using in schools?