Saturday, August 9, 2014

Google Teacher Academy - Atlanta 2014

Two days in June were ones I will never forget. I was fortunate enough to attend the Google Teacher Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. The chance to collaborate and work with other exemplary Google users was inspiring and sadly those two days seemed like they flew by. So for over a month I have been reflecting on the experience and trying to put the whole experience into words. But this one thought kept entering my mind....a reflection marks the end to something. Even though the Google Teacher Academy is over, the journey and the work to be done is just beginning.

The most profound part of the Google Teacher Academy happened in the first hour. Being introduced to the idea of "Moonshot Thinking" is something that has stuck with me day after day. 

This idea goes beyond working with Google products or even technology. Thinking differently and challenging what we feel to be impossible is the only way we will truly solve the problems in education that plague all of us. I do not know what my moonshot idea will be or whether it will be successful, but I will try, fail, and try again until I get it right. 

With that "Moonshot" mindset in place, we proceeded to learn more tips and trick about a variety of Google products. I remember finishing my first session with James Sanders about YouTube and thinking to myself...Am I in over my head? Our lead learners were challenging us to look at Google products differently and to see additional possibilities. Once I wrapped my head around this, I became much more comfortable and began to think of the possibilities.

Another highlight was seeing Google Classroom in action and learning more about the theory behind it, how it was tested, and its future. This product is creating a lot of buzz in my buildings and I look forward to seeing it blossom.

As a more quiet and reserved person, I probably did not mingle enough. However, the conversations and relationships I forged were excellent. It is good to have a group of people you can learn with beyond the Google Teacher Academy. I look forward to seeing their action plans and to continuing our conversations in the Google+ community.

But as I stated earlier, this reflection hasn't marked the end. My Google journey continues with my action plan. This week, I will put my action plan website out there for my teachers to use. I am creating a self directed, crowdsourced professional learning site. The first module will be on Google Classroom. When we launch this product, my teachers will be able to learn from this site and hopefully connect via a Google+ community. I know the first attempt at this will probably not be the best and the site needs to become much more eye-appealing but it is a start. Maybe it will take off but maybe not. No matter what, I will learn from it and improve.

The Google Teacher Academy was life changing but the journey is just beginning. I do not know what the future will bring, but I look forward to ride!

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