Friday, 21 April 2017
Google, Google and More Google!
For the past two days I have been cramming lots of new information, tools and resources into my brain at the EdTechTeam Google Apps for Education Summit at Aorere College. The conference included 8 sessions, 2 keynotes, a demo slam session and ignite talks, all based around Google in some shape or form! I have left with lots of new ideas, and feeling mentally exhausted as the two days were jam packed. Overall I really enjoyed, and was thankful for the opportunity to attend - this post outlines the highlights for me across the two days.
As I have blogged about before, I think Twitter is so valuable as an educator. Throughout the conference we were tweeting regularly using the hashtag #edtechteam (this is used globally so will continue to grow). I have followed and been inspired by the work of Richard Wells and Stuart Kelly since joining Twitter, and I was really excited to have the opportunity to meet the two of them (see pictures). In addition to Twitter, the summit was a great opportunity to network, meet new people and put some faces to names. I feel I am always in my HPE world, so I liked stepping into the wider GAFE community.
My top session takeaways;
Kimberley Hall shared her A-Z list of Googley things. This session was incredibly fast paced, going through dozens of extensions and websites useful for educators. I left feeling bombarded, but have lots of new things to try out! My favourites include the Boomerang extension for gmail (allows you to resend and schedule emails to send), Autodraw (you draw pictures and it offers ready made pictures which look like yours), and Q&A in Slides (useful for when there is a need to 'chalk and talk' or when presenting - allows the audience to ask questions directly to you within the Google Slides).
Jeffery Heil discussed why educators should teach about failure, drawing on the work of Carol Dweck's growth vs fixed mindset. He explored the need for discussions in the classroom about how 'failure' should be recognised as positive for steps towards success. Jeffery also discussed the need for rubrics to encourage students to aim for mastery, not provide opportunities for students to aim achievement lower than needed/failure. This really made me think about the importance of having high expectations for my students, encouraging all to aim for Excellence. Unfortunately, many of my students have the 'Achieved will do' attitude he talked about, which is something I am hoping to change.
Angela Lee's session explored some Virtual Realities which can be used in the classroom, including Google Expedition. I am excited to try and use some of the VRs throughout the anatomy unit particularly, so students are able to 'look inside' the body'. Expeditions investigate multiple systems within the body such as the respiratory system (which could also be used in Health, as it discusses the impact smoking has on the lungs). Because anatomy involves a lot of rote learning, I am keen to include new and exciting ways to learn about the body, that isn't memory based. Some of the apps Angela suggested specifically related to the body include Anatomyou and Anatomy 4D (Augmented Reality). Very excited to have a play!
Following on from my interest in enhancing my culturally responsive pedagogy, including the need to increase my use of reo in the classroom, I attended Te Mihinga Komene's session. She suggested some ways of getting to know where we, and our students come from. We used Māori Maps to research our local maraes and find out further information. I feel there is so much more I need to know about myself and more about my students after this session. I love how she shared some ways to 'pimp our pepeha's' - because I am going to write mine this term! The HOD of Māori at school and I are going to create a digital version of my pepeha, because my students create them too. Throughout, I am likely to learn more of the language to include into my teaching and learning.
To conclude, however, many of the sessions I did not attend, and some I did attend, really highlighted how much I do know. Even though I am only second year, so have very little experience, I forget how far I have come since the beginning of 2016. The conference showed me that I know so much more than I thought I did, so maybe I could present something next year! I highly recommend the conference for educators from all fields and of any ability/confidence level.
I am excited to try out all of my new things, and possibly get my Level 2 if I find time...