Monday, February 8, 2016

Host an EdTechTeam Google Certification Bootcamp... For FREE!

Kate Petty
Director of Certification Programs

Read her blog at

Imagine being able to tell the parents at your school that your teachers are digitally certified. Not only digitally certified... but certified by Google. We think they'd be impressed!

Google’s new certification program helps teachers at all levels get officially certified in a very unique way. Teachers can take the free online curriculum and then register to take the Google Certified Educator Level 1 and/or Level 2 exam for a small fee. Once the exam is passed, Google will email the educator a printable certificate and electronic badge to add to his/her electronic signature.

The best part of Google’s new certification program is that it isn’t all about “Google”. The new program helps educators understand modern pedagogy, offers digital citizenship resources, provides ideas for coaching models, and helps teachers establish Personal Learning Networks - so important in this world of connectivity.

EdTechTeam is proud to announce that we now offer a unique set of Google Certified Educator Bootcamps designed to prepare teachers to start studying for their certifications. Very much in-line with our Google Summits, EdTechTeam Bootcamps are ticketed events. Different from Summits, our Bootcamps are intimate affairs with only 25-30 people in attendance. A school or district can sign up to host one with no risk and market the event to the schools around them. Once the event has reached 20 paid tickets, the host of the event gets three free tickets for the event.

EdTechTeam Bootcamps for Google Certified Educator Level 1 and Level 2 offer their participants catered lunch and a voucher to take the respective exam. And the learning doesn’t stop when the teachers walk out of the door of an EdTechTeam Bootcamp. Teachers are invited to our closed Bootcamp community of educators who help each other night and day while providing encouragement as they are preparing to take the exam.  

Principals and administrators are finding that teachers walk away from our Bootcamp events energized to become certified and empowered to try new things in their classrooms. We look forward to empowering educators by preparing them for these digital certifications. Bring a Bootcamp to your school by filling out a short request form and email Kate with any questions!

Friday, February 5, 2016

January Google for Education PD Partner News!

Director of Professional Learning

It's been a great start to 2016. As part of being one of the very few official Google PD Partners, EdTechTeam is responsible for reporting our events that feature Google for Education as well as the hours for all the Google Certified Trainers that work with us.

We're excited to look at what we accomplished together in January and wanted to share it with you here!

We hosted 32 events in four countries in January. The events ranged from our eight Summits featuring Google in Education in places like Bangkok and Las Vegas to our Certification Bootcamps and in-district customized professional development such as in MississippiNew JerseyOklahoma  and Canberra, Australia

We reported a combined 552 hours of professional development on behalf of 78 different Google Certified Trainers

We are honored to work with so many fabulous trainers and organizations. Thank you for allowing us to share our knowledge and expertise with so many educators and students. Look what's in store for February and contact us about coming to you. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Under the Hood: Google Docs Revision History

This is the first post in a new series from EdTechTeam that is designed to help anyone get started with anything. I also hope that these posts might also serve as a refresher for those who might not have used a tool in some time. As we’re well known for our work in the Google Apps for Education space, we’ll be focusing initial efforts there. Other topics will find their way into the series in due time.

I would like to point out that while we personally prefer to focus our efforts on classroom pedagogy and transformational teaching and learning, we acknowledge any change effort requires a starting point. If you’re reading this, and you’re just getting started with instructional technology, I welcome you.

Under the Hood: Google Docs Revision History

One of the best features of Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Forms is the Revision History feature. This feature allows the editors and viewers to see the full history of changes made to a file.

View this larger here

As an educator, the revision history is invaluable for several reasons:

  1. No more unrecoverable mistakes How many times have you accidentally deleted an entire page of text by moving too quickly? I have. In fact, I have done it several times. Having access to the revision history means I can quickly restore the doc to a prior state. Students can too…
  2. Managing group projects more effectively When students are working on a group project, you can quickly use the revision history to see who has contributed content and edits to any given piece of text or presentation. I have used this as an opportunity to head off problems before the team gets off the rails. It takes no time to determine that a student has not been participating and I can have a chat with him to get him contributing to the effort.
  3. Understanding work habits On individual and group assignments, I have used the information from the revision history of a document to better understand the work habits of my students. Unsurprisingly, I found that many of my students tended to work late at night--especially those in middle school and high school. However, deeper investigation led me to discover that some of them didn’t have a choice and were working late at night because they had to care for siblings after they got out of school. This was why they were so tired when they came into class. Armed with this information, I was forced to rethink how I ran my classes in order to not put them to sleep. That’s how I found myself experimenting with Project Based Learning.

What other ways are you using the revision history feature? Be sure to share in the comments below.

Top 10 Reasons to Attend a #GAFESUMMIT

Sylvia Duckworth is a #AIMlang French teacher and excited by the creative & collaborative aspects of technology who likes to think outside the box. She is a Google Certified Innovator in Toronto, Canada and you may have seen her amazing sketchnotes in the wild for us!

  1. Find out how Google Apps for Education (GAFE) can automate your workload and simplify your life.
  2. Learn how to give immediate, effective and ongoing student feedback
  3. Discover the amazing collaborative features of GAFE
  4. Learn how to empower your students with GAFE tools
  5. Explore how your students can get creative with GAFE
  6. Network and meet other teachers in your community who are excited about education.
  7. Get inspired by international and local speakers and presenters.
  8. Get Googley in the Photo Booth with old and new friends
  9. Be dazzled and entertained with the Demo Slams
  10. Find out how you can disrupt education and make a significant difference in your students’ lives

Monday, January 25, 2016

This is Only the Beginning

Mark WagnerCEO, EdTechTeam

You may have noticed the slow introduction of EdTechTeam's new logo. We're very excited to be rolling it out more widely in the coming weeks and months. As a continued evolution of our earlier logos, it has many familiar elements that you may recognize. The green leaves still represent the organic nature of student growth (and student agency in schools), which has always been our focus. The circuits (or network nodes), which appear now as the veins in the leaf, still represent the important role that technology (and networks of all kinds) play in the learning and development of today's students. 

Each of the five nodes also stands for one of the key elements of school change that now drive so much of our work: Courageous Leaders, Empowered Teachers, Engaged Community, Inspiring Spaces, and Robust Infrastructure. We believe the cleaner, simpler, and more modern look of the new leaf will be more useful (and more appealing) in a variety of media, including app icons, swag (think backpacks), and smaller printed formats such as the spine of a physical book.
This new logo is also part of a logo system that will clearly and visually bring together all of EdTechTeam's services and products, including our conference-style summits, our custom professional development programs, our online courses, our regional subsidiaries, our forthcoming books, our free community engagements, and much more. We hope this will make it easier for educators around the world to recognize which events and resources are provided by EdTechTeam - so you'll know when you can expect the inspiring and empowering (often fun) experiences EdTechTeam is known for. (We are also proud to produce Breakout EDU, but that brand remains independent as we believe it also has a great deal of potential beyond the usual bounds of EdTechTeam.) 

We'd love to hear your thoughts about the new logo - and we hope you'll use it to share what we have to offer with your friends and colleagues. Thank you for being a part of EdTechTeam's evolution over the past 10 years. We hope we'll be learning with you, and serving your students, for many more. This is only the beginning.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Google Expeditions Comes to Canada!

Cross-post from Sylvia Duckworth at the maplesyrupedu blog

A couple of weeks ago, thanks to my friend Sandra Chow, I was invited to experience Google Expeditions at Lawrence Heights Middle School (TDSB) in Toronto.
(Photo courtesy Julie Millan)
My first thought as the day unfolded was that the hype about Google Expeditions is well-deserved: this is one amazing tool. Students and teachers alike were enthralled from the beginning of the day to the end. Led by Chris Zhu from Google, teachers were able to choose from a list of about 100 different expeditions to try out with their students and we were given a brief training on how to use the app prior to our sessions.

The premise of the app is that you can take your students on virtual field trips around the world. The places we visited included: The Great Barrier Reef, The Moon, the Seven Wonders of the World, a rainforest in the Congo, and much more (in the rainforest, the students came face to face with a gorilla which provoked a lot of screams!)

However, you DO need the Google Cardboard viewers and devices (smartphones) to insert into the viewers to experience virtual reality. Fortunately, the Google Expeditions leader supplies these for your students: Chris came with 60 viewers and devices for us to use, so we were able to rotate many classes during the entire day.

Unfortunately, the Expeditions kit is not yet available to the public: Chris told us that it won’t be available until the end of the year. This means that the only way that you will get to experience the full Google Expeditions repertoire is if a Google rep comes to your school to demonstrate it. Many schools have applied but only a few get chosen.


If you are going to the EdTechTeam Ontario GAFE Summit  on April 9/10 in Kitchener, you can experience Google Expeditions yourself! Yup, you read that right. Thanks to Google head office in Toronto, we have managed to secure a full kit of Google Expeditions (30 Android devices, 30 Google Cardboards, 1 teacher’s tablet) for the entire weekend. Sandra and I will be providing sessions all weekend long, allowing teachers a hands-on experience with the Expeditions app and Virtual Reality.

If you can’t make it to Kitchener, however, we have put a mini-presentation together with links to many Virtual Reality apps you can explore right away (but no Google Expeditions). For more information, you can also read Holly Clark’s blog post  or Rolland Chidiac’s blogpost. In addition, Molly Schroeder has some great resources here, and Jim Sill’s resources are here.

Below are some photos taken of Lawrence Heights Middle School and Joyce Public School students and staff: What a great group! Thanks Julie Millan and Sandra Chow for sharing the images:

~Sylvia Duckworth

Monday, January 4, 2016

5 Reasons You Should Sign up for Google Apps for Education

Cross-Posted from ImagineEasy.

Rolland Chidiac is a Google Certified Innovator from Waterloo, Canada. He is currently teaching at Sir Edgar Bauer Catholic Elementary School (Waterloo Catholic District School Board). Connect with Rolland on Google + and Twitter

It feels like it was just yesterday that I introduced Google Apps for Education (GAFE, the full suite of free productivity tools) to my students. In reality, it has been about a year and a half since I started integrating GAFE in my classroom. Needless to say, it has been a huge success - for my students and for myself.

Part of the fun for me revolves around documenting and sharing our learning so that others can benefit from our experiences. I recently took some time to reflect on what I consider to be the major benefits of using GAFE with students, particularly primary students. Here are my top 5:

1. It's Empowering

There is nothing more exciting than taking a step back in your classroom to watch and listen to your students as they work on a given task/assignment. It is one thing to have a group of students engaged in a task but it is another to see that they are empowered. What started with engagement has moved to empowerment. The students have moved from being interested in what they are doing to using GAFE to express their interests. I first noticed this last year and thought that maybe it was an anomaly but the same thing is happening with my students this year. They have discovered that the tools allow them to express themselves in ways that they weren't aware of before using GAFE. They have quickly learned how to leverage the technology to create, collaborate, and express themselves and are doing so often. Feeling empowered is a game changer and my students are experiencing what it is like to be intrinsically motivated and to act on that motivation. 

2. Allows for Dynamic Feedback

My students are constantly sharing the work they are doing in their GAFE accounts with their friends, family, and myself. They want me (and others) to see what they are working on. They want to know what we think of their work and how they can make their work better. GAFE makes it easy for them to share their work anytime, anywhere, from almost any device and the people they have shared their work with can respond/provide feedback anytime, anywhere, from almost any device. This experience, the ability to gather feedback from whoever you want without having to hand your work over to them has been very beneficial to my students and myself. Here is a good example for you: while a student is actively working on a task in class they will provide their friends, parents, and teacher with commenting rights to their work. As they are actually working in their document, a classmate of two will jump into their work (document/drawing/slide), see what they are doing, and provide some feedback*. I might also get a chance during the day to check their work and leave a comment. I will make sure to check in again in the evening and see how they have (or have not) used my feedback and that of others to improve their work. Instead of physically handing their work to me or someone else, their work lives in one place where many people can offer suggestions for improvement. GAFE allows me to provide my students with feedback without having to take their work away from them and it allows them to gather feedback without interrupting their work flow.

3. Builds Capacity around Technological Literacy & Digital Citizenship

Our society is ever changing, more so today then when I was 7 years old. GAFE is helping my students build capacity around technological literacy and digital citizenship. They are learning how to effectively use technological tools to benefit their learning and their lives. They recognize that technology and cloud computing is constantly changing and that it can offer them fun and innovative ways to learn and create artifacts that are helpful to themselves and to others. They are also becoming more aware of their digital identities - how to protect them and how to interact with others. With the ease of sharing and interaction there is a responsibility to be good people and to make the right choices. GAFE provides my students with a relatively safe experience that they can build upon as new technologies arise. Their expertise and openness leaves them primed for the future - they are ready to harness what comes next in order to be successful. 

4. Allows for Natural Collaboration

My students don't do a lot of work in isolation, they generally want to work with their classmates. When working in their GAFE accounts, on what I would deem an "individual" task, I will see them calling each other over to take a look at what they are working on and I will hear them asking for suggestions, providing ideas to each other, and I will even see them editing each others work. Then I start to hear "I'm going to share this with you so you can work together when you are at home". I have seen all my students doing this - from the shy introverts to the loud extroverts. This is when things go to the next level, their time at home. They will work on slides or documents together! I asked a few of my students about working together - why they want to work with others and why they invite others to work with them. Their response was that "it is get better ideas when others help....and...sometimes people helping know more about how to do something than I do". Wow. There are times when a student or two will be off in a corner working away on solving a problem on their own, but generally GAFE brings them together to work on tasks that I have assigned and tasks that they have initiated on their own.

5. Promotes Creativity & Innovation

Some of the things my students have created via GAFE have been mind blowing. It turns out that they had great ideas and just didn't know how to get those ideas out. For example, using the slides and drawing app they took their ideas and used the tools to bring their ideas to life. The students enjoy taking time to play around with the apps and experiment (technological literacy). Once they realize that they can do things using the technology that they couldn't do without it, they are off to the races. Combine this with the natural collaboration, dynamic feedback, and feelings of empowerment I referred to earlier and you have a recipe for innovation. Ideas start to flow more readily and students start to take more risks because they are comfortable doing so.

Like what you're hearing? Check out an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education and learn how to change your classroom and your students' learning with GAFE. Visit to find a Summit near you!