Friday, August 10, 2012

Google Apps EDU goes Rocky Mountain!

There’s something about that Rocky Mountain skyline that can’t help but inspire, and when 250 educators arrived on a balmy Thursday morning to the Boulder Marriott for the Google Apps EDU Rocky Mountain Summit, they certainly did not disappoint!

Ever-awesome committee member Molly Schroeder helps check in scores of excited educators to the Summit.

Attendees were teachers, educators, administrators, professional developers, and technical staff. All came and packed the house for our opening keynote, Allyson McDuffie, from the Google geo team right there in Boulder. Her keynote inspired in the ways geographic education is changing with technology, and flew us right into a great kickstart to the conference. The next morning, fellow Googler Tina Ornduff shared her wisdom from the Google Geo Teachers Institute and geo tools she works with and sent a similarly inspiring message out to the crowd.

Our two keynotes (and family!) smile for the camera.

There was plenty of networking time throughout the two days, and it was so nice to walk around and hear conversations about the issues, initiatives, ideas, and passions amongst educators from around the region and beyond. Nexus 7 tablets were being explored, there was a lab of Chromebooks that educators got to play with during sessions, and partnerships and collaborations were brewing right alongside the morning coffee. The hallway was full of the event’s sponsors, including Wikispaces, Schoology, Haiku LMS, Cloudlock, and Jordan Pedraza from the Google Apps EDU team, all ready to share how their products worked with Google Apps for Education and answer questions from folks.

Attendees show off how “Googley” they are at the Summit Photo Booth.

Sessions ranged from getting started to getting geeky, and popping in and out of each packed house it was exciting to see some of the ideas being generated - from Mark Wagner’s search contest to giveaway Search Education’s helpful “Google a Day” books to to Allison Mollica sharing some global applications of Google Sites, it was tough to choose which session to go to each hour. The conference ended with a special tour for several attendees, a cornerstone of many of the Google Apps EDU Summits, of the very unique Google Boulder office just down the street! A handful of attendees got to view the Googley culture that only few get to see-- a rockwall and ping-pong table made for engineers to "work out a problem," a VW van in the middle of the office if you need to get some solitude, and plenty of unique and collaborative work spaces sprinkled throughout.

Personal learning networks were alight with #gafesummit’s hashtag and Google + Hangout Demo’s, and it was exciting to add these folks to each other's PLN's. At the end of the sold-out event, it was sad to see so many passionate educators go, but we knew they were off to begin their school years and put into place so many of the groundbreaking ideas they’d discussed for the past two days, and we look forward to following them online and see them next year to share their stories of success!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

EdTechTeam Donating Nexus 7 Tablets for Students!

During our initial planning discussions in preparation for the Google Apps for Education Summits, our team committed to donating a percentage of the net income from each event directly to classrooms - specifically to put internet connected devices into the hands of students. Happily, Google has recently released the Nexus 7, the next generation Android tablet in a student-friendly 7 inch form factor - for only $199. We've now committed to donating 24 Nexus 7 tablets to a classroom. We're working with our sponsors and others to make this a full class set of 30 or more devices in the coming weeks.

Google is only positioning these devices as consumer products at this point, but the EdTechTeam believes they have great potential for student use and would love to see how an innovative teacher facilitates this - and we'd love to learn more about what challenges this might present. We'd most like to see these placed in a 1:1 pilot program (either at the elementary level, or for a single class at the secondary level) that allows students to take the devices home with them on a daily basis. So... what would you do with a class set of Nexus 7 Tablets? Write up your proposal and then submit it via this form:

Be sure to describe how students might use the devices in your class, and what you'll do to facilitate student use of the devices for inquiry and creation. On August 21, 2012 we'll select the winner of the first class set. 

If you're not selected for funding by us, we encourage you to develop an account on, where anyone else can fund your proposals! We see this as a way to empower teachers to seek funding for far more classes than we could ever fund ourselves. If you setup your proposal on DonorsChoose, please use the form above to let us know, too. You can promote your proposal anywhere - and we'll help spread the word! Please let us know if you have any questions about this. We look forward to seeing your proposals, helping to make them happen, and hearing about the impact these devices make in your classes.

BONUS: iBallz has generously offered to provide iBallz Minis for every Nexus 7 we give away!

UPDATE 2012/08/21: Three finalists have been chosen, and more information has been requested from them. All other applicants have been notified as well. The form above is no longer accepting submissions. We will launch a new application as soon as we are able. :)