Friday, June 27, 2014

Introducing EdTechTeam Summits featuring iOS

Have you ever taken your iPad to a workshop or conference and felt left out because “things on iOS don’t work the same way?” Much of the edtech professional development for educators has been focused on laptops and using web-based applications like Google Apps for Education. Over the years, those of us who work with iPads have often had to learn in isolation and cobble together workflows to make iPads fit with established systems in schools. I get your frustration! This is why we’re excited to announce that the EdTechTeam will now be offering world class iOS professional development experiences for educators.

The iOS Summits are engaging events, rich with hands-on learning. Over one or two days, they focus on using iOS devices for Education and maintain the same high-energy, fast-paced, and fun style of other EdTechTeam events. Each summit features inspiring keynotes, highlights world-class featured speakers, and incorporates engaging breakout sessions focused on authentic integration of the tools with pedagogy. Sessions cover all levels of iOS adoption ranging from small classroom sets to 1:1 rollouts in both elementary and secondary classrooms. The iOS Summit also includes a hands-on technical strand for those supporting iPad initiatives, as well as sessions covering leadership and school administrative components.

iPads are all-in-one creation tools and we look forward to giving educators an outstanding experience focused on using the iPad to leverage learning in the classroom.

Check out the EdTechTeam Summits featuring iOS for more dates and open registrations as we roll out these events globally.

If you are an Apple Distinguished Educator or iPad Teacher and would like to be involved, please reach out and introduce yourself.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Shoot for the Moon

All too often in Professional Development we encounter an “expert” clad in professional attire, diligently explaining (or coercing) the attendees to be more like them, follow their path, and subscribe to their philosophy.  The strengths and passions of the audience are not taken into consideration or even acknowledged during the rhetoric detailing the one right way.  SpaceCamp, powered by EdTechTeam was anything and everything, but that. Spacecamp started with recognition and appreciation of the strengths of ALL team members and discovery of how we complement each other and progressed through a fun-filled, inspiring day.  

The day was loosely structured with a flexible agenda for the content of the day.  We quickly discovered many similarities amongst our friends, both new and old.  The most striking of which was passion!  Despite our geographic differences, with one team member joining via Hangout, the dedication to improving education and hope for the future was abundantly clear.  The guidance of Mark Wagner and Molly Schroeder inspired a free flow of ideas, building on each other’s comments to reach for the stars and transform the way we think about education and the future.

The most inspiring discussion took place while exploring the idea of Future Ready Schools. What does it take to be a Future Ready School?  Courageous Leadership, Empowered Teachers, Student Agency, Inspiring Spaces, and Infrastructure mixed with passion, optimism, and a little daring will take students far beyond standardized education to being significant contributors to a global society.


As the day wound down, I gazed out the window (from the 51st floor) to the world beyond and thought to myself, this group of gifted educators will change the world and I am proud to know them all.
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." ~ Harriet Tubman

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Moonshots and More: Thoughts from the (Redondo!) Beach

I have had the good fortune to be able to join the EdtechTeam for a few events over the past several months but after the past few days in Redondo Beach working with a district moving 1:1 I had a realization.  

The team of individuals that put on these events are some of the most inspiring and amazing educators I have been around.  

Jason shares Chrome tips and tricks to Redondo Beach Unified School District Teachers.
Often, when education conferences or professional development is put on it is so structured and rigid that it only serves the attendees that happen to fit perfectly into the mold...  Does that sound familiar?

This reminds me too much of what our students face all too often, our expectation that our students all need the same thing and so we package it in a standard form hoping they fit into that mold.  Often we hear teachers and students both complain about these situations but let’s face it, it’s hard to do better.  It’s not the easy approach to be agile and responsive based on individual needs.

What I see at every event with this group is a relentless approach to making sure everyone is served where they are and with what they need.  It might mean changing the schedule, working with individuals more, or just throwing out the plan all together and sitting and talking about what the learners need.

When the approach is focused on the learner and not just a preconceived notion that impact can be dramatic.  Working for two straight days with a few hundred teachers from Redondo Beach it was truly remarkable to see faces and attitudes shift from anxiety and even panic around 1:1 to truly understanding the potential that leveraging technology can have for their students.  

What I’m always most excited about in situations like this is that these teachers will start to see beyond the tools and through to the possibilities of thinking bigger than just doing things with technology; making the shift to thinking about those moon shot ideas that can take their students’ learning to a whole new place.

 At the end of the event a group of about 40 Redondo Beach teachers stayed around almost an hour after a long two days of learning to share their reflections and thoughts, I have no doubt that I will be learning from this group next year!

Monday, June 23, 2014

EdTechTeam Takes on #ISTE2014!

EdTechTeam's Top Picks for ISTE 2014 

EdTechTeam is excited to have many of our awesome teammates join us this year in Atlanta at our favorite annual get-together this weekend. Many of the fabulous keynote speakers, presenters, and Google Certified Teachers and Education Trainers that you know and love will be there, so be ready! 

Here's just a few highlights.

Google for Education Playground
[Explore and Create : Playground]
Monday, June 30, 2:00 pm–5:30 pm
GWCC Building A, Level 3 (near Room A313)
favorites Jennifer Magiera 
Visit our interactive playground to get hands-on experience with Google for Education through exploration stations, presentations and demoslams led by Google Certified Teachers and Trainers.

Photoshop: Unleashing creative magic for kids of all Ages
[Explore and Create : Workshop]
Tuesday, July 1, 8:30 am–11:30 am
favorites Nicole Dalesio favorites Ken Shelton 

Be a more effective teacher with Photoshop by integrating art, creativity, and technology into the curriculum. Fun for kids of all ages.

Google Apps: Stories of Technical Deployment
[Participate and Share : Poster]
Sunday, June 29, 2:00 pm–4:00 pm
GWCC Murphy Ballroom Galleria, Table 30
favorites Christopher Craft 

Thinking of deploying Google Apps? Come hear stories of successful technical deployments from around the world and get ideas for your own implementation.

Using Google Tools to Target 21st Century Learning Skills
[Listen and Learn : Lecture]
Monday, June 30, 12:30 pm–1:30 pm
GWCC Murphy Ballroom 1/2
favorites Monica Martinez 

Come explore Google tools that you can use to build student-centered learning environments that help students exercise each of ISTE's NETS for students.

Google Booth at the Exhibition Hall

Come see EdTechTeamers Tim Lee and Molly Schroeder share some awesomeness at the Google Booth! Molly will be presenting "Chrome Extensions for Teachers and Students" on Sunday, June 29th at 9:40am and Tim will be sharing about the Admin Toolbelt- The Google Apps Admin Console and other 3rd Party Tools" on Tuesday, Jul 1st at 11:30am. Tim,  Peter Henrie, and Mitch Dowhower will also be sharing at the Hapara Teaching Theatre as well. 

And that's just a small sampling- give us a shout at the Blogger's Cafefind James Sanders to learn all about Future Ready Schools, or just let us know if you'll be there in the comments below!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

2014 Space Odyssey

2014 Space Odyssey

I’ve been to my fair share of “professional learning experiences." Normally they are chock full of “team building exercises” and someone reading bullets from clip-art-clad PowerPoints. In short, PD Purgatory. This was not the case with the EdTechTeam Space Camp. Instead this leadership workshop felt more like a long lunch date with close friends. To summarize this, I’m borrowing 3 of the EdTechTeam values our fearless leader, Dr. Mark Wagner, shared with us during this experience.

Passion: This was the big one for the day. Everyone in the room was bursting with passion for so many of the same ideals. In fact we were all so excited that we were falling over ourselves to share our love for these philosophies or tools.  I call this being “geeked” about something. Not quite as eloquent as “passionate," true. But as I looked around the room, I saw my friends - new and old - absolutely geeking out about everything from a Gmail Labels trick to Future Ready Schools. This wasn’t just work for us - these were projects and concepts that mattered to us deeply. As such we were all engaged throughout what could have felt like a very long day.

Flexibility: There was an agenda. There were slides (albeit clip-art free thanks to the artful efforts of Monica Martinez). However, the day didn’t feel scripted or structured. Instead it felt like an organic flow of conversation and idea sharing because the facilitators (Mark Wagner and Molly Schroeder) kept us focused and intrigued throughout the day. When the energy of the room dropped, they initiated “fun breaks." When we needed a change of pace, we moved to another room. When a fellow Space Camper took ill at the last minute, we initiated an 8-hour Google Hangout to bring him into the conversations - even the games - all day long.

Synchronicity: Throughout this experience I continually had my affinity with the other people in the room re-affirmed. As professionals we often work in different teams and with different types of people. However, when we find a group of people whose ideals and passions so closely align with ours it’s like seeing a double rainbow. This happened for me yesterday. At the end of the day, we got up from that table not knowing exactly where we were going and not knowing exactly how we were going to get there. Yet we looked from one to another and we all said, “together we will change the world.” And with this team of double rainbows, I truly think we can.

Friday, June 13, 2014

7 Delightfully Surprising Things That Happened at the Second Annual EdTechTeam Hawaii Summit ft. Google for Education

Yes, +EdTechTeam's Second Google for Education Hawaii Summit was FUN!

Google selfie with +Molly Schroeder and +Wendy Gorton (IC)
Seven delightfully surprising things happened:

1. I learned about how education can and should be "uncomfortably exciting."
This is a new phrase I learned from Googler (and former Hawaii resident) +Evan Rapoport, via +Larry Page. I think I'm going to use it. Wouldn't it be fantastic if we could get our students uncomfortably excited about learning?

Evan Rapoport
2. The majority of the attendees were public school teachers.

I was thrilled to find out that the majority of the 500+ people who attended the summit were public school teachers. Shout-out to all of these educators wanting to make a difference in their schools! Attendance almost doubled from last year's summit.

+Brendan Brennan commented that he would like to see 1000+ next year. Now wouldn't that be something?

Hale Kula Elementary School represents!

3. Internet was unthrottled.

The wi-fi was smooooooooooth and blazing fast at 'Iolani School! A big mahalo to Jim Crum and his crew for an outstanding job. Here's a great article about Jim in the 'Iolani student newspaper: The IT man: Jim Crum hopes to boost information technology at 'Iolani. I hope next year's summit will be at 'Iolani again.

4. Some of my #pln friends were different.

It was so much fun to meet members of my #pln in person! +Brendan Brennan and +Lisa Nagamine are much taller than I imagined, and based on +Rachel Armstrong's wonderfully strong voice on hangouts, I expected her to be less petite than she is.

5. Jim Sill was FUNNY! --- in a good way :D

Humor is so important for engaging students I think, and Jim, also known as Mr. Sill, made us laugh often. I love how Mr. Sill weaves his filmmaking skills into his presentations, too.

And his Sillfie Fun! page is pretty awesome. #sillfie / #selfie, get it?

6. Three Hawaii Google Certified Teachers gathered together in one room to learn from each other.

GCT +Liz Castillo from the Google Teacher Academy 2012 Mountain View cohort and +Michelle Carlson Colte from the 2013 Sydney cohort attended my Curate and Organize Like a Ninja, in Chrome session. I was so thankful for their support.

7. I went away to meet up with someone from home.

Well, this isn't surprising, is it? It was great to catch up with technology coordinator +Larry McCarty and I'ao Intermediate technology teacher +Pete Hansen (in the back). Lots of good discussion going on here. :)

IC +Peter Henrie
What did I learn that our faculty and students can use?

My Hawaii colleagues and I discussed what we learned at the Summit on our weekly Google Rocks! Hawaii Hangout-on-Air:

And, I wrote a blog post:

5 Tech Tools, Innumerable Possibilities -- from the Hawaii #GafeSummit

What does the future look like after the Hawaii #GafeSummit?

Stay tuned-- the 3rd Annual 2015 Hawaii Summit is slated for I'olani in March 2015!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Learning and Leading: My Experience at the EdTech Team Ontario Summit Featuring Google For Education

Guest Blogger Rolland Chidiac
EdTechTeam Ontario Summit
Cross-Posted from Newfluencies Blog

Recently I attended the Google for Education Ontario Summit here in Kitchener. I can describe it using one word: AWESOME. 

My time was spent 1) meeting people who are part of my professional learning on Social Media (Twitter and Google +), 2) catching up with people I already know, 3) learning new ways of using GAFE to benefit my practice and the achievement of my students, and 4) sharing the learning journey that my students and I have been on. It is so great to connect with people who have impacted me personally and professionally in one way or another. If it weren't for my learning networks on Twitter and Google + I would have missed out on connecting with such passionate and innovative educators who are on the same path as myself - to grow in knowledge and skill to impact the staff and students that surround them.

 Surrounded by +Ferdinand Krauss, +Jonathan So, +Scott Monahan, +Helder Tavares, +Tanya Avrith, +Julie Millan, +Sylvia Duckworth, +Michelle Booth, +Joe Sisco, +Molly Schroeder, +Michael Wacker, +Michelle Cordy, and many others, I was in excellent company and took advantage of the experience.

 Here is a great example of one of the many tweets that demonstrates the care and collegiality of the people that I have met and that I hope my colleagues will meet: Sylvia Duckworth, Google Certified Teacher from Toronto.

 The learning was great - but the sharing was fun and worthwhile as well. It felt so good to give back to the community that has given so much to me. +Ferdinand Krauss and I co-presented "Key Strategies for the Successful Implementation of Chromebooks & Google Apps for Education in Your School Board." Ferdinand did a wonderful job of taking people through the work that goes into making sure things are in place and set up for teachers and students to be able to use the technology and digital resources seamlessly.

 I shared the work my grade 2 students and I have been able to do because of ALL the work that happens outside of the schools and classrooms. Here is the link to the presentation: 

Photo of Ferdinand starting the presentation.

After a couple of sessions it was my turn but this time I wasn't with Ferdinand, I had one of my students join me to present "Getting Going with Student use of Google Apps for Education: Chromebooks in the Hands of Grade 2 Students." We took people through our blended learning journey. We demonstrated how the technology and the apps have provided the grade 2's with opportunities to blend their learning and become more creative and collaborative. We talked about how we eased into the Google suite of apps in order to benefit my professional practice and student achievement. We provided examples of how students have used Documents, Draw, Form, Spreadsheet, and Presentation to demonstrate the innovation and excitement that Google apps can bring to any class.

 It was such an honour to be able to speak about our experience and I am grateful that my student and her parents joined us and were so open to the idea. Here is the link to my presentation:

 About to start! Photo taken by +Jonathan So
One of my students and I presenting. Photo taken by +Jonathan So
People attending the presentation. Photo taken by +Julie Millan
 I had many people talk to me before (anticipation) and after (eyes wide open to what can be accomplished) about my presentation. There was a lot of curiosity about how GAFE and the technology could be used with such young children. These people were definitely curios and interested, but were unsure and a little scared about how to start it up and what it might look like. I too was scared when I started - and still to this day I am frightened by the unknown but I know that on the other side of my fear is success.

Whether the outcome is or isn't what I expect, there is learning to be had and the learning and iteration is what builds us up and allows us to continue to try new things and share our experiences. I was honoured to have +Julie Millan (Google Certified Teacher - Toronto District School Board) attend my session. I was happy to have her join us because she was included in my presentation and I wanted her to hear about the influence her work had on me and my practice. It was her presentation in October 2013 at the ECOO conference that really motivated me to get going with GAFE. She would be presenting "Examine the Power of Google Apps throughout the Inquiry Process" on Day 2 of the Summit and I was looking forward to learning more from her.

 On Day 2 of the Summit I learned that I wasn't going to be able to physically make it to Julie's session. I had to settle for the tweets and G+ posts that would be made public for people to attend in a 'virtual' format. As time was drawing near to her presentation I learned that it would be streamed via Google Hangout and I would get to attend without actually being in the classroom with her and the other participants! Talk about icing on the cake. I was still going to see and be part of the presentation because of people like +Julie Millan and +Scott Monahan (who I believe had something to do with the technical aspects of the Hangout).

Part of Julie's presentation
 Julie had told me that she would be referencing me in her presentation but I was unsure of the details. It was great to see that she was sharing my reaction and subsequent experiences because of her presentation in the Fall. She spoke about the importance of sharing our learning and experiences so that others can benefit and do the same in turn. If we make this part of our practice than others can benefit and then they can benefit others. The sharing grows and ultimately we all build capacity around our interests - ultimately benefiting the students in our classrooms that will lead our world. It was a great message to provide her audience before she talked about Inquiry and GAFE. My excitement got the better of me.

Thank you Heather for tweeting me back and to Scott for letting Julie know that I was watching. Julie during her presentation. When I wasn't presenting and connecting with other motivated educators I was learning about Google Forms, Google Draw, Flipping a Classroom via GAFE, Chrome tips/tricks, and the power of Technology and GAFE to enable students to create, collaborate, communicate, innovate, and lead. There is something for everyone - beginner to advanced level presentations on many topics. More often than not, the major problem at these conferences is that you can't physically be at more than one session at a time!!

 As my School Board continues to implement the deployment of Chromebooks and GAFE across our system, there is no doubt in my mind that my colleagues and their students will soon experience the increase in capacity, engagement, and achievement for all involved. I look forward to having many more of my colleagues join me at future Google for Education Summits to connect with others, share our learning, as well as acquire new learning that we will bring back to our system.

 If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to tweet me, connect via Google +, send me an email, and/or comment below.

Obviously Canada has some pretty rockstar educators! Join us at the next event, the Calgary Summit Aug. 18th and 19th and the Bilingual Ottawa Summit, Oct. 4th and 5th!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Why I'm Drinking the Google Drive Kool-Aid

Guest Blogger Christina Pommer
2nd Annual CA Summit Attendee

Our school went 1:1 iPad this year in grades 6-12. How many times have I heard the following statement from teachers? “One of the advantages of the iPads is that we no longer have to gather our belongings and go to the library anymore.” Way too many to count.

As a librarian, part of me cries each time even as I cheerfully nod my response. In the library I still rotate seasonal displays, showcase student work, offer a wide variety of fun fiction reads, and have many nonfiction materials that support the curriculum. However, the ironic part is that the people saying this are using library resources more than ever before and see the concept of the library evolving beyond the physical space. They are teachers who have always supported the library and who are continuing to request my services in their classrooms. Students are accessing JSTOR through the app, filling out web evaluation forms for History class, and checking out books on Overdrive. Other classes are coming to the library for new projects, and I’m as busy as ever! Where does Google Drive come in?

I was inspired by the EdTechTeam California Summit ft. Google for Education last year, and we are going as paperless as possible for research projects. I work very closely with the 9th grade Western Civilizations teacher, and she teaches all the freshmen. Our big research project occurs during third interim, and we taught isolated research tasks in conjunction with units of study all fall so the full process wouldn't be as daunting. In September, in about 15 minutes, we taught her students how to set up Google Drive research folders with selected (and at this point, empty) files. We were uniform in our naming conventions, and we asked all students to give us editing privileges in their folders.

 If you haven’t used Google Drive before, here are some main differences from other word processing programs:

 • It’s cloud-based, and thus accessible anywhere with Internet connectivity. Files and folders can be private or shared with others. Sharing can involve viewing or editing privileges. It’s easy to collaborate via comment or chat features, and thus it facilitates revision.
 • Viewers can check the revision history to compare various versions of a document, as well as who made each change and when they did so. It was surprising to me that none of the students even mentioned privacy concerns, and all happily shared. The day that we did this, they were practicing web evaluation and note-taking.
• Multiple users can work in a document simultaneously, so I was able to watch exactly what students typed in real-time and assess their speed and skills in paraphrasing. I was also able to jump in immediately and stop them when they listed a url that didn’t meet our criteria for reputable websites. Students quickly got used to seeing the pink bar highlighting that I was “in” their notes, and the quieter students didn’t hide and work under our radar the way they have in the past.

 Any time librarians collaborate with classroom teachers, it’s important to make sure each person is offering the same advice. Since we can both see the comments we have written on students’ documents and the direction given to them, it’s made us more supportive of each other and a more effective team.

 If this isn’t enough, I spent two weeks this fall subbing for a teacher on paternity leave. I taught Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, a book I’ve always wanted to teach. I didn’t want to overstep my place and grade his students’ work, and he didn’t want to fall behind while he was out. The students all shared their class folders with me, and I could see how their work for me compared to their work for their regular teacher. Also, when I had a question about an individual student, the teacher was able to pull up their work from home and comment online.

 Finally, I’m asked to proofread a lot of papers. As more students share their work with me on Google Drive, I’m better able to keep tabs on their progress as they’re writing their papers. I now step in before the final day when they are panicking. I love that they are comfortable sharing works in progress and asking questions throughout the research process. I also love that there is no more concern about losing notecards or leaving a first draft at home. And I absolutely love that a byproduct is that I spend less time adding paper to the printer!

 What do you think? Other techniques for making Google Drive work for you and your students?

Christina attended last year's flagship California Summit which sold out! Will you join us at the third annual summit in Palo Alto on July 19th and 20th? Register here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Using Google to Change One Classroom at a Time

Guest Blogger Anne Schaefer-Salinas
Napa 1:1 Institute Summit Attendee

By presenting at EdTechTeam's Napa 1:1 Institute, it gave me more confidence to work with both my teachers and the teachers and Tech Director at our neighboring elementary school. We did a Saturday 3 hour Google intensive workshop that gave our teachers the power to streamline their mail, organize their Drive, and implement Forms and Google Hang-Outs. We also spent time showing them how to set-up Blogger and Sites and talked about some great uses for them in the classroom.

 In addition, the elementary school attendees left really pumped-up to begin implementing Google Apps for Education (GAFE) on their campus. However, what I am most proud of as a take-away from the summit was that I am now in the process of collaborating with my son's teacher (he's in 2nd grade) to help compile a map for his class using Map Engine Lite (saw it demo-d during the Slam session).

 My son's class just finished completing family history projects that they spent several months working on. I am building a map for them based on where they were born along with one parent and one grand-parent. The teacher and I are really excited to see the kids' faces when we put the map up on the board for all of them to see visually just how diverse their class is and how they each ended up where they are now.

 I NEVER would have been able to do this without going to GAFE. My motto: Learn, Share, Repeat.

Want more 1:1 action? Hang out in New Jersey this July at our 1:1 Summit!