Monday, July 28, 2014

Learning Everywhere & Everywhen

I had an opportunity to present at the third annual EdTechTeam California Summit ft Google for Education, and it was an amazing experience. I did have a few butterflies about presenting, since I was in the presence of some serious ed tech cerebral muscle. To be counted among some amazing luminaries was an incredible opportunity in and of itself, so I tried to bring the best of what I know.

In my experience, the final session on Sunday is one of those sessions where the energy is low. Most people's brains are full, and that usually includes my own. I was lucky to have one of my lighter sessions (about Google drawings) scheduled in this time slot, and I enjoyed it. We covered topics that the attendees said they wanted to learn, and I had fun.

This week, one of my attendees posted a link on Twitter, and thanked me in it. The link took me to a tutorial on creating a custom wallpaper for your smart phone using Google Drawings. I'd never considered this before, and I was amazed at how the learning continued after the session. It's touching to see someone take what you've shown them and extend the learning into new areas, and to share it back to the community.

For me, this was one of the best aspects of the CA #gafesummit, and it didn't even happen during the summit itself. It served to highlight the amazing network of brilliant educators that attend these events. I consider myself lucky to be plugged into this community of energetic, enthusiastic and creative individuals.

So, in summary, I need to say a big thank you. Thanks to EdTechTeam for putting on this event and inviting me to be a part of it. Thanks to the presenters from whom I've learned. Thanks to the creative thinkers who encourage me to think critically about my teaching practice. And finally, and most importantly, thanks to everyone who came to my sessions. You always remind me after these events just how powerful an idea can be.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Guest Blogger Anthony Egbers
Host of 2nd Annual South Africa Summit at Dainfern College
Cross-Posted from Techno School Journey Blog


What a busy 2 days of learning and networking (Both physically and in a 'internet' sense). It was brilliant to see what was happening all over the school at Dainfern College in Johannesburg, South Africa!

Thank you to all the delegates who attended and a special thanks to all the presenters, both featured and local!

So, in keeping with my '10 things' vibe, here is what I will take from the Summit 2014:

1) YouTube is huge and getting bigger!
Starting with which collates education videos on the regular, to the personal youtube channels and then the video editor Youtube continues to redefine itself as an educational smorgasbord!

One presentation and a demo slam confirmed that the time of IFTTT has arrived. If you haven't explored it now is the time!

This brilliant tool allows a user to create 'receipes' (or just use the ones other people have shared) to manage and maintain the internet of things.

3) Chrome Extensions

Little tools that make life simpler, look around to find the ones you like and make chrome work for you!

My favourites are CheckerPlus for Google CalendarDocs QuicklyTabCloud (My personal best extension!) and OneTab which come a close second.

Just remember that with the pace of internet development these do change often.

For more extensions for education check out this doc: 50+ Chrome Extensions for Educators
with permission from Jake Duncan

4) Google+

Dee Lanier did a workshop on Google+, and this platform is growing fast. Time to get involved:

Check out Dee's resources on his doc or get involved in the new Google Educators Group South Africa

5) It not about the app!

Many sessions talked to the idea that we need to concentrate on ensuring that our teaching is solid and not based on teaching the app but rather the Child (Adult?). There seems to be a move towards ensuring that the pedagogy is correct before we concentrate on the technology. This will ensure that lessons are designed to stimulate and grow the knowledge and enthusiasm of both teachers and students!

6) Paperless

Not only is the conference paperless (although some felt uncomfortable with this) but Glenn Jones of Western Province Prep School presented a session on using scripts to enhance the paperless classroom. This is definitely a growing trend and it will be interesting to see how teachers adapt to a paperless classroom.

7) Personalisation

The growing trend for people to choose different devices for different uses makes it vital that the 'internet' works for the individual and for each student and teacher. The trend is to customise the experience for each individual and allow them to decide how to make things work for them.

8) Gamification
With badges, both electronic and stickers, handed out throughout the conference, the trend towards gaming the classroom has grown over the past year. Helen Robertson, the Content Coordinator at Mindset Network, did a great presentation on planning and preparation for the gamified classroom.

9) Custom Searching
One tip I picked up was on how to create a custom search engine for use on a blog or in class. Sean Hampton-Cole, who is Edtech Integrator / Senior Teacher at Crawford College Lonehill, shared awhole bunch of resources for his talk and among them are the instructions to set up a custom search engine

10) The people

Once again, the greatest buzz from #gafesummit was the time I spent talking to and networking with teachers from all over South Africa and the world. Thank you all for coming to Dainfern College and see you next year!

For the lowdown check out!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Walking Away with Something for Everyone

Guest Blogger Anna Fick,
3rd Annual California Summit

As my district moves from a readiness model to an equity model of technology professional development, I am faced with a rather large challenge as the new Instructional Facilitator of Technology. Approximately 50% of our staff have completed basic training on the resources and tools that are provided through the district and roughly 40% (of those that have completed basic training) have completed additional training in technology integration. I would also classify us as segmented partial adopters of GAFE. The range of needs is certainly great, but my potential to meet their needs has been dramatically enhanced by my experiences at the EdTechTeam California Summit 2014.

After being inspired by the concept of 10x (moonshot) thinking during the opening keynote, my very first session by Peter Henrie of Amplified IT addressed some of the key steps I can take to help my district move towards a unified, purposeful, and meaningful adoption of GAFE. I left ready to share and inspire the district administrators I work with through the joint creation of a technology plan specifically for the GAFE goals we have for our schools. I'll also be sharing with them the power of allowing their students to help tell the district's story through Twitter and blogging as shared by Jason Markey (tremendous potential for student voice and ownership!).

The following session by Scott McLeod presented a non-judgmental tool, TRUDACOT, that delves in specifics to assist teachers in creating a lesson enhanced by technology to address a specific goal like differentiation, collaboration, choice, authenticity, etc. I feel confident in the ways this guiding tool can assist me in sharing with teachers how to create attainable goals that do not overwhelm them technologically and keep all things focused on student learning! This will allow me to easily scaffold professional development opportunities to provide educators with individualized learning as they prepare to do the same for their students.

Considering the keynote by Dan Russell on day two which showcased the power of mastering learning tools to become proficient in meta-literacy so that we are able to change and adapt to the ever-evolving environment around us, I was thrilled to learn about tools like Doctopus, Goobric, EdPuzzle (and Flipped Learning), and the Google Geo tools. These sessions captured my attention as they shared amazing strategies and methods to engage students and push them extend their understanding beyond the walls of the classroom. For example, using Google Maps to embed math problems or create a tour of various primary sources who immigrated to America. You might find a great Youtube video and customize it for your students needs using EdPuzzle to add voice comments and a variety of question types. Quoting Lisa Highfill I feel emboldened to “get kids to want to learn without doing it for the points!” 

I am leaving the California Summit equipped to:

- work collaboratively with administrators
- inspire educators through individualized professional development
- prepare educators to know their tools 
- engage and extend student learning

I find it rather remarkable that I was able to attend one conference that met the needs of so many individuals within the education field so fully! Not to mention, it all involves one of my favorite things - Google! I cannot wait to dive in and serve all of the amazing administrators, educators, and students in my district, not to mention continuing connecting with the innovative individuals I met while at the conference! 

Thanks Anna! Find another summit coming to California and beyond at Upcoming California events include San Diego, Marin, Los Angeles and Orange County!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Google and iPad: Friends for Education?

Cross-Posted from Slome School Blog
Guest Blogger Tal Slome
Presenter from 2nd Annual South Africa Summit

Last week I had the privilege of attending the South Africa Summit ft. Google for Education.  It was a magical and inspiring, yet frustrating two days.
My biggest frustration stems from a stark realisation that most South African children are being left behind, without access to the many wonders that edtech continues to develop and highlight.  However, that is a whole other post, one which I will hopefully do justice to in the future.
My other main frustration stemmed from the often incompatible nature of different ecosystems, namely Google and Apple, within an education context.
As many of you will know, I work as an iPad facilitator, and truly believe that Apple’s hardware line is exceptional for teaching and learning.  On the other hand, I also love numerous Google Apps, including Gmail, Calendar, Forms…
As I was planning my presentation titled ‘Google Apps on the iPad’, I struggled to come up with opportunities that were both creative and educational.  However, when I decided to integrate my favourite Google and iPad apps, the magic started happening.
Below is my presentation, excluding sound and film clips.  If you would like access to the full keynote, please email me at!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Achievement Unlocked!

Over the last few months, space-themed badges have been appearing on laptops, tablets, mugs, water bottles and phones all over the world. Are you curious? The EdTechTeam Summits featuring Google in Education incorporate gamified components to their events - allowing attendees to unlock badges, both stickers and digital, when completing challenges.

For example, participants of a #gettinggoing YouTube session might be challenged to share a playlist of videos with the presenter. If they are successful they will unlock the #gettinggoing badge and be given a sticker from the presenter. Each participant can unlock the three badges that are aligned with the following strands:

#gettinggoing - You are are on the launchpad and ready for the ride. These are sessions for people that are just getting going. They have a narrow focus and may move at a slower pace. Remember, mission control is there to guide you…just ask.

#gearingup - You made it to space and are testing out all the tools and systems. These are intermediate sessions for people with digital experience. The view is spectacular…you can see where you came from but also more clearly see where you want to go.

#gettinggeeky - What is your Moonshot? These are sessions for people seeking to transform education with a complement of digital skills, pedagogy and risk taking. You may not know how to get there… but you are on your way.

We also offer a variety of digital badges that can be claimed throughout events at your leisure. Some of the favorites are the #selfie badge and the Chrome Powered badge - check out the badging page for the California Summit to learn more.

Our space theme is a nod to the Moonshot project of Google’s Solve for X. The Moonshot is a “...combination of a huge problem, a radical solution, and the breakthrough technology that might just make that solution possible…” Google in Education tools are transformative and we hope you dream big and use the community to help you achieve your “moonshot”.

While these challenges contribute to the culture of fun that our events are known for, more importantly, they make your learning visible to the the community around you.

We are excited about this new and developing element of our EdTechTeam events and hope it’s contagious. We hope our attendees earn all the badges they can, and better yet, take what they learn from it to motivate students in their classrooms using similar methods.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The First EdTechTeam Summit in Chile and its Domino Effect

The First EdTechTeam Summit in Chile and its Domino Effect

Monica Isabel Martinez, M.Ed.
Director of Professional Development for Latin America and Southern US, EdTechTeam
It’s always exhilarating to witness and partake in the gathering of educators at conferences. This is where collaborative ideas and enthusiasm most often collide in one space and with great intensity. This past May, I was in the midst of precisely that synergy at the first EdTechTeam Summit in Chile Featuring Google in Education. I am delighted to report that, months later, the momentum is still growing.

Nestled in the heart of Chile’s political and economic capital, this two-day event was held in the beautiful campus of Santiago College. From inspiring keynotes like Dr. Chris Craft’s “Four Chairs” to insightful presentations, EdTechTeam provided a bilingual format that allowed both English and Spanish speakers the opportunity to enrich their professional development. c

Drawing participants from private, local, and international schools, every session was brimming with excitement and eagerness to learn. The diversity of the participants provided a platform for engaging conversations around technology integration and student success. Furthermore, attendees learned from expert presenters that shared resources, best practices, and classroom implementation strategies.

The goal of these conferences is not only to share ideas and resources, but to inspire. The upcoming endeavors launching throughout the country are a testament to the commitment made by these educators to innovate their practices. Next month (Aug. 29 - 30), EdTechTeam will host the first Google Apps for Education Trainer Bootcamp, designed to prepare educators for becoming “Authorized Google Education Trainers”. Once certified, these facilitators will work with teachers on effectively implementing the use of technology into their classrooms via Google tools. In October, I will be presenting at the annual ExpoEnlaces 2014 further spearheading these efforts with our partners at the Ministry of Education of Chile (MINEDUC). Future events will include EdTechTeam’s iOS Summit, and the second EdTechTeam Summit in Chile Featuring Google in Education.

My goal is to help build capacity for training all teachers in Chile on how to elevate their teaching practice so that it is focused on student empowerment, engagement, self-discovery, and for creating future-ready learning spaces. During these visits, I will be collaborating with schools and their partners with the goal of further expanding these efforts.

These events would not be possible without the support from our partners and hosts in Chile. A special thank you to Jessica Allen from Santiago College and all of her staff that helped us in the process of setting up the conference. Likewise, I would like to thank all of the presenters for taking the time to prepare and share their ideas and resources. We would also like to thank Naomi Arnold from Google who provided sponsorships to many educators in order to attend the conference, and who continues to push forth these efforts in Latin America.

It has been a pleasure to work with this group of educators, and I’m looking forward to a continued collaboration to not only advance education in Chile, but to impact the world.

Hasta Pronto!

Friday, July 11, 2014

2014_South Africa_Summit_logo.png

Reflections from Molly Schroeder, Summit Program Chair 
and South Africa Summit Lead

It is amazing to me that Google Apps for Education is transforming education all over the world.  Last week I had the opportunity to lead the second annual EdTechTeam South Africa Summit in Johannesburg and network with amazing teachers that are transforming learning all over the country.

The Summit was a huge success for a variety of different reasons.  First, the host school, SchoolNetZA and  team were amazing to work with.  Anthony Egbers and Pam MacMillan from Dainfern College were rock stars who worked tirelessly to make sure that the Summit went off without a hitch.  “The ladies” from SchoolNet South Africa helped us to connect with educators all over the country and invite them to the Summit.  From planning calls, ordering or much needed Google Beanies and Fleece scarves, to overseeing catering and conference supplies - SchoolNet South Africa is a committed group of people dedicated to transforming learning in their country.  The Planning team for the South Africa Summit rocked!

The Summit would not have been the same without the amazing student helpers from Dainfern.  The students not only helped direct teachers to the different classrooms around the College, but they were the first to respond if there was a technical challenge, they worked with the Keynote speakers to get their computers and audio set up for their presentations, and the students fully ran the audio, visual and lighting in the auditorium for the entire day.  I was amazed to see the amount of trust, respect and confidence in the students from the staff at Dainfern.  We love hosting summits with student volunteers and the Dainfern students amazed us!

South Africa is an emerging market for Google and we were excited about their participation at the Summit.  First, Google Education Go Digital in South Africa sponsored 25 local teachers to attend the Summit.  Google also launched the Google Educator Group for South Africa at the Summit.  There are very exciting things happening to connect like minded educators in the country.  It has been fun to be a catalyst for this kind of change.

After leaving the two day Summit my inbox and Twitter stream is still full of educators from South Africa expressing their excitement to take what they learned at the Summit and change what they are doing in the classroom.  This is my favorite thing about our Summits, teachers leave excited, reenergized and committed to transforming learning in their classroom.  We are thrilled that we are going to be hosting another Summit in South Africa in 2015 to continue to network and learn with these teachers.  Thanks to an amazing group of educators from the EdTechTeam, the local talent who presented at the summit, our amazing hosts at Dainfern College and SchoolNet South Africa, the Support of Google South Africa - and the 300 teachers that are going to take what they learned and change the world!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Visionary Educators (No. 1 in an occasional series)

Recently, at the EdTech Team Wyoming Summit featuring Google for Education, we had the privilege of meeting a number of fantastic Educators. One of which happened to be Fletcher Turcato, the Carbon County School District 1 Superintendent. Upon first meeting Fletcher, I immediately could see his strength, passion, and intensity for his work. In short, he embodied everything I would identify as a Visionary Educator. He shared with the me his background, which included, serving time in the military as well as growing up at the "I-80 Corridor." Both of these key items, are the basis for his style of leadership in his District. Amongst the many things we talked about, the most fascinating was his leadership style which includes:

 1. Doing whatever it takes to provide the kids with the best and most relevant Education possible.
 2. Always staying connecting with the folks working on the "front lines."
 3. Having both compassion and passion for what "we" do so that everybody is properly supported.
 4. Showing such an outward level of enthusiasm that it is highly contagious.

One of the things that really stood out to me was his strong desire to serve his community. Fletcher clearly has strong beliefs in this given his military service and in returning to his community to work as a Principal, and then Superintendent. If you ever have the opportunity to meet him you will notice right away his strong sense of purpose and his enthusiasm for his work. He truly is a community hero and we are very lucky to have spent some time with him at the Summit, as well as have him amongst the ranks of visionary educators.

I look forward to meeting and posting about many other Visionary Educators we meet at our upcoming Summits.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Racing to Learn

Guest Blogger Andrew Moriates

I quickly removed my sunglasses and put on my best look of remorse in hopes of building empathy in my prosecutor. I roll down my window to the sounds of black boots methodically working their way through gravel.

“Where ya headed today, Sir?”

For a quick moment, I think about faking a life-threatening emergency, but I buckle under my reflection peering back at me from off of his aviator sunglasses, and I tell him the truth. I am hoping for the truth to tug on his heart strings of mercy and  for him to find leniency due to my honest grace under pressure. 

“I’m going to Shadow Hills High School for an EdTechTeam Summit.”

Blank stare. An eyebrow raise.

“I’m a teacher, and I am tired of feeling like my students are disengaged because of my outdated methods. I’m sick of feeling like I’m doing the same thing over and over again. I need something to change so that I can escape my current professional rut.  I’m going for a unique opportunity where educators have autonomy over their professional development while learning with other like-minded, brilliant, and passionate educators from around the world.”

Another blank stare. I had divulged too much, but I see him begin to soften.

“Y’er a teacher, huh?”

“Yessir.” Hope.

“Shadow Hills is a beautiful facility.”

“Yessir.” My word, is this going to work? 

“Unfortunately, I clocked you at 90 MPH.”

Oh boy.

“You seem like you’re in quite the rush to get to ‘work’ on a Saturday.”

“Well, Sir, if I don’t get there on time, I will miss Michael Wacker’s dance party.”

“Excuse me? Dance party? I’m sorry, didn’t you say this was ‘professional development?’”

“Sure, officer, but you must understand that this is not a traditional professional development that treats teachers like corpses.  They respect the teacher as a valued professional.  They know the importance of engaging their audience, and we have a good time. We learn, we dance to Pharrell, we build our professional learning network, and we party.”

“I love that ‘Happy’ song!”

“Of course you do, Sir.”

A smirk.

He grabs my license and registration and asks me to hold on for a minute.  I may have done it. I may have beaten the system.  I hope he doesn’t take forever to let me get back on my way.  I have amazing sessions to attend: Rushton Hurley’s brilliance on project’s my students will never forget, Molly Schroeder teaching me how to become a Google Ninja with amazing Scripts and Add-ons, Alice Barr disclosing the secrets of properly searching in Google, Kyle Pace’s clear and imaginative uses for YouTube in the classroom.  I have to get there soon.  I have to take my picture in the photo booth and cover myself in stickers!  

“OK, Sir. You have a clear record.” 

I do?  Did he overlook something? “Yes, I most certainly do, officer.” Proudly.

“I went ahead and wrote you a ticket for going 79 MPH, so that should help you a bit.”

False smile turns to truthful scowl. 

“Enjoy your training.  I like that you are trying to become a more effective teacher. Drive safe and be careful merging back into traffic.”

Blank, death stare. Sunglasses quickly back on. “Yep.”

I am not pleased by this setback, but it is worth a small inconvenience and fee to be a part of the Ed TechTeam Desert Sands Summit.  The individuals who run the event are excited educators who enjoy reigniting a passion for learning in educators from around the globe.  They know how to run a fluid event, and they inspire innovation by modeling outside the box thinking in, what is usually, very bland and ineffective professional development.

My weekend in Indio at the EdTechTeam Summit was memorable because I learned so much, became excited about trying the new skills and ideas presented to me, and because I met so many new friends to share information with.  My weekend in the desert was unforgettable. 

I loved my time in Indio so much that I am going back there on August 8th…for court. 

You can relive Andrew's experience (hopefully sans ticket!) at some of our upcoming California events, including the OC on Aug. 2nd and 3rd, San Diego Oct. 4th and 5th, and Los Angeles April 9th and 10th, 2015. Drive safe, folks! :)