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!


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