Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Are you “Google Strong?" Engaging Students in Google Apps for Education through a One-Day Google Boot Camp by Heidi Trude


Google Boot Camp was developed by Gesina Korte (Instructional Technology Resource Teacher and Google Certified Educator) and myself (French Teacher and Google Certified Educator) at Skyline High School to promote the use of Google Apps for Education (GAFE) in the classroom. Both of us share a passion for all things Google and decided that we needed to create an event that could serve as an enrichment activity for our students. 

After attending the EdTechTeam Virginia Google Summit, we were filled with ideas and knew that we needed to make Google Boot Camp a reality for the students of Warren County Public Schools. Even though our school system has not gone to a 1:1 deployment of Chromebooks, Google Boot Camp prepared the students with the skills needed to be ready for more integration of GAFE and Chromebooks in the classroom. 


 Elementary level recruits were drafted by their teachers to participate in a one-day Google Boot Camp, which introduced them to some powerful GAFE ammunition. The recruits were led by high school Google Generals from Skyline High School and Warren County High School. They were divided into four squadrons, Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green. Throughout the day each squadron braved Google challenges issued by CHROMEander Korte and Sergeant YouTrude  in Google Classroom.  Google colored stars were earned upon the completion of these challenges. These Google challenges prepared the squadrons for G-Day! Answering the call of duty recruits battled it out in the Chrome War.  Those who proved to be "Google Strong" were awarded the fifth star, the Chrome Star. The recruits who survived Google Boot Camp have now become official members of the Collaboration Corps and are expected to lead the way as student Google leaders at their respective schools.   


The recruits and the generals arrived bright and early on May 9, 2015 to the GBC (Google Boot Camp) Headquarters, Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School in Front Royal, Virginia. Upon registration, the recruits began their first challenge - to create a military fort using Build with Chrome. After the recruits finished their forts, we sent them their next challenge. They needed to create an Android using the features in Google Draw. With no instructions, the students began their mission. After a few minutes and some assistance from the Generals, we began to see Androids appearing on the screens of the recruits’ computers. The recruits completed both challenges independently and earned their first star, the Red Star.  

By this point in the day, the recruits appeared to be homesick, but we reminded them that they could always see their home while they were in GBC.  It was time to introduce the recruits to Google Earth and Google Maps.  The recruits searched for their home address in both Google Earth and Google Maps. After checking in with their Generals, it was back to the next mission.  The recruits also collaboratively created a mission supply list in preparation for the Android Search & Rescue Mission. They used Google Sheets to complete this challenge. 

 After successfully earning their Green Stars, it was time to issue the challenges for the Blue Star. The recruits utilized Google Maps to find the five missing Androids in action which were hidden throughout the premises of the school. The recruit assigned at the command center inside of the school communicated to the rest of their squadron via 2-way communication radios.  If we had had wifi access outdoors we would have used the Nexus tablets and Google Hangouts for the Search and Rescue Mission. 

This challenge turned out to be a real challenge for some of the squadrons as the wind had blown some of the Androids to other locations! Through it all, the recruits worked diligently to rescue their Androids and return them to headquarters. For the second challenge for the Blue Star, the recruits had to create a collaborative squadron cadence utilizing Google Docs.  One recruit created the first copy and shared it with the others to collaborate.  The cadence was then printed and taped to the back of poster board androids so the recruits could chant their cadence as they entered the battlefield for the Chrome War. With some assistance from the Generals, the recruits completed the challenge and were ready to earn the next star, the Yellow Star. 


To earn the Yellow Star, the squadrons collaboratively created a Google Slides Presentation to introduce their Android soldiers that they had created earlier in the day using Google Draw.  The recruits were required to insert their drawing after they converted it to a jpeg into the presentation. Then they had to describe the special strengths or powers their Android Soldier possessed. The recruits worked quickly on this challenge as they all were eager to participate in the Chrome War and earn the coveted Chrome Star. 

The recruits had easily completed all the challenges and were ready for battle. Each squadron marched onto the battlefield chanting their squadron’s cadence that they had created earlier in the day. After a quick explanation of the rules,  it was time for G-Day, a day that will go down in GAFE history.  It was a Googley battle to the end as Google colored water and balls were launched as the recruits tried to capture the other squadron's flags. In the end, it was the red squadron that tasted victory as the Google stained blue, green, and yellow squadrons surrendered.  

Google Boot Camp proved to be an exciting and educational experience for everyone from the recruits, to the generals, and even the teachers. Seeing the excitement on the students’ faces and seeing them embrace GAFE was amazing. The event was a complete success and one that we hope will become an annual event for the students in Warren County Public Schools. To see videos and images from Google Boot Camp, visit our Google Boot Camp site. 

Heidi Trude is a Google Certified Educator and French Teacher and Academic Team Coach at Skyline High School in Virginia and attended the EdTechTeam Virginia Summit where she was inspired to bring the world of Google Apps for Education to her students. 


Find her on Google Plus or on Twitter @htrude07


We'll be hosting a Hangout On Air with Heidi on June 3rd at 1:30pm PDT to learn more about this event and other EdTechTeam Student Summits we've hosted. Join us!


EdTechTeam will work with you to design a Summit for your students!  Request one here.

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