Monday, April 3, 2017

Innovative Professional Growth- Summit Soundboard MN

We have a mantra for educators at our school that states, “What we expect of our students, we require of ourselves!” Among other things, we expect our students to be innovative and maintain a growth mindset, so as educators you can bet we look for innovative professional development opportunities. Let’s just say, we found just that in the MN Google Summit in Fridley, MN the weekend of March 11th and 12th.

We brought 5 educators to our first Google Summit, and we can say with confidence it will not be our last. We were surrounded by innovation throughout our two day experience. First of all, the entire EdTechTeam immediately felt like people I needed to know in education. They are genuine educators. They are teachers, like us, who decided to make change by implementing technology in new ways to improve their students’ experiences. All weekend I was thinking, “I want to be at their dinner table. I want to be a part of their conversations!” The best way to be at their dinner table without an invite? Follow them on Twitter! So I did! Here are some of my EdTechTeam “dinner table guests” - Heather Dowd @heza, Jesse Lubinsky @jlubinsky, and Benjamin Friesen @benjaminfriesen.

Our number one piece of advice to all who attend an EdTechTeam Google Summit experience is to schedule a follow-up session with your team after attending the event. You will have more information and energy than you can imagine, and you don’t want to lose the momentum and big picture of bringing what you have learned back to your students. Take time to gather as a team and get excited around all the learning that took place. Here are some ready to go ideas we will make sure to implement:

  1. Google Classroom for Minis (K-2). Are you kidding? The energy in the room during the showcase of tips for our youngest Google Classroom users was audible. A room full of Kindergarten through 2nd grade teachers who finally got a session just for students at their level - the energy, joy, a-ha moments, surprise! Our K-2 teachers left feeling empowered, and you can bet we will be color coding our keyboards for login ease!
  2. Using Street View 360 Camera, we plan to create our own Google Expedition of sorts, allowing prospective families to take a VR tour of our school and classrooms with kids in action! It will also be a great way to build excitement around our summer building renovations.
  3. Perhaps a highlight was the Demo Slam where winner Jesse Lubinsky introduced us to the Google Extension - Nope! (mic drop moment) and kicked off the endless smiles that were a part of the entire Slam that ended our first day.
  4. We are looking forward to leading a Google CS Clubs for summer coding club fun at school this year. Can’t wait!
  5. Most importantly, we are getting certified!! All of us are ready to jump into Level 1 this summer! We don’t want to the learning to end!

From Google Drawings and CS Clubs to new the new Google Sites and Graphic Design we left our first Google Summit filled with ideas and energy. To the EdTechTeam, and our love of all things Google, we thank you for making this experience productive, worthwhile, and loads of fun for our team!

Molly Dandelet @lua_dandelet is the Director of Level Up Academy (LUA), a new K-8 public charter school in White Bear Lake, MN. Educators at LUA have the pleasure of personalizing their students’ learning through a blended learning model. She thanks the EdtechTeam for showing her how to get her bitmoji off her phone and into her Google Docs.

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