Thursday, April 27, 2017

Inspirational Perspectives: Summit Soundboard Indiana

A Teacher’s Perspective
Christy Harshbarger

I am not a tech guru, and as a classroom teacher, this poses a problem. The Integration of Technology movement in education means I have three options: I can be one of those educators who bemoans the fact that one more thing is being added to the curriculum AGAIN, dig in my heels, and get left in the dust. I can be one of those educators who nods her head and acts like I am on board but really does nothing to integrate technology in the classroom. Or, I can be one of those educators who tries to join in, learn, and find ways to integrate technology in my classroom to provide a better education for my students. Option two is very tempting, but I am going with option three - which led me to the EdTechTeam Summit in Indiana (on a weekend, in April, the first seventy degree day since last fall) ...and it was worth it!

For the past year, my class has been piloting Chromebooks as our corporation rolls out a 1:1 initiative. Consequently, I am somewhat familiar with the many features Google offers educators. Google Classroom, Slides, and Forms have allowed me to see the advantages digital technology provides teachers and students. But I need to go deeper (SAMR reference intended), and if I am going to use technology, I want it to enrich and expand my students’ classroom experience. So I went to the Summit to explore HyperDocs - and there were so many sessions available! The greatest benefit of the Summit sessions was the hands-on experimenting the presenters allowed; there was time in every session to create and dabble with my newly acquired skills. As a result, I had something to use the very first day back in the classroom! The Summit was also collaborative - every presenter shared their Slide Deck and said to use it with other teachers or my students to help with technology integration! Usually at conferences I have to purchase anything presented, so having access to the presentations has allowed me to go back and review anything I didn’t quite master during the sessions. The Summit can be intimidating because there is so much to learn, but by attending, I feel I can do this! The network of support provided by the EdTechTeam and the atmosphere of collaboration among presenters and fellow educators means I can contact experts as I use HyperDocs and try things from other sessions I attended. I am inspired and have so many ideas - my first Google Summit was worth missing that warm and sunny spring day!

An Administrator’s Perspective
Pamela Chambers

Technology is developing at such a rapid speed that if one does not take the time to learn, opportunities for creation, collaboration, and communication will surely be lost. The Tippecanoe School Corporation recognizes the importance of providing meaningful training opportunities. Thus, the commitment to send 40+ educators to the Spring 2017 Google Summit was made. As an administrator who was accompanied by three of my teachers as well as my school’s Instructional Coach, I can say that the opportunity to learn alongside my teachers was invaluable.

From the enthusiastic greetings at registration to the flash of lights of the Delorean, the first few moments spent at the Spring 2017 Google Summit set the tone for the whole weekend of techy professional development. A little out of my comfort zone, I sat down in my first session, entitled “So You Want to Go Paperless?” With the opportunity to follow along on my device I gained many skills, which is the telltale sign of an effective PD experience! The next 7 sessions rolled along quickly as I learned basic skills like setting up groups within GMAIL, to utilizing Google Slides to develop pleasing to the eye publications, as well as slightly more advanced skills like developing templates in Google Docs to promote organized collaboration. My teachers and I are grateful to have gathered skills and ideas, such as going on adventures with Google Cardboard, to take back to our school and corporation!

A Coach’s Perspective
Tammy Younts

I was excited to have the opportunity to attend the Google summit for the first time. Technology is our school-level focus next year. We will be exploring the potential of having more devices in the hands of students and having technology embedded in the way we structure teaching and learning. At the summit, I was able to extend my knowledge in a variety of areas and was amazed at some of the possibilities for connecting students to the world and to each other. I attended two sessions focused on the use of Hyperdocs in the classroom. I appreciated the many resources that were shared and the classroom examples. The session on Google forms opened my thinking to a much wider range of uses for this tool. I plan to share some ideas with both my administrators and teachers about how Google forms can efficiently help you gather data. Finally, I learned more about how Google Classroom can serve as a powerful learning management system. I am already working with a teacher to set up her classroom and begin to experiment with changing both the nature and flow of student work.

A Tech Coach’s Perspective
Sarah Margeson

The Tippecanoe School Corporation has always made professional development a priority for our teachers. When we decided to “go Google” a few years ago, the EdTechTeam conference became part of our routine. This year we were lucky enough to take 46 teachers to the conference. With so many people coming we decided to organize a Google+ community just for this event. We communicated travel plans, offered session suggestions, and had an area for general discussions. This provided a clean platform to organize all the information our teachers needed to feel prepared for the new experience. During the conference teachers were encouraged to take notes on a Google Doc and share it with the group. This helped us see patterns in what our group was interested in learning. Finally, we asked everyone to set a goal after we returned from the conference. What #onenewthing do you want to try? And how can our Connected Learning Team help? These results were shared with our technology team, instructional coaches, and administration. We’re taking these and grouping teachers based on their interest. Teachers will be encouraged to share their experiences with their buildings, as well. As in years past, this conference surpassed our expectations and our teachers were excited to return and try the things they learned over the weekend.

High Ability Teacher
Mayflower Mill Elementary

Assistant Principal
Burnett Creek Elementary

Tammy Younts
Instructional Coach
Klondike Elementary

Coordinator of Connected Learning
Tippecanoe School Corporation

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