Just spent 2 incredible days of learning and connecting at Google Apps for Education Summit Tokyo. The theme was Passion, Play and Purpose. How do we bring those into the classroom? The Keynote speakers: Rushton Hurley, Jim Sill and Wendy Gorton were very inspiring. Also enjoyed sessions by each of them and a few other presenters: Linda Hayakawa and Kaori Hakone, Travis Ion and Chris Smith.
“Technology in the hands of a good teacher can make great things happen.” by Rushton Hurley the creator of Next Vista for Learning. His website is well worth exploring along with his Free resources. Technology levels the playing field and we have to accept that sometimes our great ideas will bomb, but with the students’ input we can work to create something even better the next time. Rushton also did a workshop on Getting Teachers to Go Google – What to do and not to do. He used an analogy from the theme song for Beverly Hillbillies.
Jed and his family moved to Beverly Hills, but fundamentally didn’t change. Am I moving forward? Or am I holding on to ideas and ways of doing things that need to change with my new environment. I need to stay true to myself, but am I willing to try some of the new fangled gadgets that could and will make parts of my life easier or am I just going to keep on doing it the way I’ve always done it because it is familiar and easy?
Rushton reminded us that it really isn’t about the technology but about exploring and connecting with our students and possibly other staff members. We all know that our schools and our own teaching can use improvement but when we talk of “changes” many people become fearfully. Respect that fear and allow lots of opportunities to play. One other analogy he made was of a red button. A child will push it to see what happens, adults will ask “What does it do?” before pushing it. We all need to find that inner child. I can relate to that as for a long time I was reluctant and scared to “try” new things on the computer. I had a bad experience that I wrote about here. In the last year and a half with the encouragement of Coetail I’ve taken on many new challenges with technology. In fact, next school year I will be the elementary technology facilitator for my school.
Jim Sill was the keynote speaker this morning. He played Madonna’s song, Material Girl. What kind of world are we living in today? A Twitter World, An Instagram World, A YouTube World, GoPro World. What kind of world do you live in? How can I foster creativity in my students? Sir Ken Robinson states, “We teach creativity right out of kids.” Young children come to school believing they are great artists and well they should. We are all created in the image of God, God is the creator of all things and it was good! How would you fill in the blanks:
We are living in a ___________world & We are ______________ girls/boys.
Wendy Gorton is a lady with an incredible amount of energy and passion for helping others to learn and be connected. Her passion is infectious and even though she speaks like a bullet train, the learning happens. I got good resources and ideas. I look forward to sharing some of her resources with others as they fit into the curriculum.
Some of the workshops also gave me practical help in creating forms, documents and wikis. One form I created was
I have 8 responses already that I look forward to sharing with my students and then having them fill out the same form. I still need to figure out how to create something from the spreadsheet and answers but that will be for another day. Thank you to Chris Smith for the ideas and time to play.
The one bad point of the whole weekend was that I have laryngitis and was not able to talk with anyone. I’m glad for twitter and a pen and paper. If you have the opportunity to attend a Google Apps for Education Summit I would HIGHLY recommend you attend and if possible take along a few colleagues. I’m glad for my Coetail cohorts I could reconnect with but was lonely being the only one from my school. Next time, I’m taking someone or more that one with me!