Wednesday, October 17, 2012

GAFE Summit 2012

During the holidays I had the opportunity to attend the Google Education Summit at Albany High School.  It was the first GAFE held in New Zealand and it was an awesome day of sharing and learning.  Albany High is an impressive school - that boasts amazing open learning spaces.

First session up I attended a session with Lenva Shearing looking at Teacher Dashboard created by Hapara.  It's an add on for Google Apps that allows you to manage your Google Apps environment easily.  Through the system it allows you to see work that students have completed and when.  It also allows for ease of accessing documents as the teacher rather than students having to share items or move things around.  There are some great features that help with the use of google docs such as the roll over feature - where you roll your mouse over an item to see a quick thumbnail of the document.  Simple by effective tools that help streamline the management of multiple documents in the classroom.
As part of the process Hapara help with set up - organising folders and more how you want them ready for your roll out.  The process allows for this to happen for one class or a whole school.  To find out more check out their website here.

Session 2 was the presentation of Helen King, an amazing teacher from Pt England School who uses movie making among other tools as strong hooks for her learners.  You can see examples of students work through their class blog PESKings.  It was awesome to see her passion for teaching and her students as she talked about her students and what they did in their class on a daily basis.  I was interested in hearing about the philosophy and ideas around their CyberSmart programme and the different elements that are contained inside this.  I always love the chance to explore other teachers classrooms and hear or talk to them about the things happening inside them.  It was an awesome opportunity to hear about daily life in Helen's class.

In session 3 we geared up with Google to look at training opportunities that Google presents to teachers and educators around the world.  We had a chance to talk to Wendy Gorton about resources, the Google Teacher Academy and more.  A highlight was finding out more about the Google Apps Training Centre where you can go through a series of online modules to become a Google whizz - would definitely help develop key knowledge around Google Apps and it's potential.  Another highlight was the Google Search Curriculum which provides opportunities for educators and students to learn more tips and tricks to become better researchers on the web.

The final session of the day was with Chris Bell looking at 25+ ways to use Google for blended and online learning.  A couple of my takeaways from this session was the snapshot button in Google Docs which allows you to insert images straight from your webcam.  Also the youtube editor which allows you to be able to record straight to youtube and then use the online editor to edit the video to be finished all online.  Also the youtube Schools site that is underway. A great tool that I'm keen have a go with the students - easily created, remixed and published online for sharing.

The day was also filled with lots of other great moments.  Presentations, Google Smackdown and the conversations with the amazing people that were at the day.  The general consensus was that it should definitely return on a yearly basis.

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