Friday, April 22, 2011

Google Teacher Academy - Sydney

I was privileged to meet another fantastic group of educators at the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney, Australia. As always it was a treat to work with Danny, Lisa, Dana, Wendy and Mark.

I had a few take aways this trip. The first was how many participants had already adopted Google Apps for Education in their school or district. Shouldn't have been a huge surprise, but it just shows how quickly and globally the tools have spread.

The other realization I came to has to do more with the Googler's themselves. Our group went on the usual tour of the Google offices which is always full of fun surprises around each corner that make you feel you've stumbled into Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory. Primary colored furniture, ample food and crazy toys abound. How many Corporations have a tire swing in the lobby?
All of this brought me to a realization. A primary trait of Googlers has to be restraint. (I realize that generalizing 20,000 people is sketchy at best.) But, working all day with the pull of such surroundings, one would have to develop the fortitude to manage work and play in a way most of us don't experience. And that brings me to education. Are our students in environments where they are able or expected to develop that aptitude. Sure it's easy not to use your phone in class when you know it's going to be taken away, but what about when you're allowed or expected to use it in class and that doesn't mean texting or playing a game. Would I be able to work in a place where food, furniture and fun were steps away. I think I could now as an adult, but as a 16 year old today? With distraction just a click away, I'm not sure where I would have built the ability to read for almost ten hours (thank you flight from Sydney). I'm not sure yet how I fit this with my daily work with kids, but it's certainly something to think about.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Managing the Syllabus with Sites and Docs

Mr. Prescott talks about utilizing the Google Site that houses our High School Syllabi. Each syllabus is a Google Doc managed by the teacher, department head and principal.

Teachers are able to make changes to their syllabus while allowing easy access to their department heads and principal. Students then can quickly find work they may have missed or look ahead at what's coming next.

For an outline of all the videos in the context of a larger educational framework, please visit:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Horizon Report Discussion on Seedlings 112

An early version of the K-12 Horizon Report is out and I get a chance to discuss it (among other things) with the folks at the Seedlings Podcast. In the conversation is Cheryl Oakes, Michael Richards, Bob Sprankle and Wes Fryer.
Horizon Report 2004-2010 by jochen_robes
Horizon Report 2004-2010, a photo by jochen_robes on Flickr.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Online Tests with Google Forms

A high school teacher talks about using Google Forms to create Self-Correcting Tests.

Here are the templates we use for various tests and quizzes. I think the most important take away from this is not have a test correct itself which is worthwhile for teachers because of the time saved, but for the students to receive feedback soquic timely. Used as a quick and immediate check for understanding from the class. The next step is to analyze the data over time and see trends either by student, unit or range of questions.

For an outline of all the videos in the context of a larger educational framework, please visit:

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Google Docs Collection Management

One of our fifth graders goes over how our students set up their Google Doc Collections (formerly Folders) for the school year.

Once the students and teacher have set up, handing work into their 'virtual inbox' simply becomes as easy as sliding it into a folder (or collection.)

For an outline of all the videos in the context of a larger educational framework, please visit: