Sunday, September 28, 2008

Google Teacher Academy - Chicago '08

On September 24, 2008 I was privileged to be able to join 50 fellow educators from 17 different states at Google Chicago to take part in the 5th Google Teachers Academy (GTA). Along with “Lead Learners” such as Lucy Gray, Mark Wagner, David Jakes, and Steve Dembo (just to name a few), we spent an incredible brain-packed day, trying to “think different” and expand the learning opportunities for our students with the use of Google Tools.

Tips, Tricks, and Tools:
Use Google’s Advanced Search to search for .kmz files for Google Earth
Create gadgets on your iGoogle page from your Google Reader feeds to create an RSS stream of student blog posts
Use Google Presentations embedded within a Google site and participants can live chat while you are presenting.
Embed Picassa web photos into a Google map

Of course there are a ‘google’ more possibilities...

Some of the most valuable tidbits I brought back with me were more than simply tips and tricks, however. Call it a “Google Philosophy,” or simply being “Googlized”, but these lessons go deeper than the “how to” and more into the “Even More.”

  • Treat your students like adults
  • At least 20% of students’ learning time should be self-directed and laden with choice.
  • An atmosphere of “Fun” is more productive than a classroom of resistance.
  • Creativity should be encouraged at all corners.
  • Wisdom of a team is better than the sole ideas of an individual.
  • Don’t be afraid to “Be the First!”
  • Form connections with those near and far....

The Academy has inspired me to project beginnings and possibilities galore for my students, the teachers I work with, and even my own professional learning journey. Be sure to stay tuned to this blog to follow the progress and the work of those around me each and every day.

I am proud to be called a Google Certified Teacher.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Originally uploaded by kevinzak
Photo by Kevin Zak, TANN Digital Design