Earlier this week the Google Teacher Academy ran for a second UK outing at the new London offices on St Giles High Street. It was a privilege once again to have the opportunity to help plan, organise and be part of the 2 days.
50 educators from around the world came together for some rapid professional learning and discussion and the chance to work alongside Google employees to help make change happen in their communities. These are a handful of my reflections about the 2 days and what the future may hold for the event.
One of the most unique features of the teacher academy is the access to and contribution by Google product managers and employees to the learning. During our 2 day event we had the chance to spend some time in the company of YouTube, Google Docs and Google+ product managers who joined us for hangouts. The Google Docs team were there in force and shared with us some incredible new features to this ever changing tool. Jeff Harris the product lead for Google Docs document, presentation, and drawing editors did some great demos and talked about the future developments of the tool. It is always exciting to have access to this type of group and have them share their expertise with us.
One thing that the GTA did for me was to put the potential of G+ back on the table, not because of any great demo or future road-map session, it was more to do with a group using it loads. There was lots of sharing to just the GTAUK group and so the circles came into their own, I think I will probably spend a bit more time figuring out how best to use it alongside Twitter.
I do enjoy a dose of “whooping” (I suspect you are pleased I didn’t add “cough” to that phrase) to raise the enthusiasm in the room. Don’t get me wrong I am not so keen on the use of the ‘whoop” in cinemas where it doesn’t have much place, but at the GTA the enthusiasm for the learning opportunities we can offer our classes was great. And when you unpick it, that is all it is, an enthusiastic public gesture of our delight for a potential future learning opportunity for our students. Jo Badge describes it as the GTA “philosophy” and in many ways it is important as it kept the energy up – you wonder what the event would be like without the wearing of our emotions on our sleeves. Huzzah!
Reflections from GTAUK participants
Reflections on google teacher academy UK 2012 #gtauk « DrBadgr by Jo Badge.
Learnbuzz reflections on the GTA from Steph Ladbrooke.
Google Teacher Academy: Reflection | Anseo.net from Simon Lewis.
Carry on Learning: GTAUK posts from Sheli Blackburn
The Future of the GTA in the UK
It has been about 5 or 6 years since I began to email Cristin Frodella from Google about bringing the GTA to the UK and it has been great to now see the second event conclude. However this leaves me somewhat pensive about the event over here, the model of organisation and how much more could be done. The bottom line is that I want more of this type of opportunity for UK teachers, not just a few places over the course of 2 years but more like 3 big, full blown academy events every year.
It doesn’t seem that much to ask for UK teachers, who are, in my opinion, one of the most innovative and inspiring communities of teachers in the world. This is what I am pushing for and will do what I can to help make it happen.