My Aha! Moment of the Day February 27, 2009

The picture taking MACHINE - Kevin Jarrett
The picture taking MACHINE - Kevin Jarrett

I really thought that my Aha! Moment regarding the reload was going to be that it was worth all the time it took to help plan it. During the months leading up to the Google Teacher Academy Reload for the 2nd Cohort I came to know Cristin Frodella, Product Marketing Manager, Apps – Education Edition, Google a little more as she turned down some of my ideas for sessions. My mind went crazy with making sure the Cohort was kept up to date, that the Agenda was populated with the resources from the presenters I had asked to share that day. There was so much to be packed into 2/27/09, yet plenty of time for the educators to socialize and network with each other.

There were countless moments during the day that could have counted as my Aha Moment.

It could have been having been completely distracted as Kevin Jarrett surfed on http://FailBlog.org using his Broadband access as I ignored my GPS and made every wrong turn possible heading into NYC early Friday morning. (That was a first for me – being in the car with someone surfing the Net on their laptop – I so wanted Kevin to be the one driving.)

It wasn’t the fact that the Google Teacher Academy is a wonderful opportunity and continues to be fulfilling as I already knew that or I wouldn’t have offered to help organize the day.

It’s not the experience of going to the Google building in NY. We joke about the micro kitchens, game room and the services that go along with being employed by Google, but the most enticing element of being there is the level of energy. I think I already knew that. I just needed a reminder. (I could take another reminder anytime.)

And then the presentations that I had seen ahead of time came to life. I thought for sure that these would contain my Aha! Moment as each contained a piece of knowledge that captured my interest – too many to list here.

It wasn’t the Monster Milk Truck from Jerry Crisci.

It wasn’t the Google Bunch Video from the Sitterleys.

It wasn’t seeing the definition of  Copyright from Kristin Hokanson.

It wasn’t the Ocean Layer in Google Earth 5 from Bruce Poldermanlealia

It wasn’t that Nancy Sharoff aka Laelia Laval wore purple hair in real life to match her purple hair in Second Life or that 17 GCTs completed this Google Form during the 30 minute demonstration to either be a Buddy in SL or that they wanted a Buddy in SL to help build the presence of GCTs in the virtual world.

It was the Web 2.0 Smackdown. Just when I thought everyone was completely exhausted and that their brains were on overload and that I had kind of ruined the mood of the room with a failed attempt at leading a question and answer period using Google Moderator, I announced the Smackdown. I wasn’t sure it was going to go well. I figured there were three things working against a successful Smackdown:

  1. Comments from the attendees that they were unprepared as they were unaware this type of activity was going to happen at the Reload.
  2. The Web 2.0 Smackdown was scheduled at the end of a rather long day.
  3. What I thought was a bad feeling in the air due to a failed attempt to use a piece of technology I was not that familiar with. (But hey, who knew I was leading the day? I was only supposed to HELP!)

Here is a list of the tools that were demonstrated. They weren’t all Web 2.0, but it wasn’t about that, it was about sharing tools that we liked and we wanted to share with our GCT colleagues. Even Barry Bachenheimer who had been fighting laryngitis all day wanted a second turn. But we had to bring the day to a close.

  1. http://www.polycom.com/global/documents/support/user/products/video/pvx_quicktips.pdf
  2. http://makeownringtone.com/
  3. http://p22.com/musicfont/
  4. http://www.livescribe.com
  5. http://play.typeracer.com/
  6. http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/index.htm
  7. http://camfrog.com/
  8. http://scratch.mit.edu/
  9. http://mywebspiration.com/
  10. http://issuu.com/
  11. http://www.xtranormal.com/
  12. http://www.voki.com/

I love the enthusiasm. I love the collaboration. I love the willingness to try to new things and to learn from one another.

You just can’t beat that. That was my Aha! moment. What a way to end the day.

Image Source: KJarrett's Flickr Stream
Image Source: KJarrett's Flickr Stream

French Fries for the Brain

gyag-bgbag-bobvyegrb-bggoyoggylger

Or so I thought. I figured this one would take me no time at all.

I was honored when Dean Shareski asked me to do a quick presentation for his pre-service students this coming week along with the pre-service students of Alec Couros. Well, in typical Lisa fashion, I got caught up in what should have taken me an hour or so to prepare. I’ve presented on Google Apps, Tools, Resources, however you want to phrase or look at them, dozens of times. But every time I prepare for a presentation I get caught up in all of the fantastic resources out there. I am proud to be part of the Google Certified Teacher network, but there are also other extremely innovative educators out there who have resources to share. It’s difficult to keep up with the resources educators have created. What I thought would be just another review of a past presetnation and a look through my bookmarks ultimately turned into an entire Sunday Google Fest, 3 cups of coffee and anything but french fries for my brain. (Add in glare from husband and two children.)

So, how do I wrap this all into a neat 45 minute package? At least when I prepare for the Google Teacher Academy and only have 20 minutes, it’s for ONE specific tool. Dean wrote that he was “thinking of things like iGoogle, docs (including forms) Notebook (although I see they may not be supporting that anymore) Picasa or any other key educational tools, tips or tricks. It’s your show.” Those of you that know me know that I have a certain, should we call it, enthusiasm, for what I teach. I could spend 45 minutes alone on just saying hello to the class. So I chose to create a new presentation that focused in on the 6-application suite of Google Apps Education Edition. Of course, by doing so, I was leaving out iGoogle and Google Reader, so I also addressed those tools.

Never mind the fact that this was the last weekend before Educon, I wanted to dedicate some time to continuing my UDL Toolkit for a group of educators I’m working with on Wednesday and I’m mentoring some teachers with their SMARTBoards this week as well (and this is the schedule I’ve been given):

  • Period 1 4th grade general studies
  • Period 2 Set up and questions
  • Period 3 Using the SMARTBoard with K-2 students
  • Period 4 General technology questions
  • Period 5 Foreign Languages
  • Period 6 Middle School English
  • Period 7 Middle School Math
  • Period 8 Science K-8
  • Period 9 5th grade general studies

Having said all of this, thanks to Dean and Alec, I’ve gathered some really great resources on using Google Apps and Google Apps – Education Edition. Some I already had in my Diigo / Delicious (I maintain both). Some were new to me and I’m so glad to have found them. I don’t know if we’ll get to these resources during my time with the pre-service classes Wednesday night, but I will be able to point the students here to check them out and I wanted to share them with all of you as well.

Have some others to share? Please leave a comment. Thanks!

These two articles are worth a read, if you haven’t already:

Colorado State University Partners with Google to Enhance E-mail and Collaboration Services
http://newsinfo.colostate.edu/index.asp?url=news_item_display&news_item_id=979928202

Go Ahead and Blog; the Experts Would Approve
http://www.techlearning.com/article/8908

These resources developed about Google Tools are phenomenal:

A comic book by Kern Kelley
Google Tools Comic Book

Google Earth is our Paper: A Five Part Series by Tom Barrett

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3
  4. Part 4
  5. Part 5

Google More – a wiki created by Mark Wagner
http://googleined.wikispaces.com/

The Google Almanac by Kyle Brumbaugh, Jerome Burg, Cheryl Davis, and Kathleen Ferenz
http://sites.google.com/site/gctalmanac/

Not sure where to start: Try with one of these 40 ideas: https://sites.google.com/site/thingstolearnwith/

Another PD Site by Cheryl Davis https://sites.google.com/site/classlearningnetwork/Home

The Google Learning Institute Comes to Rutgers University

gli

Search, learn, share – the GLI has made it to the East Coast!!!

Brought to you by the producers of the Google Teacher Academy, the Google Learning Institute (GLI) introduces participants to innovative ways Google tools can be used in education. A full day of fast-paced presentations and hands-on activities includes experience with advanced search techniques, collaborative web-based applications, and inspirational instructional strategies. Google Certified Teachers share ways they’ve implemented tools such as Google Docs, Google EarthGoogle Sites, and… even more. Participants who complete the event are given access to the Google Learning Network (GLN), an online community focused on supporting educators as they learn more about the power of Google to drive student learning.

uw-stsig

The CMSCE at Rutgers University is partnering with CUE to host this event for NJ educators.

Scholarships to this professional development event are available from such companies as Keyboard Consultants and Impact Technologies. Just submit this quick application after registering for course # 032609a and you’ll be notified by March 1, 2009 whether you have been awarded one of the available scholarships. (Please contact me directly if you have any questions or you are interested in sponsoring a NJ educator, school or district at this special event.

 

Update to this post made on 1/29/09: A second Google Learning Institute will be held at the Busch Campus Center at Rutgers University on May 28, 2009. You can register for this event by going to http://cmsce.rutgers.edu.

Gearing up for the GTA NYC

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com
Source: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com

I am psyched!

The New York City Google Teacher Academy is this Tuesday, November 18. Though a large percentage of attendees are from the New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia area, many are also coming from Florida, Maine, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Kentucky, to name a few.

Cohort 6 adds 60 new Google Certified Teachers to our growing group of committed educators bringing the total number of GCTs to about 300. I’m looking forward to working again with Erica Hartman, Mark Wagner, Kern Kelly, Cristin Frodella and Allison Merrick as we had a blast at the September GTA. Also presenting this time are Jesse Spevack, Thomas Cooper and Kathy Schrock who I am looking forward to having the chance to work with.

I’ve added some additional Google Sites to the list of exemplar Sites in my Tech Tools rotation since the Chicago GTA. There are some that I removed. The only reason for that was because their documents were not public, so the attendees at the Academy could not view them. Here’s my presentation and the resources I will be sharing.

Click to view the presentation.
Click to view the presentation.

GCT Google Sites Resources:

Exemplar Google Sites:

Kathy Schrock is also presenting on Sites. I LOVE the title of her Inspiring Idea: “Ex-SITE-ing Google Sites for the Classroom”. Kathy will be talking about how Nauset Public Schools are using Google Sites to improve teaching and learning.

The agenda from the Chicago GTA is live right now and Tuesday morning, the NY agenda will become live as GCT’s are known for their collaboration.

I’m sure we’ll be Tweeting, Plurking. and Facebooking all day. Pictures are a no-no inside Google, but we’ll manage to get some at the informal gatherings before and after. 🙂

If we haven’t met before and you’re there on Tuesday, please make sure to introduce yourself. I like to make the face-to-face connection along with the collaboration online. Thanks in advance!

The Six Degrees of GCTs

You may be familiar with the game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”. The challenge of the game is to connect every film actor to Kevin Bacon in six cast lists or less. The game was developed in 1994 by some students at Pennsylvania’s Albright College. Today, it exists in several formats including a board game and a web site generator.

6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon Generator
6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon Generator

It all started in 1967 when  Stanley Milgram, an American Sociologist decided to test what he termed the “small-world problem”. He randomly chose a few people in the mid-West and had them send packages to complete strangers in Massachusetts. Each package had an ultimate target destination, which Milgram estimated it would take hundreds of exchanges to reach, but the experiment proved him wrong.  The packages arrived to their pre-determined recipients in (on average) between five and seven exchanges. According to articles published on Milgrim’s experiment,  his findings inspired the phrase “six degrees of separation.”

Lots of others have jumped on this craze though.  There’s John Guare’s play, Six Degrees of Separation which premiered in 1990. There’s also the movie by the same title released in 1993.

In August 2008, Microsoft set out to test the theory of the 6 Degrees of Separation. Using data from their Microsoft Messenger instant-messaging network in June 2006 (equivalent to roughly half the world’s instant-messaging traffic at that time):

  1. They looked at 180 billion different pairs of users in the database
  2. They found that the average length to connect two users was 6.6 hops
  3. 78 per cent of the pairs could be connected in seven steps or fewer

And then there’s the 6 Degrees of Wikipedia.

I choose to go from Google to Education and these were my results:

I would need only 2 clicks – – Google – – Ann Arbor, Michigan – – Education

6 Degrees of Wikipedia
6 Degrees of Wikipedia

6 Degrees of GCTs
There are now over 250 GCTs and we’re about to welcome 50 more. How are we all connected to each other? Before we used Social Bookmarking tools like Delicious and Diigo and Social Networking tools like Twitter, Plurk and Facebook would it have taken 6 hops to get to each other? Maybe. But I think we’ve got a really strong network of dedicated educators who need maybe two hops at the most to reach each other. I’m really proud to be part of such a strong community.

cert_teacher1

By the way, for those of you who were asking about the video I created for my application back in 2007, the old link is active, but it doesn’t come up in any search queries. I’ve re posted it here.