The Next Google Teacher Academy – Sydney, Australia

Image Source: http://momoge.com

Google has announced the next Google Teacher Academy.

This time, they will be hosting the resource and networking packed day at the Sydney, Australia offices at 5/48 Pirrama Road

“The Google Teacher Academy is a FREE professional development experience designed to help K-12 educators get the most from innovative technologies. Each Academy is an intensive, one-day event where participants get hands-on experience with Google’s free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in an innovative corporate environment. Upon completion, Academy participants become Google Certified Teachers who share what they learn with other K-12 educators in their local region.”

Event Date: Thursday, March 10th (with an optional half day unconference on March 11th)

Application Deadline: 11:59 PM PST (UTC/GMT -8) on 27 January 2011

Applicants will be notified whether or not their application has been accepted on or before 18 February 2010.

SPECIAL NOTES:

Please read through all the requirements and directions BEFORE completing the application.
Educators worldwide may apply, but must pay for their own travel and lodging.
Previous Google Certified Teachers are not eligible.

Good luck to all those that apply!!

It’s a GTA in the UK

Image Source: http://www.funonthenet.in/

Today, Google announced the next Google Teacher Academy. This time they will be hosting the resource and networking packed day at the London offices at 76 Buckingham Palace Road.

“The Google Teacher Academy is a FREE professional development experience designed to help K-12 educators get the most from innovative technologies. Each Academy is an intensive, one-day event where participants get hands-on experience with Google’s free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in an innovative corporate environment. Upon completion, Academy participants become Google Certified Teachers who share what they learn with other K-12 educators in their local region. “

Event Date: July 29, 2010

Application Deadline: 11:59 PM PDT (UTC/GMT -7), June 17, 2010

Applicants will be notified whether or not their application has been accepted on or before June 24, 2010 PDT.

SPECIAL NOTES:

Please read through all the requirements and directions BEFORE completing this application.
Educators worldwide may apply, but must pay for their own travel and lodging.
Previous Google Certified Teachers are not eligible.

 

What My Droid Does – Part 4

Image Source http://segmentnext.com

I have been traveling quite a bit lately and relying on my Droid to keep me organised, connected and occupied. I also have had the opportunity to tap into many educators in my PLN face-to-face to find out what apps they are using on their Android phones.

I must admit that the only feature I had been missing since switching from Blackberry to the Droid was the ability to tether. A while back I had purchased Tetherberry so that I could pull data from my Blackberry and get access to the Internet on my laptop even when I was not in a wireless environment. When I first purchased my Droid back in November, this was not yet an option, but since browsing the web on it was so easy, I decided it was not a deal breaker.

When I was out in San Antonio a week ago, Cory Pavicich and I spent some time tinkering with our Droids. We were a little frustrated with the wireless at one point during the event we were attending and I noticed that he had Tweeted that he had tethered his phone. I asked what app he was using and he gave me the link to PdaNet. I installed the free version and was tethered to my Droid in just a couple of minutes. Verbiage on their site indicates that you must pay for the full version of PdaNet if you want to browse secure web sites, but I have been able to access both http and https sites with the free version so far. (Note that since I installed this free tethering software I did receive an invitation to download the Android Beta Test from Tether, formerly Tetherberry.)

Image Source http://2.bp.blogspot.com

I learned about Gesture Search from Dana Nguyen, a Googler (someone that works for Google) I have the honor of working with Dana when I present at the Google Teacher Academies. She also has to same Android phone as I do, so I know that I can also count on her for some great tips. You can download Gesture Search in the Android Market or from the Google Labs page. It lets you search your Android-powered device by drawing alphabet gestures on the touch screen. It allows you to quickly find a contact, a bookmark, an application, or a music track from hundreds or thousands of items, all in one place. You must have Android 2.0 or above for this application to work.

Dana also started my quest for the perfect flashlight app. Everyone that owns an Android phone or an iPhone has some variation of a flashlight app. But Dana introduced me to an app that utilized the built-in camera’s flash to shed light rather than the phone’s screen.  My application of choice is the free one called MotoTorch LED

This application will allow you to use the LEDs as a strobe light and as a MORSE CODE sender should you need to. The app is free, but there’s a paid version available in the Android Market as well that is identical, should you want to donate money to the developer.

Another Android user at the Google Teacher Academy for Administrators was Miguel Guhlin.  The first app that Miguel introduced me to that I hadn’t heard of was Handcent. At first I didn’t see the value of using a different SMS app. But then, after a few days of using it, I don’t think I could go back to the texting app that came installed on my Droid. Here are just a few of the features that Handcent offers:

  • Group send SMS
  • Different themes and different conversation bubble styles
  • Additional font packs you can download in the Android Market

Miguel also told me about Bloo. I was asking about an alternative Facebook app and this was what he suggested trying.  So when Corey and I had some down time at ASCD the next day, we both installed and gave it a try.  I did have some trouble as every time I went to went to read a Feed it would ask to “Enable Permission”, but this is addressed on their blog at http://fbandroid.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/i-am-alive-and-so-is-1-4-4/.  I still would like to see Facebook messages handled better, but I’m sure we’ll see that soon.

I certainly don’t want to leave this one out. The next day I went to the circus with my family and I was sharing some of the apps I had learned about with a family friend and he showed me Key Ring by Froogloid. My wallet is much lighter now that I’ve digitized all my discount/reward cards. All I have to do is display the barcode on my Droid and I receive my discount. Check out this video from http://www.wirefly.net/. You just scan your cards and select the store they are from, and you are set to go.

Waiting for the Wave

Image Source: http://content.zdnet.com
Image Source: http://content.zdnet.com

The Google Wave that is.

That’s what I heard many of the new Google Certified Teachers (GTCs) whispering to each other this past Wednesday at the Google Teacher Academy in Boulder, Colorado.

In late May, on the Official Google Blog, Google announced that Google Wave was available to developers to tinker with and that you could sign up for an e-mail alert for Wave’s public launch later this year. (According to TechCrunch, the first 100,000 invites go out on September 30th.)

So, let me explain, in simple terms a little bit about what Google Wave is. It’s about conversation.

There are three key technologies in Google Wave that will make this communication tool more collaborative and efficient than e-mail of the past:

  1. Live collaborative editing means that you see the people in the conversation typing in real-time. (Think of Skype, SMS or other chat programs where you wait for the person to hit enter before you see what they have written.) By the way, this can be with more than one person at a time. So if there are six people in the Wave, you can see anyone who is typing in the conversation. They can also send you a private message.
  2. Natural Language Tools enable you to focus on what you are typing and not worry about any mistakes you might type. Google’s philosophy behind this new technology is that you should be able to type about 5% faster. Google looks at millions of web pages to see statistically how people use language in practice. This works much different than the red and green squiggly lines in a word processing program. Since Wave is web hosted,  it doesn’t matter whether you are on your Smart Phone, laptop or desktop, you will receive these recommendations for grammar and spelling. These language tools will continue improving as we all continue using the web.
  3. Embedding means that you can get the code (html) for your Wave and put it on your website, wiki or blog. You can also add gadgets to your Wave as you would to your iGoogle page.
Image Source http://4.bp.blogspot.com
Image Source http://4.bp.blogspot.com

So, here’s the big question? What are the implications for educators and students?

Don’t let the technical stuff behind Google Wave get you. This is going to be cool. Though I don’t think that it is going to be added to Google Apps Education Edition anytime soon, I do think that Google Wave may just be the answer for those educators that get e-mail, but don’t quite get Google Docs yet.

This mashup of e-mail, IM, pictures, video, maps, maybe a little bit of a Twitter-like app will allow administrators, teachers, parents, even some students to be better communicate with each other. The conversation will be more collaborative when necessary. With Google Wave you can go back and play the Wave again (which many of us need).   This may just be what we’ve all been looking for.

Resources:

Google Wave Developer Blog
http://googlewavedev.blogspot.com/

The Official Google Blog
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/went-walkabout-brought-back-google-wave.html

ZD Net: Meet Google Wave
http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=18817&tag=rbxccnbzd1

TechCrunch: Google Wave Drips with Ambition
http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/28/google-wave-drips-with-ambition-can-it-fulfill-googles-grand-web-vision/

My Plan for a Pocket Clone at NECC09

No Foolin’

She'll be my Pocket Clone during NECC09
She'll be my Pocket Clone during NECC09

This will be my solution. I have been talking with many folks in my personal learning network lately about how to stay on top of things and have been mentioning that I am interested in the concept of cloning. Well…this is my temporary solution.

Don’t judge me.

Think of her as my version of Flat Stanley. I may send her to sessions with a few of my friends and ask that she be photographed so that I know she was there and then view the UStream later so that it was as if I was there soaking up the knowledge myself.

I may keep her in my laptop bag as a backup in case I have over committed myself. I may ask her to hold up my end of the conversation. I’ll just let everyone know that I’m feeling a little tired and quiet ahead of time (like right now).

The point is that we could all use a little help. I’m looking forward to being an observer, a participant, an assistant this go around. I leave tomorrow morning and arrive in DC by mid-afternoon. As I spend my time at NECC and Edubloggercon, these are the things I’ll be thinking about:

July 7, 14 and 21     Keynote for the NJEA Technology Institutes, Stockton University, NJ

July 15 and 16          Google Workshop for Educators, CMSCE, Rutgers University

July 28                       Edubloggercon East, Boston, MA

July 29-31                 Building Learning Communities 2009 (BLC09)

August 5                     Google Teacher Academy, Boulder, CO

What will I take away from the time I spend face-to-face with so many from my PLN in Washington? How will I use what I learn to enrich what I share with other educators over the next few months and beyond? What can I share with them? What can I share with you?

But, please, don’t forget my Pocket Clone.

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

What did you do at work today?

My daughters get confused sometimes about what I actually teach. Even though they’ve been to my office, they know sometimes I’m in a school teaching. They know I also go to school every Tuesday night. So they never quite know how to ask me about my day. Sometimes they ask me how work was, sometimes how school was and more recently they have caught on a bit and have started asking me what age the people I worked with that day were. But that can get tricky too.

This week was long. But amazing.oms_wordpress

Monday AM – I spent my morning here working with middle school students and their teachers on video podcasting. Last year I had helped their wonderful Technology Coordinator, Linda Epps, with the list of software and hardware she would need to purchase to start video podcasting with some of the classes in the school. The grant that Ms. Epps wrote included, as we discussed, professional development for the teachers involved, including in-class coaching with the students. So, on Monday, as part of the final phase we storyboarded, recorded, found podsafe music and made the most of the 60 minute block. I saw four classes that day. One ELL, one math, one reading and one writing. By the end of the day we had established a plan for my return that coming Friday.

schwagMonday PM – I left straight from the school and went into New York to check into The Pod Hotel. From there I took the subway to Google.  Did you know that the footprint of the New York office is larger than 2 football fields? Anyway, I arrived between Eighth and Ninth avenues and 15th and 16th streets to meet with Mark Wagner, Cristin Frodella and Allison Merrick to help set of for the Google Teacher Academy the next day. We filled schwag bags, put out the teacher binders and did anyhting and everything to make sure that we were ready for the 59 prospective GCTS.

Monday 8PM – dinner with all above and the rest of the lead learners. We had a fantastic dinner and it was great to catch up with old friends and have a chance to get a acquainted with new ones.

The Night Before the GTA
The Night Before the GTA

Tuesday 7AM – 9:30PM Google Teacher Academy – It flew by. Before I knew it, the day was over. Each participant went through 6 tech tools rotations, 3 inspiring ideas, a tour of the Google offices, presentations by Cristin Frodella and Mark Wagner with regards to GCT responsibilities and details about Google Apps Education Edition as well as group activities, Office Hours with the Lead Learners and of course trips to the micro kitchens.

Me & Erica Hartman
Me & Erica Hartman
Me and Kathy Schrock
Me and Kathy Schrock
Me and Peggy Sheehy
Me and Peggy Sheehy

Wednesday AMAmerican Education Week – I’m lucky that I can work from home occasionally. I try to once a week to catch up on phone calls and e-mails and to be able to participate in my children’s education. On Wednesday morning from 9:35-10:20, parents of first grade students in my daughter’s school were invited to come in and observe a lesson. I was so impressed with my daughter’s teacher. She kept the students engaged and she obviously had varying levels of abilities in the room and worked her way around during the lesson to try to meet all of their needs. She was patient and nurturing and everything that my husband and I had been hoping for in a first grade teacher for our daughter. My daughter and I both enjoyed having each other there. My visit was extended when her Speech teacher came to get her and one of her classmates for their twice-weekly session. Bonus for me – an additional 40 minutes of school time.  I followed the small group of three as they stopped to pick up two additional students and continued with them as they made their way to a small classroom (or closet). I appreciated the extra time with my little one and look forward to speaking with both of the teachers at parent-teacher conferences.
From Speech I was off to the Scholastic Book Fair and then a quick meeting with the building Principal to talk about the needs of the teachers involved in the Center’s 21st Century Learning Initiative.

Wednesday PM – E-mail, Google Reader, returning phone calls and prep for Thursday PM and Friday.

Thursday AM – I usually get to the my office on campus once a week. If I’m there a second time, it’s usually because I’m teaching a workshop in our lab.   We had a quick meeting Thursday morning, one of consultants came in to borrow some software from me to install on her laptop (it was a legal install) and I tried to go through my snail mail. Thursday was also the Thanksgiving Luncheon at the Rutgers Faculty Dining Hall. So at 12:30, I headed over there with my colleagues and enjoyed a leisurely lunch.

Thursday PM – The 4th in a series of 6 after-school academies at a local (to my house, not to Rutgers) elementary school. At the superintendent’s request, I designed a series of 90 minute workshops to be held after school. One set was for the middle and high school teachers and another for the K-5 buildings. Today, I was excited as the teachers were coming prepared with pre-recorded audio to edit in Audacity and then upload to their Schoolwires pages. I knew the group of 10 or so would come in ready to work as they had been so enthusiastic the weeks prior and I had really enjoyed working with them. I was right. They all left that day with something published.

Thursday 7:30PM – I didn’t think my week could get any better, but it did. For an hour Thursday evening,

Alice Barr and Cheryl Oakes
Alice Barr and Cheryl Oakes

Bob Sprankle, Cheryl Oakes and Alice Barr interviewed me on EdTechTalk. Their Seedlings show airs every Thursday night from 7:30-8:30. I usually listen to it on my iTouch, since that’s when I’m putting the kids to bed, but this time I listened live.  I thoroughly enjoyed talking with them. I hadn’t had the opportunity since BLC08. But I had spoken with Alice and Cheryl at the Google Teacher Academy on Tuesday and we spent some time going through the different events of the day. We also spoke some about Universal Design for Learning and how my Center has been working with some local school districts to bring UDL into NJ. I’m honored that Bob, Cheryl and Alice asked me to join them Thursday evening on Seedlings. I hope they’ll consider asking me back.

Friday – I traveled back to Orange Middle School. I worked with students and their teachers for four 80-minute blocks. The classes were all very different. I think the first may have been my favorite as the teacher was actually not there. I had known ahead of time that he was going to be out of the building, but I had wanted to make sure that were able to finish the project, so had offered to work with the students anyway. Did I mention that over half of them did not speak English? I had a great time. They were so welcoming. They were happy to have someone come in who wanted to work with them. I had a webcam with me and we were using the SMARTBoard and the SMART Recorder and they had a blast. We had to do more takes than usual, most likely because of the pronunciation issues, but other than that, I didn’t notice the language barrier. I modeled everything for them and they followed my lead. They were amazing.
The second and third classes were math and reading and we mostly edited. The filming had been done when I was in earlier in the week. But the students were amazed at how easy it was to mute sound, edit out bloopers and add credits to movies.
The last block was a writing class. The students had all written letters to President-Elect Obama and were filming the last of them as I walked in. I sat down with a few of them and modeled how to convert the videos once downloaded from the video camera and then we started bringing them into Windows Movie Maker. From there they really didn’t seem to need me. I was so happy to see that the students were ready to take on projects like this and that the teachers would be able to continue with their plans as the students would be able to implement them.

By the way, my youngest daughter is in the kitchen as I write this asking what grade I teach. My husband is trying to answer her. She’s five.

I can only hope that every week is as rewarding as this one has been. I consider myself very lucky.