Skip to main content

Google Teacher Academy - first thoughts

Henry is down for his nap, so it's time to get some first thoughts down. There is a lot to think about! I want to preface this post by reminding readers that I believe that everyone should be using the best tools to support learning in their local context. This may mean Google, Microsoft, Apple or Bic ;-) Indeed, this image was used during the day and reminds us that we have to constantly dip into our learning toolbox - that even includes getting outside once in a while! This post goes on to describe how we can attempt to evaluate and prioritise the learning that took place.
Although the day was inspiring, engaging, motivating and enjoyable (and many other things) and Google tools can be very powerful in supporting learning. However, as a responsible educator I find that I do have to remind myself of the limitations. These limitations should be communicated to young people. For example, Google Squared draws upon Wikipedia and the News draws upon selected media sources. I'm not saying that we shouldn't use either of these tools, but just be aware of their limits! (I think both tools have excellent applications for learning)

Anyway, I want to move on to the positive! The biggest learning moment for me (apart from the fact that all Google employees talk very, very fast) came right at the start of the day when Mark Wagner shared Google's philosphy during the opening stages. I have embedded the presentation below, it can also be found here and I have taken out two slides in order to support my points.


Mark shared Google's company philosophy (full details can be found here).

He then went on to apply them to education:
I found this very powerful and reflective of my own philosophy of what education should be. It struck me that there is nothing particularly new or controversial there either. Some main implications for me include:
  1. Including some 20% time into the next staff Inset and into lessons - at least on a trial basis.
  2. Develop co-construction of some aspects of the curriculum with students and get them to run Inset sessions to all staff.
  3. I know that most learning takes place outside of school, and certainly outside of our geography department, so I need to develop better ways in which to encourage and support learning away from school.
  4. The 'Lead Learners' tag has an important role: no one presented themselves as an expert just some people with a story to tell about using Google tools. This is a shift away from the gatekeeper of knowledge that teachers often see themselves as - it's time to let go and become learners with our colleagues (I intend to include staff and young people by using that term) when it's appropriate. Imagine the fun that we could have!
Of course, a huge range of tools were presented to us, and there is a need to evaluate and play with these a little before sharing some of their potential uses. One tool that I have used for a few years now that has helped me to evaluate any new tools is the circle of unconfusiness. I shared how the circle may be used on the GTA Posterous blog.

And all of that in the first 20 minutes. You can imagine the fire hose of ideas that followed!

Comments

  1. Ooohhh, this is deep. There's an interesting correlation between you as a teacher and Google as a company. Whereas the majority of large business nowadays tend to be overly serious about everything they do, Google never seems to be afraid of being informal; kicking back, relaxing, and making their services fun to use! In a similar way, while most teachers just drone on about boring facts, you tend to make it a fun experience. And while it's good to be serious about things sometimes, adding a fun curvature to anything will always make it more appealing. Now that I'm out of Priory, I do hope you carry on teaching like you taught while I was a student there. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoyed reading your reflection of #gtauk. A year ago I attended the GTA in Boulder, Colorado. I had a similarly excellent experience.

    I would like to welcome you to the GCT community. It's a great group!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cheers for your comment Steve. I will do all I can to keep doing what I did :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. jrsowash - thanks for your comment! I hope to one day travel to the States and Google HQ :-)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

#GAConf22: A paradigm shift for anti-racist, decolonised teaching and inclusion

 " You can't start a fire,  You can't start a fire without a spark" Bruce Springsteen.  Well, it's been a fair while since I felt the motivation or the need to blog. Whilst not a story for now, over the past five years I've danced along the knife edge and, often, the call of the abyss has been both tempting and compelling. Certainly, my failing in both my personal and professional life have been numerous. But. This is not about me, but the people that have (re)ignited the spark to the fire in my soul. I realise that this is from the perspective of a privileged, white, middle class male view. I even have a beard. I am scared of getting it wrong on this topic. Teach me if I am wrong, it is from the position of a learner. I was looking forward to the GA Conference this year, the first face to face since 2019. I have to say that Alan , as president, and the Geographical Association's team did a fantastic job at being inclusive. The hybrid format allowed peopl

What makes a learning experience profound? Personal reflections and possible implications for classroom practice.

I have recently begun a Leadership Pathways journey.  As part of the first core day, we were asked to reflect on a profound learning experience. This got me thinking about how many profound learning experiences I have both been involved in, and how many I have been able to give to others.  Our group came up with a huge long list, but these are my five. Emotional Connected Demanding Reflective Collaborative As always, these are personal thoughts and quite mixed up.  I put them here so that I can look back on them (plus they’d get lost inside my world-cup-free brain) 1. Emotional I can’t think of a time where deep learning hasn’t engaged my emotions.  From being awe inspired to that tingle feeling when a student gets a light bulb moment.  From this-is-the-happiest-day-ever, to I-think-I’m-about-to die.  How often do we engage the emotions of those we teach?  Here, I would argue that having a safe learning environment is not always conducive to profound

Trust and support our school leaders, the role of the governing body in the Covid times

One of the roles that I love is being the Chair of a Governing Body.  The aim of this post is to share what we are doing, as a Board, during these difficult time.  I will refrain from commenting on the role of the Government, DfE and local authority as I intend for this to be both a positive and useful post. What is clear is that governing bodies have a crucial part to play. I am grateful both to the brilliant Clerk and the National Governance Association whose Covid advice pages are fantastic. Firstly; from the outset, the brilliant leadership team that I work with have my unwavering and public support. Regardless. As this is a fast evolving crisis, often with pages of advice, guideline and directives to decipher and digest on a daily basis. As such, the role of governing bodies is twofold: 1.  to prioritise the providing of support to the Headteacher and all colleagues in the school, and 2. to allow them to get on with operational matters and decision making. The role of