There is a certain kind of magic that happens when you put highly motivated, reflective, caring. passionate, envelope pushing teachers in one space. If you multiply that magic by making that space the Sydney headquarters of a small company called Google (keep an eye out for them as they grow), it becomes really special.
I am proud to be able to call myself a Google Certified Teacher after having spent 2 days at the Sydney Google Teacher Academy. I thought I knew a lot of stuff but wow was I wrong!
The day started off with a great breakfast and welcome from Danny, Becky, Allison and Suan our hosts quickly followed by our lead learners showing their skills in a demo slam.
My personal hero and all round clever chap Tom Barrett showed us a great chrome extension which sucks all of your open tabs into one tab to declutter that browser but also allows you to create groups of tabs and export tabs as a list; great way to share a bunch of websites with kids! Check out OneTab here.
Following on from this, the Google scripts Guru that is Jay Atwood, shared LinkClump Chrome extension, a neat tool which allows you to open multiple links from one webpage in a single action; this marries really nicely with Tom's OneTab extension. Jay then went on to show us Timeline JS a site which allows you to pull data in from a Google spreadsheet and create a timeline with it.
Next up was my team leader, the wonderful Chris Bethcher who showed us the YouTube update which allows you to right hand click the videoslider and select "Copy video URL at current time" so you can direct learners to the part of the clip you want them to start watching from. Nice.
Next up the delightful Dorothy Burt showed us how she uses Gmail to post to Blogger - quick and easy! Check out the instructions here.
The wonderful Wendy Gorton then brought us voice comments in Google docs (see a short tutorial here) and the amazing videonot.es which has massive potential and I really like the idea of using it in language learning.
The fantastic Fiona Grant then went on to SLAM us with teacher dashboard for Google apps which looks to have a lot of potential and I need to explore this further (more info here).
The inimitable Jim Sill showed his passion for art, sharing the Google art project full of glorious art and then the eye dropper Chrome extension which allows you to find the colour code for any colour on your screen. Jim then took us to the Colour Scheme Designer which allows you to build colour schemes around a colour of your choice. Jim exemplified this by creating a blog colour scheme based on Starry Night by Van Gogh.
Finally Google's own Sally-Ann Williams presented the fantastic opportunities around the Computer Science for High Schools project and the need to develop more computational thinking in schools.
All of this learining in 10 miutes was mind blowing!
Now part of my inspiration from GTA Sydney was to share what I learn more regularly through this blog so I will leave this post here and put up a new post for each of the sessions I attended over the next few weeks.
Until then, keep on Googling.