Google Teacher Academy

So what are you doing for your Easter holidays? On 3rd April, I’m packing a suitcase and heading over to London to the Google Teacher Academy. Over two days, I’m going to be trained up on everything Google and will come home with a brain full of ways to use Google in Education. My hope is that I’ll be able to give talks, courses and all sorts of other ideas to teachers around the country. I am a big fan of Google and their attitude towards education. Although they are a huge multinational mega-corporation and make billions, they offer almost everything they run to educational establishments for free. Really free.
To get to the Google Teacher Academy, I had to make a video and fill in a rather long application form. I was fighting for one of the 50 places available  so was thrilled when my application was successful. Making a one minute video to show how I have used Google to motivate children to learn seemed straight forward enough. In the end it took be the best part of two days to get it right. My first attempt, (which has been consigned to the folder titled “How not to make a video”) had me trying to be very clever. I decided I would stand in front of a green screen and talk about all the stuff I’d done with Google Apps to help motivate children to learn. With the script written, the green screen in place and me pumped up for action, I switched the video camera on and froze! I have never seen myself look so awkward and when I showed Rozz the final take, she paused and began, “Don’t take this the wrong way…”
Below is my second attempt, which I’m a lot happier with even though it took me five hours to do it!
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scm69P_Dwl0
There are two other Irish teachers coming along to London for the event so I’m really looking forward to collaborating with them when we come back. We’re all based in different parts of the country so using Google’s tools will be an absolute necessity (Google Hangouts, I’d imagine!)
One of the main things I want to get from GTA is how to use the newer Google stuff, for example Google+. I have to admit it’s something I keep trying to get into but keep failing. I have taken part in a couple of Hangouts and have interacted on the timeline but still keep going back to Facebook. Even though I have the app on my phone, it isn’t one of my “everyday apps” and I only check it when I’ve absolutely nothing else to do in a long queue or a lecture.

Image from Google Teacher Academy (http://www.google.com/educators/gta.html)

However, I’m going in with no agenda – an open mind – because, from talking to past participants, there is so much about Google products that I don’t know. One such allumni asked me did I think I knew about searching on Google itself. I think I do. I know about using tildas, question marks and quotation marks to search for stuff but I bet I’m going to be blown away by other features.
Already there are participants who have created really nice web pages to help foreigners like myself find the Google Academy. They have started organising meetups the night before and there has already been a couple of hangouts on Google. Twitter has also been awash with useful hints, tips and advice about what to expect. I imagine by the time we all start, we’ll be introducing ourselves by our real names and our Twitter handles.
With just over a week to go, the excitement is building. I always look forward to my school holidays but this time it’s for very different reasons. This should be the best Easter holiday ever.
Featured Image: Copyright All rights reserved by hcuevas_98

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