Thursday, August 6, 2009

Search, Learn and Share GTA Boulder 09

I was lucky enough to present at Google Teacher Academy in Boulder yesterday as a Lead Learner; "learner" being the key word because I learned so much and shared so many ideas with new and old Google Certified Teachers and actual Google developers. The presentations by my fellow lead learners (including the Google Lit Trip Guy, Jerome Burg, Lisa Thumann, Kern Kelley, Christine Archer, and Ken Shelton) as well as by Google developers such as Ronald Ho, Aidan Chopra, and Mike Springer were unbelievable and by the far the most inspiring and mind-blowing I have ever seen. In my Docs rotation, at one point I had 4 actual Google Doc team members with me. The pressure was on to impress, but I was blown away by how helpful and receptive they were to educators' ideas. I think they were suprised at students and teachers use Google Apps.
However, my personal "aha moment" occurred when we went on a tour of the Google office (the lobby of this office had a rock wall, pool table, ping pong table, and a Rock Band Competition going in- definitely the most "Googley" lobby I have seen so far). Our tour guide, a member of the Geo Apps Team was asked how one could land a job at Google. Our tour guide told us its easier to get into Harvard than to get a job at Google. Our gracious guide and many of the Googlers reiterated that day that Google is not looking for people that can remember facts, but people who know how to find answers. Right after the tour, Lucy Gray showcased the new Google Search Curriculum and I am definitely going to start out the school year using this - kind of a mini search boot camp. After reflecting on last year, teaching students to search smarter, not harder is definitely on my to-do list for this year. It also made me recall a blog post I shared with my students and their parents last year, "Google's Advice to Students: Major in Learning and Google's Study Tips for Students.
On Wednesday, August 12, 2009 5:00 pm
Pacific Daylight Time, Google is offering a free Webinar on the new Search Curriculum. Check it out!