Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Google Summit Recap

Image Source: https://indiana.gafesummit.com/2016

Better late than never...

I had the pleasure of participating in my second Google Summit in the middle of April. It was a great experience of connecting with educators around Indiana that are passionate about what Google Apps for Education has to offer for students and teachers.

Ultimately, I love going to events like these because it gives me an opportunity to better know my staff. When traveling from building to building, understanding their needs can prove to be difficult. Attending these events proves to be extremely valuable just for the sake of making connections and building trust with staff. Of all people, teachers understand how essential a level of trust is when working with students. Being a resource for teachers is the same.

Earlier this week, I asked my teachers that attended to help out a bit by sharing some of their big takeaways from the conference. I felt this would be more beneficial than my own ramblings of lessons learned. So we'll start with Leslie Lantz.

Leslie Lantz (Angola High School English Teacher)

My favorite session was the Advanced Google Classroom training.  There were a lots of good ideas for how to use Google Classroom such as:
  • Sharing codes with other teachers to get a "glimpse" or "observation" of what they're doing in class, types of assignments they're giving...without having to actually be in their classroom.
  • Give students multiple options of assignments to choose from, rather than a "one-size-fits-all" assignment.  
  • If you have sub plans that don't require "technology"but you want to keep the kids accountable for being productive during class, have them take a picture of their pencil/paper work that they did and upload to Classroom. They won't ever know if you actually looked at it or not, but they will feel like you are going to and may actually work for the sub while you are gone.

Aurdra Morgan (Ryan Park and Carlin Park Elementary Special Education Teacher)

I wasn't sure what I was going to get out of GAFE Summit but I was excited to find out.  I knew I would gain some kind of knowledge to extend to my kids and help their learning.  

My first session was from a lady who taught middle school. She expressed how letting them have a voice was important. I have used socrative.com but not in the way she used it. She used quick question, short answer, to have conversations with her students. She said, "I always have students that don't talk or raise their hand, but when I used this and asked a question, everyone had to respond." I would show the answers (the teacher knew who submitted, but the kids could not see) so that all the students could see everyone's response. Those students that weren't sure what to put, could read responses, learn from others or what she called "crowd-sourcing", and put together a response to submit. THEN, she would VOTE for who had the best response. It pushed students to give their best--she could choose to share who wrote it or just go on with the lesson.

I used this with my students when we were talking about fairy tales. They LOVED the voting part, but it also benefited the students that might not know what to put. They "crowd-sourced" and were able to put together something of their own. All students were engaged and wanting to be part of this fun way of learning.

Vocaroo.com is a video recording website. It allows for students to record themselves and then they can submit the recording through a classroom assignment. If your class is reading a book and you want to know if they understood Chapter 3 or the beginning, middle, and end of the story, you could ask them to record themselves in less than 30 seconds and then send the link to the teacher. You can listen to the recording, either at school, at home, at a sporting event, etc. and figure out who in the class understands  or needs more help with the chapter or beg/mid/end. This can be done listening to a class of 20 some students in about 10-15 minutes.

Lastly, Googletone Extension is similar to classroom extension, but it will make a sound and the students chromebook/ipad will hear the tone, immediately pop up the website the teacher is on to the students. This is good for younger students that you don't want them to have to type in a long website. It is also beneficial for older students that may be asking questions and needing help to understand a topic. You might be able to Google and send them to a link/website that has the answers.

Laura Covey (Angola Middle and High School ELL Teacher)


I found the Summit beneficial overall. I learned several interesting things, such as more ways to use Google Classroom to make it more effective than just to create lessons and presentations. Helpful Chrome extensions to not only make life easier, but assist my students better and get them up and moving with the Move it! app. I met and made some great professional contacts across the nation to share ideas with and simply connect. I was able to play with some cool gadgets: Little Bits that I made move across the room with my IPhone, and made music with some bananas (Makey, Makey) and an apple coded with my Chromebook. These are just a few examples of the fun packed two days of sessions I experienced. There was also the tasty food provided by Panera, one of my favorite places to eat, and the opportunity to be with my colleagues and just enjoy the time learning.

I have already implemented a few of the things I learned last weekend into my classroom: The Move It! app of course which most of the students love because they get to get up and move. Plus, with the block scheduling, it has been a life-saver! Also, Announcify, which reads the text in articles to students cutting out all of the ads and other articles is very helpful! Another useful app in Chrome, OneTab. I tend to have quite a number of tabs open at a time causing slow motion, I hit one-tab and it closes all of my tabs and puts them into a file where I can click as needed. I showed the students this one as well. As for Google Classroom, I love Doctopus and Goobric, so very helpful when it comes to grading in Classroom.

Julie Rider (Angola High School Art)

I love knowing the extensions: Last Pass, Panic Button, QR reader, how to instantly share to Classroom, Eye dropper (borrowed from Photo Shop) etc. I am still working on getting to know these though. Learning about drones was particularly awesome and the "Sphero" has me thinking of painting applications!

Ashley Overton (Carlin Park Elementary Third Grade Teacher)


As an educator who is striving daily to integrate technology within the classroom, attending the Google Summit encouraged and motivated me to do just that!  The summit allowed me to meet other educators across the state of Indiana in order to witness the numerous ways that educators use GAFE within their classrooms.

While GAFE isn’t something that you can learn in one weekend, and unfortunately for some GAFE may make some educators feel overwhelmed, I left feeling empowered.  Empowered to try new things in order to redefine my teaching and enhance students learning within the walls of my classroom. Teaching in a district that supports 1:1 made me realize just how lucky the students of MSD of Steuben are.

Attending GAFE Summit, opened my eyes to over fifty new applications and extension, currently my most favorite is, Socrative, Padlet, Animoto, Google Earth, Slides, and Google Drawing. The summit also  provided me with numerous presentation tools and resources to help with ideas and new ways of delivery of classroom instruction.

In closing...

I left with a great respect for my teachers. MSD of Steuben County had 14 participants give up their weekend for the sake of improving the learning experience for their students. The dedication they have for this profession is something to be admired. I'm grateful for the opportunities I have to work with them. I hope this post does exactly what Ashley mentioned in her portion. I hope it opens your eyes to ways technology can be a powerful force in the learning experience.

I also hope everyone understands how awesome it is that there is a Bitmoji Chrome Extension now!