Reflections from the Google Innovator Academy

In 6 years as a teacher I have never had a professional development experience as rewarding as this. Especially since the last 3 years have been spent in Turkey with very little in the way of a PD community. The focus of the program is on helping teachers advance their project ideas, however, my big take-away from the time was the networking with other teachers who all have a technological focus in their districts/schools/classrooms.

Beyond that facet of the program, there were things that really stood out to me from each day of the program.

Day 1:

breakoutBreakoutEDU. That is all I really need to say. I was basically the only teacher who had no familiarity with the program prior to this conference.

It is an escape room for your classroom. I have posted about escape rooms before, and I am not shy about telling people that “it is more about the puzzles than the escape” despite how pretentious that statement sounds.

Day 2:

Wesley Chun (@wescpy) gave a talk about Google Apps Script! This is my favorite part of using Google Apps and to hear from someone who creates the kind of add-ons/apps that I am interested in creating myself was incredible. Google Apps Script has been a big part of me learning javascript and other web technologies in the first place. It has been an invaluable resource in my learning, and I am hoping to build my innovator project around it.

Beyond that, he gave a demo of his new add-on for Google Forms that allows you to build a form from a document called GFormIt. It streamlines the entire process of creating a form. This was really cool for me, because I had created a similar add-on months ago just to play around with the Form API and see what was possible.

Day 3:

Have you heard of Google Cardboard??? Virtual reality is coming into the education space in a big way with very cheap VR devices.

I think this is going to completely change the way we take field trips in schools.

Simply put, this was a great experience for me as a classroom teacher, especially as a classroom teacher in Turkey. I work at a school that is certainly not for lack of resources, however, it can feel like teaching on an island.

I would encourage any teacher with an idea for integrating technology and education to start putting together a proposal!