Google Apps for Education have matured into a credible, reliable and cost-effect suite of tools that many schools today are embracing. I was fortunate to attend the Google Apps for Education Summit held at the Hong Kong International School in June of 2013 to learn more.

Start Your Engines

The event kicked off with Mark Wagner (@markwagner) sharing data from summit attendees collected via GoogleForms. A small yet very significant task as it gave participants a good sense of the collective skill and experience levels.

Suan Yeo (@suaneu), Google Education Evangelist for Asia-Pacific, opened the summit with a keynote that gave us a glimpse into the vision as Google sees it. He showed a great video promotion of how Glass combined with Hangouts can be used in education. We saw a science teacher wearing Glass visit the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) or Big Bang Machine in Switzerland and beam back live images to a class in the USA via Hangout. Student could participate virtually, posing questions about the machine and science behind it.

We also got to see Googles vision of transforming Malaysian education with the ChromeBook over 4G.  I see this as a definite game changer when you consider the cost of a ChromeBook and truly anywhere connectivity with government-funded cellular data plans.

The Google Apps Graveyard

Creating a Culture of Beta

This was an enduring theme of the second keynote by Molly Schroeder (@followmolly).

Molly emphasised that in the fast changing connected economy it is vital to nurture a culture of innovation and risk-taking in students.  She cited the Impact Project being run at Albany Senior High School in Auckland.

Every Wednesday at Albany is ‘20% time’ where students are free to work on projects of personal interest that are streamed live twice a year.. These projects are framed using Design Thinking – an approach to project-based learning advocated by the Institute of Design at Stanford.

Super Sessions

Google Search for Educators – Mark Wagner

Having recently completed a Ph.D, Mark shared some great strategies for getting the most out of Google Search.  In particularly, he showed how to;

  • use Google Alerts to troll the web for current news and information related to your studies
  • embed an entire GoogleBook on a GoogleSite and search the content of the book quickly
  • use key words in the search bar for quickly getting the results you really want

Gearing up with YouTube: Channels and Playlists – Benjamin Friesen

YouTube has come such a long way and there are now many useful features and extensions educator can use to make content on YouTube more relevant and meaningful.  In this session, Ben modelled how we can;

  • conveniently locate great video content using Subscriptions
  • use that content for differentiated learning when introducing, reinforcing and summarising concepts with students

Freaking Out Over Google Forms – Benjamin Friesen

A very engaging and insightful session,  Ben has a ‘black belt’ in sound pedagogical integration of GoogleForms!  He practiced what he preached by collecting data from the audience immediately and then modelling how to;

  • use new features in GoogleForms such as Date/Time
  • take collected data from GoogleForms, export and integrate directly into GoogleMaps
  • manipulate data with GoogleSpreadsheets

Wrapping it Up

Like most conferences, there’s a lot to absorb in a short amount of time.  Thankfully almost everything that was shared can be found at the official GoogleSite;

Did you attend the summit as well?  What were your ‘take aways’?  Do you have some other hot tips for using GApps in Education?