Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicago Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer Meet Up 2011

Today I had the chance to meet up with about 16 other Google Apps for Education Certified Trainers at the Google Chicago office.  After any type of training, conference or workshop I try to come away with a BIG 3 so I can really focus on three things I learned and can put into action.  Unfortunately, because of Non-Disclosure I can’t share all the really exciting things that are on the Road Map for Google Apps for Education, but know that we were all really excited about the enhancements down the road for GAFE.  With my BIG 3 I try to have 1 thing I can do on Monday, 1 thing I can do in the next few months, and 1 thing that I’ll do when I get around to having a little time on my hands.

BIG 3 from the May 2011 Google Apps for EDU Certified Trainer Meet Up

1. Apps Scripts- I wrote my first Google Apps Script which was really cool, but I learned that there are templates for Scripts just like everything else Google.  There is an amazing mail merge script that takes a persons name, address and email and creates a mail merge with a personalized map and directions to a location, like a meeting or event.  Here is the template gallery for Apps Scripts.
My #1 of my BIG 3 is to explore the template gallery for scripts.  Their motto... “Don’t hate...automate.”

2. The Creek Squad was a video shown by the #appsct trainers from Iowa who have empowered 7th and 8th grade students to be Google Apps trainers for the teachers in their building.  These students are experts in Google Apps and help to train teachers how to leverage the power of Google Apps.  They have even been asked by other districts to train teachers in the deployment of GAFE.  Google is going to be releasing a video showcasing their “Creek Squad” success.  My #2 is to help empower students to be the trainers and leaders in helping teach teachers about technology and the power of technology in learning.  In Edina, we have recently launched a “Smart Bar” which is tech support and training by students for teachers.  Because of the “Creek Squad” video I’m excited to see the potential of this group in how they lead the way with technology in Edina.  Never underestimate the power and influence of students.

3.  So this is a strange #3 but as I was using the bathroom at Google during a break I found that I spent a few more moments in the stall than usual.  Now you may be thinking this is a strange thing to be sharing on a blog, but what kept me in the stall was something called “Learning in the Loo.”  I was reading some REALLY great tips on how to manage my gmail better on a flyer that was hanging on the back of the stall I was in.   Learning in the Loo really is a great strategy as you’ve got a very captive audience!  I would love to send out a few flyers throughout the year for the teachers to put in the student’s stalls and for me to put in the staff bathrooms.  So, sometime in the next school year I’d love to start Learning in the Loo at Edina.  

All in all, the #appsct was a great meet up because of networking face to face with so many people that you “know” virtually.  The side conversations, lunch chat and beverage at Harry Carry’s was so beneficial to the hard work we all do in helping teachers and students leverage the collaboration and communication power of Google Apps.  I’m excited about the launches that are just around the corner and in the future for the Google Apps suite.  I’m also really proud of my Edina teachers and students and the amazing ways that they are using Google Apps for Education for learning, networking, communicating, publishing and collaborating. 
Molly and Andy 1/2 of the Central GAFE Users Group Facilitators

More photos from the Google Chicago Office

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