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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Paying Forward My Learning from #GAFESummit

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend #GAFESummit in Connecticut.  Yes, you read that right. I had the opportunity to drive 4.5 hours each way and spend the weekend at a conference.  I value my learning because when I didn't, it almost caused me to give up my career (read about that here: blog).  I want to pay forward all of my learning so it doesn't die with me.  Here is a quick recap of the weekend of learning and rediscovering techniques, tools and resources:

Saturday started off with a keynote from Chris Craft (@crafty184) that not only made us laugh and think, but challenged us to engage and inspire our students to give back to those that need us the most.  If you can engage "students to help someone else build their masterpiece, they can then begin to see the value in building their own."  This really resonated with me and is something I will carry with me as I go back to work on Monday.  If you have an opportunity to see or hear him speak, don't miss it.  You won't regret it.

I then went to my first session wondering what all I would be learning about and before the session even started, I rediscovered Let Me Google That For You .  I came across this before, but never really understood just how useful it would be in my part time gig as Tech Integrator.  For example, anyone ever ask you how to make something public on the web and you type out the directions and then 10 more people ask you?  How about using and here are now step by step instructions that you can either send a link to or print out for someone.  How about making a Google Sheet or Smore or Google Newsletter and housing all of those resources and then they are at your fingertips (and maybe the finger tips of those people asking you 123 times how to do that?)

The first session started and before Jeff Heil (@jheil65)  even introduced himself, he handed out three tips, one of which, I wound up using the rest of the weekend.  Pinning a tab is something I knew about, but forgot about and considering I currently have 37 (not an exaggeration) tabs open, it came in handy big time! Pinning a tab makes it so that you can't accidentally close the tab while you are working on other tabs. Definitely helps when you are multitasking.  Anyway, back to our presenter, Jeff, it would turn out I would go to all 6 of his sessions because he really is THAT good!  I could sit and learn from him as a full time job!  I linked his resources to his name at the beginning of this paragraph and I cannot understate just how many nuggets are in each of the links on his Summit page (linked above).  He has everything from My Maps (which by the way might be my new favorite thing after the quiz feature in Forms), to Forms, to deep dive tricks in Google Docs, to apps, to Genius Hour and sooooo many more.  I am so thankful that I was able to learn from (and not be accused of stalking) him this weekend! :)

I left Saturday exhausted and with a learning concussion for sure!

Our day started off by hearing from Kern Kelley (@kernkelley) and he made me think about our use of technology and the student's perspective when they use technology in the classroom.  He also made us laugh a lot when thinking about how much technology has changed in our lives.  He talked about his Tech Sherpas (student tech team) and it made me double down on my efforts to make this work at our school again this year.  I started one at our school last year and we were small but mighty.  This year, I would like to make it more usable for the student body as well as for teachers.   His book The Google Apps Guidebook (which he wrote with this Tech Sherpas) is already on my Kindle and half read.  I can't wait to put some of the ideas into play in my classroom.

I then went to a Forms session with @jheil65 again and it really got me thinking about how I use Forms and how, although I am using it everyday and using the data from it everyday, I am not even scratching the surface of what I can be using it for.  I typically leave bell ringers up for the students to use as a review technique, but why not turn on the quiz feature and then allow them to use it as an actual review where they get feedback if they are answering it correctly, without me having to micromanage it.  I am now going to use it every day in Quiz format so they get feedback.   I am also going to go back to Flubaroo (an add on in Sheets) to not just grade the information but to send the students an email with their results.  I am also going to have my students put their Inquiry answers to the evidence questions in a Google Form so that, after I have added Autocrat as an add on, will create a Google Doc for the students so they can see how their evidence can easily be made into an essay type response to the compelling Inquiry question.  I will probably only do this once or twice since I want them crafting it themselves, but it shows them how important their answers to the guiding questions are and how well constructed evidence collection can basically write your response for you.

Other resources you might want to check out:
Assessing with Forms and Flubaroo by Don Vallera (@mrvallera).
Googlifying Your Classroom by Jay Salerno (@jaysal7)
Designing Lessons with GAFE by Jeff Heil (@jheil65)
Game of Forms by Jeff Heil (@jheil65)
Forms 101 by Jeff Heil (@jheil65)
Haaaaaave You Met My Maps? by Jeff Heil (@jheil65)
Earthcast where you can look at live stream from the ISS.  Thank you to @kernkelley for this resource
Primarily Google by Susan Stewart (resources on how to use Google in primary classrooms)
Getting Geeky with Google by Chris Craft (@crafty184)

As you can see, this weekend was unbelievable!  I challenge you to seek out an opportunity to attend a #GAFEsummit.  You will not regret it!

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