Saturday, March 29, 2014

Google Power!

A few weeks ago, I got a call from Danny Silva , Professional Learning Coordinator at CUE. He asked me how I was at giving inspirational keynotes. I answered truthfully that I love inspiration, and that I love to write, but that I’d never given one, although I do present quite a bit. It turned out that Dry Creek School District, where I had taught for three years back in the late ‘90’s was just beginning their journey with Google Apps and 44 Chromebook Carts or “COWS” (Chromebooks on Wheels). As a two year user and lover of Chromebooks, I was excited to share about the power of Google and technology. It may sound silly, but Google has changed my life as an educator, leader, and learner. I said yes and began thinking about how to inspire educators new to Google. And then I started packing for CUE in Palm Springs.

Along with a variety of devices, dongles, and my presentation clicker, I also packed my writer’s notebook. Although I am truly a lover of digital tools, my favorite go-to drafting device is one that always works and requires no power or wifi! I’ve shared before that I have one goal any time I participate in professional learning- I want to be inspired. It’s also the primary goal I have for myself when leading learning-- to inspire. I’m always hoping people leave my sessions wanting to learn more or are excited to try something new. With this in mind, I grabbed a front row seat for Lisa Highfill and Robert Miller’s Friday session “YouTube, Maximizing Innovative Digital Pedagogy to Motivate Learning.”

Lisa’s session blew my mind. I laughed and I cried. I was inspired. At the end of her session, I walked straight to my hotel room, grabbed my notebook and a pen, and walked back down to the pool deck. I sat down and started writing. Three hours later, I stopped. My draft keynote was done.

Something Lisa said during her session stuck with me- she said that the hour of time together during her session would be spent not explaining how to make a YouTube playlist (although her website includes awesome directions for how to do this) but rather the pedagogy- the why and how to use YouTube videos to transform your classroom. Her playlist is organized into categories like “to make you think, to make you move, and to inspire you”. I love this video she shared for starting Mondays off with a smile- and it's a Volkswagen commercial!

I’ve been a longtime lover of technology going back to the days of Print Shop Deluxe and the 15 page birthday banner. Things have really changed since then!

I also frequently used YouTube in my classroom, but had really only used videos that were more content driven, like rainforest animals or weather. I’d never thought about using videos to start our week with laughter, or how powerful the pause button could be. Stop the video. Ask a question. Make them think. Make a connection. Have a conversation.

This is the power of technology.

I followed Lisa’s lead and focused my keynote not on step by step directions around how to use Google’s tools, but about the pedagogy, the art of teaching and learning with technology, to educate students, and promote collaboration and engagement with students, families, and the world. How can we give our classrooms a digital makeover using Google’s tools to do something that we could never do with paper? Here are a few digital makeovers you might consider using Google’s tools!

My goal for the day was to  inspire-- I was inspired by the amazing energy of the teachers in Dry Creek. It was also incredible to co-keynote with Kevin Brookhouser!

Thank you to the thoughtful teacher who handed me this note after I finished. It made my day!

Of course, if you still want step by step directions for how to use Google’s tools, you can always Google it! Google power!

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