The Google Teacher Academy 2011

GTA logo

I was lucky enough to be selected to attend the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney, Australia on April 20 and 21. The Google Teacher Academy (GTA) is a free professional development experience designed to help primary and secondary educators from around the globe get the most from innovative technologies.

Educators who wish to attend the GTA completed an online application and 54 classroom teachers, ICT specialists, administrators and librarians from around the world were chosen to attend the Sydney event. Upon completion, the educators are classed as Google Certified Teachers (GCT).

Most of the Google Certified Teachers (GCT) from GTA Sydney

GTA group photo

We were told to prepare for a huge day and a half of learning, and that certainly proved to be true! We were taken on a fast-paced journey through Google’s free products and other technologies and my head is still spinning from the experience! It would be impossible for me to blog about everything I learnt, so I have decided that this post will be a brief overview of the GTA program and I will blog about specific Google education tools in the coming weeks.

 Google border

I was really impressed with the leaders at the GTA. They are clearly experts in their field and they presented the tools in a logical, practical, interesting and entertaining way. Here’s a snapshot of three tools we learnt more about:

1. Google Search – We learnt how to use the Google search engine more effectively, the key being to maximise the chances of finding what you are after quickly. A few tips included using Related Searches, the Wonder Wheel, Google alerts, Google Squared for research, Advanced Searches, being specific in Google Images, Similar Images, Google News Timeline, Readability, Google Books, Google Custom Search, Google Curriculum and Google Scholar.

2. Google Apps for Education – We learnt the differences between Apps (inside a domain) and apps (outside a domain). Schools can set up a domain for a year level/school (more appropriate for younger students) and individual accounts (for senior students) to store their own information, collaborate with friends or publish for the world. Students, teachers and staff can share ideas more quickly and get things done more effectively because they have access to the same powerful communication and sharing tools.

3. Google Sites – This is Google’s version of a wiki. Google Sites is a free and quick way to create and share a website. You can embed content, add gadgets (similar to widgets) and there is a big storage capacity. Schools can create class webpages. Click here for some ideas for how Google Sites could be used for teachers.

 

Other tools we learnt about include…

Google tools

 

It is difficult to summarise such a huge day and a half of learning succinctly, but here are four really positive elements from the GTA that stood out for me.

 GTA reflection

 

We also got a giftbag with lots of cool Google freebies!

Google gift bag

 

I had a great time at the GTA and feel very privileged to now be a GCT! In a way, the learning has only just started and I look forward to further investigation, reflection, collaboration and experimentation to realise the full potential Google tools and products can offer our students. So stay tuned for future GTA posts!

For Google Certified Teachers: What did you enjoy most about the GTA experience?

Other readers: What Google products do you use?

What Google tool would you like to know more about?

 

  20 comments for “The Google Teacher Academy 2011

  1. John
    April 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    That’s a great overview of our 1.5 days at Google Kelly. It’s amazing how much information our “lead learners” delivered in the short time available. Meeting other educators I’ve admired from a distance (Twitter, blogs, etc.) like yourself was a highlight for me. I’m looking forward to continuing collaboration the year ahead.

    • Miss Kelly Jordan
      April 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm

      @ John,

      It was great to meet you and be part of Team Deere. :)

      I agree, the success of the day was largely due to the “lead learners”, they are a wealth of knowledge and did a terrific job.

      Looking forward to working and learning with all of the GCT’s!

      Thanks for the comment,

      Kelly

  2. April 22, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    It sounds like your two days at GTA was fantastic. I’m sure you are stilling learning as the days go by but I’m thinking of your students. They will be in for some real treats during terms 2 & 3 this year. Enjoy the rest of your holiday break. I’m off the Opelousas LA for the Easter weekend and a little family time at a crawfish boil. High fives and hugs to you and your class on your return to school.

    • Miss Kelly Jordan
      April 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      @ Rich,

      You’re right, the learning journey is only just beginning. I am looking forward to further investigation of how these Google tools can positively affect my students now, and in the future.

      I hope you have a great Easter!

      Kelly

  3. Deb Hogg
    April 22, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Hi Kelly,
    Thanks so much for sharing some of your experience of GTA… I’m sure it will take a while for all that learning to settle! We less able teachers rely on those with greater skills to do some translating – the sort of translating that google can’t do!
    Will be following your journey with interest.
    Thanks again
    Regards, Deb Hogg (Sydney)
    Twitter: debhoggoz

    • Miss Kelly Jordan
      April 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm

      @ Deb,

      Part of my role now as a GCT is to help teachers in my school/region learn more about Google tools and products. I will also be blogging about what I’ve learnt so that I can capture a wider audience!

      Kelly

  4. April 23, 2011 at 2:38 am

    Kelly,

    Sounds like a pretty amazing experience. I know you had lots of jealous friends looking forward to hearing all about it!

    Google has so many amazing applications for educators. It’s always so tough to keep up with all of it! I know I find myself using Gmail, Google Docs, Calendar, and Earth on a pretty regular basis. I’m looking forward to find out even more about what they have to offer.

    Glad to hear you had a wonderful time!

    Sincerely,
    Shawn Avery

    • Miss Kelly Jordan
      April 23, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      @ Shawn,

      It certainly was a wonderful experience! Being surrounded by other like minded educators was a real highlight. I thoroughly enjoyed absorbing all of the knowledge from the GCT “lead users” and all of the participants.

      Kelly

  5. April 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I had the honor of attending the GTA in 2009 when it was held in Boulder, Colorado. It also was a great experience.

    I think you will find the GCT group to be a continual source of inspiration and innovative ideas. Welcome!

    • Miss Kelly Jordan
      April 23, 2011 at 3:38 pm

      @ John,

      Thanks for the welcome! I feel very privileged to now be considered a GCT and I look forward to learning alongside all of the past and current GCTs.

      Kelly

  6. April 24, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Kelly,

    A great summary of the day. It was excellent to meet you and I look forward to continuing to work you and with all the wonderful people from the event to share our learning and knowledge with others.

    • Miss Kelly Jordan
      April 25, 2011 at 10:23 am

      @ Tony,

      It was great to meet you too! It will be wonderful to learn alongside everyone else and discover what the new GCTs are achieving.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Kelly

  7. April 25, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Hi Kelly

    Loved GTA! My ‘aha moment’ was how google can replace the host of other online programs that I am using. I just posted my thoughts on this at http://teacherstraining.com.au/is-google-the-answer-to-your-technology-woes-in-the-classroom/

    • Miss Kelly Jordan
      April 26, 2011 at 11:13 am

      @ Mike,

      Thanks for the comment. I agree, going “Google” could definitely simplify things and make schools more streamlined and consistent. I will check out your post soon!

      Kelly

  8. April 25, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Thanks for sharing your summary and impressions of the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney experience. Best thing was the opportunity to meet so many talented, passionate and diverse people. It will take me a while to take a second look at Google tools and possibilities presented to us, and a little while longer maybe to venture a blog post. Looking forward to the continued collaborative learning. I’m already feeling the power of the GCT network!

    • Miss Kelly Jordan
      April 26, 2011 at 11:15 am

      @ Tania,

      It was great to meet you at GTA. I agree that it will take time to digest everything we learnt and I am looking forward to experimenting and exploring how I can use the tools with my young students. It feels wonderful to be part of such an innovative and diverse group of educators!

      Kelly

  9. April 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Thanks Kelly!

    I actually never knew about all these extra lil’ Google goodies! I think many students would benefit on learning how to search for things explicitly. We recently searched for different types of lines, and even with the Dept. filter, when you search ‘horizontal’, you still cop a few inappropriate things!

    Can’t wait to read about what you implement from the day!

    Kirby
    :)

    • Miss Kelly Jordan
      April 26, 2011 at 11:18 am

      @ Kirby,

      The “Search” presentation was the first for the day at GTA and it set the tone for a fast paced learning experience! I really enjoyed learning about the tricks and tips to improve Google searches, and it’s something we can easily show our students. I will blog in more detail about it soon!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I hope you enjoy your first few days back at school!

      Kelly

  10. April 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Dear Kelly,

    I’m glad to hear you had a great time! I can’t wait to hear more about what you learned. I use Google Earth, Picasa, Gmail, and Google Search. I’m always looking for helpful ways to teach my elementary students about searching with Google safely and effectively. I look forward to reading your search tips in the future! I just set up a couple of Google Docs to try out with my students last week. I am looking for advice on implementing rules and expectations with my upper elementary students. Do you know if the Google + method would work for tracking student changes in a Doc?

    Thanks for sharing,
    Kelly

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