Thursday, April 16, 2015

GAFE Summit

This week I was lucky to attend the Google Apps for Education Summit at Albany High School. It started off with an inspiring keynote by John Bailey about Disruptive Innovation. Once this was finished, I went upstairs to find myself a quiet spot to go over my own presentation. This was the first time I have ever presented so to put it plainly, I was terrified. In fact, that may be a bit of an understatement. I was presenting my story of starting a digital classroom using Hapara and Google Drive, illustrating the challenges and successes I had along the way. Despite the typical technical difficulties that threw me off quite a bit in the beginning and incredible nerves, I was really happy with the great feedback I received from those who attended. It has definitely sparked something that I didn't realise I had in me - I'm already considering submitting an idea for the Ulearn Conference in October this year.

With the buzz of having my presentation behind me, I was free to explore the rest of what GAFE had to offer, starting with Wes Warner and his passionate demonstration of the uses of Google Earth and how diverse it is! I definitely can't wait for this to become available on Google Chromes so I can start using it in class.

Day two of the conference, Newmarket Primary School truly took over! With Natasha Walden and Belinda Hitchman picking up the two Chromebook prizes during the welcome, and Natasha, Waveney Bryant and Sonya Van Schaijik all presenting throughout the day. Holly Clark gave a killer presentation about disruptive innovation, continuing on from John Baileys keynote from day 1. This really hit me and straight away I was looking for more ways to help develop my practice and offer more innovative opportunities to my students.

Next up was Natasha on gearing up your staff to use Google Drive. I loved her simplistic, easy approach to making the huge change from paper to digital format. Then we had Waveney who showed us how she is monitoring her students achievement through digital badges - such a fantastic idea and I can't wait to get these going with my own students in day one next term! After lunch, Sonya showed us TeachMeetNZ in action. I was so proud to see my colleagues present at the summit. They are such a supportive and passionate bunch! I am so lucky to be able to work with them every day.

Overall, the summit was an all around winner. I am so happy that Sonya believed in me enough to encourage me to present, and that she supported all of us from Newmarket School to do something that was so challenging and out of our comfort zones, but so rewarding. Much like last year, the Summit was a great way to develop new connections with like minded educators and follow their journeys as well. I can't wait for #GAFEsummit 2016!

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