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2014 VT Google Summit Reflection




This is just a recap of the awesome stuff we learned at the 2014 Vermont Google Summit.  

Saturday.

The person sitting next to me is +Allison Mollica, one of the organizers.   I got to try out google Glass for the first time.  This allowed me to take pictures or videos from my own perspective.  There are also integration with Google Hangouts, however I was not able to play with that feature.    These are not yet ready for resale but I can see some use in schools, especially for recording a demonstration as they allow you to use both hands and record at the same time.

During the conference participants were encouraged to ask questions, vote on questions, or answer questions using Google Moderator (Events Q&A).    This tool is great for getting a lot of feedback and finding out what items are most important.    Also during the conference everyone could post comments and photo’s to the Google Plus Event Page or follow the twitter hash tag: #GESummit.   These tools created the back channel to the conference, so that people (like myself) could virtually attend and collaborate on sessions that we were not part of.

I did four  presentations on Saturday.

I find that I often learn more when I present than when I attend and one of the best things that a participant showed me was Youtube’s Creation Editor.   This editor allowed me to splice together clips and add legal music to create stunning video’s all within Youtube.   Also within youtube, creators can create interactivity by adding pop-ups, questions and links.

That night we had a networking party, just to hang out with others without an agenda.  That was fun and I learned about http://www.CreateMakeLearn.org/ & http://www.googletoolsforschools.com/, which are both credited courses being offered in Vermont this summer.

Sunday

We were blessed to have +Ken Shelton here as a keynote speaker.  Who spoke about the current meaning of literacy “The ability to effectively communicate a message, story, theme, or solution to a problem in the most efficient and understandable means possible.”.  

One of the things that stood out for me was about how current students are generation “Now” and we can no longer ask questions of students that can be answered in a single search.  For example, what is the capital of VT? Verses, is the capital of VT the original capital and if not when and why was it changed?  

I attended 3 presentations this day.

First was on Hapara’s Teacher Dashboard with +Elizabeth McCarthy.  This was one of the presentations that I was looking forward to as we are going to be using it next year with our 1:1.  It was a little odd being in the presentation as I am the author of the gClassFolders add-on, a free alternative to Hapara, however my add-on is targeted to an individual teacher while Teacher Dashboard is designed for a whole school launch.   We used gClassFolders with our teachers this year and I think it is going to be an easy transition into using Hapara Teacher Dashboard next year.

The next presentation I went to was on using Google Plus from +Allison Mollica.  Click here for the presentation.   One of the things that Allison stressed was that Google Plus has a large educational following and is a great place to get information and ideas for the classroom.

The last presentation I attended was with +Ron Turchyniak on using Google’s Fusion Tables and Pivot tables. Here is his presentation on Fusion Tables.  And here is a video he showed on pivot tables in Google Sheets: Video.   Both of these functions are things that really cannot be learned in one, 1 hour session, but do highlight the power of Google Docs for data manipulation.

During the closing we watched and voted on 4 different submitted slams.   A slam is a presentation or video that has a time constraint of 1 to 5 minutes long and when your time is up, your time is up.    For the ending slams the video’s needed to be under 1 minute.   I was one of the people that submitted a slam video, and got 3rd place.  Here are the four slam videos that were submitted.  Snagit 1 / Snagit 2 / Snagit 3 / Snagit4.

Overall this was a great conference and I hope more can go to it next year.