Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

GTA Boulder Notes: Morning Part 1

These are my notes from the Google Teacher Academy, in our initial morning session. Lots here! All resources are linked from I don’t have time to link all the resources below but will try and come back / do that later.

Welcome by Dana Nguyen, works with Google Apps for Education for Google

Christine Archer-Davison
– GTA teacher, local teacher
Mike Lawrence – CUE
Allison Merrick – WestEd
Catherine Moats- Google Office in Boulder
Mark Wagner, PhD – CUE

Have 5:1 ratio with participants and lead-learners

Mike: native american proverb: he who learns from someone who is learning drinks from a flowing river

GTA Co-Learners
– Jerome Burg: Google Earth, on CUE board
– Lucy Gray: Search Curriculum
– Erica Hartman: Google Docs
– Kern Kelley, Google Aps and Google Maps
– Cory Pavicich: Googal Apps: Education Edition
– Ken Shelton: SketchUp
– Lisa Thumann: Search
– Chris Walsh: Google Apps, Moodle and Mahara (NewTechNetworks, Director of Innovation and Design)
– co-founder of GTA

Ashley Chander: Google Sites
Cristin Frodella, planning (not present – co-creator of GTA)
Scott Green, host here at Google
Ronald Ho: Google Docs, spreadsheet gadgets
Chris Keating, Tours
Simone Nicolo, Tours
Shauna O’Brien, Google Docs
Mike Springer, Sketchup

are 52 selected in this cohort, 51 are participating
– we come from more states: 23 states and 2 provinces
– 11 from Colorado, 7 from California, more

Doing this presentation in Google Presentation (of course)

We claim to serve 20,000 students, and 25,000 educators

Google’s Mission: Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful
– this closely aligns to our mission as educators and the missions of our schools

Ten Things Google Has Found to be True

educator version:
– focus on the student and all else will follow
– democracy works, open door policy
– we can teach without doing evil

no Googler should be more than 150 feet away from food
– people here are healthy and happy, therefore they are creative
– space is organized for collaboration
– in some offices, Google paints the wall with paint you can write with using dry erase

concept of 20% time: when you are hired to Google, 4 days a week / 80% of your time you’ll work on your boss’ priorities
– the other 20% of the time you’ll work on a project of your own choice and interest
– GTA was Christin’s 20% project
– Google News and Scholar were 20% projects

we’ve had teachers take this philosophy back to their classroom
– similar to what we used to do with senior projects

Mission of GTA:
– improve teaching and learning by leveraging innovative tools
– about innovation in the classroom

U2 song “miracle drug”
– backstory: about an irish kid born paraplegic, parents had faith he could do more
– when he was 13 they developed a miracle drug, gave it to him with a unicorn horn, soon he became a published and recognized poet

I don’t think we’re bringing computers into the classroom to make trouble for teachers or connect kids to predator
– ultimately it’s about the kids of the future
– photo of Mark’s son “Clark” in his Google

I want there to be no limit of what you can do with technology

more recent photo of Clark working on his blog

Speed Secrets: Professional Race Driving Techniques

you are thinking as many turns down the road as you can
– in the same way, where we are today is the function of decisions we made many years ago

GTA is a little fast, that is OK

Google knows this well

Story of Larry and Sergie starting Google
– first called it “Backrub”
– become Google Beta

2004 joke was they were opening their moon base
– 2006 in Mountain View, Vint Cerf (inventor of TCP/IP) talked to us on interstellar internet issues

it’s not just Google Wave next year

have Google Internet routers on the Mars rovers today
– so our encouragement is: where do you want to be down the road

our tools will help us search, learn and share

welcome activity
– variation on “innovation connection”
– speed dating for geeky educators

ability grouping as new twist on the “joplin plan” from Missouri
– mixing by age but organizing by skills
– Adams12 is starting this, has done it for a year
– you can move a group at any time, you can move at your own pace
– it is not governed by school year
– kids get standards-based report cards using rubric scores, not traditional grades being assigned

Kern did some student teaching in New Zealand
– was with a husband and wife teaching team

Story of teaching about gold mining using chocolate chip cookies
– selling tools: regular toothpicks, flat toothpicks, paperclips

piloting exercise balls for chairs
focus on design issues in classrooms: value of open space, not distracting
standing desks

school brainstorms what can make your job better
– then school funds the best ideas

MCREL web 2.0 grant was not funded, US gov’t is very wary of term web 2.0 and “social”

Overview: starting at 9:15 am

– mission of GTA: focus on innovation, improving teaching and learning
goals: introducing educators to possibilities using innovative technologies including google tools

equip to provide high-quality PD for local teachers
– we were selected for being high-passion

anything we see here we’re free to use with our own PD: handouts, resources, etc
– everything shared under CC license
– attribution-share alike for everything except our book

originally started to develop a local community of educators that can support each other’s local work

goal 4: recognize GTA accomplishments and inspire you to be agents of change

goal 5: provide feedback to Google on products and services

ultimately: looking for GTAs who are ambassadors for change….

– By May 2010: lead at least 3 PD development activities on the ways innovative tools can be effectively used in the classroom or school
– can be podcasts, other things

Do have an “Action Plan Tracker”
– 3 activities you plan to lead
– intended audience

By May 15, complete a final reflection of your efforts
– more you participate online, more you will get out of it

Google will host and maintain GTC online community

This is GTA #7
– have 366 of us in all to date

resources for today: printing for these glossy books for the GTA was GREAT price-wise
– better than what they had done elsewhere


NOW first session with Lisa Thumann on Google Search
– a mile a minute

Lucy will go over new search curriculum that has been developed

played video from youtube black eyed peas: let’s get up and dance!

hopefully you’ll walk out of this 30 minutes with 3 things you didn’t know before

now have google search “show options” – do regular search for “sarah plain and tall”
– related searches: show other searches you could have done
– wonder wheel: like an inspiration visual map

try with search term autism

Now Google Squared
– search for reptiles
– creates a tablar layout of data, will make recommended items for columns

Google Blog Search: only searches blogs
– why is this important?
– how many of you want your blog listed in the Google Blog Search
– can look for trending searches

Now lets talk about images
– don’t just use
– use advanced search
– specify you want JPG or bitmaps
– the size of file you are looking for
– can return images labeled for reuse (CC terms)
– can also look for faces

Now Google Similar Images
– refine your search with visual similarity
– example: search for “immigrants”

after you find an image, click SIMILAR IMAGE under it to find images similar to that one
– GREAT for digital storytelling

Google News Timeline

creates a visual, hyperlinked timeline

Google Books

3 types of Google books
1- in-copyright and in-print books (ones that are for sale at BN or Borders)
2- in-copyright and out-of-print books
3- out-of-copyright books (public domain)

Example: Chris Fitzgerald Walsh’s public library

Books that are still in print: you can find a preview of the book, often can find a snippet
– can add books to your library
– can then share those with others who are interested in them
– can import ISBN numbers for books from your own school library
– you can find out if a local library has a book
– do this by zip code

Google Scholar
– searches reputable articles, journals and books (dissertations)
– doesn’t search newspapers, magazines, blogs, popular websites

gives us title, cited by, related articles, library links for digital copies, library links (physical copies), group of , web search, british library

Google Custom Search
– can create your own custom search engine
– customize it to meet your needs

Now hearing from Cory Pavicich talking about how they’ve used Google Apps
School of 60 students

Google Apps Education edition

3 instances why this is important to think about for your domain
– branding: personal email, Google Sites
– not @gmail – from @your domain
– finer security controls of your content, enhanced collaboration
– can publish just within your domain
– security controls at the domain level
– create, suspend, delete user accounts
– emergency access to accounts within the domains
– manage services
– Postini (now a free service for schools)

Also addresses Google email archiving
– can lock emails within your domain when you are using Postini

danger: when people ask who can fix the printer, don’t raise your hand

I don’t wrestle with trying to overcome old systems, I wrestle

– we had to get out of squirrel mail
– email was a nightmare, and students were not utilizing email
– students were not allowed to email assignments to their teachers
– everything was paper based

had a small donation of mac laptops to the school
– Google Docs was a quick money saving solution

was asked to implement an online database built on outlook 2003 server platform, byzantine
– basic changes like enrolling

we use alternative assessments, that system just had grades

We had no way to aggregate, disseminate, information for midterm assignments
– we made assessments as google documents
– eliminated paper
– this temporary solution became our permanent solution
– it become the core for how we administer our school

Google Sites was released in Feb 08
– we needed a parent portal: used Google Sites to do this
– teachers migrated from Google Sites being 1 way publishing conduit, to being an interactive portal for student information exchange and participation

Google video can be uploaded within the domain as part of the site
last remaining Outlook user left staff

He has over 1700 Google docs now
now maintain school intranet
– simple solution that solves our problems because it’s simple
– doing student projects, creating student portfolios

Every teacher maintains a Google Calendar for homework for their class, can be embeddable for website elsewhere

First project management website
– do lengthy narrative assessments twice per term
– like writing a novel by committee in 48 hours
– hyperlinked, interactive environment


Water in the West: Student Portal is example of teacher using Google Sites as learning management system
– file box
– week in review reports
– homework calendars
– created shared google doc showing whether students had turned assignments in or not (maybe this is just doable in a private school)

Our teachers were open to innovation at Watershed

Lessons from Implementation
– conceptual understanding of web 2.0 technologies before extensive feature roll-out is critical
– teachers must understand why this even matters first

Critical Barriers to Google Apps Adoption (by David Hawkins 1978
” barriers to learning for at least a clear majority of pre-college, college, and adult students”

This is the center of constructivist learning
– focus on critical barriers when you are learning about web 2.0 technologies

What is meant by a critical barrier to Google Apps adoption
– here is a PD activity I’ve done when talking about file systems

example lesson: Where did I put that blasted Google Docs

three heresies in the understanding of computers
1- your coputer is not hte office of a 1950s secretary, that is a metaphor to help you
– it’s where you store your magnetically charged binary switches
– when computers were rolled out in 1980s and 1990s that desktop metaphor was used because people still understand this “office” metaphor
– it is not a file it is not an office, it is a computer

2- the INternet is not a “net” it is a “network” which is a “net-like arrangement of threads, wires, etc.
(yes I know that is a simile and not a metaphor)

Internet referecs to loosely organized set of electronic switching devices where activated magnetic switches are translated into electrical impulses….

3: the 1950s office metaphor and the Network metaphor are not particularly compatibile
– we need to understand now the personal computer is very different from the collaborative computing enviornment

Remember Windows95: files and folders (picture)
opti project visualization of the Internet

Most of us were taught to think of computers as:
– primarily a single user system
– rigid hierarchies with geographically discrete files
– predefined categories support limited scalability
– size bogs down service (desktop covered up by files and icons)
– picture: top down job chart

Where people get stuck:
– files with “shortcuts”

What we need to think about is a 3rd metaphor
– the reality of web 2.0: it is primarily collaborative
– it is cloud-based, not on-site
– don’t think about computing just happening in front of you, any more than you’d think of electricity being generated in your building: it’s handled by someone else
– seach supports scalability

Web 2.0 lessons for Google Apps
– think outside the box
– files are no longer discrete, geographical, or relegated to ta single user
– think FIRST about collaborating, not later
– don’t anticipate hierarchy: anticipate association and relevancy
– get your relevant words into your doc: the best name probably the first thing you consider

Anticipate these critical barriers
– I have lots of ideas about foundational concepts that intro us to web 2.0 technologies
– deal with conceptual understanding before you get to content delivery
– know with Google Apps, breaking through critical barriers unleashes the potential

REVIEW slide

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4 responses to “GTA Boulder Notes: Morning Part 1”

  1. rob a Avatar

    thanks for posting. . . I am having teachers use Google Docs to add math data for us to discuss and analyze

  2. Greg Hart Avatar


    This is great information for those of us who aren’t able to go to GTA. Thanks for posting!


  3. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    You are most welcome, Greg! This is a huge amount of info to take in but VERY good stuff.

    Just being here at the Google offices in Boulder is remarkable. You hear about the design and layout of their environment, but it’s amazing to experience it in person. Wow. Makes me think a lot about the schools we need to design and build in the years ahead.

  4. Amber Teamann Avatar
    Amber Teamann

    WOW!! If my mind is REELING from this first part of info, can’t imagine how you were able to soak it all in! THANK YOU so much for providing SUCH great tweets n notes, all day long!!