These are my notes from Cathy Kyle and Susan Droke‘s presentation, “Be Like Google” at the 1 Oct 2010 Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence’s fall conference. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

Session description:
As the economy began to slow, Google continued to post positive quarterly earnings. The New York Times headline in 2008 declared, “Google defies economy.” Maybe the truth is that Google defines the economy and leaders have much to learn about acting “Googley.” This workshop will explore Google’s Nine Notions of Innovation and how one school uses these principles and ways you may apply them to your school environment.

This workshop will explore how Google defies the economy using their Nine Notions of Innovation and how to apply them to your school environment. Here is an article written by our Headmaster and a consultant, which goes into even more depth and what our presentation is based on.

Books we recommend and influenced us in our efforts to act more like Google as an independent school
What Would Google Do by Jeff Jarvis
Google Speaks: Secrets of the World’s Greatest Billionaire Entrepreneurs, Sergey Brin and Larry Page by Janet Lowe
The Google Story by David Vise
The Google Way: How One Company Is Revolutionizing Management as We Know It by Bernard Girard
Inside Larry and Sergey’s Brain by Richard Brandt
Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta
– Googirl by Julian Guthrie (San Francisco Chronicle)
– Google’s Secret W
– Charlie Rose: Marissa Mayer and Eric Schmidt (YouTube)
Managing Google’s Idea Factory (BusinessWeek)

Shared article in PDF format: “Creating a Culture of Innovation NOW” from Independent School magazine

Fertilize Innovation with Learning

We read a lot: outside the field of education too

Made a deliberate shift from talking about TEACHING to talking about LEARNING

We have a PDS Ning now where we share our ideas
– we do lots of summer reading
– ask teachers to reflect on and share
– initially we got some pushback from teachers reading things that were bigger picture, not as immediately applicable in the classroom
– we get ideas from Twitter now, and share
— example: 5 Non-Negotiable Provisions for Your Social-Media Policy

We ask students what they would like to learn (asked 6th graders)

Wood shop and cooking were top requests
– have classes in digital citizenship, survival (not just outdoor skills: sewing on a button, wrapping a present, etc)

#2 principle: Share everything you can

Our Headmaster’s Blog
– on Twitter: @PDSHeadmaster

Have an Alumni Facebook page, are also sharing lots of video on Vimeo now
school Facebook account also

We had our teachers at our last retreat tackle the following topics in 10 minutes in collaborative groups:

Topics our faculty tackled in 20 minutes at our PDS retreat


Example of Ashley Garner’s 6th grade screencasted tutorials website created with Screenflow

#3 You’re brilliant? We’re hiring!
– that has become our philosphy at PDS now

Video working at Google: “An Inside Look at Google – Working at Google

We made our own version for employment opportunities on our website!

#4 A license to pursue your dreams
– study leaves
– PD days
– spiritual days

It is SO important to encourage the people you work with to dream HUGE, BIG dreams!

#5 Creativity loves constraint
– clip from Apollo 13 (put a square peg in a round hole)

“No excuses other than lack of courage and creativity to be who we want to be” – Headmaster

Had a “rockin lockin” on New Year’s Eve – we found parents would pay almost anything for a lock in that night!
– lots of fun for the kids, great success, super fundraiser

we all face the hurdle of “thinking traditionally and historically”

#6 Users, Not Money

We give learning styles inventories to our older boys
– PowerSchool
– don’t overlook the power of the handwritten note, the phone call


#8 Data is apolitical
– used ERB data

some data is antecdotal too
– some teachers now using Flip cameras to record best practices
– teachers are now doing video evaluations of themsevles

#9 Don’t kill projects. Morph them.

Our “Building Boys, Making Men” seminar has morphed into something REALLY big
– one thing that came out of this was an apprentice program for adults who wanted to become teachers
– had to discontinue that
– the Martin Institute Resident Program is the morph which has grown out of that

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