Friday 1st March: Google Teacher summit in Google’s London Head office. It was my first visit to Google and wow…. what a place. The Google Teacher Summit brought together educators from around Europe to spend the day sharing ideas and learning about new developments with GSuite and Google Education tools. The event took place on the ‘David Bowie’ floor (Major Tom conference room, Alladin Sane seminar room, Ziggy Stardust seminar room – you get the picture, I’m sure). As a new user of GSuite (I’m involved in the college pilot) I was particularly keen to hear about the ‘second layer’ of tools.
One session I attended that I particularly enjoyed focused on the ‘Explore‘ tool, and was presented by a teacher from an international school in London. I’d noticed the + icon at the bottom of any Google Doc or Google slide but I’d not actually clicked on it; what I’ve learned is that this ‘explore tool’ scans your document and then provides a personalised google search of the document with definitions of words within the document, articles related to content within the document and images associated with content in the document. It’s far better than just using Google. I’ve already introduced this to my year 13 students and it’s already improving their research (making it much more specific and speeds up activities).
I also learned about the wonder of Google extensions, as this was something that every presenter referred to. Useful Google extensions that were demonstrated included:
- A Google classroom ‘share to classroom’ extension which allows the teacher to share a website or document instantly with their class without having to load it into the stream. Likewise, if installed on the student macs, students can use the extension to seamlessly share their work with all the others in the class
- The ‘Check Mark’ extension for the marking option in Google Classroom allows for teachers to personalise ‘stamps’ that they can use to mark the student work, which saves time.
- Castify, the screen-casting extension, which allows for teachers to record their voice and annotate work instead of marking with a pen. There are lots of little extras with this including the option to subtitle what you are saying automatically for students who may have hearing difficulties.
The day was pretty inspiring, and Google are keen for teachers to train as ‘Google Certified Educators’ so that they can share their knowledge wider. This is the next thing for me – I’m looking forward to spending the day at Google again as the food and drink was great!