Today and yesterday, I was lucky enough to attend the Melbourne Google Summit. Two days of inspirations and innovations in the world of Google Apps. Our school has been using Google Apps for about three years, and whilst we would not quite call ourselves ‘Google Ningas’ (as per the common term), we have been really proud of the ways in which we have grown and developed our use of Google Apps both in Leadership and Management and Learning and Teaching. Over the next week, I will share my favourite learnings from the Summit. Needless to say, there are so many ideas, tips and tricks that I don’t know where to start. I guess I will ‘start from the very beginning’…as the song says.
The conference was kicked off with a Keynote from Suan Yeo. Suan is the head of Google Enterprise Education in the Asia Pacific region. I have been lucky enough to work with Suan before with the Catholic Education Office, and his message is always great to hear.
Suan’s passion for technology, and in particular, the power of the web was palpable. He discussed he notion of the ever changing world of devices, compared against the consistent nature of the internet. He challenged our understanding of the power of the web vs the power of devices. The fact that tools such as Google Apps can be accessed from any device, at any time, in any space via a browser such as Chrome really hit home. Imagine what would happen if you GAVE child the internet. Imagine what they could learn. Take this beautiful example of a child learning to play and perfect the game of cricket. The power of his learning is amazing…
As teachers we have an incredible opportunity to build skill and the capacity for children to drive their own learning. We no longer equip children with a bank of knowledge, but rather, a tool box of skills that will help them to develop their own knowledge. This led us to think about the internet as the new teacher…
If you gave a child the web…what would it teach them? What would they need to be able to do to learn from it? We now need to help our children wade through the vast amounts of knowledge and gather from it what is accurate, relevant and valid. We need to teach our children to search effectively, with caution and reserved judgement. We need to empower them to understand that whilst the internet presents them with the potential to learn anything that they want, it can also lead them down the garden path.
As educators, we need to help our children to trust and proceed with caution at the same time. The ability to find credible and reliable sources of information is therefore paramount. Technology should never get in the way of humanity. The power of conversation and discussion about what they read should therefore be at the forefront of any classroom.
Suan finished by sharing a few sites that can help teachers develop this skill in their classrooms. The concept of Googleable vs non Googlable questions can help our children to learn about the strategies for finding information quickly and reliably. I can’t wait to share this with the teachers at my school. It was an amazing session…the first of many that blew my mind. Did I say that my brain hurts?
To follow Suan, you can find him on Twitter.