We were fortunate to send a team of 30 educators from across Waukesha to the Google Midwest Summit 2013. This talented group, made up of educators and coordinators from across the district, was nominated by building administrators to make the trip.
As always, aside from finding inspiration and adding some new tools to our bag of tricks, the focus is about bringing the message and learning of the power of these tools back to our colleagues and students in Waukesha. We are so pleased to see this happening already, and we wanted to highlight the headway these attendees have made in the week that they have been back since the conference took place.
- Using the YouTube editor, one attendee was able to capture a magical moment as one of our students with unique challenges at the elementary level demonstrated incredible growth since her teachers began working with her in fall. Through the use of the YouTube editor (learned about at the conference), the teacher was able to pinpoint key moments during the student's performance that highlighted each learning target (something that could easily be overlooked without the context)
- Inspired by the wealth of digital tools that are available and the necessity to simply put the information learned at the conference to use, one teacher/attendee is making a commitment to attempting the use of Blackboard in several classes as a means of getting started. This is a risk that the teacher has embraced because of inspiration gained from networking with other motivated educators at the Summit.
- One teacher/attendee has already set up the first Google Hangout (utilizing Google+) to connect with colleagues across the district without having to schedule an after school meeting and spend time driving across town. The goal is to gain greater efficiency while staying connected.
- Using the Google+ social network, one attendee has set up a Google+ community at his school and is actively recruiting teachers in the building to join in order to have a common sharing/social place in which to share ideas, articles, resources, etc. As educators feel the constraints and demands of time, the use of a community like this maintains our connection with others, develops a platform in which we can share and collaboratively learn/reflect, and does so in a way that is asynchronous, meaning it is accessible to teachers when they are ready to digest the information available there.
- Several attendees are actively talking about how to share their gained knowledge at upcoming professional development dates to spread the wealth of inspiration and information to a much wider group of colleagues.
This in no way captures all of the momentum sparked by sending attendees to this and other conferences, but it gives us perspective on what becomes possible when people are inspired with new ideas and introduced to powerful tools! Remember, it has been literally less than a week since these folks have returned to the district.
We encourage you to connect with the representative from your building to pick their brain, hear more about the conference, and get inspired. However, they are not the only source of knowledge.
Resources for the entire conference, for nearly every session presented, are available here: https://sites.google.com/site/gapsmidwestsummit/2013-ses
We encourage you to take a look and dig in. These resources are a generous gift provided by the conference presenters to any instructor who may have wished to attend the Summit but were unable to.