Monday, January 26, 2009

SHS: The Google Teacher Academy- Wesport's First Google Certified Teacher

Congratulations to Kevin Glass, science teacher and ITL committee co-chair at SHS, who was one of a small, select group of educators chosen from a large pool of applicants, to become a Google Certified Teacher (GCT). In this post Kevin describes the process and the experience...

On November 18th, 50 educators from 17 states and four different countries converged on the Google Offices in New York City to network and look at the educational applications offered by Google’s suite of tools. The process began with an application in which we were required to make a one minute video and post it on YouTube.

(For this blog the video has been reposted to a Ning so it can be viewed K-12)

About one week later, those who were accepted received an email with an invitation to become a Google Certified Teacher.

The day after I found out that I was accepted I created a Google Site. I searched Twitter posts and blogs for anyone who had posted that they too had been accepted. Over the next three weeks I found and contacted almost all future GCT’s and invited them to contribute their biographical information with a picture, so that when we met we would know a little bit about each other and be able to put a face to a name. Interestingly enough, it paid off. Many of us were able to spend the night before the Academy exchanging great ideas and stories at a restaurant near Google Headquarters.

On the day of the Academy we all met up again for breakfast and started our cold march over to Google. For an office that takes up a full block in lower Manhattan, it was surprisingly hard to find.

Over the course of the day we collaborated with fellow teachers, were introduced to tools and applications and became inspired by speakers. The day flew by and before we knew it we were done. I’m still reeling a little from the sheer volume of information and learning that took place that day but one of the most important things had to do with the people that I met. My personal learning network has expanded yet again and I’m excited about the possibilities.

I have had many professional development opportunities during my educational career and many of them have been very transformative. The Google Teacher Academy is now at the top of my list!. As I reflect on the day, the most valuable parts were the connections and conversations in which I participated. The opportunity to be a part of such a diverse and forward thinking group was well worth the trip and I look forward to future opportunities stemming from the event. I encourage anyone with any inclination to apply and have the same experience. To all my new friends, thank you for your expertise, sharing and vision. Let us all continue to share our knowledge and learn from each other as often as possible.

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