Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Google Apps for Education Summit

Getting the opportunity to attend the 2015 Colorado  GAFE Summit was an amazing experience. I learned so many things and walked away with so many nuggets. I also met some amazing people and got a chance to make connections with individuals in my own building/district that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. There were so many highlights that it's a little overwhelming.

The GAFE Summit organized by EdTechTeam and was held in Louisville, CO October 10-11.  EdTechTeam organizes global summits for education to inspire and empower educators. I must say that I felt both inspired and empowered after attending this event.

The first quandary I encountered was choosing a sequence of sessions to attend. Day 1 was not as hard as Day 2 though. After hearing presenters mention apps and add-ons I had previously never heard of, I started to re-think my 2-Day session line-up.

The Rundown

Day 1

Session 1 - Digitize My Classroom by Dean Dahl. I believe he is a Google Certified Trainer or Innovator. He talked about some awesome ideas that opened my eyes as I am on this quest to a paper-free classroom. He also talked about some awesome tools that are going change my classroom and maybe even blow my students mind once I use them in the classroom. He shared the idea of using autocrat for forms to automatically send out forms to students and/or parents. Anyone who knows my, knows that I have a form for everything and now knowing that I can set forms to send an automatic responds..."Mind BLOWN!" For instances, students would fill out a Re-test form and it was send a document to parents stating the students current test score and their plan to prepare for the re-take.
He mentioned asking parent volunteers to sign up for a Ski Trip and automatically sent out check-in information, guidelines, packing list, etc. Some other tidbits from his presentation include: 
  1. Using drive for shared folders with colleagues and students.
  2. Using ScreenCastify to record with 2 screens.
  3. Connecting sites, forms, and YouTube.
  4. Using OmniBox Times Extension through Chrome Browser.
  5. Video taping (Flipping) you sub plans.
  6. Students blogging for chapter/unit closure.
Session 2 - Put the Power of Learning in the Hands of the Students with SmartAMP by Kris Astle. I was starting to give up on SMART by this cloud-based resource is amazing and I am SOLD. Since I teach math in a class that thrives on collaboration, I was looking for a resource that is like Google Docs that allows students to work together on a common item but also allow them to sketch or draw on their iPad. SmartAMP is it. This is also my key to having a global classroom. SmartAMP allows you to create workspaces to be shared or to be worked on individually. Students can be in a common classroom or in classrooms across the globe.
Can be used for daily exit/entrance tickets.

You can take control of the workspace or give control to a student to control. You can set limits and guides where students go from one task to the next and you can see their progression. If students are working as a group, you can see exactly what each student contributed and their communication back and forth. 
There is a live demo at Preston Middle School on Fort Collins in Colorado to showcase students working with students in Canada on a common project. Sign up for a 6 month trial here. Tell them that LaDonna sent you.

Session 3 - 5 Google Apps to Help Differentiate Instruction with TextHelp by Kay Tepera.  TextHelp is a Google Extension App that is very useful in any subject area for students with Dyslexia, Autism, and English Language Learners. This is also good for struggling readers. This extension had many nifty tools such as text-to-speech, vocabulary list creator, text highlighter tool, etc. Although this is a paid resource, it is completely free for teachers using: There is also an iPad app available.

Session 4 - Pump up Your Data with Piktochart by Amy Hitchner. Piktochart is a website that help you create infographics. Infographics tell a story with data, engage your audience, and appeal to visual learners. This session real appealed to me since I've been researching infographics for about a month now to introduce them to my students as a presentation tool. I found her presentation really easy to follow and so simplistic that I asked for permission to show her presentation to my students. I'm currently creating an infographic to share the class grades based on study habits, effort given, and taking advantage of additional opportunities. 

At the end there was a demo slam. The demo slam consisted of several representatives given 3 minutes to wow us with a tool, resource, or product.

2015 Colorado GAFE Summit Demo Slam

  • block pop ups and adds - “add a block” extension
  • google forms - get add ons - “save as doc” - get google form info in a more readable doc format
  • google extension - “save to drive”
  • talk into google apps - text to speech within google docs - under “Tools” menu
  • google extension - manages many extensions - “extensity” - Quickly enable/disable Google Chrome extensions
  • google extension - “chrome cast”
  • google extension - “black menu”  - The easiest access to the Google universe
  • google extension - “scrible” Smarter Web reading & research. Annotate, bookmark, save, manage & share online articles. Citations, bibliographies, reports & more
  • google extension - “google tone” - Broadcast any URL to computers within earshot
  • - improve the look of your google web pages
  • turn youtube clip into gif animation (15 sec or less) - type “gif” right after www.
  • download youtube clip - type “ss” right after www.
  • google extension - “read and write” - text to speech
  • Google Cardboard - virtual reality in a simple way
  • google extention - “speak it”- Select text you want to read and listen to it.
  • google extension - “draft back”
This concludes Day 1 of the GAFE Summit.

Thanks for stopping by,