Monday, July 15, 2013

Home Again

My Google In Education Summit weekend is over.  Thankfully.  It did indeed turn out to be a bit too much after four weeks of the Writing Project Summer Institute.  Actually, it may have been too much even if I'd just returned from four weeks of relaxing at a luxury spa -- this event was Google on Steroids, while I was expecting at least a few sessions to be Google Paint by Number.  

I attended several sessions for more info on applications that I've already worked with in a rudimentary way in my classroom -- for instance, Google Drive and Edmodo.  I've managed to learn how to haltingly navigate through them by bumbling around and clicking everything in sight.  When I sat down in these sessions I was happy that at least I had a little knowledge under my belt already to get me started.  However, the presenters either blasted forward like charging buffalo or hesitatingly rambled along like amiable armadillos.  In either scenario, I was left wondering what they were talking about.  

It didn't help that on the first day, all of the Internet action generated by participants so completely overwhelmed the lines that half of us couldn't even get online and even those who could get on, had to wait many minutes for each site to load.  In one session, not even the presenter could connect.  The tech team must have worked through the night to remedy the situation, because the next day our connectivity was much better.  

By far, the absolute best part of the whole two days was sitting in the auditorium and listening to keynote speaker Richard DeVaul on the second day.  He's a lead in the Google think tank that dreams up new outside-the-box ideas.  The man is amazing and I never thought that I would have the opportunity to listen to one of our present day visionaries.  Here is a link to one of his videos:  


He also talked about his own vision that's actually coming to pass about getting everyone on the planet able to connect on the Internet through the use of balloons in the stratosphere.  If you're interested,  Google up Project Loon.  

So, even if I gained nothing technical from the two days (and I did come back with a few more tools in my teacher tool belt), I was inspired beyond imagining.  And I plan to send this inspiration onward to my students in the fall.  The Google Summit was worth attending just for that.

Here is the front of the auditorium of the Sequoia High School where the Summit took place.  Note the owls -- the one on the left looks quite regal in his crown.  Sue and I sat on the steps and ate our box lunches under their baleful stares.

Today was my first day alone at home in what seems like ages.  I took pleasure in doing things like cleaning the fish tanks, hanging out laundry, repotting a plant, hosing off the front of the barn and weeding the raised bed by the house.  I've missed this place and there's a lot for me to catch up on.  


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