From Left to Right: Henry Thiele, Miguel Guhlin holding his GTA for Admin certificate
What an exciting day! I’m a bit tuckered out, so if I’m incoherent, c’est la vie.
PEOPLE, NOT TECH
It’s hard to know where to start, except to begin not with the tools, but the people. Upon walking up, I had the opportunity to meet the incomparable Lisa Thumann, marvelous Mark Wagner who did his job as circus ringmaster, as well as touch-base with highly esteemed colleagues Craig Nansen (who showed me so much today, that I question whether I really know how to use TextWrangler) and Dr. Roland Rios (Ft. Sam Houston ISD, San Antonio, Tx). I also ran into Monica Martinez, Training Director for the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA). I was fortunate to find myself with East Central ISD’s Marguerite Lovak, and Stevenson HS (Northside ISD) staff. Other folks included Juan Orozco (Austin ISD), Jon Orech, and others that I’ve only “met” via Twitter.
A SINGLE REGRET
It’s amazing that there were so many wonderful people at GTA for Admin, and I only met but a few of them. In fact, it’s a darn shame. My only regret was that I didn’t have enough time to connect with more folks. Yet, I found it an enriching day…and I could have wished for a 2-3 day Academy to reflect more, interact more with folks.
As I reflect on my time today, which involved moving from room to room at the spaciously beautiful Marriott Plaza Hotel–only about a mile from my work place–it is easy to focus on the wonderful things Google is doing for education. If there was one over-arching message from the presenters, it was simply that GoogleApps for Education is a good thing, a worthwhile thing.
As Kern Kelley put it today to me when we had a moment to connect, school districts end up paying lots of money for similar applications to GoogleApps for Education…but GoogleApps for Education is “free.” Worse, GoogleApps for Education obviously has an agenda–to introduce youngsters and educators to their tools so that they will use them–but at least, they are up front about it. That is a great point. Transparency is key…and today, I didn’t meet anyone that wasn’t open about the advantages and/or disadvantages.
The issue isn’t that school districts can’t embrace GoogleApps for Education but that they let their fears hold them back. As one lady put it at the end of the day, “Email is old and we’ve never let our students do it! How long will students wait to use technology in schools?” It’s a great question. We have to reach out and embrace these technologies, not let fear hold us back.
And, if you’re a person who sees the value of GoogleApps for Education–or fill in the latest innovative practice–but your school or district does not, should you waste a lifetime waiting for, or trying to make, change or just move on to some place that recognizes the value? If your organization isn’t focused on being innovative, and you can’t get it there, then find some place that is. I suppose that if I wasn’t convinced about GoogleApps for Education, I spent the evening reflecting on something one professional development facilitator for a large district said:
I feel like the little girl in the commercial who’s asked, “Want to ride this new, shiny bike?” but when she tries to ride the bike, she’s told she has to do it within the confines of a box. The person who runs technology out of a box needs to be going through this, not me.
I love those commercials and can’t help but agree. The people who need to go through this process aren’t the believers but the atheists about technology in education who want to block access. Or, switch it around…it’s not the free-thinkers who need to attend this training, but the do-gooders afraid to deal with life in schools and take risks that need to attend training.
I’ve blogged about some of the things I learned, but again, I want to thank the GTA for Admin folks (Mark Wagner and the Lead Learners) for their hard work in organizing the event, Google and its partners for sponsoring it. I only wish it had been longer…I’m left with an appetite for more.
- Android OS Mobile Devices
- GoogleVoice Tips
- Google Moderator
- Pivot Tables and Google Magic Fill
- Inspiring Idea – Scot Graden
- ThinkLinkr.com with Gayle Cole
- GoogleDocs – Tips for Administrators
- GoogleApps for Education – Questions Answered
- GoogleApps for Education – Kern Kelley
- Google Simple Labs Image Search
I’d like to say that I secured a podcast for my tough questions for GTA for Admins, but to be honest, I was too busy to do those podcasts…and I dread having to fill in the podcasts for the posts above. Time to get to work.
Probably should take a nap and revisit this reflection! In the meantime, I’m left with an appetite for more conversation.
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure