With over ¾ of school divisions and post-secondary institutions in Alberta connecting their staff and students to the GAFE (Google Apps for Education) environment, attending workshops like the annual Alberta Google Summit allow staff time to further familiarize themselves with the platform and what successes/challenges other sites are encountering.
My own school division has been utilizing the GAFE environment for three years. We continue to offer in-house, school site professional learning sessions and have access to Synergyse training as well.
In my own experiences, I have noticed that the staff who:
- understand the opportunities for creation, collaboration and communication using the GAFE environment and are modeling this in their classrooms, are able to see the benefits for students.
- take time to get to know how certain google apps, chrome extensions/apps/add-ons work and try them out in class, use them more often with students.
- have administrators that model the use of GAFE in the business of learning and support/share this work with their staff, are more adept and comfortable in this environment.
- attend and share their professional learning experiences with colleagues and see the connection to current divisional/provincial initiatives are better able to explain to parents how GAFE is making a positive impact in the learning environment.
- have continual access to devices (through BYOD/school-owned) are better able to plan and use specific instructional strategies to make learning effective for ALL their students.
Learning is a journey and with GAFE this is no different. Below I have linked several resources that may peak your interest.
Alberta GAFEsummit 2015 collaborative notes – includes all sessions and keynotes from this two day event.
The GOORU – a favorite training website of mine. Various resources, tools, features and more are available. I really like that you can explore a specific topic or even sign up for their daily tips to arrive in your mailbox.
Become a Google Ninja – this is an online self-paced program.
Follow the Twitter feed hashtag #gafesummit (and @edtechteam) for specific GAFE-inspired experiences.
Check out Google for Education training lessons that offer topics from Android tablets to YouTube, all developed by the Google team.
Have fun, share lots and collaborate often! That “summit” may feel out of reach sometimes, just remember there are other ‘sherpas’ ready to help you along the way.