Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Gleanings from the Google Teacher Academy in New York, October 3rd and 4th

In my post yesterday I wrote a reflection on the latest Google Teacher Academy in New York. The more I think about it, it was a mind blowing experience! We absorbed so much useful information both informally through networking and sharing, and formally from the various talented presenters. Today’s post will mention but a FEW of my take aways from the GTA experience

Something interesting about Google

When you are there walking through different parts of the huge building you see all these young (so it seemed) men and women working intensely at their computers and you know that things are happening ‘out there’ in the Internet. There is a large emphasis on creativity and the 400-800 employees at that particular office are encouraged to relax in various ways after an intense session. Good, healthy food is in plentiful supply and Google provides breakfast, lunch and dinner to its employees. I was interested in their 20% time principle, best explained as “Google gives its workers ‘20 percent time’ so that they can work on projects that they are passionate about. ‘20 percent time’ has been used to develop Gmail, Google Talk, Adsense, Orkut and a few other features that would never have seen the light of day unless this philosophy existed within Google”. (Kevin Mclaughlin

Tips and tricks from Google
  • Google Chatbot for translation. This is INCREDIBLE for collaboration with those who don’t speak your language. You simply add the chatbot to your chat list as a ‘friend’ and then you create a chat between yourself, the chat bot and the foreign friend. e.g. someone from China. You type in English and he/she will see your words in Chinese and vice versa! Amazing! Read more here.
  • Google dashboard. Did you know that you can log in to
    and see all things you have done or created in Google?

  • Google Lesson plans for students can be found at


There’s so much you can do with YouTube

  • YouTube Search - shared by James Sanders
    You can tailor your search by adding keywords and commas. For example:
    [puppies, HD, short, partners, new] will get you the newest puppy videos in HD, that are short from partner groups.

  • YouTube Create
    It is quite amazing how many online tools you can now combine with your YouTube account to create videos with your class. Just take a look.

  • YouTube Editor
    You can edit and use YouTube videos right from YouTube! The first thing to do is see that they are uploaded with the Creative Commons license.
    • You can add text, transitions, and audio files
    • You can also upload your own video with Creative Commons and tag them.  Once tagged you can have your students find and use them for editing
  • Video Manager features to check out in You Tube
    • You can blur faces,
    • You can add annotations and use these to create links to other videos
    • You can add captions. To do this upload a .txt file and YouTube will do its best to add captioning.
  • Take a look at this inspiring presentation 'Ten ways to use You Tube in the classroom' created by James Sanders one of the Lead Learners.
  • Google Search stories created by a Google Certified Teacher Karen Mensing is an inspiring example of how  the search feature of Google can be used with success in Google. Take a look at her channel. 
    a look at this example from Caroline, an amateur astronomer, who became the youngest person to  discover a supernova: Supernova Video

Google Chrome extensions

This needs a paragraph all to itself! If you have never used Google Chrome, please give it  try. It is FAST and there are all sorts of amazing free extensions that you can add to your browser bar so that you don’t have to leave your browser to do certain things. Here are a few examaples:

Well, I can see the post could go on forever - there is just so much to share! These are just a few gleanings, but future blog posts will contain more highlights.

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