Ideas from the Google Apps Summit

I’m just getting back from this weekend’s google apps summit at the American School in Japan.  To get ready for a big switchover to google apps, my school sent more than 20 teachers.  With eight workshops, two keynotes, one “demo slam,” and hundreds of side conversations, the information and ideas are overflowing.

Several people suggested grasping a few things that are cool and exciting and run with those (rather than trying every single idea you hear).  While the information is still fresh, here are the ideas and tools I want to try:

1. Taking google drive to the next level.  

My third grade class has already been introduced to google drive and even started collaborating on projects.  This week, however, the whole school will receive their own google account and  be thrown into the world of google apps. This is great news. Here is a partial list of ideas I want to explore:
  • More collaborative writing
  • Online homework 
  • Digital learning logs
  • Shared vocabulary lists
  • Player created playbooks for my basketball teams

This is only a beginning.  There are hundreds of possibilities, and I am ready to start experimenting.

2. Taking digital storytelling to the next level with youtube annotations.

In the fall my students wrote a choose your own adventure (CYOA) story where each scene branched in two different directions, leading to more than a dozen endings.  It was really cool, but after presenting it to some other students, we had no idea what to do with it.

In December, after I went to Jason Ohler‘s workshop, my class tried digital storytelling and published our work to youtube.  I briefly thought about how youtube might work as a medium for our CYOA story, but I had no idea how to do it. Then on Saturday, presenter Jim Sill showed us a way to create links in youtube editing that take you to other videos.  It’s not too complicated…once you upload your video, you go into editing, then annotations, and then you insert boxes with your links. 

He also had links to some examples of CYOA stories. If we could digitize our adventure story, this would be the perfect way to tell it. This is somewhat of an intimidating project, but I have a few students who, if taught the tools, would run with it (and probably do most of the project on their own time).   

3. Expanding my PLN (professional learning network)

One of the main reasons people go to conferences, in any profession, is for the connections. In two COETAIL sessions, I’ve already learned as much from my classmates as I have from the instructors. The google apps summit was another version of this. There were amazing presenters, but in the audience, sitting around me, I talked to interesting people doing interesting things. I’ve tweeted more in the last week than I have in the first three and a half years of having a twitter account, and this blog has helped me both clarify my thoughts connect with others. These two tools will be large sources of professional growth as I move forward. 

I’m feeling unusually energized for a Sunday evening. Will update soon on how well I’m implementing these new ideas.


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3 Responses to Ideas from the Google Apps Summit

  1. Ted O'Neill says:

    Jeff, if possible, I’d love to see what your students did with CYOA. I’ve really been getting into it over the last year or two. Wish I had been at the gafesummit, but maybe next time….

    Related to CYOA just saw this the other day, which was hilarious. In Soviet Kyrgyzstan Adventure Chooses You via MetaFilter.

    Cow Farming Activities on the Former West
    You Will Select a Decision, № 2

    If you put on a cow farmer hat, turn to page 20.
    If you attempt a water find, turn to page 4.
    If you plow on towards any point on the map, turn to page 38.

    • Jeff Lewis says:

      Yeah, Ted, I saw you following the google summit on twitter…at first I thought you were there.

      I will definitely share the CYOA ideas with you at the meeting tonight. I think youtube offers some interesting possibilities. When I was back in the States I bought a bunch of old school CYOA books on ebay and have shared them with my students. The writing (which is excellent) is a little above third grade independent level, but it makes a great read aloud.

      The story my students wrote is hopefully more interesting than the Soviet version. See you tonight!

  2. Adam Clark says:

    Jeff – you’ve inspired me to try CYOA videos with my GoPro. I ride variations of the same routes nearly every day so I could create a virtual cycle tour of the area and inject a sense of discovery into my morning cycling training. Thanks for the inspiration!

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