Saturday, October 21, 2006

Google School: Making a difference around the world.

I wondered how long it was going to take Google to step into the educational arena. It seemed logical, like most large tech companies, Google needed to reach out to the educational community in some way to build consumer/user loyalty for their product.

The first part of the process is to create a 'Google for Educators' web site. The site has links to all of their educational tools, including Blogger, Calendar, SketchUp and their new Docs and Spreadsheets. Included are some sample lesson plans that teachers can use with their classes. I think this is the beginning of what Google has planned to dive head first into the educational arena.

The second project Google is working on is the 'Google Teacher Academy,' which is a collaborative effort with WestEd. Google will be holding an initial training day at their Mountain View campus on November 7, 2006. The training will create 'Google Certified Teachers,' who will lead training sessions for other teachers in how to use Google tools. The application was due on October 22, 2006 and included two 50-word answers to "Why should you be a 'Google' teacher?" and "Tell us about one rewarding teaching experience?" as well as a 1-minute maximum video dealing with motivation or K-12 education. I was able to get my application in under the wire. The space is limited to 50 participants and when I applied, my confirmation number was 1107. More to follow if I am chosen to be one of the 'Google Certified Teachers.' Here's a link to my 1-minute movie.

The 'Infinite Thinking Machine' is a blog where the people from WestEd and Google will be posting best practices of teachers using Google Tools. There are also short video's on the site showing some of the Google tools being used in the classroom by students. The video's are hosted by Chris Walsh of WestEd, some of us will remember Chris from his work around San Mateo County. The first ITM video has students using 'Google Earth' explore Hart Island in New York and information on the Google Educators web site. There is also a clip with Hall Davidson talking about California Student Multimedia Festival. The second ITM video deals with writing on the web with Mike Lawrence, the Executive Director of Computer Using Educators (CUE) and has students using 'Google Earth' to plot the routes they walk to school and finding the distance. There is also a section on using the Big 6 Information strategies.

Google has also launched their 'Google Literacy Project' web site. This is a international web site that is a joint venture between Google, LitCam and UNESCO (United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization). There are a number of videos on literacy on the site from locations around the world. I think we will be using some of the videos on the site in our Global Communications course.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me!

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