I have been very fortunate in the fact that I have been able to work with some truly wonderful people in the area of Educational Technology. In November 2006, I was one of the first 50 Google Certified Teachers, and it has opened several doors to me over the past 20 months. First of all, I have had the opportunity to work with a great group of people in the area of Educational Technology. The ability to collaborate with many experts in the EdTech field has allowed me to grow and take new chances. Kathleen Ferenz, Cheryl Davis and Jerome Burg (The EdTech Rockstars!) have allowed me to hang around and present in many different venues with them. This has given me the opportunity to meet many new people and get feedback from the writing I have done on this blog from people who have attended presentations I have given.
In the past two days, I have had another one of those experiences that come once in a very long time! On Wednesday, June 25, I had the opportunity to be one of the presenters at the newest Google Teacher's Academy. I had the opportunity to meet another 50 truly gifted people and watch them go through the same experience that changed my life almost two years ago. When I was giving my presentations, the questions and the amount that the participants already knew about the products was very impressive. There were times I felt more like a cheerleader than a presenter. I have to admit, I got a little star struck when Vicki Davis was in my presentation on Google Apps - Education Edition and Google Sites after I had gushed all over her in the line waiting for and on the bus over to the main campus for lunch. Vicki had a great Keynote to start the afternoon session. One of the anaolgies she made about the British Fleet and the Spanish Armada in 1588 and schools today was spot on! Chris Walsh and Esther Wojcicki were as wonderful as they were when I went through the academy.
Then... if that weren't enough, I was able to attend the GTA - Reload for the GCT's in the group I went through the academy with in November 2006. There were about 25 of the original 50 who were able to make it back to the Mountain View campus to reconnect and work with some of the Google engineers on the products. The opportunity to provide feedback to the Google engineers in Google Apps - Education Edition, Google Groups, Google Apps, Google Book Search, Google Sites and Google Earth / Sky was very cool. It really made me feel like I was in on the ground floor on some of the Google development.
The connections I have made over the past 20 months within my Google Certified Teacher's group and the online connections I have made with the Santa Monica and New York City cohorts have made me step it up a few notches in my own professional development. I can only imagine how much more the bar is going to be raised with the newest Mountain View cohort! I guess I better get my high jumping shoes on!
A big thank you to everyone who I have had the opportunity to connect with over the past 20 months and to all of those newly minted GCT's who were so kind to me during my presentations on Wednesday!