Sharing What I Find

Instructional Design and Technology in Education

Ed Tech Team Vancouver Summit, featuring Google for Education

Conference website:

Venue: Mulgrave School (holy cow – what an incredible learning environment!)


As you enter the school, on the left is a large reception desk and on the right is a 5-foot in-wall gas fireplace with couches surrounding an area carpet. A grand staircase is ahead of you that leads to an open cafeteria and a small space where a baby grand sits looking out floor-to-ceiling windows.


As you walk through the halls, there are small rooms with a round table and 4-6 chairs where students can gather. There are huge bean bag couches and work surfaces throughout the hallways. Classrooms have mobile 2-person workstations as well as chairs on wheels, floor to ceiling whiteboards and apple TVs (usually 2).


But it wasn’t all so polished…bzzzzzst



They cancelled the administrator workshop so I attended the Preparing for Google for Education Trainer Certification workshop thinking I would get a refresher on the applications for the required tests and to get a chance to get some hints and tricks from others. I was a little disappointed that the workshop was at a very basic level. I was actually amazed that many of the participants hadn’t used Gmail before and where completely blown away by this video collaboration tool, called Hangout. I guess I assumed that if you were preparing to take the tests to become a certificated trainer that you would have a basic understanding of the most popular google application tools.  This session was very similar to training that we’ve done with Teachers as an introduction to google apps. Granted, there were people with some  technical questions so I know that there were some who had a higher skill set and the instructor was very patient and tried to any all questions posed by the group. We did a couple of hands-on activities and did some collaboration. Some school districts were restricted to interacting with participants only within their domain so that was also a hurdle to overcome.

Vendor Highlight

Best Buy for Education – as a perk of the conference, you could check out a chromebook and use it through the session. I checked out a Samsung 11.6″ Chromebook that was pretty slick. It look getting used to not have a chrome main menu at the top of the window (but you could find the menu items under settings) and the return (enter) key was in a weird place, but it booted up quickly and all of the google apps worked great and it seemed to have good battery life. I was able to download a few files to the internal hard drive instead of always relying on uploading files to drive.


Nice bunch of folks, all current or formal K-12 teachers. Seem comfortable with each other and definitely gave off the appearance that they were all on the same mission. There were four folks from EdTech with one posing as MC and the other three doing 1 of 2 keynotes or the closing. They each lead sessions  at least twice a day.


Sessions were an hour with at least 15 minutes or 3o minutes between sessions to give participants time to digest and/or mingle. There were usually 4 sessions to choose from as well as “office hours” on a specific google application that was presented as more of a Q&A session but I heard that some of them were actually more formal presentations.


I attended:

First Day Keynote
The Right Question
As Paperless as Possible
Google site design or how to make a google site not look like a google site
Demo Slam
Second Day Keynote
Design Sprint
Build your own Android app
Classroom Management made easy with Google Classroom
Making Thinking Visible through Design Thinking
Closing Keynote

First Day Keynote

Drive, Daniel Pink
  • Autonomy – more freedom in what or how you learn
  • Mastery – show progress in learning
  • Purpose – helping others

“Failure is an option.
Failure to deliver is not”  —  Kevin Brookhauser

transforms you speech into a rap
“Its on the syllabus” rap
Limbo   involves problem solving
Based on Daniel Pink’s Drive and industry innovation –  20% project gives students 20% of their classtime to work on a project of their choice that produces some kind of artifact: media, blog, event, etc.

The Right Question

Make Just One Change – Right Question  Institute
Teach students to ask their own questions
A More Beautiful Question
Inquiry, baby, this is what we should be teaching

Hapara Teacher Dashboard and Interaction with Google Apps

Hapara  – a classroom management program that works underneath the google domain. Allows you to send files to specific students within a class, actively view what they are working on at a given moment, open or close tabs on their browser and more. At $5/student the software seems very useful for a 1:1 class using chromebooks.

As Paperless as Possible

Add questions (open ended, MC) to video; also adds audio notes.
Embed questions, notes and videos directly into text for readings that are stored online or that you upload.

Teacher Overview from Actively Learn on Vimeo.

Google site design or how to make a google site not look like a google site

(The Google site we built still looked like a google site to me)

Demo Slam

a voice activated  spelling game that builds towers of words as they are spelled correctly
geography game where you plan pins to answer questions
Explore the world. Identify place based on an image.
  • Hear text read aloud with dual color highlighting
  • Have words explained with text and picture dictionaries and translated into other languages
  • Get suggestions for the current or next word as you type with Word Prediction
  • Turn speech to text in Google Docs
  • Highlight and collect text; build vocabulary lists
  • Simplify and summarize text on web pages
  • Annotations, including typewriter tool
  • Convert printed documents and inaccessible files into classroom files with Snapverter!
  • $100/year

PearDeck  – Upload a ppt or keynote (or slides), add interactive questions, display the slides and results of the interaction on the screen. Combination presentation and “polling” software.

schedule an email to send later; email reminders if you don’t hear back from someone; and more gmail feature; browser dependent add-on; 10 per month for free
card deck for real things

Second  Day Keynote

Disrupting the norm – get students to create stuff…be open to “Adjacent Possibilities”

Design Sprint: Redesigning the Student Learning Experience

Design thinking –  Stanford
positive brainstorming;  asking  questions, filtering brainstorm ideas, revise, implementation plan

Build your own Android app

Using MIT’s Android App Inventor I created an app that when a picture of cat is tapped, it purrs…whoot!

Classroom Management made easy with Google Classroom

We saw what it looked like from the student side but the accounts  the instructor set up on his domain only recognized us as students so we couldn’t create the teacher-student view.

Making Thinking Visible through Design Thinking

Making Thinking  Visible  

Show your Work

visible thinking_

Closing Keynote

Say “Yes, and,” instead of “NO” or Yes, but” to empower teachers and students.

Quick thoughts on what we might incorporate

  • Chromebook / iPad loaners
  • Demo slam
  • schedule tech tools sessions along with  pedagogy sessions along with active/creative sessions
  • leave time  between sessions for reflection/travel time
  • “semi-structured office hours” where experts are available for 1-on-1 or small groups with specific questions
  • set up domain with “fake” users/passwords so people can collaborate without restricted  domain issues (mostly for things like classroom)
  • “photo booth” with props so people take pictures to post to G+ community / twitter, etc.

Author: Heidi Olson

Heidi enjoys working with content experts in developing eCampus courses to provide alternatives for students. Her other interests include faculty training in best practices for eCampus and researching eCampus tools to help fulfill learning outcomes. Having worked in the distance education arena for over 20 years, she has a wide range of experiences in supporting students and faculty as technology and pedagogy evolve.

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