Reflections on the first annual NexTech Summit Singapore

AppsEvents was privileged to partner with Lee Wilson and the team at Nexus International School in Singapore in February for NexTech, a new kind of event for International School Educators. Long time AppsEvents team member +Sarah Woods was the day 1 keynote and shares her thoughts below.

For a long time, just getting teachers to a point where they felt comfortable using the GSuite of tools has been a huge undertaking. I've had the opportunity to participate in AppsEvents Google Summits in Europe, Africa, and Asia and every single one has offered a wonderful opportunity to meet and engage with educators who are actively trying to take their understanding of how technology can be used to take their teaching to the next level.

But more and more teachers are now comfortable with working in the cloud and the problems they faced with moving their planning and sharing of lessons to an online environment are slowly starting to disappear, leaving them asking, "What's next?"

I discovered the answer to this question a couple of weeks ago in Singapore at an AppsEvents NexTech Summit, where we took the focus off Google products and opened the lens to encompass any technology that might have an influence on education. We had bots, 3D printing, Gamification, and Virtual Learning environments (and more!) - a lot to explore for the wonderful group of educators who participated!

We were lucky to have the environment of the Nexus International School to work in. They have an incredible MakerSpace and an innovative teaching team who's exploring changing the physical structures of classrooms. Their administration is very supportive of their efforts and all around you feel the buzz of a school that's trying lots of different things to see how education can evolve to create more effective learning environments - virtual and physical - for our students.

As a teacher in the classroom every day, there's no question that the GSuite of tools is at the core of what I do. But I'm also excited to see how much the skill level has risen in our teachers that we're now ready to stop playing catchup and start really innovating in our classrooms! I'm looking forward to many more of these events focusing on exposing teachers to lots of new technologies in an environment where they can play, share, and imagine a new kind of learning experience for our students.

Take part in our 2017 survey of ‘Google use in schools’ and get special early access to the results

After the huge success of our 2016 survey we are delighted to be be compiling our 2017 survey, the most comprehensive survey of Google use in schools worldwide.

Click here to complete the survey it takes about 5 - 10 minutes

As a thank you for completing the survey we will share early access of the results with all respondents, including our analysis of the trends and best practices we note among other schools. Remember that the results will be viewable in aggregate by 'country', 'region' and 'type of school' so you or your school will not be personally identified in any way to anyone.

Here are the results from our 2016 survey

How to work as a Google trainer

I’m often asked by aspiring Google EDU trainers “How can I work as a Google trainer?” Typically it is educators looking to go beyond just helping their colleagues and to start training externally and to charge for their services. I love welcoming new trainers to the community so am glad to help and I always start with the same question: ”Are you sure you want to do this?”

Do you really LOVE training people on Google tools? Are you someone who will respond the same day to one of your students when they email you a year later with a question? Do you get a warm fuzzy feeling when you see the ‘aha moment’ as someone realizes they can apply something you said? Do you get a geeky excitement when you see a new feature added to G Suite and rush to retweet it? Do you have the free time to train? Are you willing to spend days unpaid and evenings and weekends keeping your skills up to date?

….If the answer to all the above is an enthusiastic ‘Yes’ then read on, you are in the right place! I was one of the first ever Certified Trainers in Europe and it’s genuinely changed my life in the friendships I’ve made, countries I’ve visited and things I’ve learned.

It’s huge huge fun but it’s also really hard work. You’ll travel a lot, sometimes overnight and you’ll go straight from the airport to the school to present. The people you are training don’t care how far you have travelled, they just want amazing instruction. You can make some money as a trainer but there are much easier ways to make money so only do this because you love it.

So here are some high level tips I give to anyone looking to take their Google training to the next level:

Get all your certifications

Certifications are no guarantee of being an amazing trainer but there are a lot of trainers out there and you need your basics covered. Take your Google Educator 1 and 2. Become a ‘Google for Education Certified Trainer’, and finally become a ‘Google Certified Administrator’. Many people miss out the Administrator Certification and it’s a mistake. Imagine you are teaching and someone asks “How do I create users in G Suite?” You can quickly jump into the admin console to show them. You don’t need to be ‘super techy’ but you do need to know enough to be useful and the Admin Certification is achievable for anyone with a bit of preparation. A second benefit if you have an aptitude for it is that there is a bigger demand for admin training and not so many trainers available.

Once you are certified stay up to date with everything, keep track of all your certifications and renew when necessary.

Take any opportunity you can, paid and unpaid

Submit sessions on Google Tools for any Education related conference or summit. Most events will give you a free place for presenting and it’s amazing practice and a great way to broaden your network. Contact any Google Trainer friends you have and ask if you can help them as an unpaid assistant at their training.

Take everything you are offered! Will you fly long distances to present for just one day? The trainers we work with at AppsEvents will jump at it. It’s a global community and of course you can stay local if that suits your life and commitment’s but remember opportunities will be more limited. The more flexible you are the more in demand you will be.

Always keep in mind that there are a LOT of good trainers out there already and the convenient opportunities are easy to fill with trainers that people already work with. The Saturday morning session at a convenient location is probably filled, the one in a more obscure venue at an inconvenient time is hard to fill and that is your opportunity.

Remember that training is a ‘form game’. If for example a school needs a trainer and they call you up for three events and you say ‘no’ each time you’ll start to get lower on their list, so take everything that you can. Remember this: If you are a good trainer people will want to use you, but they need to know you can help with the ‘hard to fill’ sessions.

Sharpen the saw

Always do a ‘feedback form’ after every session and act on all negative feedback. You need to be a perfectionist and thick skinned. I’ve been a trainer now for six years and it still feels terrible when I get a negative feedback comment. Every time I try to analyse “Why did that person not have an amazing experience?” and then act to make sure I improve next time.

It goes without saying you should be up to date on all new features of G Suite and Google tools in general and more importantly their practical application in the classroom. Follow the right people on Twitter and subscribe to all the Google EDU related newsletters.

One of the best ways to get noticed for your training is to establish a niche. Are you a passionate math teacher incorporating G-Suite into your classes? Do you have some amazing mapping projects that you have been blogging about? Have you used Google Apps Scripts to automate administrative tasks? Begin your training sessions with your passion projects and then expand your training repertoire from there. People will remember you as ‘the expert in …..’

Be cool!

As a trainer with no track record or references it’s tough to get paid….You need to take it slow. Train for free as much as you can, then ask for expenses, then ask for a low fee, then increase it. If you read in an online group that you can charge $2500 a day as a novice trainer you will be disappointed. Build up your ‘brand’ as a trainer and your network and treat it as a long term project.

Wherever you train, be it conference or training event at a school, always help out with everything. Offer to help facilitate panels. Stay around at the end to help take signs down. Remember that offering to help with something specific that you see needs to be done is always the most useful. Just saying a general “If you need help just ask me” isn’t much use.  Most importantly keep yourself grounded even after you have become successful as a trainer. I know amazing keynote speakers who are always humble and, for example, stay around to carry bags after the event. It adds a huge amount to how much you want to work with them! Pro tip: The best way to meet attendees at a conference and for them to remember you is to help out on the registration desk.

Always, always go to the networking events at any meetup or conference. If there isn't a networking event then go ahead and organize one yourself on the fly. It is without a doubt the best place to meet people and for them to remember you. It’s the most fun part of any event and often where the real learning takes place.

….and if you’ve gone through all the steps above then get in touch we’d love to hear from you :) Contact veronika (at) appsevents (dotcom)

Becoming a Google Certified Administrator

We focus a lot at AppsEvents on helping people become ‘Google Certified Educators’ but there is another important Google Certification that we are getting more involved with in 2017… the ‘Google Certified Administrator’.

So what is this certification and why should you look at getting it?

Firstly the ‘what’: The exam covers all the behind the scenes tasks on G Suite such as creating users and setting security settings. The full list of topics covered is:
  • User and organisational unit management
  • Customising apps and services configuration
  • Configuring mail delivery and routing
  • Designing for security
  • Chrome management and deployment best practices
The exam itself is a three hour practical test on a live G suite system where you actually perform live admin tasks and are monitored via webcam during the exam. Google recommends up to 6 months experience as an admin to pass the exam but we have had many people take our two day admin bootcamp (info below) with no experience and passed the exam first time, so it’s nothing to be feared.

So who should take this? Well firstly it’s important to say this exam is the same for both Business and Education users and is not specifically Educator focused. Of course it’s suitable for any tech staff, but also increasing numbers of teachers and other staff are taking the certification. We talked about this in a blog post on the ‘democratization of IT’ two years ago and the trend we spotted has only continued. The great thing about G Suite admin is its granularity, so you can give staff access as an admin for certain groups and certain tasks, so it’s easy to involve more people to help the system run more smoothly. Especially in small companies and schools it’s often important to get as many staff as possible helping with admin.

All the info you need can be found at this link and if you would like to join a two day bootcamp to take you through the material we’d love you to join us at an AppsEvents Admin bootcamp. We have dates across Europe, Asia and the US and more info you can find at Don’t see a date you like? Fill in the form on the site and we can potentially host one with you.

Chromebook Apps to Inspire Creativity

With the recent announcement of the new generation Chromebooks with stylus support, world-facing camera, and Android apps, we thought we’d compile a list of tools that helps inspire collaboration and creativity in the classroom so you can make the most of these new devices.

Toontastic 3D

Launched early this year, Toontastic 3D is a very powerful at the same time fun tool that enables students to transform their imaginations into an animated movie! The app has a very intuitive UI and a video-game like environment.

For digital storytelling, users pick from three Story Arcs (Short Story, Classic, & Science Report). The app gives prompts on how to construct a story and has a media library full of characters and settings that will surely excite a child’s inner creator. It also lets you create your own 3D drawings, record your own voice, add yourself with photos, customize the colors of the built-in characters, and choose from dozens of songs to come up with your movie soundtrack. Get the app here >>
Soundtrap for Education

Soundtrap offers a lot of options to help you create music online. You can either connect your own instrument, record sounds directly through your device’s microphone, or use the software instruments and loops built within the software! Here’s a really great article on how one teacher is revolutionizing music education in his school using this tool. If you can’t wait to get started, you can sign up for Soundtrap here >>.

Adobe Photoshop Mix

Photoshop Mix brings some of the powerful photo editing features to your Chromebook or Android device. With the app, you can easily perform tasks such as:
  • Cut out and remove sections of your images or merge multiple photos. 
  • Seamlessly combine photos together to create fun or surreal images. 
  • Adjust colors and contrast or apply preset FX Looks (filters) to your pictures. Enhance the entire image, or just a portion with the touch of your finger. 
  • Non-destructive editing means your original pics stay pristine and untouched. 
  • Quickly and easily share your creations on social media. 
Install Photoshop Mix from this link >>.

BONUS Tip: Quick Draw

If you are looking for a simple and engaging way to introduce concepts like neural networks and artificial intelligence in your class or you just want a quick ice breaker, consider this AI browser experiment from Google. Quick Draw is a game built with machine learning. You draw and it tries to guess what you are drawing. It’s really fun!

Who are AppsEvents and what makes us Unique?

AppsEvents has one clear goal: To produce amazing Google PD for Educators, to give them the tools and the inspiration to take their work to the next level....and to do it time and time again on every training engagement. We know we are only as good our last training event.

AppsEvents is a unique organization with a tight focus on the intersection of these areas:
  1. Google for Education: We work exclusively on training Google for Education tools and their leading edge applications in schools and in the classroom.
  2. Working with schools and Educators: We don’t train businesses. Our focus is 100% educators working at schools.
  3. Only PD: We’re not a consulting focused organization and we don’t resell products and services. We believe the best investment schools can make is quality PD to give them the tools to take things forward themselves.
  4. Educator trainers: We work exclusively with trainers that are actively engaged within the education community, from Principals to IT heads, Tech Coaches to Teachers. All of our leadership team are currently involved in education; Either in teaching at schools or as GEG leaders and co-leaders and training directly for Google.

Our leadership team is distributed worldwide which gives us a unique international focus to bring the best elements of teaching we can find; not just from the US and from the UK but from multiple top-ranked education systems such as Finland and Singapore and from the best IB Schools worldwide. We have local teams located in Asia, US, UK, Europe and the Middle East.

All our summits have a strong mix of trainers; primarily local/regional Google experts with international trainers to give fresh perspectives. We don’t work with every trainer and our extended team we believe are the best Google Educators out there.

Curriculum development is a central part of AppsEvents and our global team collaborates to produce the most up to date Google for Education releases. For example our core ‘Google Educator Level 1 Certification Bootcamp’ currently has over 500 hours of development time on it, and still we revise it after every single event. We plan our curriculum centrally so you get a unified experience taking our training anywhere in the world.

We work on a 360 degree approach to empower schools, training all job roles: Educators, Leadership, Support and Tech staff and we work to make sure the effect of our PD is lasting in the school.

A unique thing about all our summits is the extreme focus on networking and building the Google Education Community. We always have a fun networking party for all attendees with free drinks after the close of day 1 to help people build lasting connections. We are proud to have given many educators their first opportunity to present at a summits, and several of these we have helped develop to give their first keynote. We are always expanding our team with amazing educators who are passionate about Google tools.

We are Google community-centric and work closely together with many of the top Google for Education partners worldwide.

AppsEvents is a focussed team of experts producing boutique high level events every time we set foot in the classroom. We look forward to working with you. For more information about hosting an event at your school please click here

Digital Citizenship in Schools

Digital citizenship is becoming more and more integrated into school curriculums. As educators are becoming more familiar with technology and social media and how it impacts learners, we are seeing some really great programs being developed by ISTE, Google, Common Sense Media, ASCD and many more!

If citizenship was the rationale for the founding of schools, digital citizenship can be seen as the evolution of this, and can broadly be defined by appropriate and responsible use of technology. ISTE and Common Sense Media have broken up digital citizenship into strands and topics:

Common Sense Media
Digital access
Internet Safety
Digital etiquette
Privacy & Security
Digital law
Relationships & Communication
Digital communication
Cyberbullying & Digital Drama
Digital literacy
Digital Footprint & Reputation
Digital commerce
Self-Image & Identity
Digital rights and responsibilities
Information Literacy
Digital safety and security
Creative Credit & Copyright
Digital health and wellness

Recent news events have further emphasized the need for digital literacy, identifying ‘fake news’ is an essential skill in an ever more connected world.

So where are schools at?

Nearly all schools are now implementing some form of DC curriculum. Some schools have it embedded into curriculum whilst other schools are just beginning to explore the opportunities. With massive growth in 1:1 devices in schools (Chromebooks, iPads, laptops, smartphones) there is a need for a continuous discussion around digital citizenship.

A growing number of schools are hosting programs designed for students, educators and parents. Through parent sessions the message of digital citizenship is reinforced and further shared with learners. Some schools are working with governments organisations, industry and NGOs to create innovative programs to promote DC - some even have students work on creating e-commerce startups as a culminating project!

Where to start?

A great way for a school to begin is by having a Digital Citizenship Week. A number of lessons during this week are themed around DC, and excellent resource to share with educators is Common Sense Media’s curriculum. With lessons designed as pdf’s, for Nearpod and iBooks, all grades are covered K-12. Teachers can use the prepared lessons or customize them to localize them for different countries/cultures.

Given the breadth of DC content, it’s really rewarding to explore from a professional growth perspective. And therein lies the relevance to Google’s very own certifications - Google Certified Educator Levels 1&2. Throughout the review material there are references to security and privacy. Level 1 features the following topics:
  • How to protect yourself with good, strong passwords 
  • How to recognize hoaxes 
  • What makes up your digital footprint 
  • How to manage your online identity 
  • The importance of privacy settings 
  • How to build resilience to be able to handle challenges 

Gaining recognition

To gain recognition for digital citizenship efforts within schools, Common Sense Media offers its own Digital Citizenship Certified Educator and Digital Citizenship Certified School. Following a successful implementation of digital citizenship curriculum educators are able to apply to this program and receive recognition in terms of digital badges and posters that can be displayed.

A world of resources

The following is a short list of relevant resources (and there are loads more great resources out there - please share more in the comments):

Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum for K-12: Common Sense’s collection of resources including ready-made lesson plans - great place to start

ISTE - Essential Elements of Digital Citizenship - ISTE’s elements are driven from the ISTE standards requirements for digital citizenship, focussing on the safe, legal and ethical use of technology.

Digizen - a website that can be shared with educators and learners alike, lots of games, videos and resources covering social media through to cyberbullying.

Growing Up Digital - report from Children's Commissioner for England published Jan 2017, further highlighting the rationale for digital citizenship education in schools

Screenagers - movie diving into the impacts of a digital age on children

New Generation Chromebooks, New Possibilities in Education

This week at Bett, one of the world’s leading education technology conferences, Google demoed two new Chromebook models with next generation features designed to address the needs of schools using G Suite for Education which now have more than 70 million active users!

The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 and the Asus Chromebook C213 offer users the versatility of having a desktop and an Android tablet with these new unique features:

  • Stylus Capability: Both devices come with an intelligent, low-cost pen resembling a #2 pencil for easier note-taking and drawing.
  • World-Facing Camera: A special camera placed on the keyboard side so when the Chromebook is flipped, it holds just like a tablet and students can now take photos from all directions.
  • USB-C charging: All 2017 Chromebook models going forward will have standard super-fast USB-C charging.
  • Android apps: In the coming weeks, administrators will be able to create a library of approved Android apps and install them on select managed Chromebook devices. Here’s the current list of Chromebook models that can support Android apps.

With Android apps now available on Chromebooks plus the introduction of stylus pens on newer models, this opens up new possibilities on how students and educators use their devices.

Searchable Handwritten Notes

New generation Chromebooks uses an input prediction model built upon Google’s machine learning technology, which makes writing on these devices extremely responsive. Combine it with apps with Optical Character Recognition capabilities such as Google Keep, going through your notes is as easy as doing a Google search.

Classroom web version or Android app in one device!

Google Classroom works on all Chromebook devices so students and educators can collaborate and stay organized. This setup works so well when dealing with documents and multimedia content.

With the help of a stylus-enabled device and the Classroom Android app, students can solve math equations by hand or sketch diagrams and other visuals for a project directly in the Classroom app.

Adobe Creative Cloud apps

To provide further creative options for students and get the most of the stylus and world-facing camera, creative Android apps from Adobe optimized for Chromebooks will be available for free download.

As Chromebooks continue to become the device of choice for education, expect to have an even wider variety of applications and Chrome OS devices in the future including detachables and tablets.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 and the Asus Chromebook C213 are scheduled to be released late spring. You can check out new Chromebooks at