My Thoughts & Reflections on Google Summit for Education by Apps Events: Bangkok, Thailand 25-27 September 2015

by +Diana Engwa

At the end of September, I attended a Google Summit for Education, by Apps Events, in Thai Chinese International School, Bangkok, Thailand. On Friday, I attended a pre-conference on how to go about being a Google Certified Educator and the different google certifications available out there. This 'bootcamp' was given by James Sayer. It was an enlightening, motivating and inspiring pre-conference that basically set the tone for the entire weekend.

Normally, the tendency is to get "info overload" by day 2 of the conference, right about after lunch. Don't get me wrong, yes, was still experiencing 'info overload' but was so eager to learn more, to keep going to one workshop after another. There were so many choices going on at the same time that I had at least 3 choices out of 6-8 and sat there just rereading the workshop descriptors, having difficulty deciding which one to attend.

Moreover, I continued to be inspired even while back at work despite having a full work weekend and arriving home at midnight the day before Monday. I found myself trying the new chrome apps & extensions, keeping my notes organised via Google Keep, creating slides about each workshop I attended, doing screenshots to illustrate what I learned, watching tutorials & Google Demo Slams on YouTube...the list goes on.

This prompted me to self reflect...what made this conference unique? Why was I so motivated to attend as much as I could and why am I still motivated to continue to learn, post conference? One thing that stood out was everything was hands on learning, whatever the presenter was doing, we had to make our own version or follow along. The presenters would not allow us to fail, they walked around, made sure we were following along with everyone else.  And because we were never left behind, we got a sense of fulfilment at having achieved a task assigned by the presenter (in essence, our teacher).  Another thing that made an impression was that the presenters touched base with their audience. They didn't merely talk "at/to" their audience, they interacted with them during their workshops, in between (snack and lunch breaks), and even post conference.

Let's take this scenario back to our classrooms.  Take this time to reflect on how we teach our students. Are we merely teaching the curriculum? Are we assessing/grading with our calculators or with our hearts? What are your true teaching objectives? To merely teach at your students or to guide them, give them a tip or two along the way but let them take full control of their learning?  Do we want all of our students to succeed, support them and most importantly not allow them to fail, just like my #googlegurus from the summit did for us? Or are your students mere numbers and percentages? This brings me back to a PTC with a parent whose 3 kids I have handled. She asked me "did you ever imagine way back in 3rd grade that my sons will accomplish what they have now in Upper School and Middle School?" She went on further to say, "so for my daughter who is now in 3rd grade and is 'below reading level', I will just say, 'relax', they will get there, in their own time."  As teachers, we are there to support and believe in each and everyone of our students, we will all reach our 'a-ha' moment. We are not teaching PHD in the lower school, so for now, let's focus on the key things we must consider to keep our students engaged, motivated, and eager to learn more even after the bell rings?

I will be doing a series of 'take aways' from the summit in the form of a 'how to'. Check out my first take away...

*I would like to thank my #googlegurus from the Summit who inspired and motivated me to keep on learning, go after those certifications...don't let the traditional thinking of others get to you...make a difference and it starts with ME.  A big heartfelt thanks to James Sayer, Lee Webster, Sean Thompson, Wesley Przybylski, Davis Apas, Kru Noyneung whose presentations just rocked.  Honored to have connected with you all!

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About the Contributor

Diana Engwa  
Brent International School Manila

I loved using technology during my downtime while I used to teach Grades 1-3 Homeroom. Now, I am ecstatic to be able to do both - teach technology. Love that it keeps me current in teaching. I find that I need to keep learning in order to provide my students with the most current trends in educational technology. I love to share what I have learned as well, hence the ICT blog was born...

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