AppsEvents Featured in Google Education Newsletter

Our article about the effect of Global Google for Education Summits by AppsEvents Director, Dan Taylor, was published on the latest issue of the Google for Education Community Newsletter. We've cross-posted the article below:

Summits featuring Google for Education are independently organized communityevents and consist of educators sharing a wide range of topics and levels. In the past years, the growth of the international summits has contributed to many adoptions, certifications and awareness of Google products.

The first European Summit was held at the International School of Prague in 2012 and generated massive interest, to the extent that it had attendees from all, but two of the fifty-one countries in Europe! The first international summits were hosted by International Schools in South East Asia and Europe, and the attendees were a split between schools looking to make the move to Google Apps and schools who had already ‘gone Google’. Many sessions were at an introductory level and focused on the ‘how to’ topics, such as using Google Forms, Docs, Sites, and YouTube in the classroom. The summits helped many schools make the move to implement GoogleApps and inspired many attendees to finally take that “baby step” towards using the tools in their schools.

Summits have become the backbone of professional development (PD) for many schools and several have already hosted three or four annual summits. Almost all presenters now are GEG Leaders, Certified Innovators and Certified Trainers.

The initial summits helped drive a huge growth in attendees becoming Google for Education Certified Trainers, as many attendees who had been the “Google expert” at their school wanted to go out and help other schools get going with Google. Certification bootcamps were added as a pre-summit workshop and focused on innovative ways to use the Google tools while learning about the different certification paths, so that those wanting to level up and lead had a clear direction and support from his/her cohort moving forward.

The new Google for EDU certifications offer specific training and performance-based assessments to earn the Google Certified Educator Level 1 and 2. These certifications have been received with great enthusiasm, as they are GoogleClassroom based and focused more on workflows that teachers employ within schools. This led directly to a huge increase in interest when the new programs were released. The first bootcamps following the announcement at the Zurich and Bangkok Summits filled up within four days of announcing them!

As the Google for EDU community grew through 2015, the sessions held at summits started to change focus: less about how to use a specific App, rather more about “how do I engage and motivate learners to make their learning environment fun and meaningful?” This perfectly mirrors the new Google Educator Level 1 and 2 certifications, which focuses more on a holistic approach to using all the GoogleApps for Educators in the classroom.

Looking forward to 2016, the trends are for even more experienced attendees and sophisticated sessions. Summits now have a much broader range of training and much ‘deeper dives’ into topics; from sessions on how to teach students to develop Android Apps to leadership strands showing school leaders best practices for managing Google Apps across a school. For more information about summits featuring Google for Education, please visit the site here.
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Increasing accessibility and literacy scores with Read&Write for Google Chrome

TM_Texthelp_Logo_CMYK_Artboard 1.pngRead&Write for Google logo-RGB.png
Millions of students across the US and beyond are using cloud-based tools such as Google Apps for Education (GAFE) in the classroom and at home. Because this software is hosted “in the cloud,” students can access it on almost any device or platform, anywhere.

While the popularity of GAFE continues to grow, it is important to ensure that struggling learners, such as those with learning disabilities or English Language Learners, continue to have access to the supports they need to succeed.

At Texthelp, we’ve developed Read&Write for Google Chrome, which assists students using GAFE by making the web and files in Google Drive accessible. The friendly, intuitive toolbar is used (and loved) by millions of students and teachers worldwide.

One school who saw the benefits that Read&Write for Google Chrome could bring to their students, is Winnacunnet High School. By implementing Read&Write, this high school has increased students’ ability to collaborate and increased their independence.

Read&Write for Google Chrome at Winnacunnet High School

Winnacunnet High School is an American public high school located in Hampton, New Hampshire. It serves 1200 students in grades 9 through 12 who reside in the communities of Hampton, Seabrook, North Hampton and Hampton Falls.

Winnacunnet placed a large focus on literacy and literacy development in the past few years and when the school was looking for a program to help increase literacy scores. They initially started using Texhelp’s Read&Write for Windows, to help their special education students with literacy.

The school made a decision to move to Google Apps for Education two years ago. With the adoption of Google, Winnacunnet also solidified its 1:1 initiative with every student receiving a chromebook beginning with the freshman class in 2015-2016.

With the switch to GAFE, Winnacunnet purchased Read&Write for Google Chrome so its students could access content anywhere using the Chrome extension through their Google account.

Dave Hobbs, the technology integrator at Winnacunnet, said the move to Read&Write for Google Chrome enabled students to access the software from home and on different devices. The students’ work became account dependent instead of device dependent and this was a big key move for him.

As an administrator, Dave could see the benefits of the move to Read&Write for Google Chrome as he can cater and respond to teacher needs much quicker and on a greater scale and it made all the difference with adoption.

It was the reflective element that comes in the students reading and writing that Winnacunnet noticed Read&Write for Google Chrome can provide. “It was a tool that was above and beyond anything we’ve experienced in school,” added Dave Hobbs. “It is made possible because the students are only a click away from having access to these tools whether they are at home, at the library, or at school – they just need to log into their google account and they have access. Google and GAFE lets us collaborate with teachers in real time and with one another in real time.”

Winnacunnet classrooms use Read&Write for Google Chrome in a number of different scenarios. Text to speech is one of their favorite capabilities. One English teacher uses the software to help students memorise poetry - they have the poems read aloud to them and practice repeating them alongside the voice. Students were more confident in speaking in front of the class as a result of this.

Teachers at Winnacunnet also utilize the vocabulary builder and highlight function, but the feature they enjoy most of all is the autonomy it gives students. Teachers now don’t feel the need to hover over students shoulders to get work done; instead, students are getting their work done in a timely manner. Read&Write for Google Chrome follows the students outside the classroom with or without the teacher. With this new independence, comes added confidence.

As a result of Winnacunnet’s comprehensive focus on literacy along with its adoption of Google and Read&Write for Google Chrome, Winnacunnet has seen its literacy test scores increase significantly.

Find out more about Read&Write for Google Chrome here or click on this link for a quick introductory video.
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