Thursday, 3 October 2013

10 things I will be taking from the

On the 26th and 27th of September I was privileged enough to attend the first South African/African Gafesummit in Cape Town. Held at Parklands College (Thanks Guys, awesome conference) the conference was Google exemplified!

Parklands and Schoolnetsa invited the to present the conference and the team blew us away with their knowledge and energy, considering many of them flew in from all over the world I am sure that energy was hard to find.

The sheer amount of learning made this conference, in my opinion, the best conference I have been to this year.

So what did I take away form the conference besides some new people to follow on twitter (@followmolly, @scubagirl812, @rushtonh and @markwagner among many others) and Google+?

Well, lets try narrow it down to 10, starting with some observations and then some cool tech:

1) Amazing Video's

In every presentation there was a video to make you think! What it brought home was the power of a video used in the right place at the right time. As teacher we tend to see you tube as a time waster (and it can be, I just spent 10 minutes following recommended links) but to our students it allows entry to a world of knowledge.

2) Sheer Enthusiasm!

Over the 2 days of the conference there wasn't a moment where the teachers were not talking, connecting, sharing ideas or just plain whooping at new ideas and technology that just blew us away.

3) Boomerang

...and it's pal The Email Game, both brilliant and both so simple. If you haven't already you really need to check them out! The goal is inbox zero (9000 odd to go, wish me luck). (

4) 45 tips for Google Apps for Education

A short presentation by mark Garrison that gave so many new ideas that I had to read it over and over.

5) Flubaroo

Self marking Google forms, what could be better. Well, emailing the results automatically at the same time!!

6) Maps Engine Lite

Customised maps of anything on earth. @scubagirl812 showed us how to bring Google Maps to life. Although I had heard and seen this before it was brilliant to see how much could be done. This session was so inspiring that you could nearly hear the new teaching idea's popping into people's heads.

7) Productivity

Dozens of tips and tricks provided by @markwagner to make Google Apps work faster for you (and other program's as well). I especially liked my introduction to which gives, you won't believe it, alternatives to favourite pieces of software for various platforms.


Thanks to @rushtonH for this, all creative commons resources all the time! This search engine along with the Google reference tool that can be switched on in Google Doc (Tools --> Research) are very powerful for everyone who is concerned about plagiarism, did anyone say Matric?

9) Customisation

What I was most reminded of during the conference is just how flexible Google is. It is, at heart, designed to try and make every individuals life easier. Tell it how you like to do things and it just does them. Even better, Google is starting to figure out things for you. The seamless integration across technologies and platforms is just brilliant.

10) The Demo Slam

Great staff development tool, each teacher presents an idea for 3 minutes. Best is it can even be used outside of 'tech' and just to blast several idea's at one sitting. I loved it and well done to @KShermanTweets for the outstanding win. Big applause by the partisan local crowd.

All in all this was a brilliant experience. What struck me most (even above the 10 things I took from the conference) was just how easy it is to customise Google for each user's needs. Every teacher, IT guy and 'other' at the conference could probably write a completely different but just as relevant and exciting '10 things' list. If you do please let me know about it, i would love to read it!