|GEG Dainfern founder members|
Recently the GEG program was launched in South Africa. With local partners SchoolNetSA and a group of enthusiastic and dedicated leaders and trainers Google hopes to establish and maintain a training and development program that could change the way teachers and schools approach technology.
According to Google:
'Google believes that the best inspiration to educators are other educators. It is for this reason that Google helped start a community of passionate educators, who bring the benefits of technology to schools, classrooms, and communities across the world.
GEGs provide a platform for educators to collaborate with one another, allowing them to pick up new creative ideas from one another, and to help each other best meet the needs of their students with Google solutions. GEG activities take place both online and offline. Online GEGs provide a space for educators to discuss together and learn about one another through Google+; offline, locally run events and workshops are a way to learn and share face to face.
Anyone is very welcome to join GEG. You may be a principal, a school administrator, a professor, a student, or just someone interested in using Google products to help people learn. Each group is organised by a local volunteer (GEG leader) and is entirely independent from Google, the corporation.'
This means that although Google provides resources, in terms of tools and training, it has no influence on the direction and thoughts of the GEG participants.
GEG's are device and platform agnostic (although GAFE helps), they admit anyone who is interested and do not look at background, means or even connectivity. The idea is to embrace #edtech and run with it.
What Google have foreseen is a rapidly changing world in which teachers and schools need to adapt to changes on an ongoing basis. The GEG is designed to be a place where teachers receive training and advice that provides the tools they need to cope in a modern classroom. One where knowledge is empowered by the use of research, analysis and critical thinking around any given topic. A place to share ideas on teaching philosophy, on networking (both physical and social) and on being in the classroom.
The best thing so far about the process of establishing a GEG is the training I have had the opportunity to receive. A mad weekend of getting to know 25-30 passionate teachers and administrators from around South Africa (Abrie Pepler, Nomusa Keninda, Anthony Peters and so many others), a Google+ community that is growing fast and provides solid advice and discussion on a variety of topics and a local group of teachers from Crawford's Fourways, Lonehill and Italia, St Peters School, Dainfern College, Cedarwood School and Rivonia Primary.
What I look forward to is getting more schools involved. The more the merrier. No-one 'owns' a GEG and they can evolve, split and reconvene, as long as the needs of the teachers are met.
Over the next few months a network of GEG's should be established around South Africa, take the opportunity and join one. It might change the way you teach!
Thanks to all the teachers who were present. If you are interested please contact me to join. We are especially keen for government schools to join us. So far there is only one.