I recently attended the summit, hosted by Parklands College in Cape Town (Thank you +Parklands College Secondary Faculty for the excellent conference) and have, as I often do, decided to write about the top things I took away from the event.
1) +Jennie Magiera's keynote on allowing student to progress through failure really resonated. I have, over the past few years tried to incorporate an aspect of deliberate 'failure' into my lessons. The point being that failure leads to the gaining of knowledge on a far broader spectrum than simply the ability to answer a test question.
What worries and astounds me is that often parents are not willing to allow their children to experience failure of any sort. We need to step back and allow the child to develop the resilience needed to cope with life.
Teachers also need to allow failure in their lessons, however we cannot and should not accept mediocrity. The story of 'Austin's Butterfly' reinforces what is possible when we expect more from children.
3) The teachers: and their sheer enthusiasm and excitement for learning. The 'jazz hands', the applause for new things, the fact they stayed until the last keynote, all of it!
4) WikiTube: this was one of the extensions I presented. The ability to see YouTube above a Wikipedia search is like tech magic!
5) The rebirth of Google Drawings: As a few of the presenters mentioned Drawings is the lost cousin of the GAFE toolset. What we forget is that many students find drawing easier than writing. +Jennie Magiera used the revision history to illuminate a students thought process and provide insight into their choices and changes. Check out her site for more.
6) Sharing: Everyone who presented at the conference was more than willing to put resources, ideas and links on the conference site for everyone to access and use. Thank you all for this valuable resource.
7) The Omnibox: So much more than just search box. A calculator, currency converter, specialist research tool, event creator and more. Use the omnibox tips and hints.
8) Google Classroom: This is by far my favourite tool in the GAFE toolbox. One thing that I try to emphasize is that Classroom is NOT a LMS, it is a workflow management tool or a document management tool and as such it is peerless. The continued updates and upgrades, based on teacher input are making it indispensable in my classroom.
Here is and excellent post on the strengths of classroom by +Tom Mullaney : Google Classroom is not an LMS. It's better!
Thank you for reading this.