Google Teacher Academy

The Google Teacher Academy in Stockholm. December 2013

It's been two months since I completed Google Teacher academy back in December. I was so honored to get in, and I thought I'd spend a little time sharing my experiences about the summit.

Applicant Profiles
"Applicants include classroom teachers, curriculum specialists, technology advocates, librarians, administrators, professional trainers, and other education professionals who actively serve the world's primary and secondary teachers and students." (GCT Website) I'm a classroom teacher but there was a varied mix of people ranging from ICT professionals, to librarians, to even PE teachers! What everyone did have in common however, was an extreme sense of humility and willingness to learn and share. Not a single person came across as overly "wizardly" in their skills but there definitely an underlying buzz about the different skills sets that people had brought to the proverbial table. Some people were just starting to explore tools that others had been using for years and vice versa.

What Google really looks for is people that have a willingness to share within their region or school. I think the strength of my candidacy was my teaching blog (about 85,000 hits) and twitter profile (about 350 followers), which is by no means the largest on the internet, but one of the bigger ones for teachers at my school. This is not to say that one can't get in without blog. A number of teachers who I met had never blogged before, but had the ability to work with and with teachers in other ways. For instance, one GCT whom I met visits a number of school districts every day and does Ipad training, so through her job, she meets many educators on a daily basis.

The Application Process
Applicants need to complete an online registration and make a short 1 minute video based on one of the following themes:
  • Motivation and Learning
  • Classroom Innovation
  • Positive Change in My Community

Do spend some time on your application. The first time I applied, I didn't get in, but went back and put some more thought into my essay responses. A number of other GCT's whom I met didn't get in on their first try. I felt that my video was pretty good and used it for my second application which was accepted. Here it is: 

The Google Community
The Google community is great. I've typically used Edmodo and Twitter for my PLN, but haven't gotten the feedback that I hope for when I submit a query asking for help. On both Edmodo and Twitter, there are a few key people that I contact weekly with educational dilemmas, but with Google +, more strangers are willing to help out. Some communities like Google Teacher Academy are for GCT's only, but there are many learning communities that are dynamite. The Script developers and users community is fantastic!

If this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, there is also a "Google Apps for Educators" class that runs regular sessions. There is a slight cost, but everyone I've known that has taken it says that it's great!


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