Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pack your Backpack for YRDSB Google Camp

With only four days to go, I thought I'd share a few thoughts about what you might want to bring to
YRDSB Google Camp.

When I prepare for a camping trip, the first part involves making a list of all the equipment that I'll need, and making sure it's in good working order.  For YRDSB Google Camp, this involves bringing a laptop computer with Google Chrome installed on it.  For YRDSB staff, you can test your gear by bringing it to school this week and making sure you can connect to the school board's wireless network.

The second part of preparing for a camping trip involves establishing a mental attitude that will help ensure I'm happy and successful.  I want to approach each trip knowing that the weather may change, a portage may be much longer than it seems when looking at a map and that if something goes wrong, I can deal with it.

For YRDSB Google Camp, here are some attitudes that I'm packing to ensure a great experience.

  • Prepare to be inspired:  You will have many opportunities to see different ways in which you can use Google Apps for education in your role.  However, in one hour long sessions, facilitators may not be able to take you step by step through everything they share.  Many will have links to resources that can take you step by step through what they are sharing, and there are incredible resources developed by teachers around the world all over the web.  You'll likely want to adapt what you see to your own setting as well.
  • Prepare to get connected:  With over 500 teachers, administrators and support staff in attendance, try and connect with someone that you can learn from or learn with.  Our session leaders are people who have already volunteered to share how they're using Google Apps in their classrooms and there will be many more people in attendance who are already using Google Apps.  Consider joining our Google+ community to stay in touch with other campers, share your learning, and ask questions to a wider audience who are willing to help out.
  • Prepare to innovate:  Imagine new ways that you can use these tools to engage your students and work more efficiently.  When you walk away from YRDSB Google Camp, commit to trying one or two things in your classroom or role.  It might be a commitment as simple as personally trying to move away from your regular desktop editor to using Google Drive when you want to create a text document, or it might be as challenging as committing to use Google Forms for effective formative assessment purposes on a regular basis.  
  • Prepare to collaborate:  The biggest game changing feature in Google Apps for Education is the ability to collaborate.  Commit to trying to change your own attitude to how you work and learn by sharing with colleagues and students.  Try to get comfortable with giving up some control in order to become a genuine co-learner with your students.  Try to make a connection with someone that you can collaborate with, in your school, across the board, across the province, or around the world.  
I can't wait to see everyone on Saturday!  

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