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Google Teacher Academy
By Barbara Bray    November 7, 2006 -- 01:26 PM

I am so lucky to be part of this exciting day at Google (November 7, 2006 at Google Headquarters in Mountain View) along with 50 other teachers and technology specialists.  This morning went so fast: building teams, breakout sessions using the advanced search tools, Google Earth and United Streaming, and Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Cool! Now our job as Google Teacher Educators we need to come up with 3 professional development activities. Even more tools in the afternoon: Picasa and iPhoto, Blogger, Feedburner, Podcasts, and SketchUp. I learned so much so fast. Now I have to go back and revisit each of the tools and come up with examples on how to use these tools in the classroom.

Panel moderated by Mike Lawrence
Kathleen Ferenz, Scott Johnson, Chris Heumann

Strategies for finding and synthesizing information. Where are we in the 21st century - panelist. We are still using L2O manifesto - librarians are still tied to subscription based databases because they believe these are the sources that are reliable instead of teaching them the skills they need that are necessary.

Kathleen: Assumption that reading online and text-based skills are going transfer - how to be literate in the 21st century is not just reading online. We need to give ocntextual clues. Teach reading for navigation - to extract information - skimming for reading. Teaching reading online vs print-based texts.

Scott: Students do not understand good research skills - librarians and teachers do not teach them how to find information. Would like to see primary grades focusing on teaching these skills. But these teachers do not have these skills.

Chris: When students type in a search and get millions of hit - they cannot filter and discern bias, question viability - what do we do with glut of information? where do you start.

Using new Google search engines - use one example like and peel back the onion to

How do we help our K-12 colleagues become literate with 21st century skills? 

Reflections on the New Literacy article from David Warlick, Sara Armstrong
Like the area of digital archive where teachers and students can collaborate. We canít teach everything students need to know. Do we teach to the test? Is it the skill set that opens everything up? We cannot possibly train our students for 6+ careers in their lives. We have to teach them to think.

David Warlick from North Carolina via videoconference
I think itís important that we acknowledge the fact that we would graduate from high school with all the skills we would need for the rest of our life. Things have changed - yet it is still seems like this body of knowledge believes we need to continue teaching like this. This is very arrogant  - actually now there are polls saying that people will have over 10 jobs.

I like the term "learning literacy" - to continue to be a lifelong learner. First people to gain these skills are teachers. Teachers need to be self-learners. Need to be able to use the teacher-learner landscape. Don Leu is exploring the reading of text on the web - using software that keep track of every keystroke. While they are surfing the web, the researchers can review the process - tracking studentsí decisions where they click the link - wrong link - back button. There is a level of problem-solving even if they are just answering questions. If we indeed want them to develop critical thinking skills, they need to use digital media - information online.

The information has changed the last 10 years. It is increasingly networked. You cannot make assumptions about the information you read. Information is increasingly digital which means that the user can manipulate the information. Information is overwhelming.

We have to become more skilled in our we communicate our messages of information. How to communicate compellingly - how to communicate with images, video, animation. How to teach our kids to be analytical users of information. Model it starting with kindergarten. Bring up the Google search engine showing the process of finding the image and why we chose that image over another. finding the image is part of the conversations that need to start early and have to consider and not make assumptions.

The library and the classroom should be a workplace where students have a goal and audience for what they are doing. Real authentic audience to perform and succeed. Students can now take that feedback - peers providing feedback.

It is not about the technology, it is the conversations. It is more about conversations. Users have as much influence as the writers. It gives us enormous opportunities to empower our students.

Safe Searching Discussion
It is more systemic point of view teaching responsibility. Google Images and Video is blocked from some districts. Teach the kids outside of the classroom. Google has strict setting. You can search for copyright-free images through the creative commons licensing. Some districts are using programs like NeTTrekker that controls how students search. But what about after school. Schools are doing this more because of liability and parents - streamline what we use for research. Maybe there could be a Google Education or Google for Kids that is a safe environment similar to Yahooligans. We could then send our kids and parents to this area. Except kids may not use it. Maybe we can add more controls and tiered so teachers and have parents have more control. Question of how much control. Under 3rd grade enjoy using even kid sites.

Teachers may not have the skills - kids know how to access the internet or parents are concerned about protecting their students from areas they are concerned about on the Internet. Letís not cut off access to the Internet. Students figure out a way to get past proxy servers. Maybe if Google built Google Schools that is easier to locate relevant information so search results are not as overwhelming.

Jane Kraus from ISTE reviewed Instructional Design - Backward Deisgn - starting with the end in mind. Wiggins & McTighe
  • identify learning objectives
  • establish evidence of understanding (rubrics)
  • design learning tasks and entree into experience (essential question or challenge)
  • guide, teach discrete lessons, monitor and adjust
  • evaluate and celebrate
With new technologies - makes things visible, deeper learning, iteration and reflection -

Classrooms are Diverse - Julie Duffield
The number of English Learners in public schools grew by over 30% from 1994-2000. Technology is showing we are diverse learners. Teenagers brains work different than adults. Go to Wested to Getting Started to Misunderstood Minds and take this memory activity. This is an example how technology is used as a simulation.

Writing is difficult for many students. One activity on this site is the Graphomotor Activity: Tracing Letters.

All of us are diverse learners. "Different types of instruction to support different learners." Go to
Cast where you can get information about technology that makes information more accessible.

Closed captions was first created for hearing impaired. Now CC suits all of us. Google is meshing seeing, hearing it, and making it available by taking captions in different languages.

Talking Text - highlighting and reading text.
BookBox has books online and you can choose what language you want read to you.

All information (Powerpoints, tips, audio. video, activities) are all free on Wested site.

Meeting Vint Cerf - Chief Internet Evangelist at Google
Cerfís Up: Maps
Integrating the virtual and the real. Imagine kids going into a virutal laboratory and have students to work with a real telescope  - letsí say the Hubble telescope. We couldnít build these tools before. Check out Gapminder that takes data and animates it. Even economists are entering into virtual environments. Students are making decisions in virtual worlds - experimental environments that people are engaged in. Kids get drawn into this because they cannot exercise creativity that they cannot do in the real world. Help us discover better ways to use these tools with students.

We knew we were creating tools and evidence of power of collaboration. Side effect of a billion people communicating in groups to people they donít know. In the internet world you can discover people who are willing to share because they decided to put it there. Concern about MySpace and other social networking tools where students are sharing things when they donít know any better. We have to help students understand responsibility to themselves and to their future. They may discover ways to deal with this that we may not be aware of. These kids do not know a world without an Internet. We have a social responsibility to teach ethics. Read Freakonomics - people are motivated to do things - that if they cheat, they hurt themselves.

Trends - more and more devices on the Internet - RFID chip when you go through the toll booth. Imagine if your keys have the chip, your phone will know where you were last. Internet community wil be TCIP version 6. more broadband. We are #10 in the world. More radio everywhere. Internet is going off planet - Mars rover download interplanetary protocols. Expeditions farther to Jupiter that could be an interplanetary node. Content of net will continue to evolve.


Looking for volunteers to share ideas on how to use what we've learned today within curricular areas.

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Comments: Add New Comments
By Janice Friesen      November 8, 2006 -- 07:33 PM
I am feeling fed up with hearing the same thing over and over again that I really agree with and then spending time in real schools with real teachers and real students and having NO connection to these ideas!! Janice

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