This week, I had the pleasure of presenting a few sessions at the Digital Educator and Personalized Learning Academy through Denver Public Schools. For the technology skills portion of the event, I presented a session on building Google Sites to extend the walls of your classroom. The presentation can be found below.
I also presented a session on video reflection to support the initiative through DPS called Project Cam Opener. As a part of the project, teachers are encouraged to post video reflections. Sometimes, this can be an intimidating process - the goal of the session was to make sure it feels manageable to teachers so they can instead focus on the benefits of reflection. Jessica Raleigh did an amazing job to support me with building this session.
Lastly, I collaborated with Maria Anglade on a session about Google Hangouts. This encompassed Google Hangouts messaging, video, and Hangouts on Air.
After teaching all of these sessions, it was hard for me not to come to the following conclusion: all of these skills and applications would be made even easier if the participant was fluent in Chrome. For example, the simple task of logging in and out of the myriad of Google products (Sites, Drive, YouTube, Google +, etc) took way more time without the setup of the Chrome browser. While I had many extensions that automated processes, I had to guide participants through the site version of many of the tools. I found myself wanting to teach them how to use Chrome to make everything streamlined.
For example, my Google Sites class participants asked me how to shorten their site url for students. My immediate thought was, "just push the Google url shortener extension on your browser". What takes me seconds, would require someone else several minutes to complete - go to the Google url shortener site, copy your link, paste your link, copy your new link, etc.
Because of this experience, I would like to thank Nicolette Vander Velde for her presentation on Google Chrome at InnEd CO last year. I am realizing what a crucial component Chrome has played in my role as an educator and believe that it is one of the key essential tech skills educators in a Google Apps For Education district should master. It is probably the single most important tool that has made my role as a teacher and edtech enthusiast completely manageable. I hope to pass on my learning to others, along with the many other skills I learned from the Colorado Educator Network. I look forward to seeing everyone again and learning even more at InnEd CO 2015 later this month!
Mattea Garcia is a passionate educator dedicated to improving instruction by utilizing technology. This blog is dedicated to reflections on educational technology tools, instructional coaching, and educational equity.