Google Apps For Education Tokyo @ASIJ

Over two hundred educators converged on ASIJ on February 9th and 10th. It was a weekend of play, passion and purpose. Over twenty-five different workshops and keynote presentations were offered with participants attending from around Japan and from as far away as Indonesia.  Browsing through the Twitter stream #gafesummit you get a sense of the energy, ideas and connections that were made over the two days. Aside from attending some great sessions these kinds of events are about bringing interesting people together. Ideas were swapped and sparked through informal exchanges that were as much a part of the event as the opportunities to interact and hear from the Google team and workshop presenters.

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“The Demo Slam”–3 fast & furious minutes in which to demo a tip, tool or idea. I shared the “Googles” function on a mobile device.

Rushton Hurley, Director of Next Vista for Learning opened Saturday morning and had people laughing from the get-go. In subsequent sessions he shared a wealth of resources from search skills to creative projects which I’ll be digging through for a long time to come.

Jim Sill‘s entertained and inspired us with his keynote address on Sunday. We were invited to think about the kind of world are we are now living in by contrasting it to the ‘material world’ of the 1980’s. Madonna’s hit song blared out and helped bring home some of the shifts that have occurred in the decades since it first aired. One example Jim shared was that now 72 hours of footage are being uploaded to YouTube every minute. It’s certainly a digital and very connected world. What can teachers make of the opportunities this affords?

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Throughout the whole event Wendy Gorton kept the energy high as our MC. In the closing session Wendy also shared about some of the fantastic projects she’s involved in around Asia, and how she uses whatever technology is available to keep connections going and to support learning.

Overall it was a very energizing event. Like the collaborative installation that attendees helped create, GAFE Summit Tokyo was a culmination of lots of different peoples ideas, effort and commitment. It was a wonderful experience to be a part of it.