Learning from Google

Google Post-it Installation

What can we learn from innovative organizations like Google? How might we adopt some of their cultural markers to inspire students? When we knew ASIJ would be the host venue for the first Tokyo Google Apps for Education Summit I wondered how we might use it as an opportunity to touch students and not just host a PD event for faculty.

What I envisioned was a week of ’20 percent time’ projects, cross divisional student activities and workshops, Scratch writing Slams & Play-offs, Dance Parties and maybe even a filming session for a Lipdub project that was underway. Needless to say thinking big doesn’t always mean you get to act big. Disruption is not always warmly welcomed, right? ūüôā

While the scale of those ideas were not realized this time around, as I reflect post the Google Summit, the goal of getting students involved was achieved and the event did have an impact on some of our students.

The transformation of the high school lobby and library space into a Google style environment, intended to inspire idea sharing and collaboration, did create a buzz with students leading up to the event.

photo 3


Google colors

In the lead up to the event a group of students were a key part of a collaborative video project designed to give Google a decidedly Japanese flavor. They crafted the logo out of nori rolls and sushi Рthen ate it! Creative and delicious.


Google Sushi

Our middle school art teachers launched a ‘Google doodle’ extravaganza which resulted in hundreds of colorful logo designs being displayed around school.

Google doodles

A project that engaged many of the ASIJ Student Envoys during the event was the Google Post-It installation. Attendees were invited to help create a giant Google logo with Post-It messages about the conference under the direction of student helpers. They photographed each stage which we then turned into a stop-motion animation for screening on the Sunday afternoon. It was a fun, creative and collaborative effort by everyone.¬†Grade 11 student, Kyoko emailed me about the experience; ‚ÄúIt turned out beautiful! Thank you for integrating my moving arrow in the end of the video! I had a very inspiring day today!‚ÄĚ I loved what she did – she had embraced the challenge to inject her own ideas into an open-ended project.

Maybe that’s it! Time for creativity, and challenges and opportunities to collaborate.

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.


“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?


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.




Learn, Share, Remix! with the K-12 Online Conference 2012

I’ve been learning, sharing and remixing in the lead up to the K-12 Online Conference because I have been working on putting a ¬†presentation together. Wow, what an experience! I’m relieved to be finished. It was definitely a collaborative project with friends, colleagues and students playing a big part by sharing ideas, examples and student work.

Now I’m looking forward to digging into the wide range of PD offerings starting October 15 with¬†pre-conference keynote presentation by¬†Kevin Honeycutt.

Here’s a brief intro to my topic:

Thinking Big About Learning | Teaser from Glenda Baker on Vimeo.

Week four: 3 Priorities

A quick survey of faculty about what students needed at this stage in the 1:1 roll-out was all about ‘printing & productivity‘. So, the 1:1 Support Sessions for students this coming week will include some of their peers demonstrating;

  1. A few ways to organize their Google Docs more effectively.
  2. A strategy for managing distractions by using a little program called Self Control.
  3. And set-up instructions to make sure everybody is double-sided printing.

It may not seem world changing stuff but small steps are sweet.

ePub – Open & Mobile

The 2011 Horizon Report (k-12) predicts that Open Content will become more mainstream in the next 2 to 3 years in schools. ePub is an open format that fits into this model. I’ve been thinking about the potential of¬†ePub documents that can be stored in iTunes or other curation software allowing students to start to build their own libraries of content that sync to multiple devices. Documents might include teacher created e.textbooks or documents that the students themselves create.

I have been playing around with creating a few ebooks in Pages and so made a video¬†& ebook about what I’ve discovered.