Community: A New Google Teacher Academy Graduates

Written by CUE Member Kate Petty and the GTAATX Graduates


When one is first offered a place at one of the Google Teacher Academies around the world, what to expect is usually shrouded in mystery. Between the excitement of being selected, getting to visit a real Google office, and leaving work behind for a couple of days, it is typical to finally board the plane and wonder “What is this going to be like?”

The newest class to graduate from the Google Teacher Academy realized the end result right away – Community. Friendships begin in a private Google Community for weeks before the actual Academy begins and they are bound for a lifetime throughout their time at the Academy. These communities of like-minded professionals give individuals the confidence to propel innovation in education through discussion, iteration, and reflection.

I had the opportunity to ask our #GTAATX a few questions about what their classrooms look like today and what they see for education in the future. Here are a few of their responses.

Describe your classroom today.

We use one-to-one with tablets. Almost all of my activities in the classroom are dependent upon student investigations and consolidation of information, as well as collaboration and the use of resources to solve problems. – Rebecca Vierya, Washington, DC

My classroom doesn’t look like your typical foreign language classroom. My students interact with the language by creating. They write in blogs. They make posters and advertisements in Google Drawings. They shoot video and mix in audio. Technology is prevalent, but it’s not the focus. We talk a lot in Spanish, from basic question/answer to creating crazy stories together. My goal is to engage students in an environment where they’ll want to come back and learn more. – Matt Miller, Marshall, IN

My classroom belongs to my students. I set the rubrics, the grading policy, and most of the assessments, but my students are the ones who really direct the conversations, the projects, and classroom rules. My favorite classes are the ones that are student-directed; the ones that I did not anticipate. For the planner in me, it is a little more stressful, but learning does not always occur in the manner that I envision. – Christopher Muller, Mexico City, Mexico

What do you see happening in your classroom 10 years from now?

As anywhere, anytime learning becomes a mainstream in staff development and professional learning, I see my classroom taking new forms. My classroom will be augmented, accessible from anywhere, with a variety of options for educators to drive their own professional learning. – Kasey Bell, Dallas, TX

I see more personalized programming where school is the “just-right” fit for each student. I also see students chasing their passions on individual inquiry journeys, where they can design projects from start to finish that may carry through their school career. – Victoria Olson Langely, BC, Canada

zF xs from around the world to solve global issues. – Andrew Moriates, Laguna Beach, CA

What is the role of teachers today?

Today’s teachers need to challenge themselves to provide education that is relevant and engaging. We need to teach students how to find, use and evaluate data. We also need to educate students on positive digital footprints and how to create and how to effectively navigate in social media circles for their future. – Missy McClurg, Delphos, OH

In our 1:1 Beta rollout, we lead teachers to embrace Alan November’s idea of students creating an educational legacy as tutorial designers, class scribes, researchers, and global communicators/collaborators. Teachers are encouraged to allow themselves to be vulnerable in order to move from teacher-centered to student-directed learning. In the spirit of “Living in Beta”, teachers let go of control and allow themselves to be in a learner mindset alongside their students. Our ideas might (or might not) work … and that’s OK! – Geri Feiock Eagan, MN

Teachers should be leaders, facilitators, motivators, inspirers and change agents. – Rafranz Davis, Arlington, TX

Education is completely transforming itself into a new idea of learning. These teachers have been inspired by others and are ready to inspire more. Are you ready to lead the charge? Watch for the announcement for the  2015 Google Teacher Academies and apply to find the communities that will embrace the same ideas you hold.

Thank you to the #GTAATX Academy for letting me peak into your world and share it with our world.

Kate Petty

Kate Petty

Kate Petty is currently an EdTech TOSA (former secondary English teacher) for SVUSD in Mission Viejo, CA. She enjoys learning about all of the amazing things happening in education as she edits articles for CUE’s blog. She also serves on CUE’s Orange County Chapter Board of Directors and is a trainer at the Orange County Department of Education. She became a GCT in 2012 with #GTAMTV12 and is truly inspired by her amazing network of colleagues.

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Kate Petty

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