Written and Edited by CUE Blog Editor Kate Petty with Special Consultants #GTAATL
Last week the Google Teacher Academy, in partnership with CUE, welcomed its newest members from the 2014 Atlanta cohort (#GTAATL). For these teachers, administrators, and educational coaches, it was more than another PD session, it was the opportunity to learn and network with some innovative and leading educators in the world. This week they are officially Google Certified Teachers (GCTs)!
The Google Teacher Academy is a two-day event where participants learn, collaborate, share with one another, and ultimately, share their knowledge and experience with many others. Interested teachers apply online and 50-70 teachers are selected to attend the event.
This year, with a staggering eleven GTA events, we wanted to follow one cohort as they met each other and planned their event. I had an insider-peak to their G+ Community and was able to reach out and get to know them. All I can say is…Wow! These teachers are friendly, passionate, and FUN! Check out the interview below.
What Do the #GTAATL Members Have to Say?
Kate Petty: As an educator (in whatever capacity you are currently working) what is your niche? Your passion in education?
I love collaborating beyond the walls of my school. This year I collaborated with more than 75 schools, authors, and developers on small and large-scale projects. I love for my students to participate in authentic learning experiences that allow them to create content that is shared with the global community and to make connections that have an impact. -Andy Plemons Athens, GA
As a math teacher, I love working with students that have traditionally been labeled as intervention or at-risk. I love taking kids that believe they hate math because they have never been successful at it, breaking it down for them differently, and then seeing their eyes sparkle when they finally understand the concepts. The sound “Ohhhh!” is music to my ears. My greatest reward is seeing them walk at graduation. -Julie Shah Riverside, CA
KP: What contributions to you see yourself making to your GTA ATL group and/or the GCT group as a whole?
I am hoping to be a resource by continuing to share my ideas and projects using social media, even after we have completed out official time together. -Chelsey Eminger Mentor, OH
I enjoy learning and sharing with others, and I look forward to doing both with my GTA ATL cohort and the larger GCT community. I hope to share new approaches and strategies for Professional Learning. -Danielle Forst Sacramento, CA
I hope that I can be an idea connector. I think that one of the exciting things about integrating technology into educational settings is that students and teachers can take two or three tools that really weren’t intended to function together and mash them together to create a totally new concept or way of working. -Scott Monahan York Region District School Board, Ontario
I hope to share my passion and excitement for learning. I also hope to share the benefits of engaging students in global projects. In the past three years my class has been involved in online projects with global partners in five continents and over 15 countries. -Laurie Clement Windsor, Ontario
KP: What are some learning experiences you hope to have at GTA ATL and beyond?
I hope to get new ideas and perspectives. I love when someone makes me think, “Wow, I’ve never thought about it like that.” -Chris Aviles Barnegat, NJ
I just want my enthusiasm to grow, and I know it will. I am excited to have an extended support group that feels like family. That way, when I am looking to do something, I have a group that I feel comfortable asking. I know we will all look out for one another. -Linda Humes New Jersey
I really hope to have some times of strong collaboration to build a foundation for future collaborative projects. I also want to learn as much as my brain can absorb during the 2 days of the academy so I can take the information home to share with those I meet. -Jennifer Armstrong Augusta, GA
I am excited to (hopefully) see Classroom. I’ve worked in two districts that have eventually adopted GAFE and I am strongly pushing for it in my current setting. We’ll see if I can become convincing enough to sway our decision-makers to at least pilot the suite. -Adam Seipel Winston-Salem, NC
KP: Give some insight as to what is happening pre-GTA within your cohort.
My cohort is awesome! We have been busy planning on Google+ and Twitter, checking out each other’s videos, websites, blogs etc. so we will already feel like we know each other when we actually meet in person! Tuesday night get-together is being planned, T-shirts are being ordered, etc. The excitement is growing!! -Wendy Morales Middletown Township, New Jersey
The conversations happening in the Google+ community are allowing us to bond even before we get to Atlanta. This will help us as we come together in person and make our experience even better. -Bob Deneau Wildwood, Missouri
It has been great building our community before we even meet in person. Within our group, we’ve already created a Twitter list, a Youtube playlist of our GTA videos, designed a t-shirt, and decided on a name for ourselves. I put together a shared Google doc for us to create a collaborative blog post to introduce ourselves. Each of us is including our contact info, GTA video, and a short introduction of ourselves so that we can post the information begore GTA begins. We wanted the world to have a chance to get to know the Google Applantans before we arrive in Atlanta. I also love how several of us are sharing within our G+ community what we are doing professionally before we arrive. -Corey Holmer
There is a lot of excitement and energy in our Google Plus Community. It is that same feeling I get every September as I prepare to embark on a new journey in my classroom. The sky is the limit! -Laurie Clement Windsor, Ontario
KP: What are your hopes/aspirations for post-GTA?
I want to be part of a network that deeply thinks about ways to use technology to improve engagement and achievement. -Frank LaBanca Connecticut
I hope to bring the collaborative spirit of the GTA back to Waukesha North. I also hope the GTA is just the beginning of a great group of educators collaborating across the nation and for some, the world. -Dale Van Keuren Waukesha, WI
I want to continue to bring innovative technologies to communities that have never had access before. Most of my students have never owned their own technology (besides perhaps a cell phone), much less used it on a daily bases. In order to prepare students for their futures, a future that is immersed in technology, we have a moral obligation to teach them these tools. -Julie Shah Riverside, CA
KP: Can you share an anecdote about how collaboration (such as those tools Google offers) has changed your classroom or job?
I’ve built an amazing Personal Learning Network. Collaborating with other teachers and EdTech companies has changed the landscape of my classroom. So many are so willing to share and give that my classroom looks nothing like it did last year. -Chris Aviles Barnegat, NJ
Google Apps has made me realize that the brick and mortar walls of the classroom are irrelevant and that networking can be truly a global experience. -Jessica Brogley Platteville, WI
This Saturday, the Mad Hackers are having a fair and training to share their work in Danbury. One of my 7th grade students approached me to have a booth. As a principal that wants to empower students, I certainly agreed and asked him to collaborate with his classmates to put a team together that could share info about our new school. He said he wanted to make a brochure, so I asked him to share it with me on Drive so I could give feedback. It turns out that one evening around 10 pm he and I were both on collaborating, editing and sharing. This product was not just a school assignment- it was to be shared with our community and it got at the whole idea of authentic work for an authentic audience. -Frank LaBanca Connecticut
We have four campuses in different locations around Mexico City. Before GAFE, working together on even the simplest of documents was a hassle. Now we collaborate on projects all the time. Meetings don´t involve travel and all its associated problems now that we have Google+. -David Deeds Mexico City, Mexico
KP: Why do you want to be a Google Certified Teacher?
I’m not in it for the title. I’m in it for the experience. I’ve always heard GTAs are one of the best places to meet great people doing great things. I want to be part of that. -Chris Aviles Barnegat, NJ
I want to challenge myself to continue to be a visionary leader that understands how to integrate cutting-edge technology into high-quality instruction. -Frank LaBanca Connecticut
In my region I am looked to as an educational technology leader. I’m of the opinion that greatness inspires additional greatness and honestly I want to be around educators who are also leaders in the field. Though I know more instructional technology applications than most of my peers I want to learn even more. I am interested in being a part of a bigger Professional Learning Community that I can share my knowledge with while receiving wisdom from the community. -Jennifer Armstrong Augusta, GA
Leadership is the key to effective education reform. I want to be able to help teachers, be involved in a great community, and help lead improvements in teaching and learning. -Dale Van Keuren Waukesha, WI
Ready for the GTA?
Are you ready to become a GCT? Check out the Google Teacher Academy page in the coming weeks – links to applications will be posted soon for academies around the world. Can’t travel? We have one more academy here in the United States – Austin, Texas in December. Check back in the fall for application opening or follow @cueinc on Twitter for an announcement.
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.