Let’s go to Google! (Google Teacher Academy #GTAATX)

Ed Tech

Ed Tech | Thursday, October 23, 2014

Let’s go to Google! (Google Teacher Academy #GTAATX)

Get ready to go to the Google offices in Austin, Texas, with me! My acceptance into the Google Teacher Academy means I can share what I learn with you. (Flickr / Lisa Thumann)

Get ready to go to the Google offices in Austin, Texas, with me! My acceptance into the Google Teacher Academy means I can share what I learn with you. (Flickr / Lisa Thumann)

Today’s students will live in a world we can’t even begin to describe. If we continue to teach them as we have in the past, they’ll never be ready for the future.

That’s why we have to ditch our textbooks — and our textbook mindsets about education. We have to adapt and change how education is done. For today’s students to succeed, they’ll need more than textbooks, worksheets and lectures.

But how? It all starts with relationships. Students have to know how much you care. We have to stay in touch with their lives.

Next, we use technology to create experiences that are otherwise impossible. Students in my Spanish classes — and teachers in my conference sessions — have video chatted with people all over the world. They’ve created video, audio and images to engage in content. They’ve experienced perspectives, events and cultures through the web and discussed them in blogs.

I want them to be those big thinkers and change makers, and if they future is in their hands, I think we’re going to be just fine.

I hope that it’s OK in this blog post that I divert from the norm and share a little good news with you. Last night, I received word that I will be attending the Google Teacher Academy in Austin, Texas, in December. (Here’s the press release.) It will be two VERY full days of learning, collaborating and inspiring with 50 great educators and other wonderful organizers and lead learners.

I had convinced myself that I wouldn’t get in. Fifty people are selected in each GTA class and hundreds apply. Those that attend become Google Certified Teachers upon completion. It’s a very competitive program. Applicants complete questions, write two short essays and produce a one-minute video (my video and transcript are above).

Aside from sharing good news with you (my Ditch That Textbook community are my favorite people anywhere!), I wanted to let you know about this today because you get to go with me. I will do extensive blogging about the experience and share everything that I can that I learn.

Making the video: Using the Paper app by FiftyThree on my iPad has been a really fun experience, so I knew that I wanted to pull that in to my video. I plotted out everything I wanted to say first. The video I created to apply for a different program was my blueprint, but I had to shorten it from four minutes to one.

I started the visuals by sketching the first scene (a picture of me and the world over my right shoulder). I saved that image to my camera roll and then modified it, changing my facial expression and adding the words “the future.” I continued that process (change image, save to camera roll) until my slides were complete — all 15 of them (average four seconds per slide).

The sketches were added to Camtasia Studio, where I recorded the voice-over and made sure the timing was right for transitions. I added some music and the process was complete!

Many thanks: I won’t go on and on about all the great people who have supported me in this, but I do want to highlight some. My wife, Melanie, has put up with my crazy ideas for 11+ years. She encourages me and is very understanding when I get on a roll creating something. She’s the best. Also, I never would have gotten connected to so many other great people without Michelle Green from the Indiana Department of Education and Kim Hendrick from CIESC. I met both on a fortunate January day about two years ago, and their encouragement has had a huge impact on my development as a teacher. Also, if you’ve written a comment on my blog, connected online or chatted with me at a conference (among other methods of communication), you’ve encouraged me, too. Thank you.

Being accepted into the Austin, Texas, class of the Google Teacher Academy means the world to me. I can’t wait to see the Google offices there, share ideas with others and spend two intense days learning like crazy!

(For notifications of new Ditch That Textbook content and helpful links, “like” Ditch That Textbook on Facebook and follow @jmattmiller on Twitter!)

Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!

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  • The last couple of times I have visited your space you have asked us if it is ok to share aething in this space. Each time it has made me giggle. This is your space. Even though it says on the title Ditch That Textbook I think you should share what moves you. I love when people share about a little more about themselves. It shares a little bit more of you with us and gives us a richer and more connected experience. Wow…that was a little rambly. CONGRATULATIONS! Suchexciting news!!! What a fantastic experience it is going to be. I can’t wait to hear all about it. Congratulations again!!

  • Hooray! I’m so excited (and a little teacher-techie-envious too) for you! I’m just dabbling with Google Classroom since our school already has an online classroom platform (actually 2- Echalk and MyBigCampus) but we recently opened Google to our students and WOW- the possibilities! Can’t wait to go on this adventure with you- congratulations and well deserved!

  • Amy Everhart says:

    Congrats! Such exciting news!

  • Marilyn says:

    Congratulations Matt! I wish you an exciting, wonderful time and I look forward to reading about your experiences.

  • Congrats! I am sooo excited for you and so jealous 🙂 Thanks for taking your followers on your journey with you!

  • Congrats! I am jealous. I am a first year ed tech and wanted to apply, but I have been so busy with the new position, that I just didnt’ get the chance. It would have been awesome to be there with you as I have come to love your blog. Keep up the great work. I will be looking forward to hearing about your awesome time at GTAATX!

  • @tomstoner24 says:

    That is AWESOME news Matt. Please let us all know what hashtag you will tweet from as well so we can follow on those days.

  • Debby Jourdan says:

    Matt, congratulations on being selected for Google Academy. I will be interested in reading what you learn. My school is a Google school with 1-1 Chromebooks. My question as we navigate through all this is how we keep kids safe. I know the basics, but I am getting ready to have kids blog, but another teacher has already done that with Google Blogger, and someone from Russia got into a student account. How do we use a Google product like that without putting our children in danger while still allowing them to post for classmates, etc.? That is something that I really need to know.

    • Matt Miller says:

      Hi Debby — Thanks … can’t wait to share it with you!

      How do we keep students safe when blogging online? My first reaction to your situation: change that student’s password and keep going. If identifying student information is limited on the blog (no last names, no locations, no face pictures, no address/phone, etc.), there’s very little an intruder can do to put students in danger. Anyone’s accounts online can be hacked. But as long as there’s nothing to track an intruder to children, students are still safe. I can tell you that unauthorized use of student accounts is very low (especially if you rule out students accessing each other’s accounts). In the end, Debby, you have to do what you’re comfortable doing. You may feel the need to contain student posts to being viewed only by their classmates (not public), and that’s OK. The buck stops with you, and you get to make that decision.

      I’m glad you asked this question — it’s something I’m working through personally as well! (And I’ll use my access to the Google Teacher Academy to get you the best answers I can!)

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