Reflecting on Day 1 of #GAFESummit


I tweeted this after my morning session – and I wasn’t lying. I learned so much this morning that I would have been happy if I would have left at 11:00am.
And then sessions 2, 3 and 4 happened.
A few things that stood out:

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Of everything that stood out, I have to say that my third session with Tim Lee was the most beneficial, given where we are as a school board with Google Apps. There were maybe a dozen of us total in the session, allowing us to all share where we were on our Google Journeys. As a new’er‘ tool in K-12 for some, Google has entered the education market as a rival competitor to existing services that many people have been accustomed to for the past 5, 10, even 20 years.
Now that we have embarked onto the journey of adopting GAFE that is big in scale, you could imagine how some people would be hesitant to make the switch – or even try out – Google Apps for Education.
As a group, we discussed our successes and challenges; the overall theme being there are/were walls at different levels from administrators to IT Leaders. The two main reasons for this:

  • comfort with Microsoft
  • dependencies with current infrastructure

Tim eloquently mentioned before the session began to a few of us in conversation:

Microsoft can be rolled out at any point. Google Apps, however, you can never roll out fully, as it is constantly evolving.

What an interesting way to look at it; yet, the walls that were discussed are a common theme.
Don’t get me wrong, when I am told that I need to switch to a particular program, file format, etc…, there is definitely a fear factor. But as educators, we have to realize that making such a drastic change is going to be better not only for us, but for our students in the long run.

Lastly: Synergyse came up near the end of the session.

I am definitely looking forward to bringing this tool back to work on Monday, as I can definitely see this being a huge help as we continue our Google Apps journey.

I end with a couple of quotes from the keynote presentation by George Couros this morning:

If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.

and

Technology will never replace great teachers, but technology – in the hands of a great teacher – can be transformational.

Looking forward to learning on day two tomorrow.

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