Reflecting on 1st Annual Google Student Summit NPSC

WELCOME   INTRODUCTION   Google SlidesWow – what a day.

It honestly took me a few days to come down from the excitement leading up to, during and following our first annual Nipissing-Parry Sound CDSB Google Apps for Education Student Summit.

The idea to host our own such student-focused event came from a colleague and fellow eLC Katie Maenpaa and her team from Superior North CDSB. They were the first school board to ever host a Google Student Summit in the fall, which is exciting in its own right. However, what sold me on the idea of hosting our own similar event came from the excitement shared from her and the SNCDSB team afterwards about the event, in particular how important it is for students to be offered these types of learning opportunities.

IMG_20150408_141049I threw the idea of hosting our own summit out to Joe Sisco and Tom Carroll, two fellow e-Learning Contacts with Windsor-Essex CDSB and Renfrew County CDSB respectively. I wasn’t expecting the immediate reactions that I got from them:

“I”m so in!”

and

“Can’t wait – super exciting!”

I then reached out to former SJSH students Justin Leroux and Meaghan Spikerman, who also quickly jumped at the opportunity. Planning then ensued from a distance as April 8th approached (using Hangouts and Drive of course! 🙂 ), and everything came together smoothly.

Google Apps for Education offers many benefits, and the plan for the summit was to not only show them the how-to’s of Google Apps, but to show them our all-encompassing goal for the day: that students have options when asked to make a presentation – igniting their inner-creativity.

The day started out with a fun introduction session, briefly explaining Google Apps and Chromebooks (which were used by all during the event) to the audience, as there were students and/or staff that had not ever seen GAFE or a Chromebook before. Attendees then participated in three sessions that they were able to pre-select, ending with a consolidation session, where one of the student helpers Darius provided a demonstration how to narrate a presentation (which he had learned how to do that day) via Screencast-o-matic (Screencastify is the Chrome/Chromebook alternative).

GAFESelfieWatch Darius’s end product here, which took minutes to be published!

And just like that – it was all over. The day came and went so quickly, but it was a resounding ‘awesome’ day and everyone found it extremely beneficial, worthwhile and most importantly – fun.

The biggest takeaway from the event for me was how energetic and excited everyone was – students, teachers, admin, and visitors – all while spending the day learning. As Joe put it on the ride up to the airport:

We could be onto something big here, because that was one of the most exciting days that I’ve ever presented at.

I hope he’s right.

I can’t thank everyone involved enough for their dedication and hard work, and I hope to report back next year after our second annual Google Student Summit!

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