Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Reflecting on the Google Experience

This past December, I was pleased to attend the Google Teacher Academy in Washington DC. I was quite honored that my district's assistant superintendent, tech director and my principal contacted me to suggest that I apply. I was honored even more to have been selected among a truly terrific and respectful group of educators.

My GTA Application Video:

The day and a half with Google gurus was quite unbelievable. My head was spinning with all the applications I was learning about and all the ideas I had about using those applications. On my home, I thought of all the ways which I could use Google tools as a library media specialist, and became excited about what I wanted to share with my teachers, and with other librarians in my professional learning network.

It didn't take me long to start making some changes in how I was running my library. I changed my library website from iWeb to Google Sites, used Google Docs to switch from a paper system to an online schedule, and used Google Forms for things like book recommendations and to keep track of books read by students for a reading competition.
I took advantage of the many Google search tools by adding custom search engines and embedded Google Books to my library pathfinders. I instructed students how to create their own search engines and how to customize their searches with Google Alert and Google Custom News. I also created a Google Earth trip for a lesson our 9th graders did on Shakespeare.
I encouraged students to using advanced Google Image searches for finding copyright free photos and Google Books to help in their research.

Of course, I couldn't keep all this good Google stuff to myself and was eager to share it with teachers and other librarians. I presented to teachers at department meetings in my school and my district and to librarians at the Pennsylvania School Library Association conference. The librarians seem to appreciate the Google information and, in fact, one of the librarians along with her tech director are visiting me at my school next week to learn more about Google. Another librarian plans to visit this summer.

My attempt at a fun Google Search Story for librarians:

This summer, I am looking forward to presenting two full-day workshops on Google tools for my district teachers. I also look forward to creating a Google Lit Trip for our Read the World program on Latin American literature.

What is most exciting to me is the fact that virtually everyday there is something new in the world of Google! I know that this summer I will be exploring some new tool which Google has unveiled, or improved upon a previous tool. I am now pursuing certification for a Instructional Technology Specialist and I am sure that Google will be helping me and inspiring me along the way.