Saturday, July 22, 2017

Google's Geo Teacher Institute 2017

The Google bikes are everywhere to get
Googlers from one building to another.
It finally happened. I made it to the Googleplex. This past week, I had the opportunity to join about 100 educators in Mountain View, CA with the Google Earth team. Here we learned about new and exciting ways to use Google's geography tools in the classroom. This annual conference has teachers from around the world hoping to attend.

The nice thing about this event, unlike other "space-limited" conferences, GTI tries to include educators of all skill levels. This allowed for a more diverse group of people. While I learned tons of new tricks, I also was able to listen to what other teachers are trying to learn. Often, as a digital native (Am I a digital native? I'm not positive from an anthropological stand point) I forget that not everything is as simple as it seems to me. Listening to the other attendees helped me grow my understanding of why some teachers are scared to try new things in the classroom.
Googlers taking time out of their
busy day to talk with us.

Another exciting piece of the conference was to talk directly with Googlers. We had a Q&A session with a group of Googlers where they answered most of our questions and also gave us suggestions of ways to motivate our students.

I think Goosechase was one of my favorite new resources. It's a virtual scavenger hunt that a teacher can setup for students. This can be used for a number of things but I like the idea of a field trip scavenger hunt. If you take your students to a museum, arrange a set of challenges so students have to actually look through the museum. They must then post a picture (check museum rules first on photography) to the app to receive credit. You can also use the app for homework in a similar fashion.

Group Selfie
I also really liked the idea of a group selfie. After our group shot we were all told to take a selfie at the same time as the main camera. The selfies are being synced with the group picture to create an interactive display. I can't wait to see the final project.

Some of the other tools we looked at:

  • My Maps
  • Classic Google Earth
  • New Google Earth
  • Street View
  • Time-lapse
  • 360 Cameras
  • KML (language specific to Google Maps)
  • Microblogging