Wow. Where to begin! In this website post I will begin to share my journey from last week that highlights the incredible time I had in Sydney at the Google Innovators Academy. It was beyond amazing - words literally can not describe how fantastic it was!
I will share all that I can - what I remember, what we did, how to get in...it all!
So to even get in you first need to submit your application with ideas around what a need or problem you see in your learning context. Mine was all around 'How can we create a programme to help teach key ICT and google skills to junior students. Of course going into the application, this is such a broad problem to have and they really make you unpack it once you're there.
The application also consists of recommendations from current google innovators and also a serious amount of questions you need to answer to consider if you are the right fit. Check out my innovator application video below.
Now before you even get there, you have work to do. Online meetings, discussions, goal setting and more! This sets the scene and helps you really unpack your problem and root cause. This was the best part, as it heightened your desire to want to be there and helped focus your mind on the task.
Arriving on the first day was so surreal! All you could see was keen and excited educators ready to get started on this journey together. Everyone was introducing themselves to each other, trying to remember everyones name and getting to meet people you had been talking to online in person. We scored some free Google swag which was amazing also - I used my Google backpack on my first day back at school today.
Once we started, we had group challenges, group work and individual activities to complete in our time there. It was all targeted around our goal, technology or our journey that we were about to undergo. We were fortunate to listen to some amazing speakers that shared their expertise, knowledge and great feedback with us all.
We spent most of the time eating and drinking coffee. Which was definitely a highlight!! The unlimited food everywhere, and countless amazing places that Google actually had inside their buildings.
Apart from the eating and drinking, we spent the other time working on our projects. This stemmed from our initial question or problem that we worked into our goal, project and end point that we wanted to create.
My initial question ended up changing to:
How might we remove teacher input totally and leave technology teaching up to students?
This allowed me to explore what could really come from this project and open up new opportunities for me in this problem. I want to create something that all junior students would find beneficial and felt that this 'how might we' question would not be too broad or too specific. This helps it not be easily answered either along my project journey.
My project has now been led down a new path - creating a series of technology themed picture books that target key ICT skills for students and teachers in a junior classroom. Definitely not what I thought I would create! Fingers crossed for the journey ahead!
Overall, 150% recommend applying if you are looking to meet some amazing educators from across the world that will make you think about and question everything you have done and will do in the future. I really can't summarise enough how though provoking it was; how much I have learnt about myself, my teaching, and my future; and what an amazing place Google is itself. The atmosphere they create while you are there is just such an incredible vibe - you really want to visit or go and work there.
This amazing quote from Stuart Kelly really highlights what you should do and think about in the future.
What should we keep doing? What should we stop doing? What should we start doing? - Stuart Kelly
If you are interested in watching the livestream recording of our graduation, watch the Youtube video below! It will show you everyones project pitches including some quick snippet interviews with innovators at the event.
I am specifically 25 minutes into the video if you are looking for my project pitch!
If you are interested in applying then get onto it! You need to apply before the due date and to a cohort that is close to your area! I was fortunate that #SYD19 was was this year and close to my home - New Zealand.
Check out this Google site with all the information about the other innovators accepted and our application videos also.
Have a question about my time there, the application or anything Google? Send me an email below.
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