I went into the class thinking all teachers would have experience with Google Apps for Education. I thought they would have experience creating and working in Docs, their Drive, and likely Slides. I quickly found out that the level of experience and comfort level varied greatly. I had some students who had never created anything with Google Apps.
The struggles I witnessed this week remind me how important building relationships and trust are. I spent a lot of time working with these educators individually getting to know them and listening to their needs. I also incorporated a number of activities to help the entire group get to know each other. These activities had little to do with technology, but I think they made a huge difference in how well the course went, especially when the students had time of struggle and frustration.
I witnessed the journey of these educators as both a group and more importantly as individuals. I saw the student who had never created a Google Doc create a Site showcasing her work for the week. She also created a page of her awesome creations in a world beyond education. She quilts, creates stained class, and welds yard art to name a few. She brought in examples of her work and showcased a page of images on her portfolio site. She came in now knowing how the tools would fit her unique teaching circumstances to creating numerous lesson activities with a multitude of classes.
I worked with another teacher who took a Choose Your Own Adventure Google Form Template I created and built her own lesson for her 2nd grade students. She is going to create a writing prompt for her students that will allow them to choose which path their take and which story ending their friends wrote they wish to read.
An Admin in the class left thinking about how he could use QR codes to revamp his beginning of the year PD sessions. And most importantly I heard many ideas about how to provide students with a variety of opportunities to use their voice in the learning experiences.
The week was a bit of a roller coaster ride as we navigated our way through the learning process. In the end I am ecstatic to see the progress and final products of my students. I can't wait to sit down to make some tweaks to it and work with the next group of students.