Before I start confessing my love for EdTechTeam Summits I have to be transparent with you and declare that my only affiliation with EdTechTeam is simply this blog, which I write for exclusively to share my passion for Google at no charge nor any sort of employment or financial contract.
EdTechTeam has been a big part of my Google Innovator journey and writing this article is my own initiative based on my own motivation and enthusiasm from a recent EdTechTeam Summit held in Victoria, B.C. (Canada)- November 24th and 25th to be precise.
It has taken me a bit of time to reflect, ponder, and absorb from my EdTechTeam Summit experience. These summits are not something that can be easily synthesized, summarized, or communicated to a non-attendee. This was my fourth Summit experience- three local and one in New Orleans, Louisiana, and each one left me completely mesmerized and inspired to push my “Google Ninja” abilities. In fact, these Sumit experiences can always be summarized with two words- MIND BLOWING! And here are 10 reasons why….
Community– There are always familiar, friendly faces at EdTechTeam Summits. They make you feel welcome from the moment you step in the door and there is always a face that you will recognize. EdTechTeam has a great community of passionate educators that make it an all-inclusive experience for everyone.
Collaboration– The conversations you will have at an EdTechTeam Summit are absolutely endless! Whether it is the person beside you, the session presenter, or the individuals in the hallways- there are so many rich conversations to be had. Each person’s take away from one of these conferences is so unique and diverse that it is great to connect with others and hear the new ideas that they are taking away. Further learning is always had with these informal and powerful conversations.
Same Tech, New Ways– The core applications of G-Suite remain the same from conference to conference, but the ways in which individuals use them in their professional roles are so different! This is always the biggest area of learning from me at each conference; it is fascinating to see how the same application (ie. Google Docs) is used in a completely different way at another school or in another district. There are always shortcuts, tips, and hidden features that are demonstrated that I didn’t even know existed! My mouth is often left hanging open at the end of a session.
Like-Minded People– I love, love, love that attendees and presenters at the Summits are as enthusiastic and excitable as me towards anything tech related! I don’t often feel the same enthusiasm when I am presenting at my own school (perhaps they get tired of me professing my love for Google?!?) and it is nice to participate in sessions and activities where people are pumped and keen to learn new things. The fact that everyone is there for the same reasons (and not forced to) makes it a great place to be for professional development.
Enthusiasm– This ties closely to the point above, but I must reiterate how encouraging and exhilarating it is to be around three hundred (or more) individuals that want to better and improve their own teaching practice. Enthusiasm is what drives the success of these Summits and pushes me to explore and extend my skill set on a consistent basis. The team, in particular, tends to bring a hearty amount of enthusiasm- they sure know how to get the crowd going in the mornings!
Energy– Wahooo! Yes!! Do you feel that energy?!?! I leave the Summits just vibing with information each time I attend. My brain leaves buzzing with new inspiration and ideas that I can’t wait to try out in my middle school classroom. The two days are always action-packed (Keynote, 4 Sessions, Lunch, Demo Slams (see below), Breakouts, and other EdTech Partners to entice you). Some of the energy is even captured in the Photobooth- taking these photos and sharing them in the Google Photos Shared folder never gets old to me.
Demo Slam– The Demo Slam is probably by far my favourite part of any Summit. Each voluntary participant has exactly three minutes to blow your mind with their ‘coolest’ tech tricks, trade secrets, or Google innovation. The amount you learn within the three minutes is astronomical, plus for an added bonus there is often a healthy amount of ‘teacher humour’ or friendly banter between demo slam contests. This finale to day 1 of the Summit will have you bursting at the seams with laughter and new tools to try out.
PLN’s (Professional Learning Networks)– At this latest summit, in particular, I met a great addition to my Professional Learning Network, Mr. Darren Maltais himself. Darren opened my world to the many capabilities of Google Draw and I am forever thankful to him, since his sessions I have created many modern and engaging graphic designs and activities to use with my middle school class. We have collaborated on quite a few activities and this has turned into both a powerful resource and connection for me. Darren and I continue to share activities and collaborate to create even more 21st-century graphic design learning opportunities for our students.
Connections–The connections you make at a Summit stay with you, they don’t just evaporate and dissolve after the two conference days. Every presenter, either local or from EdTechTeam, is happy to keep connecting via email, Twitter, or directly through the core applications of Google. There is a constant network or support, encouragement, and sharing. I continue to extend my Summit learnings well after the conference has come to a close.
Non-Stop Fun for Everyone!– The Summits are a Disneyland amusement park for EdTech enthusiasts! So many unique and magical learning rides to be had! There is always so much to do and never enough time to soak it all in! There are tech rides and sessions for any kind of learner, ability, or comfort zone. Whether a regular pass holder or entertaining the doors for the first time, you will not be disappointed. The only difference is that your brain will ache with all the new information, as opposed to your legs aching after walking around for sixteen hours straight.
So there you have it. If you ever get a chance to participate in an EdTechTeam Summit I would highly recommend it, your teaching practice and brain will transform in ways you never thought possible.
Certified Google Trainer & Innovator
Middle School Teacher & Technology Support
Saanich School District 63
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