This week I got to attend the MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) conference, which several media specialists I know here highly recommended for me to attend since such a big portion of the job now involves technology — using it to improve instruction, teaching it to kids, etc. Two of the talks were of particular interest to me — using Google Classroom and Google Forms. I know from my elementary and middle-school placements that the district have adopted Google Education for all schools, and teachers/media specialists were having a hard time figuring how to incorporate all the different apps and functionalities that Google has to offer. I already use Google Forms quite a bit, so the talk was a little disappointing. That said, I still managed to learn a couple of new tricks that I plan on using during the practicum and in the future. The Google Classroom talk was more informative because this area seems to be the most challenging for teachers/media specialists I have spoken to. Unfortunately because I don’t have a Google Educator account, I couldn’t play with any of the information I’ve learned. It does seem to be quite useful though! Another talk I went to had to do with becoming a certified Google Educator (https://www.google.com/edu/training/get-certified/). Again, because the school district I am hoping to work in is heavily using Google Education Apps, this might be a great professional development idea for me. I started on a lesson just to see how it is, and I’ve already learned a few really cool things about Google Calendars (of all things!) that I am going to use and share with teachers. Another important session was the student showcases — where students show off what they’ve been doing/learning using technology. I got lots of ideas for project based learning for elementary school libraries.
I realized this week how valuable conferences like this are to those already practicing or those who are working to get into the profession. Not only can you learn from speakers in and out of your community, you learn a lot from networking/collaborating with other educators too. Even an informal conversation might spark a great idea for a future projects.