GAFE Summit Recap 2016

Technology conferences seem to go by in a flash, so I decided to write about my experiences at the ITIP Google Apps for Education Summit 2016.  My goal is to capture the essence of the summit and a few of the key points from the sessions I attended.  Here we go…

Chrome Add-Ons can be a life-saver…two such examples: Doctopus & Goobric.  This one-two punch is a powerful little combo for teachers who want a paperless classroom but are frustrated by Google Classroom’s inability to handle such tasks.  These two work together to provide teachers the ability to grade assignments created in Google Classroom using a rubric!  After installing both Doctopus & Goobric a teacher can pull all student work turned in for one assignment into a Google Sheet with links to each student submission.  Goobric then allows one to pull a rubric (created in Google Sheets) into each submission and read the submission and grade it using the rubric…at the same time!

Two more Chrome extensions that are game changers: Grammerly & Draftback.  Both of these are FREE and could have a profound effect on the classroom.  Grammerly works in the background, pointing out grammar errors while using GAFE products as well as many websites (it is correcting me in WordPress right now). Draftback allows the user to create a video file of all of the revisions made to a Google Doc, whether that user created it or it was shared with them.  This means than a Language Arts teacher could watch HOW a student wrote an essay or response, not just WHAT they wrote.  Essentially teachers get insight into each student’s writing process which is the root of all writing problems!  This tool was the single greatest thing I came away with from the GAFE Summit.

Let’s talk Google Hangouts for a minute.  Sure Hangouts is great for instant messaging and video chats, but it can also provide teachers with the ability to record lessons from their computer or webcam and share them with the world (either live or recorded).  In order to use Google On-Air (which is what this special feature is called) a teacher must have a Google+ account.  The cool thing is that students who don’t have a Google+ account can still access the recordings.

Looking for incentives beyond grades?  Try digital badges.  As adults we value badges (I have my Google Certification badge in my email signature), so it would stand to reason that our students will value them as well.  In fact, badges emphasize the importance of mastery of content over grades.  The most simple way to make and distribute badges is to use Google Drawings to create badges and Google Sheets to distribute and log badges.  For details on exactly how to do this, check out Alice Keeler’s resources here:  http://alicekeeler.com/2014/12/07/creating-badges-with-google-sheets/

Google Forms is great for surveys, right?  But, there is so much more to this resource.  Students can create a “choose your own adventure” or it can be used for enrichment and/or remediation.  Simply by using sections, a multiple choice question can redirect users to any number of other resources.  For more information, click here.

The highlight of these two days came in the form of Google Slams!  If you have never experienced this, it is basically like Thunderdome for Google Geeks.  It is a chance for various Google superusers to share as many Google resources, extensions and creative uses as they can in five minutes and the crowd decides who is the slam champion.  It was great to see how other educators use GAFE for everything under the sun!

After two full days of everything GAFE, I believe I may be able to conquer the GAFE world.  I came into the summit thinking I knew a lot about GAFE…I left realizing I know so much less than I thought…and that is awesome! Be sure to watch out for the ITIP Google Summit next year- one of the best tech conferences I have attended.  I gained so much knowledge, experienced so much creativity and have a deeper appreciation for all things Google.

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