Monday, September 29, 2008

GTA reflection


On September 24 I attended the Google Teacher Academy in Chicago. The agenda speaks to the scope of the experience. Of course there were a lot of things that were noteworthy, but here are some things that stand out now that I've reflected on the event.

As a teacher who still incorporates both digital tools and traditional language arts tools (like books, pens, and paper), I was intrigued by the search function of the Books project. For example, suppose I can't quite locate a quote from the book, 1984, by George Orwell; I remember that there was a part where the character Syme is predicting the imminent demise of books, but I can't find the quote when I need it. I do a quick book search, and within seconds I've got it:



Whoever thought up the idea for the Books project has definitely done Orwell proud.... There are a lot of noble digital endeavors devoted to the book these days, like Project Gutenberg and Shelfari to name a couple, but as of this writing no one does book search better than Google.

Another area of interest is Google Forms, which I've only been using for a little while. I'd like to know how other teachers are using them. Certainly Thomas Barrett is someone who's doing some amazing things with that application now.

Suggestions for future GTA's? I could have spent a lot more time learning about advanced searches, and also how I can turn better manage the wealth (glut?) of information that can appear in my Reader on a daily basis.

2 comments:

Ryan Bretag said...

Hi Chris:

It was nice to meet you at GTA Chicago. One of the things I find invaluable with Google Reader is the development of the following folders:

1. Daily Reads
This is where I keep my Top 10 resources. This is set as my default upon opening my Reader, so I always see these first. The great thing about this is that my list is always moving -- I rarely have someone in there for very long because it adjusts based upon my interests at the time. When I remove someone from this list, they just go to their original category (Admin, edtech, etc.) so they don't entirely leave my reader.

2. Skim Folder
There are a lot of resources that post A LOT -- some nearly 15 a day. These, no matter how good, stay in my skim folder. When I access these, I know I'm skimming subject lines for possible stories of interest. If I find something, I either read it right there or tag it "needtoread". This allows me to quickly sort through these posting machines without stressing.

Finally, I never worry about clicking "Mark All as Read". I am a firm believer that if something is good, it will come back around to me usually in a different blog OR through my Google Reader Friends. At least, this is what I tell myself :-)

Jared said...

I am so jealous that you went to this training. I have wanted to go, but it's always at the wrong time. I'd love to talk to you more about your experience. Please call or shoot me an email sometime.