Google Apps for Educators – Melbourne

2013 has been an amazing year for me.  I have graduated with a Masters in Education (ICT), become a Google Certified Teacher and have had the privilege to speak at two (2) Google Apps for Education Summits – Sydney and Brisbane.

This October, the EdTechTeam who stages the GAFESummits will bring another great two-day summit at the amazing Yarra Valley Grammar School in Melbourne.

 This two day event focuses on deploying, integrating, and using Google Apps for Education and other Google Tools to promote student learning in K-12 and higher education. The program features Google Certified Teachers, Google Apps for Education Certified Trainers, practicing administrators, solution providers, Google engineers, and representatives from the Google education teams. 
You can Register now to send teachers, administrators, tech directors, library media specialists, tech support staff, CTOs, and anyone who is interested in finding out more about leveraging Google Apps for Education to support student learning.
For group registrations please contact Chris Bell at

Dynamic Collaborative Classrooms

I am working on a grant that is looking at the attitudes and perceptions of our students in a 1:1 laptop program, when it has occurred to me that it is not the tool (laptop) that will change the attitudes and perceptions but the physical landscape of the room.


I have been doing some reading about this topic since seeing Professor Stephen Heppell talk about this.  I am wanting to pursue an idea of having different floor plans for the type of learning that will take place in each room.  The idea behind this is to create a common language amongst staff and students. Eg: Collaborative Work, Think/Pair/Share Work and Individual/Assessment Work.  

On the floor will be coloured dots to indicate where to place the tables (a different colour for each floor plan) so staff and students start to get into a habit of setting the room up very quickly.  Some of the resources I have looked at include:


I would like to connect with other educators who have done something similar/the same or who are interested in doing this with their class.  Please let me know.

Google Play for Education could kill the iPad in schools | VentureBeat

It was an early start to the day.  I set my alarm click for 2am to watch the keynote from the Google I/O developers conference.

I wasn’t  able to stay up for all of it, but one thing that came from it has me intrigued …. Google Play Education store.  The following article gives a decent run down of what it is.  Like most announcements from these events, time is needed to digest them. 

Mmm I can’t wait for the next course.

video games in education – something for everyone

This report reviews evidence on K-12 classroom technology use and is organized according to media platforms: interactive whiteboards, classroom response systems (clickers), video games, simulations, modeling, augmented reality, virtual worlds, mobile devices, data analysis tools, calculators, 1:1 ratio of computers to students, computer-assisted instruction (where a computer presents instruction or remediation), virtual learning, and educational television.

A paradigm shift in what we need in a computer – Google Chromebooks

The thought of changing over to a new machine always sends a shiver down my spine – no matter how many times I have to do.  And yes, in my role as the Head of ICT, I am always doing this.  

The task of swapping over to a new machines means that there are new workflows to discover and embed into my daily routine.  Recently I was provided a Chromebook to review.  I have been using Google Chrome on my Mac and Lenovo machines for a number of years.  Google Chrome is my number 1 choice of browsers.  So when I took possession of the Chromebook and powered it on, the first thing that struck me was the quick response time – 8 seconds to turn on and ask for my account credentials.  A big plus in education where wait times of 5 minutes is not unheard of 🙂

As I have used Google Chrome and Google Drive, all of my bookmarks, files and history is there – as though I have been using this machine for years.  Another plus.

Now, I work in a PC school and the current set up does require me to use some software that is Windows based.  For that the workaround was to use remote desktop.  I have worked in some schools where this was not switched on by the IT department for security reasons.  I am lucky that this was the case.  Using Remote Desktop is great in these few situations I need to access a platform specific piece of software.

During the week I gave the laptop to one of my children to do their school work on.  They had never used this laptop before and with a quick tutorial by Dad (for those of you reading this blog who are IT specialists with kids you will know that your child always knows more than you), they were as productive as if they were using their own personal machine.  The kicker came when they finished their work.  “How much are these computers Dad?  $350 – they why are schools buying $1000 computers when this does the job?”

The Google Chromebook is a fantastic machine that fits the bill for what students need to do in school unless they are doing specialist subject like Industrial Arts and need a program like AutoCAD.  

We need a paradigm shift in our thinking of what we need a machine to do.  We have been conditioned over the past 20 years of what we need it for.  ICT’s is not about learning software, it is about using a tool to get a job done.  Cloud computing is here to stay and Google have made big inroads in education .  I really think they GET education and schools.