I attended a Google HQ event today and it was great. Originally planned, I was supposed to be going with my colleague, but unfortunately, she ended up feeling unwell and couldn’t make it. I was quite nervous as I hadn’t presented alone before but thought I needed to give myself that chance.

I ended up getting lost, trains were delayed and it seemed like it was going downhill before it even begun. Fortunately, I arrived – and I wasn’t too late – and I was ready to get learning about how Google can support teaching and learning in a variety of different ways.

The first workshop I attended was about Google Apps Script and taught me the basics of coding my own spreadsheet. Olly, who hosted the workshop, joked about using a spreadsheet to determine how many drinks his wedding guests had at his wedding. I really enjoyed the Apps Script session – it made me more comfortable to use it as I had only really used it to play with macros before. Olly also helped me with the Request Form issue I had been having and I am happy to say we’ll probably use that bit of Apps Script for years to come.

My next workshop was Ninja Tips, hosted by Jon Neale, which focused on quick and handy tricks and tools to use within teaching and learning. A lot of the tools I knew (because I spend a lot of time researching new tools) but it was awesome to see little tricks that I hadn’t thought of.

We had lunch and then it was time… I was very nervous at this point as I’d normally have someone with me. I knew I could do it though. As soon as I took the microphone, I felt as if someone had taken over my body. I went through the slides (which you can see here) and before I knew it, it was over. People were clapping. I did well!

I love talking about the stuff we do at the college. I am amazed at how much we take on, our teachers open-mindedness and flexibility about learning new tools. When I present slides, I always feel excited. I feel excited because I get to show off all of the wonderful work our teachers are doing and I wish they could watch everyone clap for them and see how fantastic they are. Not just to our team in the college, but on a national level.

I did Google Sites for Sharing. I am very familiar with Google Sites so I was able to get through the task and talk to other people about how they use Google Sites for their teaching and learning.

Google Expeditions and Tour Creator were fantastic. I had heard about Tour Creator and seen our Travel teachers use it. Google Expeditions, I had heard of, but to see it live in a group activity was incredible. I want to bring Google Expeditions into the college. I am going to bring Google Expeditions into the college. The impact it will have will be immeasuranble. Students will be so engaged and learn so much from the varied Expeditions they have for people to use – for free. I can’t wait.

Next we learned more about artificial intelligence and machine learning and its place within education. Artificial intelligence and machine learning is something I’m finding myself drawing closer to. I am intrigued by how it can help out teachers save time and give back the most important thing to a teacher: time. Time with students. Time to teach. Most teachers got into teaching because they want to teach – not because they want to grade 120 assignments in 2 hours. We need to give them the opportunity to take back what they love and I think artificial intelligence is really going to support with that.

Here are some pictures from the day to wrap up this really long blog post!