Last week I participated in the first Google on Air education conference. It was a completely free, 100% online conference that brought together great education minds from around the world. The first day was keynote speakers and Q/A panels that looked at technology and innovation in the classroom. The second day was chock-full of sessions about any and every technology tool and teaching strategy. All of the sessions were recorded and saved here in case you missed it.

My favorite keynote talk was by Lisa Bodell, founder and CEO of futurethink who also authored the book “Kill the Company.” She spoke about ways to create change in any organization and gave tips for better creative problem solving. Her ideas resonated with me as some of the frustrations I’m having at my school currently. I think that schools are stuck operating under 20th century rules instead of innovating for the 21st century. A few slides from her presentation highlight her talk:

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What I got most from the Google on Air and Future Ready conferences was a similar theme. Schools think that technology is the way to become 21st century without really getting at how to use technology in a 21st century way. They are all about putting money and tools into the problem, not actual strategies and solutions. What this means is that schools are only pretending to be innovative without bringing any meaningful change to the system.

There were presentations from people in other countries talking about their education systems and this slide struck me:

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It’s not just the tools that teachers and students use that change how learning happens in the classroom. It’s the professional development of teachers, it’s the leadership of the school, it’s the time and space of learning, it’s the curriculum, and it’s the ownership that everyone has over the whole process. So, the Google On Air conference really got me thinking about changing these things more than anything.

On Day 2 I did attend a few great sessions. I got great ideas for improving the tech program at my school. I also learned about using Google tools to promote global collaboration, which is important to my content areas especially but is something that all teachers should be doing.

Overall, Google did a fantastic job organizing this conference. It was inspiring and beneficial to listen to the people who shared about technology and learning. Now Google just needs to figure out how to make that a more regular form of PD for schools in America.