Keeping Up With The Google

Me at Google SydneyI’m a big user of Google’s tools.  I like what they offer and I like that they just keep getting better and better. When my school moved to Google Apps for Education at the end of 2011 we were generally happy with what was on offer, but there were things that we wished were just a little better, a little more polished, or had just a few more features. Over the course of 2012, some obvious things happened: Gmail got a redesign, Drive was introduced, editing of Docs on mobile devices came along, and of course Google Plus. But there were lots of smaller, less obvious, things that came along too: more fonts were added to Apps, the Research tool was added to Docs and Sheets, the Equation Editor got a boost, and so on. Unless you’re on top of it, many of these improvements were easy to overlook.

Over the course of the year many of the things we complained about in January were fixed, improved or added to by December. Google’s tools just keep getting better all the time.

When Larry Page took over from Eric Schmidt at CEO of Google, he famously cut a number of lower priority projects in order to focus on the bigger ones. His goal was to put “more wood behind fewer arrows“. Some features were removed, some projects were cancelled, but in return, we got a much improved unification of the Google environment, new features like Drive and Google+, and a much better integration of the tools that fill the Googleverse.

On the one hand, who wouldn’t want tools that just keep getting better and better? We all want that, right?  On the other, this constant change and adding of features makes it harder and harder for the average person to keep up with what’s available. Unless you make a deliberate focus of keeping up with what Google offers, it’s easy to fall behind.  For myself, I’m connected to the GCT and AppsCT communities, and I regularly co-host the Google Educast on the EdReach network. I’m not sure what other people do to keep up with this stuff.

Sydney Google SummitWith that in mind, you might be interested in coming along to the Sydney Google Summit on January 17/18 at MLC School in Burwood.  The Google Summits are a fantastic two day brain dump of Google goodness delivered by passionate educators who regularly use these tools in education.  The Summits have been running for a while now in various parts of the world but this will be the first time one has been run in Australia.  The presenters are Google Certified Teachers, Google Apps Certified Trainers, Google partners, and even Googlers themselves. The topics cover a wide range of Google-related stuff, from beginner-level through to expert and beyond.  There really is something for everyone. The agenda is still being finalised, but trust me, if you use Google tools in an educational setting, you really won’t want to miss it.

You can get all the details at the Sydney Google Summit website. Hope to see some of you there!

If you’re coming to the Sydney Summit (or even if you’re not) leave a comment below letting us know what you are most hoping to get out of the sessions.

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9 thoughts on “Keeping Up With The Google”

  1. PS: I hear a rumour that there may be another Google Teacher Academy in Sydney in the not too distant future. The Summit would be a pretty good primer if you’re thinking of applying to go to that!

  2. Hi Carole, I’m not exactly sure what we will be streaming from the event. If we do, it will no doubt be done using Hangouts on Air, and so will be recorded, but just how much, if any, we manage to capture I really don’t know.

    It would be great to see you there.

  3. Chris would love to be there but will be chasing fish with a fly on the north coast. Will be getting into google apps this year as the DEC is opening Google apps, the academy sounds very interesting. But a few new flies need testing……..

  4. Hi Chris,

    Have just registered for summit and I am really looking forward to it. Can you suggest anything I can do in preparation to be able to get the most out of the sessions on the two days?

    Cheers,
    Joanne

  5. Hi Joanne,

    Looking forward to meeting you there! As far as preparation goes, make sure you have the latest version of Chrome installed on your computer, make sure you have a working Google account (either Gmail or a school-based Apps account) and make sure you’re batteries are charged (both your computer’s and yours too! There will be lots going on!)

    Are you at an Apps school already? What do you hope to get out of the Summit? Do you have any specific goals, or are you just wanting to absorb as much as you can?

    If you have a choice of bringing an actual computer or just a tablet, then I’d definitely bring the computer (or both). Google’s stuff is getting better and better on tablets, but there is still a lot of stuff that works much better on a computer for now.

    See you there!

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thanks for the information about laptop V tablet. Our school is not presently a Google Apps school. I guess what I hope to achieve by attending and participating in the summit is to further my knowledge and skills about Google apps and how they can be used to enhance my learning and the learning of my students.

      Looking forward to Thursday,

      Joanne

      1. Me too. Thursday and Friday should be great. I’m just finalising my workshop sessions (still got one to complete) but I’ve posted a link to them online if you want to have a browse. There’s a link at the top of this page… :-)

That's all well and good, but what do YOU think?