Year 3 of PEAK

This weekend I participated in the Professional Educators Around Kuwait conference for the 3rd year in a row. I did 2 sessions in 2012, 3 sessions in 2013 and 4 sessions this year. It was a full day!

Each year PEAK moves to a different school in Kuwait so each year it’s a little different. In 2012 I learned that I needed to be in computer labs. Last year I learned that I would gain the most professionally by presenting during all 4 sessions. This year I learned that it’s quite difficult to run a workshop in 45 minutes.

My first session of the day was Making the Web Work for You. After waking up at 6am on a Saturday, I was a little disorganized. It was the second time I’ve done this workshop and I much preferred having an hour. If I do this session again I want to allow participants to create the account of their choice at the end. I still want them to be active during (check out #edchat, discuss, etc) but it’s difficult to get people back when they sign up for an account in the middle of the session (and you never know what kind of technical issues you’re going to have). This woud also allow them to choose which account to create (Twitter, Diigo, Pinterest, etc). and explore with. The slide deck below is slightly updated from last year.

My next two sessions were my two-part Harnessing the Power of Google for Educators & for Collaboration. I was SO pumped that Google Spreadsheet Add-ons can finally be triggered on submission (from a Form) again! I love having attendees fill out a form & automatically receive all the resources in an email. The biggest change I made in the Educators session was not having them sign up for a GMail/Google account. A pushed it to the end in case we had time (we didn’t) but most people already had some sort of Google account already. This allowed them more time to explore & ask questions.

Personally I enjoy the Collaboration session more than the Educators session. Although I love helping educators see how GAFE can save them time & energy, I really enjoy the possibilities for working together. However the Educators session is always first and tends to get more people. The best is when they’re 4-hour sessions 😉 Scunching Collaboration into 45 minutes was tough but I think people still got some good stuff out of it!

My last (and maybe favorite) session was Creating a Globally Connected Classroom. It’s a brand new session and the first time that I presented with my sister! We developed the presentation together and presented it as a teacher-coach team. It was the last session of the day (after a 50-minute break) and we only had 3 people. But it was freakin’ great. They were totally into the topic and inspired that someone in Kuwait was actually doing this. I can’t wait to try this session again soon!

Overall the day was a success. I had a lot of great conversations and learned more about each of my sessions that will help me perfect them in the future. I only wish I had had more time to collect information in order to stay in touch with people who attended my workshops.

Coming soon: Edcamp in Kuwait, GAFE Summits in Oman & Qatar 🙂

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PEAK 2013 pt. 2 – Making the Web Work for You

After my first two sessions at PEAK last weekend, I gave a brand new workshop. As excited as I was about my Google Apps presentations, I might have been even more excited for “Making the Web Work for You.” I focused on becoming a connected educator and specifically on Twitter (I purposely left both of those terms out of the title because I didn’t want to scare anyone away). I’m realizing that besides meaningful technology integration, GAFE and being a connected educator are my passions. I love working with anyone, anywhere on these and don’t need anything in return.

I started by appealing to their feelings (educators never have enough time) and highlighting what they thought Twitter was. I then talked about what it actually is and gave them testimonials from the survey I created and other connected educators. I was heavily influenced by Steve Anderson‘s Twitter series but did have significant time constraints. I highlighted searching, hashtags and a few other must-knows. Then I gave them time to create accounts, explore some hashtags, find people to follow. A genius idea from Jeff – make sure everyone in the class follows everyone else before the session is over. I ended with ideas for organizing all this new info and next steps.

It was a great plan. And then I realized 20 minutes before the start of the session that Twitter was blocked at the school (!!!). Oh my goodness. I tried several different things but unfortunately I had forgotten my wireless router at home and we were in the basement (so my phone wasn’t working as a hot spot). But..it was okay. I let someone borrow my iPad and we just went with the flow. The workshop didn’t go exactly how I planned it but I still got great responses and people were excited about the possibilities of becoming connected. It was another example of how becoming a teacher has changed me – I’m flexible and don’t get easily rattled! 🙂

PEAK 2013 pt. 1 – Harnessing the Power of Google

On Saturday I presented at the Professional Educators Around Kuwait Conference for the second year. I presented three workshops this year and the first two were repeats from last year: Harnessing the Power of Google For Educators & For Collaboration. One hour is a whirlwind for both of these sessions and I can’t wait to turn them into 4-hour workshops at KIEC in January!

Saturday reminded me how passionate I am about GAFE. I love helping teachers discover new ways to use Google Apps for themselves and in their classroom. I just submitted my Google Apps Certified Trainer application…can’t wait to find out in 4-6 weeks if I got it! 🙂

I learned from the responses last year and booked a computer lab for both presentations. I also updated the presentations slightly…enjoy! And as always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions. 🙂

Presentation x2 from #Peak2012

Last weekend I attended and presented at the Professional Educators Around Kuwait conference (PEAK). Calls for presentation proposals went out last month and I had a difficult time deciding what to present about. My husband suggested I choose something I was passionate about…so Google Apps it was (duh!). A colleague helped me refine my ideas and off I went!

I had no idea what to expect from this conference. Honestly, I didn’t expect a whole lot. The rooms did not have projectors or internet (I brought my own). There was no keynote, simply 4 sessions with lunch and a raffle afterwards. When I got the HUGE document with the descriptions of the sessions I didn’t think there was any way that there would be enough people present to attend them all. Turns out there were close to 1500 educators from over 30 schools! After my 2 presentations, I attended a session on ‘Arabish‘ and a second session on strategies for teaching students are are English Language Learners. Both were decent but learning about Arabish was incredibly interesting, especially after taking an intro Arabic course this semester. The buffet lunch was fantastic and I even won a tea set at the raffle 🙂

My first session was ‘Harnessing the Power of Google Apps: For Educators.’ I focused on using Google Apps in order to make educators’ lives easier and save them time (Google Apps basics).

My second session was ‘Harnessing the Power of Google Apps: For Collaboration.’ This session assumed that you attended my first session or had a basic understanding of how to use Google Apps. I focused on effectively using Google Apps in order to facilitate and encourage collaboration among teachers and students.

I think these sessions could be combined into a 3-hour workshop where all participants had devices (preferably laptops or Chromebooks). The biggest false assumption that I made was thinking that teachers would bring devices to an education conference and, specifically, to a session on Google Apps. I learned that this was not the case in Kuwait. Many participants had devices, but mobile devices (including iPads) are not optimized for using Google Apps effectively.

My sessions have been submitted to NESA for consideration to be included in the Spring Conference in Bangkok. Our plan is to go to Thailand for Spring Break either way…so it’s a win-win!  I would love any feedback about these presentations for the future 🙂