Simple solutions to teach above the line with Google Docs

I had some idea of what to expect before heading into a three hour workshop today titled “Crafting Digital Stories with Google Apps”, having paid a visit to Google HQ in California last week. However, no matter how long you look and how much you know, technology moves so fast and programs, apps and devices continue to explode onto the market. I gave up last week jotting down the list of acronyms and LMS’s (more jargon) that bantered back and forth in conversations related to management, deployment, affordability, equality, accessibility and support. Today I was immersed in so many apps, links, pages, video links and urls (did I miss anything?) that my head was spinning! I staggered out with my head bursting with ideas and although I was excited by the possibilities, I could clearly understand how front-line teachers who are not as familiar with technology as many of us might be (or like to think we are, but wait for tomorrow) can be overwhelmed by choice and intimidated by the expectations implied when presented with devices and platforms they know little about. It continues to resonate through teaching practice noted for excellence that the best tools Principals can give their teachers are time and resources to play and experiment with technology, to then design meaningful and relevant pedagogy themselves, which is in turn complimented by professional development for higher order thinking for effective teaching and learning ‘above the line’ in the SAMR model. So homeward bound I go armed with an arsenal of digital ammunition that at the end of the day will still be filtered by my informed choices as time constraints prevail. I’m fine-tuning my role as coach and messenger to link student generated ideas and enquiries, fostered from ‘learning for life’ principles, to accessible technologies that facilitate transformed and redefined student learning, which fosters happy and healthy students with strong personal, local, and global connections. Take calculated risks and just see what happens…

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