Monday, December 14, 2009

My GTA Experience--Part 1

The following is an account of my recent trip to Washington, DC. for the Google Teacher Academy and interactions with technology along the way:

Dec 8, 2009--Air tran flight to Baltimore

In-flight wi-fi was $7.95 so I listened to Mike and Mike (ESPN Radio) on AirTran's XM Radio. Found out that they took an unidentified woman from Tiger Woods' house to the hospital. Guess I will find out who that was later today. Played Traffic Rush and Flight Control on iTouch. Not sure it was a good idea to play Flight Control while in a plane but we landed safely. Finished the flight reading Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman using Kindle iTouch app.

Shuttle Bus B30 to Greenbelt
Taking $3 very warm shuttle to Green Metro Line to get into DC. Need to take note of commute time for return trip. Using iTouch notes to record trip. Typing is getting faster. Listening to Spoon while writing notes. Used Twitter with Cell phone to update #gtadc followers. Asked for suggestions on how to spend DC time prior to the start of the Academy. Thinking about visiting the Newseum. Traffic is slow... don't miss big city commutes. At least I can write while in traffic. Google announced new apps yesterday including real-time search and translation tools. Wondering if we will get a demo at Google Inc tomorrow. Now listening to U2's Passengers playlist. Nice to have lyrics with all my songs. Why isn't there a bus accident...teenagers who tailgate. If I had to drive every day I would move closer to public transportation. Stack of cookie cakes in SUV next to's always somebody's birthday. Commute on shuttle bus from BWI to DC is longer than flight from Rochester. The Dairy Research Facility we just passed has a lot of security keep cows in or humans out?

Metro to Fort Totten transfer to Red Line to DuPont Circle
I always liked DC's Metro System. Easy, cheap, clean, and fast. Leaving station at 9:32am. Transfering to Red Line listening to my alternative rock iTouch playlist...Modest Mouse, Snow Patrol, Beck, Neko Case, etc. Businessmen on Blackberries, blue-collar hardhats, Oriole cap on dredlocks and earbuds fill the train. People reading "A Complete Guide To Special Teams," free newspapers, and text messages. Next stop ... Doubletree Hotel, Rhode Island Avenue.

Doubletree Hotel
Nice hotel between Dupont Circle and Capitol Hill. Great deal on Used a new app called Search It and found Ben's Chili Bowl, a DC landmark. It was a great place for lunch with lots of energy, great chili, and milkshakes with R&B playing on the jukebox. Crowded but got a stool at the counter in this old silent movie theater. Spent the afternoon at the Newseum. Toured the Stephanopolous studio and 9/11 exhibit was moving. Fun and interesting museum. Used Google Maps on iTouch to map walk to both locations. An evening spent with Capitol City Brewery with about 30 other Google Teacher Academy teachers awaits.

Day 1 - #GTADC
Google Teacher Academy is a whirlwind event. Day 1 include sessions on the following Google applications: Apps for Education, Maps, Earth, Search, Spreadsheets, Wave, Voice, Apps for Administrators, Sites among other titles on our agenda. So the first decision to be made was for all the teachers to use Twitter for discussion. For those unfamiliar with Twitter, we used what is called a hashtag (#gtadc) in all tweets from teachers commenting on the GTA in Twitter. Twitter and several other tools can be used to search all tweets that include #gtadc. This allowed for a massive list of comments that continues to generated.

The first new tool I saw in use was Google Moderator. Google Moderator allows audiences to participate in polls, voting on decisions, and posting comments. Moderator was used infrequently but it was useful given the right situation. I've tried to set up Moderator for an upcoming meeting but need more practice with set up.

The welcoming address reminded us of the Google Mission: "Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." After sharing GTA goals, we were told this was the 8th GTA since 2006 and after GTADC there will be 417 GCT's worldwide. Finally, at the end of the GTA, our evaluation will include answering this question: If money, time, and resources were not an issue, tell us your biggest, hairiest, most audacious idea. It was clear that we were being encouraged to think beyond any self-imposed limitations.

Coming Soon: Part 2-Google Search


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