Googlepalooza Power-Up Event

This week I had the fortunate experience of attending and presenting at the CPS Googlepalooza event. Chicago Public Schools partnered with Google to put on what turned out to be a great event. On Monday all of the presenters were invited to the Chicago Google offices for a Power-Up event. I was super excited to get to go to the Google offices, and I loved the idea of having a special event to get the presenters "powered-up." Often times as a presenter you have little time to attend sessions and I loved getting the opportunity to learn, share, and get excited before heading off to present a couple days later.

The day started with some presentations from David Tess, James Sanders, Jen Holland, and Jennie Mageria. I was able to learn about the Learning to Code with Google Apps Scripts course that +James Eichmiller and +David Tess created as a part of their Google Certified Teacher action plan. I found it very intriguing and I hope that in the future I can attend one of their two day trainings. After that I attended +James Sanders session about the Future Ready Schools initiative that he is working with. It was great to hear his perspectives, which helped me reflect on my own practices and beliefs.

After that we had lunch at the infamous Google Cafe, which was just as awesome as (if not more awesome) than it's reputation. After lunch Google VP, Jim Lecinski, presented and then fielded questions and asked for feedback. Then some of the Googlepalooza presenters participated in a "Share Slam" where they shared a way that they were using Google Apps in their schools.

The day concluded with a tour of the Google offices. The offices include the Google Cafe, collaborative workspaces, exercise studio, ping pong table, a tech repair station, televisions with video games, a fully stocked micro-kitchen always within 500 feet ... pretty much everything you would ever need. Halfway through the tour I turned to +Caroline Schaab and expressed that I wanted to work there and if I ever did I would never want to leave. This is a place that the employees want to be. And I thought to myself, how can we make our classrooms be a place that our students want to be. Yes, Google's employees come to work because it's their job, but the environment there makes them want to stay. Our students show up to our classrooms because they have to go to school, but how can we make our classroom a place that they look forward to coming to? So maybe we can't fit a ping pong table in our rooms or have a fully stocked micro-kitchen near by, but there is a lot we can do to make our space and the environment inviting. What are you doing in your school or classroom that makes students want to be there?

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