During the week of July 18, 2016, twenty-three teachers from the elementary schools of the Diocese of Rockville Centre participated in a Google Camp at the new Education Center, adjacent to Holy Trinity Diocesan High School. The camp, presented by Google Certified Teacher Krista Albrecht, is being held for the second year. Several attendees participated in the first camp last year and gained so much that they brought colleagues with them this year.
The timing is especially appropriate as more schools leverage the use of Google Apps for Education with their students. Schools already using Google Apps are expanding the number of grades incorporating the apps to support student learning. Thanks to the efforts of Martin Dwonarski, Chief Procurement Officer, a number of schools were able to purchase Chromebooks at a heavily discounted rate. Others receiving Chromebooks are benefitting from their local public school districts’ Smart Bond funding or grants provided to the schools. Many of these schools will be implementing one-to-one initiatives in September. A number of the teachers participating in the camp are from schools which have or will be implementing one-to-one devices.
During the camp, teachers used the Department of Education’s new set of Chromebooks, complete with the department logo. This is helpful as it enabled the participants to see firsthand the ease of use of Chromebooks as well as how they differ from traditional computers. Teachers brought materials with them to assist in the creation of tools to use with students when school begins. The various Google Apps explored included Classroom, Docs, Presentations, Forms, Hangouts, and Calendar as well as add-ons for these apps. Participants also explored additional Google Extensions as well as experimenting with “App Smashing,” combining the use of Google Maps with other Google Apps. The teachers left the training armed with the many tools they had created during the week and an increased knowledge of and ability to use the Google Apps for Education. Follow-up sessions may be offered during the school year.
The new training classroom at the Center for Education is equipped with state of the art technology tools, including Video Conferencing equipment, the latest SMARTBoard technology, Apple device mirroring, thirty Chromebooks, and WiFi throughout the center, enabling participants to use their own devices as well. The center will host a variety of training opportunities throughout the school year and summer for administrators, teachers, and support staff.