Google Apps for Education VA Summit Demo Slam

Demo Slam

The Demo Slam at the end of Day 1 was so much fun!  It was a high-energy way to share a wide-variety of geeky Google goodies.  Here’s the deal: each presenter had 3 minutes to showcase 1 cool thing about something with Google and after presenting they have to shout “SLAM!”  At the end, the audience had to vote for their favorite SLAM presentation.

Some of the top tricks I picked up:

  • Instant Street View – Type an address in this website and it will take you directly to the street view.  
  • Big G Black Bar Sorter – Let’s you customize the black bar at the top of the Google Page.  Rearrange the order to fit your needs!
  • Hello Sign – Sign a document without having to print, scan and email back!
  • Research Tool in Docs – You can do an image search for copyright free images, drag and drop it in your doc and it will give it an instant citation.
  • Doc Story Builder – Remember Google Search Stories?  It’s kinda like that but with a Doc.  Create a fun video by assigning different characters that type out stuff on a Google Doc.

The Demo Slam was so electric that the power actually went out for a few minutes.  It may have been related to that thunderstorm that was occurring  but I’m convinced we blew the circuits from too much awesomeness.



Google Apps for Education Summit: Session Recaps

GAFE VA Summit

I was lucky enough to travel to Charlottesville for the Google Apps for Education Summit this weekend with a team from Spotsylvania County.  I’ve been a Google fan for a while, but knew there was more to learn about using it with teachers and students!  A few of the highlights from sessions I attended:

Getting Started with GAFE – Robin Martin led this session on her district’s journey with adopting Google Apps for Education.  It was helpful to hear about how they rolled it out.  She covered her recommendations, things that went well and also things to watch out for and take into consideration.  Great overview of a timeline for adopting GAFE.

Google Scripts 101 – Robert Muskett gave an introduction to Google Scripts.  This is something I had no experience with and it was a good session to open my eyes to the possibilities of how Scripts can help automate some of the tasks we do.  This is definitely a topic I plan on researching and playing with a lot more.  Some of the scripts mentioned: FormMule, Flubaroo, Doctopus, and AutoCrat.

Google Apps Planning and Deployment Best Practices – Tim Lee, from Amplified IT, covered a ton about planning and preparing for Google Apps for Education deployment.  Tim has a lot of experience with GAFE deployment, so his perspective was extremely useful to hear!

Using Google Apps for Education with School Leaders – I attended this session because I wanted to be able to share some practical uses for GAFE with administrators in my district.  Some examples Robert Muskett gave were: Confiscated Items Forms, Walk-Through Observation Forms, Student Movement Forms, Student Parking Form Information, collaborate notes for meetings/projects.

Demo Slam –  I think this needs it’s own separate post because of all the awesomeness shared in such a short amount of time.

Google Sites for Student Projects and ePortfoliosTracy Purdy shared how she uses Google Sites with her 4th grade students and it was amazing to see the many uses!  Her Google Site has homework information, learning resources, information for parents, and links to student projects.  Each of her students creates a Google Site throughout the year as an ongoing portfolio of their work.  At the end of the year, they publish their site so they can share their work with the world!  Very inspiring session to see what she is able to do with students in 4th grade!

Digital Citizenship for the Classroom in the Cloud – Tracy’s session on Sites was so good, I had to follow her for her next presentation.  She does a lot of amazing stuff with her students online, so the natural progression was to talk about how to teach our students about digital citizenship.  Tracy covered quite a few amazing resources.

We even played some fun Minute to Win It games at the end to tie our learning together nicely.  The game below was called “A Brush with Danger.”  Check out her presentation file for the other games!  They would be fun to play with your students after covering digital citizenship topics!

photo (10)

Advanced GmailChris Craft lead an insightful conversation on how to use email better.  It made me realize I need to make my email work smarter so I can save time and focus on what is important.  We talked about different labs, creating filters to skip your inbox and go straight to a folder, Inbox Pause (pause your email from coming in), Boomerang (send email to come back to you at a designated time).

Google Ninja: Setting Up Your Own Google Apps Dojo for Staff and Students –  Jim Daly and Andy Jones, ITRTs from Charlottesville City Schools, gave a fantastic presentation on setting up a Google Apps Dojo for staff and students to learn about using GAFE.  They shared their site and walked us through how they use it.  Online, self-paced professional development is a wonderful alternative to making teachers come to a face-to-face session on something they already know about!  Want to set up your own Google Apps dojo?  Check out  for the site template and quizzes!

There were many other awesome sessions that I didn’t get to attend.  Check out the Presentation Resource page to see the other presentations!

Did you attend?  What were some of your favorite sessions or take-aways?

Thanks to all of the organizers for a fabulous weekend!  And thank you Mother Nature for the Snow Day to reflect and work on what I learned!  🙂