A glimpse into 22nd century education and a giant sales pitch for all things Google are in the offing this weekend as more than 1,200 teachers and administrators from around the world descend on Gunn High School for the 2014 Google in Education Summit.
The conference for which participating teachers typically earn "professional development" credit is produced by the EdTech Team, an Irvine-based consultancy of former classroom teachers who now teach other educators how to use technology.
The group has convened more than 50 similar educational technology "summits" around the world, including in the Middle East, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney, Maine, North Carolina and Colorado.
We're excited to be working with Gunn High School to host the third annual California Summit," said EdTech Team Chief Operating Officer Chris Bell.
In past conferences, Bell said, "beginners and technophobes have shared positive, hands-on experiences and have been encouraged by their ability to use these tools with their students. New teachers have changed the course of their careers, and near-retirees have been reinvigorated and excited about the remainder of their careers."
Among conference attendees are 95 K-12 teachers from the Palo Alto school district, four of whom will present educational technology workshops.
Keynote speakers include Google vice-president Claire Hughes Johnson, who oversees the company's self-driving cars division; Google Maps Project Manager Evan Rapoport and Daniel Russell, a Gunn parent and Google's "Uber Tech Lead for Search Quality and User Happiness."
Russell will address "what it means to be literate in the age of Google at a time when you can search billions of texts in milliseconds.
"Although you might think that literacy is one of the great constants that transcends the ages, the skills of a literate person have changed substantially over time as texts and technology allow for new kinds of reading and understanding," Russell said in a description of his message.
"Knowing how to read is just the beginning of it. Knowing how to frame a question, pose a query, interpret the texts that you find, organize and use the information you discover and understand your meta-cognition these are all critical parts of being literate as well."
Among the workshop presenters is Gunn teacher Ronen Habib, who will lead a session called "Happiness and Mindfulness in the Classroom An Amazing Tech Tool."
Habib, who is also Gunn's technology coordinator, launched a new class in Positive Psychology at Gunn last fall.
"In a time when anxiety and depression in teenagers are on the rise, there are robust and tested guidelines and techniques that help increase the level of happiness and therefore creativity and success of our students," he wrote in a description of his workshop. "In this session, you will learn how you can increase your level of happiness, and how you can teach your students to mindfully become happier."
For more information on the EdTech Team California Summit Featuring Google for Education, see the full conference agenda here.
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