Community ~ Curiosity ~ Creativity
This morning, I am feeling a sense of community, curiosity and creativity : combined with a little bit of travel weary, end of term exhaustion. These were the themes of the mentor presentations at the Google Teacher Academy I attended during this whirlwind week, which began with sharing the Google Apps for Education Summit with 10 of my school colleagues and 400 other teachers in Melbourne.
The GTA experience this year was facilitated by Tom Barrett and Hamish Curry from NoTosh, leading us through the Design thinking process. Thankfully we had been slowly immersed in the process and our ideas by connecting to our Teams in the weeks prior – being introduced and starting the conversations that would lead to much discussion, work and deliberation.
If you came to the GTA expecting to come away with a whole heap of Googley technical skills you would have left disappointed. If you came expecting to be a passive learner, you would have been very challenged. If you came along to see how community, curiosity and creativity can be enacted, you would be very happy.
The process was outward looking, in that,we all had been asked in the month or so leading up, to consider a ‘Moonshot thinking’ exercise from our own context. We were guided through many steps that had us thinking, questioning, giving feedback, re-thinking, ideating and then developing an idea through to an action. Many people found connections between their ultimate Moonshot questions – in fact in reading them I found connections everywhere. We are all challenged to continue the process and take actions back in our wider communities.
Hexagonal thinking which I had explored a little beforehand, proved to me to be one of the most powerful ah-ha moments! I witnessed the struggling in others and in my own thinking but the strong links it can provide and yet the flexibility it can enable.
I loved hearing Annie Parker from Muru-D discuss entrepreneurial hacks and then Brett Morgan, a Google Developer Relations engineer discuss the Design process and seeing such strong links in the ideas and the process we were experiencing. All this taking place in such a ‘cool’ environment as the Google Office space.
Thanks to all those involved. Google’s Suan Yeo as well as Tom and Hamish the energetic facilitators, the team of mentors including the gentle and skilful Abi and of course the new members of my professional learning network – the participants. #gtasyd14