Monday, November 4, 2013

Google Ninja Academy Re-cap

We finished the Google Ninja Academy with over 500 registrants from around the nation! We had over 100 sessions, demo slams, learners' playgrounds, Bloggers' cafe, Chromebook showcase, Google Sensei Bar, and more! And, after many, many hours of prep, the academy went off without any major hitches. As with any big endeavor, however, we have found ways we can improve for next year. For example, I'm already anxious to start recruiting students for a student showcase/playdate to be held within the academy. This will give students a role and a chance to show off their learning in a maker's square environment. I also want to make sessions open - without having to register for sessions. This will give it more of an unconference feel and cut down on the workload of assigning sessions. I would also like vendors to help finance the conference and donate larger prizes. In addition, this will give educators direct access to those who are making the tools they are implementing in their classrooms.

In regards to sessions, many learners felt satisfied and excited by what they learned. Though, I would like to add additional black belt and master ninja strands to accommodate our more advanced users. I would also like to better showcase our open areas and explain the belt levels.

We used Google + Communities for all of our strands. However, it was not consistent. I'd like to make this more consistent in the future so all attendees are going to the same place for information.

I was thoroughly impressed with our students and the enthusiasm throughout the day. Our photo booth was a huge hit as were the extra features we added. Food was no problem and parking was a breeze.

It is great to see educators collaborate and connect with those outside of their content groups. To me, that was the greatest takeaway from this event - educators were exposed to a true edtech conference and educators were able to learn across content and school boundary lines. This is how we need our students to learn.

You can check out our photo booth here and catch all that you missed on our Tune in Later page.

We hope to see you next year at our Google Ninja Academy!!

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