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Online Google conference expected to draw upwards of 50,000 and span a variety of topics.

Over the years, I’ve given hundreds of talks and spoken to thousands of people about the power of education, technology and the seemingly infinite possibilities when they are combined in our schools. I’ve also continued to network and surround myself with the minds and voices of change who are driving the “what’s next” conversation in our learning communities.

My colleague, Eric Patnoudes, is equally skilled and knowledgeable in this realm, having also given countless speeches.

So, as you can imagine, we are always happy to give a talk when asked. We believe so much in the potential of education, and the infusion of technology into it, that we may sometimes sound like we’re proselytizing.

This time, however, we are thrilled and honored to be taking part in an online virtual conference on Friday.

Eric and I have both been invited to talk at a global online event, Google Education on Air. It’s a two-day conference that is free and open to educators, parents and citizens across the world. Last year’s Education on Air drew more than 50,000 participants, including Michelle Obama, Michael Fullen (a worldwide authority on education reform) and actor LeVar Burton of “Reading Rainbow” fame.

This year’s event will feature more than 100 sessions and cover everything from using Google Sheets and ePortfolios to navigating the digital age.

I’ll speak at 5:30 p.m. EST in a session titled, “Unlock Learning with Google’s Creative Apps Bundle.” Many EdTech readers and K–12 IT directors have hopped on the Chromebook bandwagon, and getting these devices into kids’ hands can be transformative for education.

Chromebooks hold untapped potential, and have become so much more than just an internet-connected testing device. I plan to talk about how you can unlock the learning possibilities of these devices for your students with the new Creative Apps Bundle from Google for Education.

Defining the Difference Between Training and PD

Eric’s Google Education on Air session is titled, “What Should Come First, Training or Professional Development?” It’s a topic he has spoken passionately about for several years.

In the session, Eric will expound on his views about the differences between professional development and training, and why they create a “chicken vs. egg” conundrum.

“I view training as the ‘how’ — a user manual on devices, software, apps or websites. Click here to do “x,” share a doc by doing “y,” etc. Training is necessary because teachers must know what the tools are, what they’re capable of doing and how to operate them,” he recently wrote in his ConnectIT blog. “On the other hand, professional development is all about the ‘why.’ It’s focused on building the teacher’s capacity to shift away from traditional didactic teaching strategies to methods that fully engage students in the learning process. It concentrates on the importance of sound pedagogical practices and how to leverage technology to provide learning opportunities that don’t otherwise exist.”

If you want to learn more, Eric’s Google Education on Air talk is at 2:30 p.m. EST.

I hope you’ll tune in for both!

This article is part of the "Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology" series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology
phototechno/Thinkstock
Dec 01 2016

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