Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

Google is What?

Let’s start at the very beginning. That’s a very good place to start. No more assumptions. No, Google is not only a search bar.

This has been my recent experience when working with teachers who want to begin using technology in their third through eighth grade classrooms. That’s not to say they aren’t already using the devices, but teachers are gearing up for learning how to direct students to use them in new, more meaningful ways that will both deepen the students’ learning experience and somehow improve the teacher’s lives, as well.

But before any instruction will take hold, I had to determine where the “beginning” was, exactly. My approach was much like the cold-call vacuum salesman – yes, that really happened –  as I needed to contact each teacher and ask for some face-to-face time to show them my new gadget. Some liked the idea, others, not so much. My goal was been not to “sell” them on the idea of using the technology, but to introduce it so it could sell itself – and it always did. Little did I know just how little teaches understood about Google. Thus, let’s start a the very beginning…

Not wanting to scare off prospective buyers, I hesitated to send a fancy form  to phish for a teacher’s skill level. Our school culture isn’t ready for the- in-your-face admit what you don’t know- format of gathering information. Like savvy students, teachers can smell the risk of exposure and will often ignore the request.  No harm intended. Knowing that would be the case, I forged ahead the old fashioned way, and made appointments via email.

Round 1

In round 1, I intended to demonstrate what Google Classroom was and could become for the teacher, a trusted companion. Fail. First, we had to all be at the same ballgame. Google is what? It’s a classroom? Assumption 1: teachers will already be familiar with the breadth of products available under the Google name. Nope.

Round 2

Round two went better, until the glazed eyes and head nods were clearly an expression of “you’re wasting my time cause this is way too much for me to understand in 40 minutes”. Fail. Assumption 2: teachers will understand without great explanation of each Google product. Nope.

Round 3 – and we have a winner!

Finally, some forward progress. Ask what they already know and set a starting point for a 40 minute discussion about Google. Plan to revisit Google Classroom when enough time and experimentation has occurred that everyone is at the same ballpark, not the same ballgame, just the same park. And then, let someone else explain Google Classroom! Yes, this was the right approach. Third time’s a charm.

Here’s a look at the Google Classroom video we finally viewed.

Tune in next time for: Skype is What?




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