Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Google Teacher Academy

A couple weeks ago I was casually checking my email, only to notice one of the most thrilling and exciting messages ever:

You have been selected to participate in the Google Teacher Academy - Washington. After reviewing your application, we believe that you have the experience and passion necessary to positively impact education in your region, and we are excited to have you join us at the Google office in Seattle.

Although I'd spent many hours working on my GTA application and creating the required movie, I was truly shocked, stunned and thrilled to actually be accepted into this prestigious program! There were approximately 4,000 applicants and 50 were accepted. In this age of instant communication the 49 other educators from around the globe who had also been accepted, almost immediately started connecting through tweets, emails, wikis and shared documents. Looking through the biographies of these amazing educators is quite humbling. 

There is little information available regarding GTA and they have informed us all that we are not allowed to take any photos inside of Google and must sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement before entering the building. However, I have heard from a few teachers who have attended previous Google Teacher Academies that the experience is life-changing and unlike any other training. Rumor has it that the academy will most likely exceed all of our expectations, and it is invaluable and inspirational. 

I can't wait! 

And believe it or not, it gets even better.

In the original acceptance email was an invitation to apply to the YouTube Teacher Academy:

We're inviting you to apply be part of our inaugural class at the first YouTube Teacher Academy, a 1-day workshop that will give you the basic training and equipment needed to become a part of a star teaching team on YouTube EDU. This workshop will occur the day before the GTA in Seattle. This does require another application (and is limited to 15 participants), but it is ONLY open to those of you who have already been accepted into the GTA. 

I figured I may as well give it a shot although considering they were only accepting 15 out of the 50 of us. I felt pretty intimidated by the 49 I was up against after viewing their websites and reading about their extensive awards and technology experience. I realized the competition was very stiff. 

However, a few days later I received this email:

After reviewing many thoughtful and creative applications for the inaugural session of the YouTube Teacher's Studio you have been selected to participate - congratulations!

We believe that this program has the potential to spark a transformation in the way teachers connect with students, both in the classroom and outside. Your ability to create engaging videos and envision a future classroom that thoroughly integrates YouTube EDU makes you all the ideal teachers to participate and evangelize the YouTube Teacher's Studio.

WOW! I was absolutely blown away and actually went back to the email a few times to make sure I had read it correctly. 

This is the movie I created (with the help of some students, of course) to submit as part of my original application. We shot the footage the last few days of school and I did all the editing the first week of summer break. The movie was limited to a minute (and I didn't dare go even one second over for fear of being disqualified) so it is a little choppier than I would have liked. Since school was out by the time I started the editing process, I couldn't reshoot any of the footage. 

I leave for Google next week. I'll keep blogging about my experience. :)