The 2015 South Korea Google Apps Event for Education: a Review

by D. Elizabeth Cohen, PhD, PMP, 15/07/2015


I appreciated the opportunity to attend the South Korea Google Apps Event for Education at Chadwik International School on Saturday and Sunday May 9 and 10. For me, it was a mixed bag of positive and negative. My main takeaway is that although Google offers some fabulous apps, they do not have the expertise to set the World’s Educational Agenda, which it appears they are trying to do.

EDUCATIONAL PRESENTATIONS

The Good
Google has developed an incredible array Omega Replica Watches of applications that can be used for educational purposes, and the event offered an excellent overview of what is currently available. They include video and sound editors, various blogging applications, tools to automate teachings tasks, and of course Google Forms. Participating presenters, some international and some local, were extremely accessible and went out of their way to make themselves available for questions in and out of sessions. A few of the presentations, especially by local presenters – in particular, Anton Petrov who spoke on Games - were truly informative.

The Bad
Google lacks world-class expertise in education. The presenters promoted an orthodoxy of the “flipped classroom” in a simplistic and doctrinaire way that aligns with use of their apps. My message to Google: “give educators the respect they deserve and don’t spout unsubstantiated reasons to use your tools –educators will be able to figure out how to use the applications if provided with good examples of their functionality and examples of classroom uses. Don’t sell your applications short; they are great and educators don’t have to be manipulated to make use of them”.

I also wasn’t thrilled with the curricular design of many of the sessions. The hour-long lab sessions went too quickly for non-techies to keep up with and lacked needed context for classroom use. They reminded me of the computer classes I took in school that left me in the dust. The virtually all-male composition of the presenters was also problematic in this day and age, and inexcusable in this domain.

THE EVENT

The Good
Chadwick International School,Replica Hublot Watches at which the event was held, provided good facilities. The attendees, nearly all educators from international schools in Seoul and environs, were initially a bit reserved, but camaraderie developed as the event progressed. A pleasant supper party was held at a nearby pub at the close of Saturday which facilitated communication.

The Bad
Infrastructure for the event appeared to be minimal; the event seemed under-supported. There were no programs, and signage at the large campus was nonexistent. One had to ask for directions.

The event was quite expensive to attend, and it appeared that only educators whose international school employers could sponsor them were present. It seems that Google could subsidize the event a bit more to make the event more affordable and accessible to additional educators.

The event’s purpose seemed to be tightly aligned with the Google business model, not only promoting Google applications but also the Google approach to educational technology. Google is now providing educator credentials that are increasingly given credence at educational institutions, and part of the agenda of the event was to publicize how to attain these credentials of Google Certified Trainer, Google Educator Trainer, and Google Certified Teacher.

I’ll reiterate that I think that Google Apps are great, but it's important to make the distinction between technological and pedagogical accomplishment is important.  Google deserves recognition for excellence for the former, but not (as of yet) for the latter.

 

K4E Note: Dr. Cohen attended the conference on behalf of Korea4Expats.com

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