Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a teacher and leader of digital learning, working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 1/2 class using Play Based Learning (PBL) and iPads to engage and motivate learners and improve student achievement. This blog documents my teaching journey and my learning processes with iPads in the classroom. I've proud of having been a member of the inaugural Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy(MDTA) program and last year a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) and Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir teacher.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

#SYD17 Day 1

Earlier this year I applied to the Google Certified Teacher academy and was lucky enough to be accepted.  Part of the program entails an intensive at the Sydney Google offices and that started today.

The day started with an (optional) Amazing Race around Sydney.  In groups of three or four we had a huge number of tasks (worth varying points) to complete in three hours.  While public transport was an option, our team had fun collecting clues as we walked around the inner city. 

While the winner is still unknown (and I'm fairly sure it wasn't us) we had an amazing time and definitely explored some of Sydney that I would never have investigated.

Onwards to Google for the start of our Academy.  It's an amazing group of educators from around the world - supported by great coaches.   We kicked the afternoon off with some Moonwalking and found some new friends - our High Five buddy, our Secret Handshake buddy and our Booty Bump - three new friends!

Then it was time to break out Google style - with an Escape Room challenge, my very first (but certainly won't be the last) time of doing one of these.  Our group would have successfully broken out had the locks not been accidentally switched :) It sure was fun and cracking those codes are hard work  -  thank goodness for phones .... and Google!

We then met our team and coach, who we will be working with closely over the coming days!  Our coach is Justine Driver from Auckland, NZ!  Despite going to school together (many moons ago), I've never worked with Justine before so super great to have a fellow NZer as our coach.  We began with initial introductions and shared a five minute story about what has inspired us - later, over dinner, our team name and chant evolved - looking forward to that tomorrow morning!

Lastly, we had a session about the Design Process where we were encouraged to fall in love with our problems.  We had to design a new chair and then face off with other groups to ultimately find the best "new chair" - a huge shout out to the imaginations of the crew that designed the "Volcano Chair" which ultimately won the prize!