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EdTech conference and Google-fest hit Palo Alto this weekend

Original post made on Jul 17, 2014

A glimpse into 22nd century education – and a giant sales pitch for all things Google – are in the offing this weekend as more than 1,200 teachers and administrators from around the world descend on Gunn High School for the 2014 Google in Education Summit.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 17, 2014, 8:38 AM

Comments (15)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2014 at 8:47 am

This sounds wonderful.

But, sadly I think the changes are going to have to be made at the State and national level before real changes in education are going to happen. The current system of testing and college acceptances are breaking the spirit of many intelligent students who see their future plans scuttled when it comes to competing to get into college against overseas and out of state students with better chances of acceptance.


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Posted by So what?
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jul 17, 2014 at 9:04 am

All these changes are great, but the real change needs to be at the government level. Every country in the world except the US and four countries in Africa pay for qualified students to go to college, even grad school. The Chinese government pays the tuition of their students who come here to go to school, even with the extra charges for foreign students.

The US has GOT To stop the universities from giving priority to foreign students ( many don't even speak English very well). This has become a national emergency, and has endangered the future of America.


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Posted by Sad
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:17 am

I think Resident and So What (and most of the people who post on here) really need to step back and think about changing their own mindset. Here is a really positive article about a fantastic forums for educators that we are lucky enough to be hosting here in Palo Alto.

And the two of you make a negative comment. Maybe you can ask for a Mindfullness Class from Mr. Habib for depressed residents.


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Posted by David Pepperdine
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:51 am

Sadly, this may be irrelevant for PAUSD. The teachers' union won't permit the use of technology to be required of its members. And the school board doesn't have the guts to require it in the contract. Maybe the new superintendent has the guts to impose this requirement in the new contract. Many of the older teachers simply don't care to learn this stuff.


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Posted by muttiallen
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm

muttiallen is a registered user.

I've attended this in the past, when it was at Google and was much smaller. It was wonderful. I'm going again this weekend. The changes won't come from national decrees, but will come classroom by classroom as teachers first learn to use the new techniques, second incorporate them into their teaching, and third share them with other teachers at their schools. I work for Ravenswood District (East Palo Alto). We have 20+ staff attending, which is pretty amazing considering that teachers are not working in July and have to donate their time for the conference. Ravenswood has great teachers!


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Posted by A
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I think this is great, too. If you want people to change, you have to make a path. And I think we should be paying for education, like the above posters suggest.

One has only to read a story about advances in Chinese infrastructure and take a drive across Nevada (and many other parts of the country) to witness the rise of 3rd world America to feel the urgency. We paid for a whole generation of Americans to be educated because of the WWII and Korean War GI bill, and that money built our university system. Now we hardly have any tenured professors anymore. (Our healthcare economy is another elephant in the room related to that, because it economically impacts every endeavor in our lives at 20% of our economy -- it's killing our competitiveness. I won't go into it, but see my response in this thread: Web Link )


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Posted by Paly English Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:10 pm

I'm super excited to be attending the EdTech conference and Google in Education summit this weekend with close to 20 Paly colleagues. Change happens one classroom at a time. @muttiallen, I hope we can meet up!


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Posted by with the program
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Paly English Teacher,

"I'm super excited to be attending the EdTech conference and Google in Education summit this weekend with close to 20 Paly colleagues. Change happens one classroom at a time. @muttiallen, I hope we can meet up!"

Much is said about innovation, but when you still have many who will not reply to an email, use Schoology, IC, or grade a paper within a reasonable time (given all the tools which have long been available to assist with document management), what gives?

On the other hand, there are many teachers who aren't necessarily techy but manage to post grades on time, provide timely feedback (to students and parents), provide safe and interesting classrooms, and let the students know they care.

Are students attending? They should be there to keep everyone honest about what they appreciate.


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Posted by with the program
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:56 pm



I'll just add, that besides modules to teach students how to make themselves happy, there are many classroom protocols which can greatly contribute to happiness.

I don't mean to be cynical, it's true, ask the students, and it's not just about making good grades either.


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Posted by Paly English Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 18, 2014 at 1:04 am

@ with the program: respectfully - imagine my position, working in an environment that rewards excellence and incompetence alike. More importantly, take your concerns to your elected officials. There is an election this fall and it will be important to exercise your franchise.


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Posted by with the program
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2014 at 8:41 am

Paly English Teacher,

The initial comments on the thread made the point that sadly changes have to be made at the political level, and exercising a vote is certainly an option.

My point was perhaps obvious, that technology and innovation is not what makes an excellent classroom and non-techie teachers adopting basic district technologies well enough are as powerful as anyone. However, refreshing ways to teach is always welcome and hope the numbers of innovative teachers keep growing.

It would still be a good idea to have student panels at these events, to see what they think.


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Posted by In the minority
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2014 at 10:25 am

I know it's a futile hope, but I wish they would eliminate computers from elementary school. The fundamentals of reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic can be taught more efficiently without computers. It's just a grand distraction and possibly even harmful to our kids. They should not expect to be "entertained" by flashy graphics and sounds while learning to read or doing math. I think it just creates kids with short attention spans who are unable to do deep learning. In middle school and high school the only meaningful use of computers is to learn how to program, do numerical analysis, etc. Learning to do google searches is trivial and will happen automatically.


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Posted by RW
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Lucky Google, a captive audience of teachers and a "giant sales pitch for all things Google". I'm concerned about so much involvement by private, for-profit companies in our public schools. They might as well be offering sessions titled "School Nutrition 101, brought to you by GNC" or "Learning about School through School Supplies, brought to you by Office Depot".


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Posted by PAUSD Elementary Teacher
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 24, 2014 at 9:43 am

To Mr. Pepperdine,

Your statement of "irrelevant for PAUSD" could not be further from the truth. I am an elementary teacher in the district who attended the Google in Education Conference. It was an incredible conference that taught me innovative, creative ways of using Technology to enrich the learning experience for my students. The district is strongly requiring the implementation of the common core standards which specifically identifies the use of technology. While you are correct that the district might not specifically say we're required to use X piece of Technology (I believe this is what you meant in your post) , but that does by no means mean it is "irrelevant". The way it works is teachers go back to their schools and teach, motivate and inspire the use of awesome technology. By one teacher going to this Google for Education Summit, it can positively effect an entire school and consequently over 500 students. I was not trying to be rude, but just let you know my thoughts on the topic.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 10:09 am

From the news over the past couple of days, there will be less space for California residents i.e. California educated graduating high school seniors, in our own UCs.

What we really need is a better system to get our Californian educated high schoolers into our public (?) college system. As long as preferences are made for higher fee paying overseas and out of state students to be educated in California, our bright students are going to have to go elsewhere for college education and end up presumably starting their adult lives out of state. Will they come back as college graduates for our own work force so that we don't have to start employing overseas students? Good question and I think we all know the answer.


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