Thursday, 8 May 2014

Nike-ing the Experience


Nike-ing Your Experience

I recently attended The GAFE NZ North Island Summit.  What an amazing experience that was to be and what an amazing array of interesting speakers lined up to deliver their knowledge about GOOGLE and the Apps and Add-ons that they used. 
When I was a kid I used to go to Woolworths in Lower Hutt.  I remember being given 20 cents to go and choose a selection of lollies from the pick & mix counter.  Similarly at the GAFE Summit I was so excited yet traumatized.  Excited by the quality, array and usefulness of the what was on offer from these amazing speakers and yet traumatised by the fact that I could only attend a few of these sessions.  The feeling of having only 20cents and wanting so much more came flooding back, as did the checkered, black and white, linoleum floor and the walk sock, walk short, neatly-attired, blue-shirted manager who stood and stared suspiciously as us kids as we eyed the array of candy.  ‘Google’ eye-candy is no different.  One just needed to look around the room, filled with people, on the first morning to see the excitement in the eyes of the ‘Google freaks and Nerds’ that aligned themselves, frothing at the mouth, awaiting the first keynote from Suan Yeo.


As I sat and waited I reflected on the fact that I am new to this.  I am not a fluent Google/app/add-on user and while I have used apps and some bits and pieces I have really not thrust myself into Google culture or really tried to E-nable myself in this manner.  Listening to the others in the room one could be forgiven for thinking that we were to be graced by the presence of royalty, well, at the very least Google royalty.  The Sydney-based Suan Yeo gave a charged intro filled with inspiration and hope for education.  I was amazed at the commitment of Google to education and the possibility that was available if one dared to dream or at the very least explore some of what is on offer. A couple of thoughts worth retaining were 1. “Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn”, turn every losing situation into a learning situation.  2. “First you commit to the task and then you figure out how you’ll do it” Mick Eberling .  This notion is one that I love, probably because I love a challenge and I am a believer, which means that I usually get things done even if I have to ‘hack’ a way.  Mick Ebeling’s Ted Talk shows this process and clearly displays the point of this blog. 
Jim Sell began what seemed to be a very casual session called ‘Curating Youtube’.  It became apparent very quickly that this guy knew his stuff.  I sat there amazed at many of the tricks and functions that are available on the Youtube site and wondered why I had never explored the site to this degree.  Jim’s vast experience as a teacher and TV producer, coupled with his role as a Google Educator/ambassador, made fascinating and entertaining listening.  I even sat through his next session on editing and creating within Youtube Editor function and this left me wondering why I have even bothered with ‘Imovie’ or ‘Moviemaker’ on some tasks.  This was yet another amazingly simple program that I had never bothered to explore.  His sessions were incredibly useful, leaving me feeling inspired and enabled.  Later that day I voted for him to win the 'Google Slam'.  I am glad that I did vote because my name was drawn and I won a Google Nexus 7.  Thanks guys!!

Over the next two days I attended some more amazing sessions run by other incredibly capable Google Educators.  They included Tim Gander, Amy McCauley and others.  This certainly left my brain in a state of information overload.  There was so much great content and so many ideas that I was left just like that confused kid at the pick and mix stand that I mentioned earlier.  What do I choose first?  Where do I start? How can I begin?

It is probably fair to say that I came out of that Google Summit with more (un-googleable) questions in my head than when I went in.  Some of you would say that is a good thing but for me it felt more like there was a huge task ahead.  A few days out from the Summit now and I am feeling a lot clearer about where I am going with this and the answer was in front of me the entire time.

I think it was Suan or Jim who very quickly displayed an international sporting logo for an instant.  At the time I thought that it was out of place and not really connected but now more than ever I realize the significance of the Nike phrase “just do it”.  After reflecting on the presentations that I attended I realized that all of those people had one thing in common.  They were simply “doing it”.  They were using the tools that they spoke about and this is what made their presentations effective and meaningful.  It was because they were educators who were also life-long learners that made their thinking relevant and if I want embed some of their knowledge into my practice then I simply need to start my Google learning journey.


I love my job and I want to be really good at enabling people to be  more effective and stronger in their communities than I ever was, learners who are not just consumers but creators of things and knowledge.  So all I need to do is commit to the task of learning and I’ll work out how to hack the rest as I go along.   “Just do it” Nike (1988).

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