South African Teachers say the Google in Ed SA Summit was AWESOME!

Submitted by Janet Thomson,, Executive Director of SchoolNetSA

The Google in Education Summit took place on September 26, 27 at Parklands College, Cape Town. 

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Delegates preparing for Opening Plenary Maggie Verster and Ngaka Ralekoala signing in

“Wow” and “Awesome” were the most commonly used expressions this week at the Google Apps for Education Summit. Teachers were overwhelmed with the presentations given by the Google Ed Tech Team and the volumes of information that they will still be grappling with when they return to their schools next week. One description of the knowledge overload experience was that it was like trying to drink water from a fire hydrant.

Molly Shroeder from the EdTechTeam

“We are thrilled to bring the Summit to South Africa for the very first time and have had an amazing two days of learning for teachers and education professionals,” said Molly Schroeder, Google in Education Summit Program Chair. “We have been thrilled at the reception we have received from South African teachers and hope that we have contributed towards the transformation of learning for students in Southern Africa.”

Mrs Roth from Parklands College welcomed delegates to the conference at the opening plenary. Parklands College had not only provided their magnificent facilities to the Summit at no cost but had also sponsored a number of teachers to attend. The hospitality, efficiency and generosity of the Parklands team cannot be overemphasised. As a consequence, the administration for the Summit ran like clockwork and presenters had the luxury of instant hands-on support if needed.

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Registration at conferences can sometimes be a logistical nightmare but the Google team had used Eventbrite software to manage the process and it too ran like clockwork, providing teachers and organisers alike with a stress-free experience and giving everyone enough time to have their photos taken in fun party attire with the backdrop of table mountain and the Green Point Stadium. See who you can recognise from the photo gallery on the SchoolNet website:

At Moyo’s with presenters

Demo Slam contenders

The programme featured Google Certified Teachers, Google Apps for Education Certified Trainers, practicing administrator and solution providers. A team of international experts as well as local educators shared their knowledge with over 390 delegates. Molly Schroeder delivered the keynote at the opening plenary “Design Thinking for Educators” and certainly set a positive and academic tone for the remaining two days. Molly is currently a Technology Integration Specialist in Minnesota and a Global Educational Technology specialist. She is a Google Certified Teacher and a Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer and freely shared her Google related knowledge with the South African audience. The first day concluded with a Demo Slam during which time presenters had to share an innovative teaching tool within a three minute deadline.All presentations have been uploaded for sharing from the Google Apps for Education Website for South Africa accessible from this link:

Kern Kelly closing plenary

Rushton Hurley hugging a tweeter

The organising team in jazz form

Delegates are able to revisit sessions or access sessions they missed and Parklands will soon be sharing the videos of sessions that they filmed. Similar Google Summits have been held all over the world, but this is the first event of its kind on the African continent. The Summit was co-sponsored by NGO SchoolNet South Africa, an experienced and yet progressive organisation, leading the thinking in teacher professional development programmes in technology integration and school leadership in South Africa. South African teachers and the Ed Tech Team are now scheming as to when we can repeat this excellent event next year.

Visit the Google in Education Summit website to access all information about the summit.

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