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Monday, 27 February 2012

Google Teacher Academy UK April 2012

Friday evening I was sat at home, watching Jackie Chan fight evil, hitting refresh on my school webmail at least 50 times a minute, waiting for an email from Google to tell me I was in or I was out of this years Google Teacher Academy.

I had started to apply mid January when I happened upon a tweet that mentioned it. There was a lengthy online application form to fill out and every applicant had to make a one minute video about 'Classroom Innovation' or 'Motivation and Learning'. Pretty vague titles I thought. so I decided to approach the video based on the application blurb that said

The task is designed to demonstrate your technical ability, your resourcefulness, your commitment, and your unique personality and interests
"Unique personality" thats me alright. Whilst I lay in bed trying to get to sleep, I started to have ideas about a stop frame animation video that would include all my interests, and hopefully highlight my kooky personality. I started to work on my video in secret, using post it notes, and cut out pictures. After a while other teachers would spot me taking hundreds and photos and ask me what I was doing. "I'm making an animation about myself, I'm vain like that."

Unfortunately the computer I was using to put all the images together wasn't great, and the more images I added the clunkier it would become. Like all artists I did not complete my video, I simply abandoned it when I ran out of time.

After I uploaded my video to youtube, I started to watch as many of the other applicants videos as I could. 600 people are said to have applied this year for one of 50 places. (25 for UK educators and 25 for overseas). BIG MISTAKE. I started to realise that my video was a little too kooky, and perhaps not educational enough. Oh well. It was worth a shot.

At about 11pm on Friday 24th Feb, I decided to stop waiting for the email and go to bed. Twitter was a hive of activity under the hashtag GTAUK, with applicants speculating as to when the emails would be sent out.

At about 5.30am on Saturday I rolled over and checked the time. At this point I should have gone back to sleep but instead I decided to check my emails on my phone. BIG MISTAKE No. 2. There it was...

Congratulations! You have been selected to participate in the Google Teacher Academy - London. After reviewing your application, we believe that you have the experience and passion necessary to positively impact education in your region, and we are excited to have you join us.
I was so shocked I was in, I fully screamed into my pillow for 3 seconds. I then tweeted my success, thinking that many of the people tweeting the night before would also have good news. Sadly, this wasn't the case, many were tweeting that they had not got in. I instantly felt guilty for celebrating. I had no idea what an achievement it was to get into GTA.

Within hours of announcing my triumph on twitter, I went from 61 followers to 108. My G+ account has exploded with action also. I'm not used to popularity in any sector. I feel extremely overwhelmed. I hope Google have not made a mistake picking me!

Friends and colleagues keep asking me "What does it mean?" "What does it involve?" I've been trying to explain about collaboration with other like minded individuals, and the opportunity to be introduced to new ways of using web technologies, but many look at me blankly.

I hope the conference on April 4th will be everything I hope it to be, and I can bring back some great ideas for INSET.

I'll keep you all posted.

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