Sunday, August 10, 2014

Adventures in the Silicon Valley

In my last blog post I wrote a summary of what took place at the Google Teacher Academy (GTA) in Mountain View California.  While the main purpose of this trip to California was to attend GTA, I had an equally great time running around and connecting with many other tech companies in the Silicon Valley.

If you've read this blog for any period of time you know that I often go out of my way to meet people I've connected with on line in face to face opportunities.  That still stands true today.  So when I knew I would be heading to the Silicon Valley for GTA I knew I had to make appointments to meet some app developers in person.

I was fortunate to spend face to face time with the great people from Kodable, EdPuzzle, Duck Duck Moose, Tangible Play, Tynker, Play-i, Remind, and Motion Math.  What I loved best is that each company I met with valued my opinion as an educator and truly wanted to make their products better for teachers and students.  I loved the questions I was asked and the product samples I was shown.  I had no issues saying what was on my mind positive or not so positive because I strongly believe if I want products that will work well for MY students (and of course yours too), then I need to speak up.

For a couple of the companies I loved being a part of their app development process too.  In one instance I was being shown an app in development. I had a few questions and comments to add.  One of my comments sparked some interest and  I was immediately pulled into a brainstorming session  on their giant white board. What a total high! In fact my input directly changed a small part of the app. How cool is that!

I loved the spaces they all work in too.  It makes me believe even more strongly about having flexible learning spaces for my students. I saw a ton of team work as well which again holds well for the way my students learn.  I have no issue with them working together - isn't twenty five teachers better than one?

The one thing I did notice is that ed tech is a young person industry. In most, if not all of my visits , I was the oldest person in the room. Thankfully even though I am older than most in the ed tech industry my enthusiasm for learning and for life helped me at the very least be on par with their youthful energy.

If you aren't familiar with any of the above mentioned products and you're looking to learn a little bit more, please don't hesitate to ask.  They are all great people doing great things for students.

Now I need to figure out how I can get back there.  It was so great being involved.

Oh and if you're wondering I did visit the Apple campus too and even managed to bring home some souvenirs. :-)


  1. Can't wait for a coffee chat to hear more about this! Your energy is wonderfully contagious!

    1. Thanks Carrie and yes a coffee chat is in order especially since I have some more Peet's Coffee for you. :-)

  2. We loved having your input for our brainstorm Karen! Visit anytime and feel free to bring teacher friends or students - Gabriel, Motion Math

    1. Thanks Gabriel, it was great fun meeting your team. I'll let you know when I"m back in your part of the world.