This past Saturday took place the II Meeting G Suite Catalunya and I found it interesting to make an entry as a chronicle and assessment.
In the first place, we should start with the genesis. The meeting is not organised by any entity, any organisation, any company, any institution… There are simply 9 teachers (I am one of them) who believe it is important to share classroom practices where technology (based on Google tools, but not exclusively) plays an important role in improving student learning.
From there, we look for allies to take it forward. First of all, GEG Spain, which has experience in setting up meetings like this. GEG Spain, which is once again a group of teachers (with no organization, no company, no institution behind it) who try to transform education. Then, the ICE of the UB to certify the attendees. Finally, sponsors who can make some economic contribution to lower the costs of participants.
And from then on, the meeting begins to be set up. Search for spaces, forecast the number of attendees and look for people from different centres who can show practical experiences that can be replicated in other centres. Everyone who agrees to come does so without charging anything (and paying for food like the attendees). Why do they come? Each one should answer but, in all of them, there is an enormous enthusiasm to improve our practice and, therefore, the learning of the students. There are no distinctions here. Once again people from the public, the concerted, the private, primary, high schools, university, adult education. All to one to share among equals, without any guru, learning from each other and showing sincerely what is done in the classroom.
Last year we had our first meeting in the same way. To our surprise, last year we had 150 places and we sold them out in a jiffy. This year we bet on a much bigger place, up to 400 places. And, also to our surprise, the places were exhausted (not so quickly, by the way).
And how was the meeting? Like all these events, and even more so when it is not prepared by specialized companies, it surely had things that could be improved. But you only had to walk around the accreditation tables before starting to breathe the desire to learn and share. Accreditations opened at 9 a.m., but at 8.30 a.m. people were already arriving. Is there a greater sign of enthusiasm?
We opted for a rigid schedule with rather short activities. After the presentation, cHristian Negre (@applejux) spoke to us about the importance of play (according to scientific studies at the level of food, sleep or sex). And, as it could not be otherwise, made us play the mouse and cat (cat, cat, cat, mouse, mouse, mouse, mouse). What better than to start laughing and having a good time?
It hadn’t been three quarters of an hour since we were in the big room (what a marvellous room at the Escola Pia de Sarrià, by the way) that we were already changing activities and everyone was going to a workshop. Short workshops, an hour and a bit, to open windows and see what there is, more than to go deeper. Enough to learn four things and be able to follow the learning after the meeting.
A little breakfast and a second round of workshops. In each round, 10 different workshops. Surely there are people who could not go to the workshop they wanted (strict order of registration), but as someone said on twitter, from all the workshops you can learn something.
Before lunch, a moment to get together again, stop a bit and reflect with a bit of humor. They select people to set up a school in a few years … on Mars. What will this school be like? Pitu (@pitu1960) and Xavi (@xsune) made us think for a while (someone said on twitter that this pair should do bowling all over Catalonia).
After the talk, for me one of the key moments of the meeting: the food. Apart from the fact that it was very good, a moment to be able to chat with one and the other. Enriching conversations with colleagues. Some acquaintances, others not. But these are the moments when you realise that we are a collective with many clear and common objectives. Surely with our differences. But, at least for me, breathing this atmosphere of exchange to achieve the improvement of our task gives me a lot of energy and makes me see that we are many more than we sometimes believe.
A parenthesis to talk about the luck of the meteorological weather. I only sat for a minute on the stairs, but with that little sunshine I was doing, enough to recover strength (lucky those of you who could have stayed longer!).
In the afternoon, the third round of workshops. After lunch and the sunny workshops? Of course! Nothing better than sharing. And with what vitality!
At the end of the day, two main courses. Alice Keeler, also known as the Princess of Spreadsheets (The Queen) and Gonzalo and Marc from Google, telling us the news to come.
We still had time to talk about the certification program and meet some Catalan innovators (and a Mallorcan), connect with the great Miguel Ujeda (one of the first promoters of GEG Spain, along with Alberto Gilsanz) and make a draw for Chromebooks, Google home mini and glasses provided by sponsors.
An intense day, full of activities, with a slightly strict schedule … but, above all, a time to see and learn what other colleagues from other centers do. From Tarragona, the Balearic Islands, Manresa, Ripoll, Barcelona, Figueres … from so many places. 400 teachers gathered on a Saturday morning to learn from each other.
Someone still asked me why the organization stuck all this “work” (I thought, all this work and the one you do not know!) to advertise Google for free. Yes, there are also people who don’t understand anything. Let’s see if the chronicle