Google Outreach Summit

Google Trainer Summit highlights from everyone's albums

Google Geo for Good Summit

View Cynthia's Adventures as a Google Outreach Trainer in a larger map

Let me introduce myself... I am thrilled to be attending the Google Earth Outreach Trainers Summit and the Google Geo for Good 2012 Summit.

My background is that of a working scientist, and I use Google tools extensively to share data and collaborate with colleagues online. That approach has formed the basis of my work as a trainer as well.

Over the years I have worked with many nonprofits in Kansas (most extensively with the Friends of the Kaw/Kansas Riverkeeper) to help them use Google tools for their public outreach and education. 

My personal training philosophy is to work collaboratively with participants to co-create the training experience. To do this, I develop an online framework for the workshop based on the interests of each group, but then try to be flexible and allow participants to take the exercises any direction that interests them. 

Whenever I work in an informal educational environment, I give participants responsibility for their own learning, acting as a coach rather than a teacher. To aid in this process, I have begun to develop rubrics to help participants assess their own progress towards mastery of technical skills.

This experience has spilled over into my formal (University/K-12) teaching, making the classroom experience richer, more engaging, and deeply collaborative. Over the past several years I have had the great privilege of working with Native American, Indigenous Siberian, and Alaska Native scholars and students to develop the Google Site platform for the Native Science Curriculum. During that project we developed a style of teaching based on the idea of Constructivist Classrooms, incorporating collaborative tools such as Google Maps, Google Docs, and other platforms to create an online Constructivist collaboration to compliment the classroom experience. I am now working with faculty at the University of Alaska at Anchorage to expand that work to include K-12 schools in Alaska Native Villages.

 I am the technology consultant for the Kansas City Kansas Saturday Science and Math Academy, and have developed an online platform for student e-Portfolios using Google tools. The Google Site e-Portfolios allow students to showcase their work, acting as an authentic assessment tool that can replace standardized testing.

It has been a lot of fun to work with the KCK Saturday Academy during the roll out of the Google Fiber. Because of all the publicity, being called a "geek" has suddenly become a badge of pride amongst the students, and they are now so excited about the possibilities of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers that they are working on their Google Site e-Portfolios on their own free time and thinking well beyond the urban blight of KCK.  

In order to overcome our region's relative "tech backwardness" we have reached out to others to help with our trainings. I regularly conduct trainings with the "virtual" Ron Hall, who contributes his considerable expertise in SketchUp, Fusion Tables, and other more sophisticated tools. Being able to use Google+Hangouts for such trainings has really helped us to up our game. An outcome of these joint trainings has been The Citizen Mapper, an online forum to warehouse our training materials and explore new ways to collaborate using Google tools.

Being one of the only trainers at this summit from the heartland, I'm actually pretty proud of our "Silicon Prairie" and what we have been building out on the Great Plains.

Here are some examples of materials that we've developed and an idea of what they illustrate about our training methods:

Online professional collaborations 

Make training exercises personal and relevant

Collaborate with students online (even if you are in the same room)

Create and explore at your own pace


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Dr. Cynthia Annett,
Oct 11, 2012, 7:42 AM
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Dr. Cynthia Annett,
Oct 11, 2012, 10:15 AM
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Dr. Cynthia Annett,
Oct 11, 2012, 7:35 AM
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Dr. Cynthia Annett,
Oct 11, 2012, 7:37 AM