Reflections on the Google Faculty Institute

July 12, 2012

Posted by Maggie Johnson, Director of Education and University Relations

Extending the school year one day can result in a year’s worth of learning. This proved true on June 8, when the 2011 Google Faculty Institute (GFI) cohort were welcomed back for a day, to share best practices and perspectives from their funded research over the 2011-12 school year.

For the past year, the GFI Fellows collaborated across 16 California State University campuses, Stanford and UC Berkeley, to execute on ten research initiatives proposed on the final day of the conference. GFI themes of faculty collaboration, project-based learning, universal design and others were implemented in the Fellows’ projects, each of which focused on ways to enhance teaching practices through the use of educational technologies.

At the GFI Redux earlier this month, participants reviewed research initiatives, attended panel discussions, and defined plans for the 2012-13 school year. In a packed day of sessions, the cohort showcased projects ranging from mobile application development to geospatial tool utilization to the success of the flipped classroom. Some highlights of GFI projects:

  • Making Teachers “Appy” presented workshops on UC and CSU campuses on mobile application development using App Inventor. While building confidence with new technologies, participants learned to create their own applications to enhance classroom instruction.
  • Bird’s Eye Detective encouraged CSU pre-service teachers to explore the world from a new perspective utilizing geospatial tools including Google Earth, Google Maps, and Fusion Tables.
  • Transforming STEM Educators included nine hands-on workshops on three CSU campuses, presenting creative ways to engage students in science and engineering courses through the use of technology.
  • CSU Digital Learning Ambassadors are faculty creating collaborative communities and customized initiatives from the inside. Initiatives include tech infusion prizes, Hangouts on Air for academic discussions, and webinars.

The Google Faculty Institute served as a catalyst and incubator for innovative educational technology. Congratulations to the GFI Fellows on a year of excellent research and application.