What Did You Learn?

I’d been back from Google Teacher Academy (GTA) in Mountain View for a little over 24 hours when I first was asked this question by someone other than an immediate family member. The day before, I tried processing the whirlwind experience, but that mainly ended up with me simply Googlifying my Facebook and G+ coverphotos in some effort to affirm my new creditial. (I wasted no time updated my Twitter profile pic while on a layover in Texas the day before!) That of course resulted in family and friends reminding me how deserving I was (I really just feel lucky) and congratulating me on being a Google Certified Teacher (GCT). But there was no pressing about my takeaways.

Now, here I was stopped in the doorway between the parish hall and the church parking lot, and completely caught off gaurd by my priest who asked the perfectly sane question, “What did you learn?”  Let me preface that my priest is Episcopalian, so he wasn’t expecting any kind of confession that some might associate with the collar. Having worked with me on the vestry the last couple of years, he knows me as a Google Doc evangalist. His inquiry was more than a polite passing. He genuinely was interested in hearing what I learned. But for a second, I felt trapped.

In the two compressed days that are called Google Teacher Academy, I saw, heard, and experienced transformational thinking from every single person involved. For the most part, I didn’t learn about new things. I learned how others were using familiar things in new ways. My GTA cohort and I ate up everything the Google for Education team could throw at us…both literally and figuratively. And the GCT Lead Learners went above and beyond to provide us a rich, community-building experience. But when it comes down to answering that question of “what did you learn,” none of that really surfaced to the top.

What did I tell Father Rich? It was a confession of sorts. I learned what it feels like to be uncomfortable.

More on that and where it leads; plus lots of pictures coming next.