Posted in Uncategorized

Personal Ed Tech Adventure

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Hanging out with Andy Love at the KC GAFE Summit

It has been a whirlwind year both personally and professionally.  It started in July of 2015 by attending a Google Apps Conference in Kansas City put on by EdTechTeam.  While at the Google Apps Conference in KC, I got the opportunity to attend a Pre-Summit Google Apps Trainer Bootcamp put on by Jay Atwood.  I was in awe at all the possibilities that Google Apps had to offer a teacher (even though I had dabbled in GAFE the previous school year, I did not realize it’s full potential till the conference).  From there, I was encouraged to get my Google Educator Certification level 1 & 2 (Which had just been released the week before).

Once I had passed those two exams, I set my eyes on the Google Certified Trainer Program (Which is about to be updated FYI).  After failing at some of the tests a couple times, and feeling the pressure of the December deadline, I was afraid my goal of getting Trainer Certified was slipping through my fingers.  With only a day to go, I passed the last exam necessary and began working on my Trainer application.  In December, much to my surprise, I received an email informing me that I had earned the Trainer Certification!

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Through this adventure, I had slowly built up my Professional Learning Network (PLN) via Twitter and was constantly amazed at the awesome stuff teachers around the world were doing in their classrooms.  I also received the opportunity to present at the Kansas City Google Apps Conference held in February of 2016 (Random Fact: presented that Saturday morning/afternoon in KC, then drove to Bolivar to coach a basketball game at 8:30 PM, then drove back that evening – Getting to the hotel at 1:30 AM – only to present that next morning.  #Exhausted).

One person whom I am constantly challenged by is Patrick Dempsey (also the best man in my wedding), who is a middle school science teacher at Webster Grove School District outside of St. Louis (He recently received the Allen Distinguished Educators Award).  One of the things that he said that really ignited many of his ideas and collaborations was the Google Innovator Academy he attended a couple years prior.  With that in mind (and so I could be as cool as “PDemps”) I decided to apply for the Google Innovator Program in Mountain View, California.

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With only a couple weeks to put my application together (as the application was due in January), I struggled to put a good application together.  Not only was it tough because of it being in the middle of the school year, it was also in the middle of Girls Basketball Season (for which I am the Head Coach), and my wife was 6+ Months pregnant with our second child.  Despite those hurdles, I still applied… and was rejected.

The rejection email was tough to take, as I really looked forward to the opportunity to collaborate with other great educators, but it was obvious that God had even better plans for me.  The rejection allowed me to refocus on what was important at the time, being a husband/father, devoted teacher, and hard-working coach.  Plus, it helped me to reevaluate my goals as a teacher and how I could best help my school district.  With the help of a couple teachers in my district, we decided to put on a tech conference (much like we had the year before) but this time offer it to other school districts as well.  I also worked with the my principal (Chris Thompson) to offer a student help desk class for the next school year (It’s goals are to make them Google Apps Experts to help other teachers, and to provide some maintenance on the chromebooks).  Ultimately I decided, as Tom Mullaney discussed in his blog “Rejected For Google Certified Innovator? Don’t Freak Out!” that I was going to impact education whether I was a Google Innovator or not.

When the new window opened for Google Innovators Applications, I decided to apply again but this time decided on a tool that I had previous experience with in the classroom but that I wished could be better (Google For Education Certified Innovator – My Application if you want to check it out).  On May 20th (While I was home sick on the last day of school), amazingly I was accepted for the Boulder, Colorado Google Innovators Academy (#COL16) for June 2016.

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After my acceptance, I received a call from my boy Patrick Dempsey and he had some words of wisdom.  He said essentially that the Academy is awesome, but it is the face to face collaboration that truly makes the program wonderful.  Fellow #COL16 Peeps, how are you going to use this academy to better your students’ lives?  How will your teaching, and the teaching around the world, make this world a better place?

So as this school year ends and the preparation for the new school year begins, I stand thankful for all those who have helped me in my career thus far.  I am blessed to work in a school district that supports me and is willing to challenge themselves in their educational approaches.  Ultimately I am thankful for a wife (Amanda Houp) who loves and supports me and is willing to join me in these adventures!

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Austin, Amanda, Eli, and Ezra Houp
Posted in #GoogleEI

Google For Education Certified Innovator – My Application

What Is The Google Innovator Program?

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It is a program designed and implemented by Google For Education in order to support those teachers who are determined to make a positive impact on educational practices throughout the world.

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Interested In The Program?

Pass the Level 2 Google Educator Exam (If you need help with passing the exam, check out Google Educator Blog), Go to Certified Innovator and apply!

Below is my application that I just turned.  Feel free to provide any feedback or ideas of how we can make this project a success for students!

About You

If a friend designed for you a t-shirt that described you perfectly, what would it say?

Answer:  Where there is coffee, there is a way.

Tell us how you have transformed your practice, your classroom, your school, or your community (500 Character Limit).

Answer:  I returned to my HS to impact the school that had impacted me. I started the tech movement in our district: joined the tech committee, played an integral part in the implementation of Google Apps, Chromebooks, & encouraged improvement of technology infrastructure in the district. Also, I organized & setup the Google Apps Domain in the HS, then the district as a whole. I redesigned my classroom from a lecture (1950’s structure) to using various tech tools so the students became the researchers.

Link to a piece of content you’ve made.

This is a Google Slide that I use in presentations for educators at various conferences on how to use Google MyMaps in their classes: MyMaps: Student Created Maps!

Grow: Where do you find new ideas and inspiration? (500 Character Limit)

Answer:  1st, my students. Many of my subtle, but meaningful changes in my approach have come from suggestions of students. 2nd, my fellow teachers that I teach with both in the past and presently. Their willingness to challenge me, or their new ideas make think, “How can I do that?!” The 3rd & final place is my PLN via Twitter, Google+, EdCamps, etc. Constantly I see what they’re doing in their classroom, or challenging questions they ask that cause me to re-evaluate my own practices.

Your Vision

Your Vision: Title

Answer:  MyMaps Global Initiative

Your Vision: Brief Description: (250 Character Limit)

Answer:  Database for students & teachers to display/collaborate on MyMaps projects with 3 part: Details on all the various methods of using MyMaps, display completed projects, space for MyMaps that can be collaboratively completed by other teachers/students.

Vision Deck: Link to your public vision deck.

Answer:  I used SlideCarnival to help me create this snazzy vision deck:  MyMaps Global Initiative

Vision Video: You have one minute to creatively explain your problem and your vision for tackling it!  Google Innovator Application “Vision” Video – Austin Houp

Imagine you are able to have coffee with one person (currently living) who would mentor you in support of your vision. Who would you pick and why? (500 Character Limit)

Answer:  I’d pick Stafford Marquardt as a mentor, who was the product manager for Google MyMaps. He introduced me to MyMaps at the EdTechTeam Google Summit held in July at Kansas City. Obviously I’d be willing to work with anyone in that product line, but I greatly appreciate his knowledge, conversational ability, & willingness to share ideas. Not only would he help me to understand the intricacies of how best to manipulate MyMaps, but he’d also be a means to improve the resource for teachers.

Closing

Today I submitted my application but will not hear about wether or not I was accepted till May 10th.  Best of luck to everyone, and continue to change the world through your students!