NORTH SALEM, N.Y. As part of her application to the highly selective Google Teacher Academy , North Salem High Schools media director, Cynthia Sandler, submitted a video about the importance of technology to her students.
It was not until she attended the program last week at Googles local home, an unmarked warehouse in New Yorks Chelsea district, that Sandler realized the depth and the breadth of the technology that is available to todays educators.
We learned about Google apps for educators, about Google Search, Documents, Earth, YouTube and other sites, but we went far beyond the basics, she said.
Now Im connected to educators around the world and its an amazing opportunity. One person asks a question and people respond from different parts of the world. Its an incredible resource, an ongoing community, for people who want to change education. Theres a great synergy.
Not only can she now work on globally collaborative projects, she says, but her students can, too.
Kids on opposite sides of the world can work on the same document at the same time, even if they dont speak the same language, she said. There are no time barriers. And with Google Earth there are no distance barriers.
Sandler digressed for a few minutes to describe the Google office atmosphere. Theres opportunity for creativity everywhere you look. The place is huge. People travel around on scooters and there are parking spaces for them. Theres color everywhere, Google doodles on the walls. One wall had a giant robot painted on it, and people drew things on the robot.
They had a treadmill set up as a workstation, so you can walk while you work. A lot of giant balls to sit on. Theres a laundry, a gym and showers. You get breakfast, lunch and dinner gourmet food, no charge. And there are snack areas with different themes. I saw one that was a jungle, with wooden stumps, a waterfall and trees grouped around it. There are even napping pods for when you get tired.
Thinking of the Google ambience, the people she met and the things she learned, Sandler summed it up by saying, You simply cant help but be inspired.