By Cole Parkinson
Horizon School Division will be hosting a special event for teachers and educators in the new year that will create some buzz from all over the province.
After attempting to host last year’s edition, the Horizon School Division will get a shot this year to host the southern Alberta Google Summit.
“One thing that will be getting some attention across western Canada and maybe beyond is the Google Summit that is coming to southern Alberta. Last year Horizon was a partner in this professional learning event that was held in Lethbridge,” said Amber Darroch, associate superintendent of learner services. “I had tried to get it here in Taber but the Google Corporation actually partners with this company called Ed Tech Team and they are the trainers working as partners in education to help teachers learn how to best use the Google tools in classrooms. They offer PD sessions and call these a Google Summit which is basically a two day conference.”
While the first attempt to get the summit in Taber was shut down, this time they were more receptive to holding it in a smaller centre.
Once they witnessed the success it had in Lethbridge, they weren’t hesitant to allow it to be held outside a larger city.
“This year I took another run at it and asked if we could host it once again in Taber. Having proven that we can draw an audience in southern Alberta, they agreed. It’s a real cultural experience because it’s a lot of fun, high energy, lots and lots of learning. They wanted to break the seal, so to speak, in southern Alberta and make sure that we could cultivate a following so they required it be held in Lethbridge. They had about 350 people attend from all across western Canada, lots of southern Albertans. We had almost 50 of our own Horizon staff attend,” said Darroch.
While they originally pitched to have it held in Taber, they were thrown a curveball when they were informed that it would be held at the same time as another event, in the same gym they had planned to use.
“We initially planned to have it at W.R. Myers and D.A. Ferguson but it goes all day Friday and all day Saturday, it is the same weekend as the Rebel Classic basketball tournament. After a quick adjustment the event is going to be held in Barnwell,” said Darroch.
Last year’s Google Summit was quite a success and Darroch says she was surprised with how big the crowd was. This year’s attendance will be further aided by the fact that the starting date falls on a Horizon school PD day, so they expect to see tons of their staff at the affair.
“It does fall on a school based PD day, there is no school for students on February 2 making it a little bit easier for some of our staff to attend because they won’t have sub costs. It is a full day, all day Friday and all day Saturday. What’s amazing about it is you get caught up in the learning, the closing session was at 5 or 5:30 p.m. and you’re sitting there in the gym at 5 on Saturday and the crowd hasn’t thinned out. People are excited about the learning and it’s a great event. We’ll definitely get some attention as the host division,” said Darroch.
Even though Horizon is a partner and the host for the coming celebration, it is not a Horizon staff exclusive event.
“We are just the hosts, this is an event that is coming to us. It is not an exclusive Horizon event or ours to control or run. They do all of the work and the PR but it will get attention. This is a celebration that this is coming to our community,” said Darroch.
“It is being billed as the southern Alberta Google Summit and any teacher or educator who is looking to learn more about using these tools in their classroom will go to this website (edtechteam.com/events) and they look at a North America map. There is a marker or flag, if you click on it you will see the event and people will be able to register.”
The southern Alberta Google Summit will take place on Feb. 2 and 3 at Barnwell school with registration underway at edtechteam.swoogo.com/southernalberta2018.