Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Google Challenge

Over the couple of months our IT Vision Group at St Margaret's College has gathered student voice on learning with digital technologies. As a Digital Learning Facilitator, it was interesting for me to learn that many students would like more hands on support in learning how to use digital tools in their learning. We often assume that our students are “digital natives” and pick it all up quickly. Our learners have indicated in their feedback that this isn’t always the case.

As we enter Term 4 and think about our planning for 2016 this feedback got me thinking about how we can provide more support for our new girls coming into school, particularly at Year 9. Being both BYOD and a Google Apps for Education school (GAFE) it is important for our learners to be able to utilise these tools effectively, as a result I decided to create the SMC Google Challenge. Paul Sibson at Fendalton School has implemented a digital badging platform and as part of this Glenys Williams created a number of Google Badges. Seeing Glenys’ work along with Google for Education's Training Centre inspired my thinking for our SMC Google Challenge.

The Challenge focuses on Google Apps essentials from Gmail through to Google Forms. The idea is to keep adding to the list.

I want to create an incentive for the girls that will hook them into the Challenge and there has been a real buzz surrounding the work that we are doing with 3D printing in our Centre for Innovation. The girls love it! In Year 9 Product Design students create charms for a bracelet and this has been incredibly popular. I decided to take the charm idea and to arrange for one of our “Gadget Girls” to design and 3D print individual charms for each component of the Google Challenge. Here are the Google Apps charms created by "Gadget Girl", Emma (Year 9).

I also want the SMC Google Challenge to be able to be carried out similarly to the Google Certified Educator/Trainer course. By that I mean all support can all be accessed online in the form of help videos. With the assistance of our TechStars we created a series of videos for the girls to access as they work their way through the Challenge.

Our SMC TechStars really have been stars! They are a group of girls passionate about learning with digital technologies. Their aim is to turn “IT Geek to IT Chic!” This group of girls have created a Tech Blog and started posting an “app of the week” and other tech tips. I love learning with these sparky girls. What has been really exciting is our TechStars have taken ownership of the Google Challenge and are about to launch a trial to a few willing Middle School Girls in Term 4. I am looking forward to getting the girls' feedback to support with next steps!

Post by Aimie Sibson - Digital Learning Facilitator at St Margaret's College


  1. Apologies if this posts twice! Excited for this programme, Aimie. Looks fab. Those charms look fab too!

  2. Awesome post, Aimie. You've inspired me to look into badges. Love the Google charms. Very cool. Couldn't live without GAFE now. Ruined.


  3. That's a great idea, Aimie. Wish I had thought of that myself. I'd love to hear about how the programme goes in the future. Well done you!