Saturday, June 30, 2012

Google Faculty Development Workshop -- Day 3

Did Google save the best for last? I don't think so because all the days have been great.
The final day saw participants taken through Google Apps for Education: Calender, Gmail, Google docs. A hands on session on Google+ was also held and that had a lot of engagement as the interaction between the presenter and participants was great.
Baris, a software engineer at Google also had a cool session where he took participants through a typical software design approach used by Googlers. Participants finally decided to build an app to help solve traffic problems in Accra and indeed, in Ghana.
Another brainstorming session was held after the programm when a numberof folks stayed behind for about fifteen minutes after closure, to talk with Baris about malaria and help him understand issues on the ground so as to be well informed to build an infrastructure that can mitigate the harm caused by mosquitoes, and prevent them from 'invading' the rooms of their 'potential victims'.
Baris with some participants discussing malaria

It was a great event and the knowledge base has been really dense.
I do hope to be here next year, and fully help advance the mission of Google in making technology an integral part in education.
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Friday, June 29, 2012

Google Faculty Development Workshop -- Day 2

The second day of the workshop has been full of activities, mostly the writing of codes. Participants were introduced to the creation of Android apps using the Eclipse IDE. It was confusing at first but became enjoyable once things were made clear during the breakout session that saw participants break into groups of two for the apps competition.
A number of cool ideas were floated by the teams as they presented their apps during the show and tell session. It was fun. The team that won the competiton created an app that allowed users to report (utility) faults in their communities.
Friendships were forged, networks were created, and a collaborative spirit heightened. Who says distance is a barrier to the acquisition of Knowledge? If you think so, then you haven't met determined folks. Most of the participants -- myself inclusive -- came from locations far from the venue in Accra. That being said, I met Caleb, an enthusiastic fellow from the University of Ibadan who flew all the way from Nigeria for the workshop!
The event ended on a very good note. I look forward to the final day tomorrow that looks at the integration of Google Apps in Education.
Participants at the workshop
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Google Faculty Development Workshop -- Day 1

Obum from Google introducing the Google African University Program 
Google is at it again! This time, interacting exclusively with Computer Science Lecturers, Professors, and Administrators in Sub-Saharan Africa. The beginning of this week saw the team in Nigeria where they met Faculty from about 20 universities for three days. Today they met Faculty from 15 universities in Ghana, at the Alisa Hotel. The workshop will end on Saturday.
With the changing trend in the Industry, it is expedient Curricula is adjusted to better suit the needs of users/consumers. Thus a collaborative community of academics who are introduced to the use of Google's tools and developer platforms for instruction and research is highly beneficial.
Participants were introduced to Web 2.0 technologies, The Google App Engine, and the Google Web Toolkit. Do check out the Google Developers University Consortium that was launched about a couple of days ago.
Personally, it is an insightful event that I pray continues, and yield the fruits it is expected to bear. The classroom setting made a great impact. However, I felt a bit intimidated because the programming language used is one I hardly am conversant with -- Java!
I however enjoyed the first day and look forward to the next couple of days that promise to be full of brainstorming sessions, hand-on experience and fun.
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