Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Becoming a Google School: Students, Teachers, Administrators and Google Innovator Collaborate

Location: W196b

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Monday, June 25, 8:30–9:30 am
Location: W196b

Elora Arvizu   Dr. Alice Christie   Deidre Crawley   micah Fennessy-Butters   Allison Gruber  
We'll share our journey toward systemic improvement to enhance teaching and maximize learning by becoming a Google School. Our goal is to provide professional development to teachers to transform classrooms into innovative learning environments where students leveraged technology to take active roles in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in learning goals.

Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Google Account to view shared documents
Up-to-date web browser to view presentation website
Focus: Professional learning
Topic: Teacher education
Grade level: 6-12
ISTE Standards: For Administrators:
Systemic Improvement
  • Lead purposeful change to maximize the achievement of learning goals through the appropriate use of technology and media-rich resources.
For Educators:
  • Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
Additional detail: Student presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Educational or infrastructure challenge/situation:

Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school for grades 7-12. Our mission is to provide a transformative educational experience by developing leadership and cultivating academic excellence in the arts, sciences and humanities. Our nurturing educational community supports the individual growth of each student. FALA was recently recognized at the top 10th high school in Arizona by US News and World Reports. We are incredible proud of this distinction, but we now embrace the challenge of becoming known as a school that uses technology to leverage enhanced teaching and learning.

We believe that becoming a Google School will enable FALA to better prepare our students for the rapidly changing world they already experience.  

Technology intervention:

Google offers powerful tools for collaboration and productivity for FALA teachers and students. We chose to become a Google School for numerous reasons, including:

• Free, protected email accounts for all our teachers and students
• Tools that supported a 21st century paradigm rather than an industrial era paradigm
• An ever-growing collection of innovative tools that allow teachers and students to redefine learning in ways that were previously inconceivable, where collaboration becomes necessary and are enabled by using emerging technologies
• A streamlined web-based environment (Google Classroom) where students submit assignments, get feedback from teachers and peers, communicate and collaborate with teachers and peers
• A platform for professional development for teachers
• An environment where questions and discussion are increasingly student generated, rather than teacher generated

We know that any technology tools are simply that, tools. They are not substitutes for excellent teaching. However, by choosing to become a Google School, we aligned with ISTE Standards to leverage technology to help us make systemic improvements to the teaching and learning possibilities within our school.
Models employed. Include a brief description.

We clearly understood that students were the driving force behind our decision to become a Google School. Teachers were often reluctant to move beyond their comfort zones, so we needed a way to get teacher buy-in to our goal of becoming a leader in the use of technology for enhancing learning and teaching.

We recognized the need for well-planned, goal-driven professional development for our teachers. To that end, we hired a Google Certified Innovator (who is also a veteran educator) to assist us. She worked briefly with our teachers during the 2016-2017 school year, but we realized we needed a more consistent, supportive model of professional development.

During the 2017-2018 school year, she provides individual and whole school PD sessions for teachers. Resources to support this effort were sizeable, but the growth we have seen has justified this use of our limited resources.

Since our students were already using a variety of Google tools to support their learning, we realized that we could achieve greater teacher buy-in, if the push to use Google tools came from students, in addition to our administration and our external consultant. After our consultant assisted all students in the creation of ePortfolios using Google Sites, we found that the grassroots energy accompanying this decision helped moved our professional development along, as well.

Lesson plans or instructional activities/strategies employed:

FALA administrators encouraged all teachers to:
• Create a classroom website using Google Sites
• Use the full complement of G Suite Tools
• Use Google Classroom
• Support all students in adding artifacts and reflections to their ePortfolios
• Incorporate ISTE Standards into their instruction and their own personal professional development.

Evidence of success:

Our momentum is building. All teachers now host informative and interactive classroom websites that serve to communicate with their students, their parents, and the community at large. Many teachers have begun using Google Classroom – and they are learning from the early adaptors the benefits of such a strategy.

Most teachers support the idea of student ePortfolios, especially since they teach at a school that stresses the arts that can be showcased so much more easily in an electronic, rather than paper, format.

We have been presented with many challenges over our first year of implementation, but we firmly believe our decision to become a Google School was the right one. We look forward to learning and sharing our learning with other educators.



• The story of our journey through words, photos, and videos
• Examples of teacher websites
• Examples of student ePortfolios
• Examples of classes using Google Classroom
• Our Google Classroom Professional Development Model
• A website supporting the presentation
• QR Codes to our resources


• 10-minute summaries of our story from the point of view of students, teachers, administrators, and the Google Certified Innovator who served as our consultant
• Opportunities to access our shared folders
• Opportunities to collaborate on next steps


• Interacting with participants
• Sharing examples
• Providing time and guidance for participants to browse and interact with our print and digital materials
• Answering questions posed by participants

Supporting research

Key Trends Accelerating Technology Adoption in K–12 Education for five or more years from the 2017 Horizon Report include:

• Advancing Cultures of Innovation
• Deeper Learning Approaches

Innovation in schools has sparked a trend toward learner-centered paradigms in which students build critical thinking skills in real world environments. Collaboration, project-and problem-based learning, and creativity are hallmarks of this transformational movement, all of which are fostered within Google Schools.

There is also an embedded emphasis in K–12 education on deeper learning approaches, defined by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as the mastery of content that engages students in critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and self-directed learning. To remain motivated, students need to be able to grasp how existing knowledge and new skills can impact the world around them. Pedagogical approaches that shift the paradigm from passive to active learning (as using the Google School Model does) help students to develop original ideas, improve information retention, and build higher-order thinking skills. As the enabling role of technologies in learning crystallizes, educators are
leveraging Google tools to connect the curriculum with real-world applications

More [+]


Elora Arvizu, Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy
Dr. Alice Christie, Arizona State University
Deidre Crawley, Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy
micah Fennessy-Butters, Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy
Allison Gruber, Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy

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