Southern Arkansas University hosted visiting school districts and students from the Hope Academy of Public Service for the 2019 Google Summit, June 17-19.
SAU’S Education Renewal Zone presented the summit for the second consecutive year. It brought together principals, teachers and administrators from El Dorado and Lafayette County public schools as well as 14 students from HAPS.
Dr. Roger Guevara, ERZ director, said that, in addition to receiving instructional knowledge in cutting-edge technology, visitors were introduced to SAU in an exciting way.
“The students got to stay overnight in the dorms and enjoyed the complete college experience,” Guevara said.
Dr. Abdel Bachri, dean of the College of Science and Engineering, conducted tours of the engineering and science buildings, and biology department faculty led the students in labs. “It was a very special experience,” Guevara said.
Dr. Carol Ann Duke, principal of HAPS and a SAU Educational Leadership alumnus, called the summit “amazing” for her students. “They felt so welcome at SAU, and came away feeling so much support there. They got to explore on their own and many of them felt it was the place to be for their next step."
Tyler Tarver and Tiffani Fugate, certified Google specialists, presented workshops on creating and sharing videos and use of technology in the classroom and social media in education. Sessions focused on creating lessons with ease, spending less time with paperwork, and ensuring that all students have equity in their educational experience. They also strongly emphasized interacting with technology in the classroom in ways that are effective, inspiring and promote service learning.
Guevara said the summit demonstrated that SAU is “the epicenter of innovation and a premium service provider for not only south Arkansas, but the state.” The Google Summit was also an excellent opportunity for the University to display the wide array of educational and technological services it offers educators and students.
“Quality professional development does not happen by accident, it requires a tremendous amount of thought processing combined with resources to make an initiative successful,” he said. “What is better for these teachers than to embed their skills in 21st century learning?”
The summit was an opportunity for educators and students to better integrate the two most popular and powerful Internet research tools on the planet – Google and YouTube – into the educational experience.
SAU continues to demonstrate that it is in the forefront of digital research and innovative STEM practices. “We are uniquely positioned to lead the charge,” Guevara said. “We have the brainpower and the horsepower to catalyze transcendent change. We provide the appropriate resources to let teachers and students expand their horizons with robust hands-on applications.”
Guevara said the ERZ will reinvent the experience by hosting another Google Summit next year.