Google Summit: Increase Independent Learning

Increase independent learning, ownership and student engagement with simple strategies and tools – Presented by Mike Reading

My first session at the Google Summit was by an Australian presenter, Mike Reading, who explored the difference between compliance and engagement and the journey to achieve motivation, creating a desire or as he said- a want to learn. Mike has a blog with more information and training at Teachers Training International.

Creating a culture of engagement

Mike divided the culture of engagement into three sections:

 1.    Autonomy: students need a choice to be enthused.

  • Students choose the app and the software
  • What did they find interesting? Students choose their style of presenting to the class (groups, etc)
  • Students follow their own passion as in the Genius Hour

2.    Mastery: the desire to get better at something

  • Every day students should be able to see that they are progressing at something
  • For example, in gaming there are rewards and a sense of progression. Mike spoke about the importance of giving feedback and that in a game, negative feedback is every 7 seconds and positive feedback is every 1.2 seconds
  • Google docs can be formatted to give instant feedback.

3.    Purpose: give a context

  • Here Mike gave an example of giving information in a lesson and then telling the students that only half the information is correct. Then they have to work out what was true or false, thus giving them ownership of their learning.


Throughout the summit it became clear that it is not important what device students bring to school in the future (BYOD) but rather what browser they bring because Google works across all computers. What is more important is how do students know what search results are most relevant.

Google Search and Student Engagement

Google is developing voice activated search and computer intelligence that already knows where you are but will soon also know what is the context of your search. Mike went on to demonstrate the Google tools to narrow search results such as, inverted commas and by clicking on the cog go to the advanced search.  Just by using the advanced search and filling in the categories students start to think. Now, the front page of the search results for each student is different depending on how they think about their topic. Students are all going in different directions for their individual research.

One of the search tips Mike gave was that the sequence of search words is also important. For example, to research dingoes the word ‘ dingo’ should go first. Not ‘What is a dingo?’  Word order makes a massive difference.

For students to be interested and engaged it is important to avoid random searches. Rather by refining a search students can become more engaged.

Research inside Google doc.

Kaizena: Voice comment app

Kaizena: voice comment

The advantages of doing research inside a Google doc:

  • Real time collaboration
  • Time stamp and doc review
  • Leave immediate commenting voice (voice comments use
  • Safely share and immediately publish
  • Self-grading assessment and spread sheet gadgets.
  • Kaizena which is a free add on to give spoken/voice feedback
  • Google doc.s can track when a student is working on task which means you can give marks for engagement.
  • Students cannot lose work and do not have to remember to save as they are saved automatically.

Mike ended his presentation by stressing that teachers need to develop a culture and not just introduce google docs. By this I think he means the culture of using online docs that are shared and that people can comment on.  I left Mike’s session with the realisation that Google search tools and doc.s can be used not only for collaboration and feedback but also as thinking tools and independent learning.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *