The life of a #GooglePD Summit Speaker

by +Liu Yi Jie

One of the common questions participants always ask is “Wow you’re from Singapore? What made you want to fly all the way here to XXX to present?”

The short answer is that I enjoy it. But behind those 3 words, there are a lot of reasons to uncover.

Read on.

The travel

Singapore is well-connected within South-East Asia, and exploring various countries on weekend getaways is a common pastime. Exploring various cultures and connecting with different people is an immersive way to make sense of the world we live in.

One of the highlights of the trip is to explore the city after dinner and drinks, and appreciating the vibes and charm of the place. The authentic food, friendly locals and unique pulse that each country grooves to is worth marvelling at.

Take, for example, the more recent AppsEvents Hong Kong Summit 2017. It was an invaluable opportunity to visit Hong Koong from an educational perspective, with the rare chance to visit the beautiful German Swiss International School situated on The Peak and soak in the breathtaking views on the balcony at the end of the day. Contrast that with the hustle and bustle when wandering the streets in Hong Kong Central, and it almost seems like 2 separate worlds.

The perspective

Travelling helps us gain new insights into a place, and presenting at a conference provides a different lens into a country.

Having already visited Hong Kong before for leisure and competition, the sights and sounds took in on every trip have been markedly different. This time, taking it in from a conference perspective has helped shed light on the education system and beliefs that the country holds.

German Swiss International School

The added twist to this is getting to present at regional AppsEvent summits to enthusiastic educators who often sacrifice their precious weekend for professional development. As a Google for Education Certified Trainer, sharing resources and training other educators on the various innovative ways such tools are used in the classroom levels the playing field, and such sessions usually benefit mutually when participants share their learning points too.

View from the top

Unlike what most people think, I do not parachute into a foreign classroom to sagely dispense Googley wisdom. The “Oohs”, “Aahs” and “Wow I didn’t know you could do that” does bring a sense of satisfaction, but it is all the more imperative to ensure participants get to learn something new to make up for the loss of their personal free time.

More often than not, I pick up pointers too when other educators feedback what works and what doesn’t for them, allowing me to pick up the pulse for various education systems in each country. I always come away from each summit more inspired and eager to refine my sessions and improve as a speaker. Which eventually translates into becoming a better classroom teacher and pacing my lessons better to differentiate the learning.

The friends

Saving the best for last. Travelling solo can be liberating, but it can get dull at times. I have been lucky to have colleagues who are innovative Google Trainers in their teaching fields and who also have a penchant for travelling. It’s always great to have company on the long flights, and people to bounce off ideas with. And of course, attending different sessions results in a multiplier effect when we take away 3 times as many teaching ideas and give each other suggestions on how to improve our sessions.

Not to mention the extra joy we derived because Maggie presented at the Demo Slam during the Summit – a high-intensity session of bite-sized Google tricks, winning herself a nifty Google Home to chatter to in her apartment. Nice one, Maggie.

So, the next time someone asks again “Wow you’re from Singapore? What made you want to fly all the way here to XXX to present?” What I’m actually hearing is “Wow you’re from Singapore? Why fly here to XXX for a weekend getaway with great like-minded friends to enjoy the city vibes, soak in the sights, know more people and inspire yourself with new teaching ideas to use in the classroom?”

And I guess that response is self-explanatory after all.

About the Author:

Liu Yijie
School of Science and Technology
Secondary Math Educator

Yijie is a Mathematics coordinator who has been teaching for the past 10 years. As a Google Certified Innovator, Trainer and EdTechTeam Teacher Leader, he is fascinated with leveraging on digital pedagogical tools to enhance lifelong learning. Connecting with educators around the region is a great way to share and stay inspired in an ever-changing world.

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