Well, hi everyone. Welcome to the effective teaching podcast. I'm your host, Dan. And today I am with my great friend. Leslie, thank you so much for joining me, Leslie.
That's great to be here. I'm so excited. Always love chatting with you.
Ah, it's so good to see you again. It's been a while since we've seen each other becasue covid has effected things and you seem to just sort of, kind of launched yourself into the stratosphere over the last year, which is why you're on here. I want to talk to you about that. I always want to talk to you anyway, but we're going to talk specifically about what you've been doing with the GEGs or the Google educators group, which you've got which is GEG global. That you've really launched. It's been, it's been a year. It'd been longer than that. I might ... I might be wrong.
Our year was our first anniversary in may.
Well, congratulations and happy anniversary.
Actually on the same day we became Google certified innovators at the first anniversary of our innovator academy.
Ah, yes, well, yeah, innovating... The Innovators academies, where we really got to know each other. Cause we spent a fair bit of time hanging out at the same table having some good chats. So can you tell us a bit about how GEG global came about and where it's now gotten to?
Well there were, it all started in 2019 when there was six of us who were newly minted innovators from four different academies across the world who was added to tell from from UK. He went to the London academy. There was Louis Petruse came, he comes from Columbia and he went to the New York academy, Stephanie Howell from our Hawaii. And I met at the Sydney academy where we met you. And then there's Steph Rothstein from San Jose and Bonnie Sheila from Baton Rouge. They met in the Singapore academy. So we were in a lots of different, we were high on energy from the innovator academies. We were joining different PLNs around the world. And we, we tended to cross paths and the six of us kept asking the same questions. How do you become a GEG leader?
How do you begin a group and how can you be an effective leader and communicate with your members? What sort of training do you offer? So the six of us had a very tiny PLN to discuss these issues. So we helped each other launch our GEGS, you know, rent a crowd come along. We were guest speakers for each other's launches and we shared our skills and our talents in this little group. And we realized that we were focusing our energy inwards. And then we realized that we needed training. Then we became in a situation where we could train people in our GEGS. Then we realized, instead of replicating the same training, we may as well all get on the same training and, and do this together. That's basically the, the, the way we started from the end of 2019 to about April 20, 20, each of us has a different memory because we came into that little PLN in a different way.
But in April, 2020, when COVID hit the UK and the U S teachers were scrambling for new ways of learning. And we our little team became biGEGer and biGEGer. People wanted us to help. We couldn't do a lot of the helping, well, if we help you, could you come and help us? It was all voluntary and it lightened the load. And in between about may and August, 2020 we started doing support like the level one and the level two boot camps to help teachers learn more about the tools that they were trying to master the Google tools. And we ended up getting over 30,000 views on our YouTube channel, which drew the attention of Google and Google marketing and the GEG leader of the world may June. So they said, who are you? And you know, how did you start?
Well, we were kind of a global group of GEG leaders, which was shortened to GEG global GEG. We ended up breaking Google meet because only 250 people could come. We ended up using a string yard. So we, we really launched very quickly. We started organically and then we needed to consciously manage this little group. We needed to have a website. We needed YouTube. We needed to learn how to use stream yard. And it was because each of the people that were joining us would say, oh, I know how to use, I know how to create graphics. I know how to manage YouTube. I can help with the website. So teams began to form. So we Google actually asked us to facilitate and create the Google junior training series with a lot of our members and other people, Google partners came in to work on it as well.
And that sat inside our YouTube channel. And we've we had over 60,000 views. I mean, this was like, we're only a few months old. So we began as a small PLN supporting each other to become GEG leaders and then focused our attention to help other people become GEG leaders. And then it moved to a new goal of providing global trainings on digital tools during the COVID time. And now redefining our purpose to you know, promoting leadership and developing knowledge and shifting education practice that's come about by this COVID impact. I looked this morning, we've got seven and a half thousand subscribers on our YouTube channel. We've got over 4,000 Facebook followers. I don't manage any of these. This is, these are teams that work on this, a thousand Instagram followers, 8,000 followers on Twitter and over 400 connections on LinkedIn. So it's, it, it has been an incredible year and a half to to keep, keep this PLN alive. And I think some people think that we are part of the tiered structure, the vertical tier structure of GEG. We don't have any authority in that we are appealing on a horizontal plane around the globe. We're still a PLM w like on steroids steroids. So we w as a vibrant, noisy, robust group that share the same passion.
Yeah. And you've talked a lot there about PLN. Can you tell people what appealing is and why it's so important for us as teachers to have not just a PLN, but actually have a kind of a global PLM?
Absolutely. for me it's a community of people that provide me with a broader perspective. That's on education. That's outside my classroom, my staff room my state and my nation. I want to find out what other teachers are doing. What are they faced with? It, for me, PLN is a place to a professional learning network is a community that collaborates and helps me learn and share. It helps me grow professionally so I can impact on student learning. It's a group of people that I seek that reflect my core values and passions and area of expertise. I, I want to re you know, I respect them and I would like the fact that they respect me if they kind of get me and I in a lot of multiple layers, rather than just the one shared interest that I joined, but I don't just belong to one PLN.
I belong to a number, but I love, I love this analogy that Brianna Crowley wrote back in 2014. She says that a good PLN is like when you drop a stone into still water and you get that ripple effect. So the inner center is the people who started the PLN, and these are the mentors, the people who are passionate about starting this a very tight community, and it needs to be tight to be able to support the rest of the PLN. So to me, that inner circle are the six founders, the six people who began global GEG and the outer layer or the, the ring of layers that they compromise. They they are of groups of professionals who share the same passion. And they're the rock stars. They're the people who manage social media the, the stream, the art team, the graphics team, the YouTube team, the calendar team, the website team, and they're our leaders, our leaders are the rock stars. So I, I just think that's a beautiful analogy of that ripple effect of what a group of people can start.
Okay. Now why, why is it so important then for us as teachers to have a quality PLN in terms of how it's going to then impact my classroom and what I do with my students,
It's a place of professional growth. And if you, you know, if you're not feeling very comfortable in a in a group of teachers in a PLN it's probably because you're seeking some more professional growth. I mean it's not that the staff groups that we belong to are not effective, but if you feeling you know, a little bit stagnant, his professional life is a bit predictable, and it's probably time to step outside that staff room group and seek people who can breathe life into your professional growth, which of course energizes you. And you bring that energy back into your staff group. And that ripple effect, of course, we'll keep going and impact on student learning. I, I didn't know how to use we... We Video or Wakelet or you know, really use YouTube all of those tools, but because I'm in a professional learning network of people who are experts in each of those fields, that's a really great opportunity for me to learn. And it's great place to say, Hey, can I just try this out on you? You know, if I do this, what will happen if I do this in class, what do I need to look for? So it's a great place to test out some of your theories and your skills and practices.
Yeah, well, for our listeners, Lesleigh, what can we do this week to really get started with growing our own PLN and the stain to bring some of that global impact into our classroom with our students? Cause I found as I went into Google stuff and that's where I really grew my appeal and quite a lot was through Google innovators and Google trainers. And then that then impacted my classroom massively because I could draw on what they were talking about to then change what I was doing in my classroom. And I would try new things because I've heard about other teachers who've been successful in it. Yes, it was in a different country, but their success led me to then give it a go and to be successful as well, or possibly not be successful. But at least I was trying things and growing and still being that kind of lifelong learner as a teacher, which I think is so important to model for our students. So where, where do people go to get started this week to grow their PLN?
It depends on what platform you like to visit. I mean some people like to use Facebook as their platform of learning. I don't, my platform is Twitter. That's my professional platform. Look for people that you really admire follow them. And don't be just a passive follower being able to like what they said, if you agree with it make a comment maybe tell how that person has impacted on your learning as a teacher you know, draw some people together, yourself, join other PLNs and look for that hashtag on Twitter to start looking for particular lists of groups to join. But I mean go and have a look at our global GEG website global geg.org and have a look and see what happened to our professional learning network. There's lots of trainings there and lots of amazing people to follow on Twitter, connect with them and come and see what we've got to offer.
Beautiful. Well, thank you so much, Lesleigh, for coming on this week and joining me to share the stuff that you've learned from growing a PLN, and you've really grown one from six people. Now you're getting thousands of views of the training that you're doing for people. So we really we're all benefiting from that. And we're all very thankful for what you're doing with your team. So if you're listening guys, please make sure you do go and check out globalgeg.org to find out more about what Leslie and her team are doing there. And if you want to watch the video or see the transcripts, you can head over to teacherspd.net/91, and you can grab everything there and you can connect with me in all the usual places. So for this week, that's it, I'll see you next week. Bye.