We want to share with you the first bootcamp in Colombia. Federico Centeno, GEG Colombia leader, Google Certified Trainer and Marymount International School Barranquilla teacher share with us his chronicle:
Last January I had the honor of being accepted as a Google For Education Certified Trainer, this was the result of a long journey, one that had started more than 4 years ago when I discovered the benefits of Google Apps for Education (as they were called then). What motivated me back then was how easy it was to apply a great variety of teaching strategies with these tools. During those years I tinkered and discovered many great things which I shared with many of my coworkers, and on various social networks. I had considered applying for the trainer program on multiple occasions, but always felt I still didn’t have a good enough portfolio to make the cut. Last december i finally bit the bullet and submitted my application. I had just come back from the #Mex16 Google Innovator Academy and felt ready to take on any challenge.
I was extremely happy when I got the news, for some reason I thought that I would now start training a lot of people. Well it turns out that not many people were interested in my services, I got some calls and email through the Google for Education Directory, but nothing more than that. I offered my services for free at different places, but there really was no interest. To maintain my trainer status I have to conduct 12 training sessions per year and with this little demand it was not going to be easy.
So by mid February I guess i must have heard a voice overnight saying “If you build it, they will come.” I woke up and decided I would just set up my very own G Suite Bootcamp, The 1st G Suite Bootcamp in Colombia. I felt like this was crazy, but I knew that if I kept waiting I would end up doing nothing at all so I decided to go for it.
There was one thing I knew, and it was that I wanted the people that attended to feel that this was not their usual PD, this was special. That day I started thinking on the logistics, I needed a good place to hold the event, I wanted to offer some sort of snack, and it had to be fun. That day as I designed a flyer on Photoshop I was also making calls to find a place to rent. I ended up renting a conference room that could hold up to 14 people, it included a huge TV, and they also provided the snacks and unlimited water, coffee and tea. I started sharing the idea with others, and my wife also a teacher, started telling her friends that the G Suite Bootcamp was coming. The next day I posted my flyer on Google+, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and put pressure on me on getting this done.
I got a lot of great feedback from people on these social networks, but in reality very few people submitted the form expressing interest in the 1st G Suite Bootcamp in Colombia. I must admit that I was a bit worried, but I decided that I was going to follow through with it even if only one person enrolled. I worked on the course materials and was lucky enough to get some Google Goodies to hand out as gifts. A week before starting I had 12 people out of 14 confirmed, just with a verbal agreement (I’m still worried about the money this will cost me). The day before starting five people called and cancelled. Later 2 more called telling me they couldn’t make it on the first Saturday but that they could come on the other days. I told them that the course materials would be available online so they could catch up and it wouldn’t be a problem if they missed a day.
So day 1 came and I ended up meeting with Ana, Kathy, Catalina, and Ilva 4 elementary teachers, David a digital content creator for a book publisher, and Alex who works in technical support at my school. I must admit that the fact the group was small actually helped, we could move fast through the material but we also had a lot of time to share and discuss ideas. It felt kind of like a round table, everyone had a great time that day and David won a nice Android sports bottle. Session 2 went very well too, and this day we were joined by three more teachers, Aldo, Tania, and Klaudia. Everything kept going great, but on the third session we had a huge hiccup. There was no internet access at the conference room on that day. That Saturday I had planned a Google Hangout with some of my fellow innovators from the #Mex16 cohort, so 20 minutes before starting the Hangout we had to rush to my house and conduct the hangout in my living room.
On session four they took their GCE1 certification test and we celebrated with some delicious Google Cake that I decorated with my daughter’s help. I am very thankful with the group of people who followed me on this crazy ride, they certainly are “one with the Force. The Force is with them.”
Throughout this experience I noticed that this is really all about passion. If you are passionate about something it doesn’t really matter what you have to do or face, you will get through it. I am wondering how many people will be enrolling in the second Bootcamp, but something tells me it will be more than this one. I learned a lot from this experience and I am sure that the second time around it will be much better.