For an educator who loves to tell stories using data, Jay Atwood is passionate about using technology to transform collected data into meaningful visual representations. When I met him as our lead learner in Google Teacher Academy, he taught us how to use Google Sheets, Drawings and Drive Apps in converting raw data into a meaningful infographic.
Jay Atwood is a Google Certified Teacher (GTAMTV 2012), Google Teacher Academy Lead Learner (SYD, CHI, & SWE 2013, SEA 2014) and Google Education Trainer. He has been a featured speaker in EdTechTeam events and various Google Apps for Education Summits around the globe. You can view his adventures in apps scripting at his blog Getting Sand Everywhere and follow him on Twitter: @jayatwood. He is a also a photographer and a self-confessed travel nerd.
School: Singapore American School
Current Position: High School Educational Technology Coordinator
One word that describes your teaching style: Reflective
What mobile devices and computers are you currently using?
Nexus 6, MacBook Air, iMac 27” Retina (LOVE the display)
Are there any apps for education you can’t stop talking about lately?
Google Drive. It’s the most flexible around and has transformed the way our teachers and students interact.
You seem to have a high liking for scripts. When did you learn to use scripts?
During the 2011-2012 school year I started experimenting with scripts. I learned by playing around with them. Hands-on experience and play is the best way to learn.
What’s your teacher table like?
The main focus is my desktop computer. A water bottle, empty coffee cup and Tic Tacs are never far away. My Nexus 5 is also never out of arm’s reach.
What is the best time for you to write and generate ideas?
Very early in the morning. I was a swimmer for many years and that conditioned me to getting up early. I’ll often wake up in the middle of the night with ideas and have to get up and take action on them. If not, I won’t be able to fall asleep again. (btw, it’s 4:40am right now!)
What’s on your music playlist when you work?
It’s odd, but I work in silence a lot. I have a huge music library and Google Play All-Access, but I usually don’t have anything playing. I think this is because I have a very active mind that is always running. A friend of mine said, “the conversation in my head is much more colorful than what is coming out of my mouth.” I feel this way a lot. My favorite musician is Xavier Rudd and most singer-songwriters. I like an artist who can actually SING and can perform live.
How do you manage your to-do lists?
Google Tasks (although not consistently). I’ve tried to-do apps but I always fall away from them. I also have a big whiteboard wall in my office that I use a lot.
You have tried the balut (duck developing embryo) during your trip to the Philippines. How was the experience?
You can’t say you don’t like something until you try it! I’m not sure I really liked balut. The head was a bit tough to chew through.
What’s the best advice on teaching that you received?
Teach them how to ask questions rather than answer them.
Fostering Flight is about how teachers can guide their students in following their dreams. As an educator, how do you prepare your students for the future?
Questions. In life you have to be a learner if you want to follow your dreams. If you don’t inspire students to ask questions and follow their curiosity they will never be successful. We need to teach them how to ask questions and then how to try and find their own answers. You can’t find a solution if you don’t know where to start.
Give an educator’s name: I would like to see ____ answer these same questions.