Tag Archives: google HQ


Finally, I had half written this post whilst I was in London for GTA but only mentally, not pen to paper (or fingers to keys). Since the start of December, life has been hectic (both at home and at school). I like it busy but sometimes…

Anyway, to Google, it would be remiss of me and not at all true to my name if I didn’t mention the food first.


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There was a non-stop abundance of delicious treats on offer: home-made flapjacks, muffins, cookies and more; many varieties of food for lunch and dinner (where you could eat as much as you liked) and a continental breakfast if you were there in time. Plus as many drinks as you could stomach: an assortment of teas, strong coffee and a lots of sodas. It was amazing and free. Free.

Why am I mentioning this? Not just to reminisce of the delights and to bore you with a culinary preamble but because we chatted (a lot) about why Google do it, why they offer free food and drink, surely the cost is expensive?! I think (and others shared this view) that a well-fed staff is a happy staff. If you were working elsewhere, you’d take an hour for your lunch, a couple of breaks, where you may leave the building – this is fine, your entitlement but what if you stayed at HQ all day? Would you be more inclined to talk about your work over lunch as you sat with your colleagues? Would you just grab a coffee and a muffin and then head back to your desk at mid-morning? I think you would. I think it is a simple and effective way of encouraging engagement and effort. If you come earlier for breakfast and stay a bit later for evening meal, you could be at work for an extra 30-45 minutes a day, maybe more. That soon adds up! Also, it’s a great way of showing your staff you value them – we will feed you, and with good quality food too.

As for the tech, I learnt loads. I have no grand illusions that I’m an uber-geek tech master, sure I can defrag a computer and show you where the quick links are in Word; I can even set up Google Apps and group emails but I’m no wizard. No sir. I was, however, shocked at the sheer vastness of some of the other GCTs’ skills. From coding to Kodu, from Geomappr to Google-Apper, I was in the presence of some serious Geekdom. It was great, humbling but great. There are several resources I intend to use more (see list below) and lots I need to check out further so I can use them in the classroom. That was the whole point of this journey, to develop my skills and to learn new things that will benefit the children. I am on my journey, the beginning, like Bilbo at Bag-End.

The people: it was amazing to see so many tweeters and G+ers that I’d ‘met’ digitally but never in real life. Fabulous to create links and to begin to develop networks further, that is what developing a PLN is all about. It was great to see Rachel (@rlj1981) and Simon (@simon_warburton) again (after having met them at BETT in February). Some of the folk I met there were truly inspirational: Carrie-Ann Philbin, Mark Allen, Dave Salt and Wendy Gorton to name but a few.

I am so pleased that I decided to push myself and apply for GTA, this is only the start of building something fantastic and I am genuinely excited about the future…


GTA application video

Blockly – a variety of mini-apps that are great for encouraging building codes and programming.

Geoguessr – a great visual mapping game that drops you somewhere in the world, can you find where you are by using the clues around you?

Geek Gurl diaries – Carrie’s marvellous video diaries encouraging girls to blog and vlog.

IFTTT – a ‘recipe’ creator for setting up links/notifications through various social media.

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Posted by on January 5, 2014 in GTAUK, ICT, Thoughts & Musings


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GTA eve…

It’s GTA eve…

I’m excited.

Having spent all day at a Pupil Premium conference, my brain is somewhat full, bursting with good ideas and things I need to implement back at school. I love having a day where I get to soak up new learning, new initiatives, anything that I know will help the children at my school.

However, my brain is, as said, full. To bursting.

I was going to write a blog post about GTA anyway but now I’m doing it simply to offload. I have been told by many to ‘prepare for a brain dump’ – there will literally be so much to discuss, so many ideas at Google HQ that I will positively pop if I don’t get them all down.

I’m not a southerner and get nosebleeds if I travel further south than Leicester but tomorrow will be worth it. To be honest, the notion of stepping into Google HQ and embarking on another digital adventure hasn’t really registered much – I’ve kinda been too busy: desk-tidying deputy and distressed dad and all…

I did partake in a Google Hangout last week with the rest of Team Archimedes, my DW listened in and called me a geek at opportune moments. Fabulous fun.

So, that is it, the next post I write will be post-GTA. I will be full of ideas and projects. Stay tuned, I will definitely want to share and may want to trial things with YOU.

It’s GTA eve…

I’m excited.

Related post: GTA video

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Posted by on December 3, 2013 in GTAUK, ICT


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