Area superintendents tour Google’s Manhattan office

Published Dec 6, 2017 at 4:00pm

Rome school district Superintendent Peter C. Blake and some other area educators had a chance to truly “Google it” on Friday, visiting Google’s massive Manhattan office in what Blake called a “wonderful opportunity.”

The day-long visit to the second-largest office of the technology company giant was geared to learn about various Google for Education tools as well as organizational practices, said Blake in a Twitter message.

School districts across the Madison-Oneida BOCES (MOBOCES) region were sending representatives to participate in the trip, Blake told the Board of Education last month regarding the visit. It included looking at Google’s organizational structure along with “how schools can better utilize Google apps,” he noted to the board.

About 20 persons from the MOBOCES region took part in the New York City trip, said BOCES, including superintendents, administrators and technology coordinators. Besides the Rome district, participants included the New York State School for the Deaf, Camden, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, Oneida, Hamilton, MORIC (Mohawk Regional Information Center), Madison, Canastota, Morrisville-Eaton, and MOBOCES.

​During the visit, Blake said Sunday in his online blog, “we met with Googlers who took us on a tour of the facility and provided some inside information about the life of Google.”

From the trip, Blake also drew some parallels with ongoing local educational needs.

He observed that “throughout the day, most of us frequently would look at each other and recognize that most of what we were hearing was nothing new or earth-shattering.” He added “as we spoke about educational philosophy and best practices, everything continued to revolve around a new acronym: WBFK,” which stands for What’s Best for Kids.

Blake said “Google’s entire design is centered around what’s best for production,” while “education’s entire design is supposed to be centered around what’s best for kids.”

However, education in the U.S. is still very similar to 40 or 50 years ago, in terms of its structure and the delivery of education, Blake commented. While he “would bet that almost all of our students’ grandparents experienced a school environment that was very similar to today,” he also remarked in his blog that “the rest of the world outside of schools has changed dramatically.”

Noting “it’s time that from an organizational level our schools are different as well,” Blake added “it’s what’s best for kids.” While such change “takes effort and hard work,” he said, the Rome district is “poised to make this evolution as we already have the staff in our schools that believe in and practice what’s best for kids.”

BOCES said the trip, organized by the MOBOCES Staff and Curriculum Development division, was intended to provide an overview of the working environment that students will enter after high school and college, including what skills are needed, how will work spaces look, workplace culture, employer expectations, and how workplace success will be measured.