Category Growth

The Academy, the tribe, the innovation, and me.

Attending a Google Innovator Academy was a goal of such magnitude that it seemed unreal. Ever since I first learn about Google Certified Innovators, I was intrigued. Following the #COL16 cohort on Twitter was the sneak peek needed for me to decide that I had to be one of them...

Someday, I was going to attend a Google Innovator Academy.

And I did. Goal reached. Ticked. And with the checkmark comes an immense feeling of accomplishment.


The fact that I am now part of this family, not just observing it and getting inspired from the outside, seems incredible. Not that long ago, I was a quiet classroom teacher not really know in my own school district. Now, I am an Innovator. A Google Certified Innovator. I have to live up to that. I am embracing my new role. I have great mentors who are showing me how to find my own way.

The Academy was not about technology. Nor was it about who had the best idea or was the geekiest. The Academy was about growth and collaboration. About stick-to-it-iveness.

At the Academy, our coaches challenged our thinking, our creativity and our teamwork through sparks of inspiration. Like masters, they weaved that fire with our vision to guide us into designing the foundations of our projects. Into building windows to always have dreams. Into crafting keys to never feel trapped. Into carving tools to always bounce back. It was exciting, overwhelming, demanding, thrilling, terrifying. It felt great. Because we were not alone. Because we were supported, cheered, strengthen, celebrated. Because it was real.

It is hard to put into words what we experienced in Toronto. My colleagues innovators and I were trying to translate into concrete words what had been the Academy, and even if we think we had some success in describing it, our picture is nothing more than a unidimensional sketch compared to the real thing.

It is impossible to render the full spectrum of an experience that was for me so powerful and yet so subtle that it literally found its way in all those empty spaces of my being. It filled me. It filled me with a strange and strong substance: belongingness. It made me whole. It made me solid and tall. It kindled a strong feeling that it was our place and our time. That as a group, we have something big to accomplish. That together, we can shoot for the moon.

As the Academy images are fading slowly, their imprints are just starting to let emerge the big picture…The Academy was about people. About connections. Human connections. I connected in ways I didn't think possible in such a short time with inspiring and passionate educators, some I admired long before, others I was eager to meet, and they became in a very quick and intense way, my new tribe. I just feel so blessed to have cross paths with all of them. I am just starting to realize the deepness of the relationship we built. We are more than a network. We are more than colleagues. We are conjoined twins, bound by a unique thread feeding us and protecting us. We are linked forever. We are #TOR16.

En route to the Google Innovator Academy

Who would have thought? Who could think that I would be where am I today, not even a year into my GAFE journey? I am still mesmerized by the fact that I will be officially a Google Certified Innovator in less than a month, after attending the academy in Toronto. I am just starting to realize how big of a deal it is! If last year was incredible, I just can't imagine what is ahead. But let's go back a bit...

I was lucky enough last September to move into a school where an amazing teacher-librarian had convinced the school district that we HAD to pilot GAFE. That was the spark of an adventure bigger than anything I could have expected. To be truthful, I have to say that despite the initial excitement, it wasn't that great of a start. And that is probably why I am here now. As a pilot school, we had no coach or mentor to help us. I was used to doing things differently, and at first, was seeing all the missing pieces or the bumps on the road. I felt the tools were great, but wasn't sure how to use them efficiently. So I had to seek and search and read and try and fail and eventually learn a lot.

Then twitter became part of my routine and I started to follow inspiring educators and innovators. And it bit me. The virus. The crazy thought of getting there. Of being part of it. Of this. The virus spread. It kept me going. It forced me to transform my relationship with risk. It made me "go public"...

And then I failed. The first time I make myself share my vision to the public on YouTube, it is to be told it is not good enough. But I knew it. It was a first try, a test, like a tiny bite of something new to get a sense of it before putting the whole thing in my mouth. Which I would never do!

The virus was barely a little bug at that time, but it liked the taste of that new food. It started to spread and ask for more. So the adventure continued and to the yellow badges, I added the blue. And it felt like new horizons rising up. But the quest was not over.



I had the feeling it was my time. I could have been wrong. I could have been so disappointed. So failed. I could have.

But despite the risks, I decided to believe, and to give it all, including asking for guidance and feedback. And here I am now. Just at the start of something so big that the first night, I doubted myself. Could I really deliver what I projected in my vision? Would I be able to balance all of my endeavours at the same time? Would I have the courage to do what it takes for my vision to live? From excitement to fear. From gratitude to disorientation. From light to fog.

Morning came after a few hours of sleep, and my virus was still alive. And I knew I was going to be amazing! Amazing at flexing and stretching. Amazing at failing and bouncing back up. Amazing at learning and learning again.



I think I caught the best infection I could have. I hope to make it multiply enough to make it contagious. I know what it feeds from now, and I bet that is what the year ahead will be made of.

Growing through challenges. Envisioning better ways. Transforming lives.

Google Innovator

I will breathe in a week from now! Now, I am just... I can't even put words on how I feel.

Let me back up a bit...

I just submitted my application to the Google Innovator Academy. After a month of thinking, writing, rewriting, drawing, doubting, and cheering, it is now submitted. I cannot change a comma. That makes me scared!

But I should say that I am also really proud. Proud of having a vision. Proud of taking the risk to be "out there". Proud of wanting to innovate when so many fear change.


Do I feel confident? It is so hard to say. I wanted to be true and real and share a vision that I strongly believe in. Will it be enough to see the doors of the Academy opening for me? I hope so! If not, well... let's not think about that for now! I am optimistic, even when I face adversity! That won't change.

Have a look at my video and slide deck. It may inspire you to find your own idea for innovation.

Sharing makes us vulnerable but strong.

Sharing brings out the best in us to bring out the best in others.

Sharing is living inside and out.

Sharing is teaching and learning.

This blog is meant to share my tools, my vision and my mistakes.

It is still modest, but it is out there.

So it will grow.

As I learn.

With you.