Google’s Suan Yeo and the future of learning

Open minds, thinking big and challenging the status quo are the messages Google’s Suan Yeo has for New Zealand’s educators.

Yeo inspired and challenged conference attendees during his keynote speech at the recent EdTechTeam New Zealand North Island Summit featuring Google for Education, held at Albany Senior High School.

“You have the opportunity to use technology to change and to improve the way that teaching and learning happens in the classroom,” Yeo, Google’s Education Evangelist for Asia Pacific, says.

His role is to promote the adoption of Google technology at the institution level for schools and universities throughout the region. Yeo’s goal for 2014 is to create an #eduwin for every teacher and student he works with, and to make learning magical for all those involved.

Yeo says that educators need to think about the role of technology in education, and what it can do to enable the next generation.

“All the tech companies are building technology for the future, and we want to build a world where our children are stronger than we ever were.”

It’s about shifting students from being consumers to being creators, Yeo says, where the students of today continue to be creative without losing the desire to question.

“Instead of always consuming information, how do we enable students to create information? That’s the power of the web – today, anyone can be a publisher. They can write, they can blog, they can connect through social media. The web used to be a place where you went to find information, but now it’s changing to a web where people go to manage relationships.”

Yeo also posed the idea of search versus discovery, following on from the opinion some people have that the internet is making our kids ‘dumb’.

“When you go to Google and search for something, you know what you are looking for,” he says. “But often the search may lead to something else – to discovery. You read an article, you see something related to it, and you discover something along the way.

“This is the magic… it’s not about finding out what you want, but about all of the other things that happen along the way.”

A related debate Yeo mentions is the Googleable versus the un-Googleable question. Yeo asked the attendees if, as teachers, they were asking questions where students couldn’t use Google to find the answer, where instead they have to go and analyse, question, solve problems and work together.

“Searching is easy,” Yeo says. “You can ask someone, go to your search engine of choice and you know the exact answer straight away.

“Discovery – well, that’s a challenge. How do we get to the part where we discover and find out new things along the way? It’s about getting there – it’s about the journey.”

For more information visit or search #gafesummit




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