Deer Park Educator Kauter Attends Google Teacher Academy

This past summer, Deer Park High School teacher and alumnus Christopher Kauter was one of only 50 worldwide educators selected by Google for what he considered “an opportunity of a lifetime” – attending the prestigious two-day Google Teacher Academy, held in Chicago, Ill. Representing Deer Park, Kauter was selected for his creativity, passion for innovative technology, and commitment to collaboration, lifelong learning and high standards for his students.

Partnered with educational nonprofit organization Computer-Using Educators, Google held its first intensive Google Teacher Academy in 2006 at its California headquarters, providing the participants with hands-on experience with Google products and technology and a chance to network with likeminded colleagues. They are recognized as Google Certified Teachers upon completing the program. Subsequent academies have taken place nationwide as well as in countries such as Australia and the U.K., and the company now boasts over 800 K-12 Google Certified Teachers worldwide.

A Bay Shore resident and graduate of Deer Park’s Class of 1998, Kauter has taught at the high school for 12 years, mainly focusing on social studies. He began embracing technology three or four years ago, and cites the moment that Deer Park “went Google” in 2011 as a turning point, leading to his current status as a Google Certified Teacher and trainer, having passed six tests and a case study. “This is the thing I’m most proud of in my educational career so far,” he said, with the recognition netting him excellent feedback in the educational community here on Long Island. “A lot of doors opened,” he added.

Kauter applied for the Google Teacher Academy in late May. Out of more than 2,000 applicants, only 50 were selected to participate at this session. His fellow educators arriving at Google’s Chicago offices in July came from every corner of the globe, including New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Zimbabwe. “Just being part of that group was rewarding,” said Kauter, who relished the chance for cross-cultural problem-solving. “It really was a great collaborative experience. Everyone was willing to share their ideas and solutions.”

Networking has been a major benefit of participating in the program, and Kauter noted that he now has a global network of teachers to tap into. “We talk and share ideas on a daily basis,” he said. “It’s a very diverse group offering new ways to teach technology.”

He is trying to bring what he learned at the Google course to his 12th-grade government classroom back home. “It changed my perspective on education,” Kauter explained. “I am more optimistic and focus on the positive. I’m not into lectures – I like to get into the trenches and dig into current events with the students.” Utilizing Google Drive and making apps for his students are among the tangible technological upgrades that have resulted from Kauter’s fruitful achievement.