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Google coming to Franklin for education summit

FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) – Google is on its way to Franklin this weekend, and that’s drawing hundreds of people to the city.Google picked Franklin Community High School to be one of just a few schools in the world to host the “Google Apps for Education” Summit.The summit starts Saturday morning and runs through Sunday evening. Matt Sprout, the school’s technology director, says after months of preparations the school is finally ready. 

Google picked the high school largely because of how it uses Google in the classroom. All the students have Google Chromebooks, and use them in their classes. Some students are also learning technical skills, by repairing those Chromebooks. Students run a repair center, where they fix all the malfunctioning laptops.

Now, Franklin will get to present those teaching methods to Google employees and teachers from around the country. Google will also share some new, innovative ways to use technology in the classroom. Sprout said it’s a great opportunity for students.

“As a school, we’re all about learning and education, and we want to give students the opportunity to learn how to host an event. That’s customer service. We’ve got about 12 students that are going to be on hand helping in the auditorium, direct adults, even helping with technology issues,” said Sprout.

Part of the preparations was testing the wireless network. More than 400 students packed the auditorium, bringing every device they owned. Each student used the Internet on their phones, tablets and computers all at the same time to see if the network could handle it. Sprout said the test-run worked smoothly.

When 24-Hour News 8 first reported this story in January, about 200 people had signed up. Now about 550 people are registered. The city itself was another big reason Google picked Franklin out of all the schools that applied.

Google wanted to know how close it was to an airport, how many restaurants and hotels it had, and more. Now, Franklin will have the chance to show everything it has to offer to one of the world’s biggest tech companies.

“I know there’s been some efforts put forward to encourage those 500 folks to not be here at the high school the whole time. But to come to our local eateries and shops and spend a little bit of money here in Franklin while you come visit,” said Mayor Joe McGuinness.

McGuinness hopes this event will show that Franklin can handle these large conferences, and draw more in the future.

“Really being able to sell community to Google and being able to say ‘Why not Franklin?’ ‘Why not bring it here?’ as opposed to ‘Why Franklin?’”