So what did I learn? Lots but the highlights were...
- creating twitter profiles for the characters out of Romeo and Juliet and then getting students to tweet as those characters is a cool way to get kids to really understand Shakespeare
- people in the US are as concerned about the digital divide as we are. Jay Eitner, an awesome superintendent from New Jersey was compelled to act the day he went into McDonalds and saw lots of kids from his district in there not for the food but for the wireless. The kids were hanging out at McDonalds in order to complete their homework. Providing people know to apply for it (and here's the thing they generally don't), families that qualify for free or partially subsidised school lunches can get a wireless connection in their homes and an affordable device through the federal programme Everyone On. The connection costs 25 cents a month. Imagine if we could get a deal like that in NZ. What would that mean for our tamariki.
- Google Voyager has made huge improvements in it interface and educators are using it to 'take' students to places they can't afford to travel to.
But the thing I learnt the most today was actually a reminder about the universality of education. No matter where I went or who I talked to we all care about the same thing, we are all struggling with the same wicked problems, and we all want to make a difference to students, their learning and ultimately their lives.