Oh yeh, San Franciso was covered in a haze of smoke the whole time that we were there, and our asthma played up! and we all got sick with some kind of virus leading to much swapping of lozenges, tablets and more. One of our party had to head for the doctor by the time we got to San Antonio. Why am I telling you this? Because we are soooo busy, and having such a great time, that I just haven’t kept up with all the blogging.
So since others are reporting on our tour I thought I would throw in a plug for ACCE – who through Tony Brandenburg as our tour leader, is hosting this first Study tour to NECC. The Australian Council for Computers in Education is our national peak body representing technology educators in schools here in Australia. It is not a group I personally have had any involvement with so far. But this tour has given me the opportunity to meet many of the key people active in the group – and for me I am wondering why I didn’t know such a fantastic and inspirational group of people? I have mentioned before how I believe we should have stronger relationships between groups – if only to draw on the strength and knowledge of the ‘best’ between them. If Australians are going to promote education more effectively, we have to work with and through the amazing talents of people such as those I have been touring with on the road to NECC.
Bottom line? This Study tour and the opportunities it is presenting are awesome, and the best professional learning experience I have had in my teaching career! Thank you ACCE.
Actually, there is too much to report, and not time to report it! However, I have to note that the opportunity to visit Orace, Apple and Google was just fantastic. Yes, there are many tours that visit these places, but it was a first for ACCE and we are the inaugural group to see how worthwhile (or not) it is to include these in a tour. It was particuarly interesting to hear the story from each of these companies. Oracle delivered a particularly interactive session engaging us in a discussion about education futures, as well as showing us what Oracle is doing through the Oracle foundation. Good news for us is that there is likely to be an Australian/New Zealand version of the ThinkQuest competition – making this a fantastic addition for our schools. I am hopeful that ACCE will partner with Oracle to deliver this opportunity.
The Apple briefing included a little of the Apple dream – and their version of how to change education. Awesom stuff again, though if you are not already an Apple user or familiar with Apple products, then an opportunity missed to do an expose of the innovative capacities of Apple products. No access to an Applie iPhone for us yet either! It’s worth noting that some of the tour group are using Applie iPhoto devices. They are just amazing the way they connect to the Internet and allow regular twitter updates. I felt like a dinosaur without one!
Finally, the Google plex was totally different – just the way we have all read about it. The presentation about Google appls wasn’t particularly inspiring, but we did learn a few useful things about implementation of Google tools in schools, particularly the flexibility of the education pack and it’s solution for productivity tools. We learnt of the Department of Education’s decision to migrate email to Google services for the State system of schools – and cheered at that decision!
This day of the tour was a highlight for sure. Oracle was awesome; Apple was amazing; and Google was sensational. The food at Google was amazing too – and stationed everywhere. The decore was …. well sooooo Google. If you are following along some of the pics of the tour, you will notice the little animal friend that freatures in so many pics. That is for the mini-legends, as our famous Al Upton is on tour with us too!