Sunday, June 25, 2017

The universality of education

It is the drawing close to the end of my first day at ISTE 2017 and as I sit writing this post I am in a hall with 6,500 others waiting for the offical opening and first keynote. I spent a lot of the day at the Teach Meet. (For the uninitiated a Teach Meet is a group of educators sharing their great ideas with each other). If you are interested in ISTE 2017's Teacher Meet here is the Collaborative Note Doc

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. 


  1. Hey sounds great! Must get to ISTE next year - on my to do list. Link here to 'The Future of Learning' introduction here and will send the link to the full version via email ;-)

    Enjoy - touring after the event? MT

  2. Me too Mark, Iste2018. Thanks Carolyn for sharing so we can follow along virtually.