PILGF, Day 1

Day 1 is in the books and I am so tired.  How tired am i?  I’d give anything for a mouse to make blogging easier – that’s how tired!

And yet, through the blurry eyes, I have a profound sense of pride in the teaching profession and a real sense of humility for the size and scope of everything that education can do.   As is my custom, when I attend conferences, I dumped my swag on my hotel bed.  This time, it’s a different swag.  So often, it’s the cheap plastic stuff that vendors push on you – pens and more.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good pen but this swag is totally different.  It’s a unique collection and I’m taking it home to treasure and reflect on the amazing things that I saw today and the amazing people with whom I chatted.

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The showcase was open and we were invited to go in and enjoy.  Enjoy, I did.  I admit that I was slow but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to take in the magnificent classroom projects on display.  When I walked into the display hall, there were two directions one could turn and I took the one least travelled at that time.  I ended up with a chance to see largely projects from South / Central America.  I had a wonderful opportunity to talk to educators about their projects.  Three or four of them involved video production.  These weren’t your run of the mill videos – one was created by deaf students, another had incorporated video production into everything his class does, and yet another took on bullying within the school with statistics claiming that physical fights had dropped from regular to just one in the past while.  Such is the power of the media.  The other interesting aspect in all of this was that the teachers I talked with spoke in their native tongue but the message came through with the aid of an interpreter. I couldn’t get over the sophisticated productions that are possible with the use of Photostory and Movie Maker.

 

I know it only makes sense but it is so interesting to see foreign localizations of programs like Media Player or Powerpoint.  And, if there’s any question that this is a global event, check out this visualization that I captured from SocialBro about the hashtag #PILGF.

Moving along to projects from other locations, I saw a class that had not only created a WII Mote device but illustrated a whole slew of mathematics activities made exciting by its use.  I got to relive a class investigation wondering why the Xiaofu River doesn’t freeze.  We had a great time chatting through an interpreter as we compared the Xiaofu to the Detroit River.  And then, there was the Danish solar water filtration system with a desk lamp substituting for the sun!

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The online writing that went along with the project really showed the spirit of collaboration among the students, at the same time dealing with a very important social issue.  In other water related projects, I checked out a hydroponics project.  Such terrific ideas.  I’ve got a couple of projects in mind for what will be my favourite, but I’m reserving comment until I work my way through the room!

We did have a great opportunity to listen to Anthony Salcito, VP of Education and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in the morning keynote.  I have extensive notes from their keynote address as well as the 1:1 plus Angela interview with Siegfried Behrens, Education Manager.  I’ve got the opportunity to do a couple more interviews tomorrow as well as finish the exhibition hall.  I think I’m going to reserve comments on that for a separate posting at the end of the conference.  There’s a great deal to mull over to do it justice.  Images have been posted to Flickr but all rights are retained by Microsoft so, rather than an embed, here’s a link to the Flickr page.

I must confess that, tired as I am, I’m still on an unique buzz from what I saw.  I can’t wait to experience even more tomorrow.

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