Friday, August 17, 2007

Playing with Animoto

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It wasn't just us!

This is as far as we got before we gave up. They weren't letting anyone else into the aquarium until people came out. People coming out suggested that sardines swimming in the tanks had a good laugh at the people sardines packed into the aquarium. But there was no special treatment for anyone getting in. Standing behind us in line was Kurt Steinhaus, immediate Past president of ISTE and his wife. We had a good chat with them as Kurt had been to New Zealand. We told him that we had set ourselves the task of talking to someone from each state in the US and that we were concerned about finding people from Alaska. He wished us well. The next morning during a break he found us and said that he had found someone from Alaska and told them about us, as well as giving or descriptions. Kurt was really friendly and made us feel very welcome at the conference.

Post Keynote Mayhem!

Following the keynote there was a reception to be held at the Atlanta Aquarium. Someone hadn't done their maths or possibly given too much thought tothe logistics. This was my real first experience of the notion "to queue". Yep, we haven't got to the building yet and the line goes right around the building in two different directions.

Opening Keynote

Andrew Zolli, Futurist was the opening key note speaker. I podcast of this session can be viewed here. In this session Andrew promoted the importance of creativity and innovation in learning. He highlighted key factors that are shaping our world in the next 10 to 20 years. He argued that the whole of civilisation is shifting rapidly with a digital divide being created by what is possible and what is fundable. He believes that in the future virtually anything that can be done now a computer will be doing so what does that leave us?

CREATIVITY = Think , Look , Play, Imagine

He believes there will be five things which will define tomorrow’s world.

1. Demographics. Oceania 40 percent' growth.

2. Environment Altitudes and Values.

3. Learning place.

4. Coping with Choice and Complexity

5. Redefining Literacy.

Conference Opening

Atlanta Drumline opened the conference. They were fantastic. I have a short video captured from our seats which doesn't do it justice. We saw another group playing at the baseball game later that week.

The Conference

The conference is very large compared to what we are use to back in New Zealand. It has been worthwhile doing a short “recki” to find our way around the place. The conference is hosting 16000 delegates which makes for a massive organisation. Given that there is no pre registering for sessions it will interesting to see how this all works in terms of getting into popular sessions.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Olympic Park

We walk down to the conference venue which is about 8 blocks away. Most people catch the bus which we as kiwis find amusing. It takes just as long as walking. Maybe it has something to do with the air quality or personal safety? Not sure . We feel very safe walking during the day and at night.
Bridget jumped into the fountain then couldn't get out. This is in Olympic Park which is a beautiful park next to the convention centre

The Hilton

We get to our hotel room to find two double beds for the three of us. Bridget is not looking too happy about this. So I head on down to the lobby to sort it out. Socratic questioning came it to play as I asked Kathy behind the counter, how are we going to solve this problem that is going to work for all of us? We are offered a parlour room??? with rollaways. Not convinced I ask to see a photo. It turns out it is the middle section (lounge) of one of the suites on the top floor. Its three times the size of the room we had. To compensate us for the rollaways (I assume) we are charged $99 / night for the three of us as well as access to the corporate lounge for breakfast and evening nibbles. We were being charged $240 night and breakfast was on top. Fazza is in awe. we are very happy. A photo doesn't do it justice.


We have a 5 hour flight to Atlanta. Internal travel is not so stress free. First issue for me is the simple change the travel agent made for Wellington to Auckland now bites me here as I have a reissued ticket. It gets sorted eventually but the queues get bigger and longer. It appears that the introduction of additional security would have been fine if it had been thought of in the design stage of airport. The process is simple enough the problem appears to be a lack of space to house its introduction. Bridget passes with flying colours as the security guy holds up her small plastic bag of personal items as a wonderful exemplar of what they should look like. 100s of people got to know more about Bridget that she had planned to share with them.

San Francisco

I need to say that America has never featured highly on my list of places to visit. I watch a lot of American TV. I watch a lot of PGA golf and there are places I would love to visit and experience (The Masters is right up there). So I’m approaching this trip with an open mind. I’ve heard lots of negative stuff about travelling in the states so we were pleasantly surprised to be waiting for our ride outside arrivals 25 minutes after touching down. Elander was the guy’s name at Immigration. What a great job he did as first point of contact for his country. He was pleasant, friendly. Got the information he needed from us (finger prints and photo) but did it in a nice way. Fazza’s friends Jo and Stacy pick us up from the airport. Really nice people. After checking into our hotel we go for a bit of a tour. We only have a few hours so we shoot down to Pier 39 to look at the shops, seals and sample some of the food. On our way I snapped this photo of a policeman pulling over a guy in a wheelchair. Not quite sure what he did but made for interesting viewing. Fazza has really embraced the American shops apparently. Stacy said he was like the everyready battery, he keeps shpping and shopping. San Francisco is a great city. Feels like a combination of Wellington / Auckland / Melbourne / Sydney all rolled into one. We drove across the bridge and have dinner in Salsalito, fantastic.

Somewhere over the Pacific

The science of time is so cool. You hop on a plane at 7-00pm Friday in NZ, fly for 12 hours and get to San Francisco at lunchtime Friday. On the graphic on the screen in front of me shows the pattern the sun makes re: darkness and daylight in that sort of bell curve way. It reminds of Mark Treadwell as he did a session a few years ago where he was demonstrating this in terms of our technology being a powerful tool to convey this concept.

I’m also thinking about this whole trip. NECC has stood out for me as a must do experience. I’m trying for the trifecta, WCEC, NECC and BECTA with NECC being the second leg. Three big educational conferences on computers in education. Presenting at WCEC in 2001 in Copenhagen was a really cool experience. I’m not presenting this time. I’m wanting to gauge the state of where things are at. Web 2.0 is big at the moment and most of the stuff I’m reading is coming from the states. So NECC is where I’ve come. I’ve hopefully already been exposed to the potential and possibility of these technologies via the net I’m interested in the narratives. The stories of how people are turning this stuff into powerful learning.


I thought I would capture my NECC experience as a simple narrative. I’m thinking a lot about the conference so thought I would share my thoughts. I’ve been offline for a few days so some of this is post dated.

Thursday 21st June, 9.30pm. I still at school wanting to get the board newsletter out but wouldn’t you know it, I’m having technical difficulties with the colour printer. 9.32 and I’m resigned to the fact that it ain’t going to happen. With less than 24 hours before I jump on the plane there is still a lot to do but I think I can tick the “must dos off before I leave.

Friday 22nd June 10-30am. Well the morning hasn’t gone as I had planned. I’ve spent a bit of time talking with kids and parents (end of term melt downs). I had the abusive parent so have rung the police as I’m not to keen on walking out and leaving Christine without an option if things turn nasty. My last act at lunchtime before heading to the airport is to stand one of the kids down for an unprovoked assault. Having spent half an hour with parent and child first thing in the morning talking positively it’s not a great way to leave the school grounds.

Faz has already been in San Francisco all week. Bridget and I for some reason are on different domestic flights. Bridget’s flight cuts her international connection a little fine so she has rung the travel agent to see what she can do. I now end up on a different flight, now cutting my time down, but not on the same flight s Bridget. The woman an check in was great. She can’t solve our problem but puts us in the front row of the plane so we can get straight off and make a dash for the international airport. We both get straight through immigration so America, here we come.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Welcome to my blog.

Welcome to Heavyfish. I am a school principal in New Zealand and want to start walking the talk. I've been inspired by a number of people talking of the potential of Web 2.0 tools so I thought I would jump in and see for myself