Thursday, July 2, 2009

NECC ISTE conference 09

Now six days into my US tour.
No news here about education. It is ridiculously clear that we are light years ahead of the american system. wedontknowhowluckyweare. I wont even try to explain the US elementary school system, why go there. What we need to do is treasure what we have cause its world class stuff. Yip, we currently have Nat Standards on the table and some see the erosion of what we have as catastrophic. What I’d now call it is a pimple that will soon pass, if you address it properly.
Where we are light years behind is broadband, we are on a par with the crappiest third world countries. Telecom and Vodaphone are just rubbish, ADSL3 which is coming soon to a school near you, (in the next 9 months for us) is old defunct backward technology here in the states. Go figure- we are keenly waiting for a product that is already phased out of every school over here. Yes it will be quick by our standards but pathetic by world standards. Many people don’t really know the benefits of fast broadband but there are tonnes.
We are also about 5 years behind in cell phone usage, sure I was at a technology conference but it’s an iphone (watch this) or blackberry or get out of the way. Nokia has a market in NZ, people think they are cool, but NZers in general are cell phone users, Americans are mobile web users. Every dude I see with a phone was using the web, forget the games. Telecoms 3g network might be ok for maybe a year, but will need upgrading, but because the habits of NZ cell phone users is low tech then they will get away with it for 5 years. Vodaphone... miles behind with data.
Twitter has been a great tool, at times I feel a little stink tweeting with a hash # tag to a conference thread when you have a bunch of followers who maybe aren’t following the conference you are at. This is part of the limitations I suppose of twitter or perhaps I am a poor user who doesn’t know a way round that. It has been interesting to see that the general tweeter at the conference took a commentary type attitude and tweeted what people were saying rather than giving opinion. When I tweeted opinion I was replied too “it’s not about opinion”. Interesting cause as I know at uLearn last year the keynote got rubbished by opinion on twitter. Maybe there is etiquette, or the yanks are too polite, or wont criticise publically (fear of being sued) or NZers are naive, not getting the whole public forum thing. Its a whole new discussion, but interesting.
Gadgets: got a livescribe, it won’t do OCR recognition yet, but the beta for mac is ready to be released in the next two weeks. I will post a link to some notes later this week.
Got a kodak Zi6, the picture quality is staggering, awesome, and it has an SD, takes stills, and can record in HD30fps, HD60fps, XGA for quick youtube. At the price point it has flip licked and it uses AA batteries (my preferred option).
Document cameras are quite big in the trade stands, and i see plenty of use as a classroom tool, the peddlers are loving this! However, buy a digital camera, run it from the ac charging plug, leave it on auto focus, use RCA to usb and tape it to some sort of lamp shade and you have one for $200, worth a crack! here are some from the net - seems easy.
Touch boards! ha! man is this big business, the dudes at the stands give away so much stuff and the sweet smelling, tidy looking chickies, and those tight shirted blokes with the stubble are just the shit. They have it down pat with their slick presentations and giveaways, you can see the huge margins these dudes are on. lets face it they are a fat waste of money, they are not smart or interactive, "the kids love them and they are engaged", but the work you are doing is not powerful, just powerful looking. I’m still amazed at what the boards look like with all the movement, but its movement is not pedagogy. Engagement is not learning, my kids engage with the simpsons and futurama every night!
Hyperstudio has been out now in NZ for 6 months and I am restricted by the price. But it is by far the best piece of software out there for mac schools, if you read this and brush over the comment and do nothing about it, then shame on you. Its more powerful than imovie, kid pix, and possibly keynote- big call I know but there you go! Roger Wagner is a very talented man. I did have a crack at the head of pricing and sales and he promises me a school site lisense, we wait- but don't wait for long.
Malcolm Gladwell was an excellent keynote speaker, so was Erin Gruwell who has a movie made about her. The ideas are running wild at present.
Holiday time now, back to normal now the conference issues are done.
gadget time.
have a good break one and all.


Manaiakalani said...

Brilliant resume Luke! Having been there I am right with you and was laughing all the way thru - as was man next to me when I read it out loud. Your comment on the IWBs just nailed it (including the sales folk). You would think in this Mecca of IT in education they would have someone showing bleeding edge innovation and creativity being done by KIDS, but no, it's just the next commercial DLO that you can wizz around the board with a slick 2-finger swish movement.
Anyway - time to relax, enjoy the gadgets and have a break - the odd updates on Twitter go down well still.

Anne said...

It was great to see you, Luke! Interesting take on the conference. I especially agree with the part about the white boards. I can't stand them, but have teachers who think they're the answer to everything.

Enjoy the rest of your time in the States!

Fletchspeak said...

Hey Luke - good post & great to see you are being a lifelong learner(spew!) Anyway thought you'd like to know we were right(altho not always)that the Nat stds would not go ahead yet. They were too far out of sync and it was more than they could chew. It's been put forward to 2011- politics impending.
Hope you are in fine fettle and looking forward to your words of wisdom & experiences next week. C ya!