This morning Sec. of Education Arne Duncan stopped by the Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum today to make a joint announcement with Microsoft about the migration of the U.S. Dept. of Ed teach.gov web resource to Microsoft, which will lead a jointly supported private sector initiative to grow this asset (see the press announcement for details).
What was perhaps the most exciting thing about the Secretary's visit was the time he spent with the US educators in attendance. He was able to meet all 12 US educators who are presenting at the forum and hear personally about their classroom work. The event was a bit of a press mob scene (see the AutoCollage I did which captures the scene well – remember educators you can get AutoCollage for free in the Partners in Learning Network : )
He seemed unperturbed and went from educator to educator sincerely listening to them explain their projects, asking specific questions and was genuinely interested in their work.
It was an amazing opportunity to share how learning, infused with appropriate and relevant technology, is positively impacting student learning and for educators to demonstrate this to the top educator in our country.
In a time where educators are increasingly under fire and the profession put under the microscope, to provide an opportunity for educators to be recognized for their achievements and acknowledged when they effecting positive change is reassuring to see.
So, what about Sec. Duncan throwing a fish?
You might recall awhile back I posted on one of the US projects here at the Global Forum created by a team of educators who first met at the US Forum in July. The project they concepted and executed in the interim called When Fish Fly is a student-developed Xbox Kinect game. It was entirely built by students using the Kinect SDK and XNA Game Studio designed to emulate the business practices, sites, sounds, and actions(!) of the famous fish market located in the historic Pike Place Market in Seattle.
The teacher team debuted the game here and Sec. Duncan gave it a go, as did a number of Microsoft execs. You can learn more about When Fish Fly here, but I will note for the record, Sec. Duncan should keep his day job.
Overall, the event was an exciting and unique opportunity for these amazing educators to get in front of the person leading education in the U.S. and share their work.
There has been a lot of activity on the Twitter stream around #PiLGF and I will continue to tweet from @TeachTec. Check out some great pics on Facebook and new videos of the event on our YouTube Global Forum playlist.
Rob (aka @TeachTec)