I was privileged to meet another fantastic group of educators at the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney, Australia. As always it was a treat to work with Danny, Lisa, Dana, Wendy and Mark.
I had a few take aways this trip. The first was how many participants had already adopted Google Apps for Education in their school or district. Shouldn't have been a huge surprise, but it just shows how quickly and globally the tools have spread.
The other realization I came to has to do more with the Googler's themselves. Our group went on the usual tour of the Google offices which is always full of fun surprises around each corner that make you feel you've stumbled into Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory. Primary colored furniture, ample food and crazy toys abound. How many Corporations have a tire swing in the lobby?
All of this brought me to a realization. A primary trait of Googlers has to be restraint. (I realize that generalizing 20,000 people is sketchy at best.) But, working all day with the pull of such surroundings, one would have to develop the fortitude to manage work and play in a way most of us don't experience. And that brings me to education. Are our students in environments where they are able or expected to develop that aptitude. Sure it's easy not to use your phone in class when you know it's going to be taken away, but what about when you're allowed or expected to use it in class and that doesn't mean texting or playing a game. Would I be able to work in a place where food, furniture and fun were steps away. I think I could now as an adult, but as a 16 year old today? With distraction just a click away, I'm not sure where I would have built the ability to read for almost ten hours (thank you flight from Sydney). I'm not sure yet how I fit this with my daily work with kids, but it's certainly something to think about.