Today I’m blogging from the bustling city of New York. This is my second attempt as my first (very lengthy post I did on my phone never posted.....grrrr). So this morning we (Bruce Jepsen, our Principal and I) visited a central city New York school nestled on the side of the bustling Central Park - Mary Mount School of New York. You could easily have walked past this school thinking it was a stunning 1800's mansion (which originally it was, three in fact). This private, all girls ADS school has 700 students thriving in a multi storied (no lifts!) historical building made up of a warren of rooms of every shape and size, each steeped in history with its first day of education starting with just 2 pupils back in the 1800's. We were met by their Director of STEM education who filled us in on the schools story and answered our questions related to curriculum, student agency, technology, assessment, culture, diversity - all the 'usual' stuff educators want to know. Our stories were aligned in lots of ways. We were then met by a Senior student who took us on a school tour, she answered our questions with pride and a quiet confidence, she had been at the school since kindergarten and new every nook and cranny like the back of her hand. Next we got to spend time with the schools Creative Technologist and to spend time in both the junior and senior maker spaces and ideas lab - I am literally still buzzing! We could have spent days swapping ideas and experiences and even though the research I've done clearly shows that the US is years ahead of NZ in the Maker Movement she felt that we were clearly years ahead of them at integrating technology in these spaces and especially at giving our students voice and choice in the classroom through the use of iPad. She was particularly interested our next community Maker project and wants us to keep her posted with updates as she would like to replicate this initiative in her school. Schools are all so different but I love that when we keep student learning at the centre, follow our passions and strive to stay at the edge of what is possible we form these common threads and links no matter where we are......even in little old New Zealand!
Next week we are attending the Apple Distinguished Schools Global Innovation Summit in Chicago, where Bruce will present a showcase and then we both facilitate a workshop together. This is the first time a NZ school has ever been invited to attend and we are proud to represent our Kura and our country.
We also visit two Chicago schools so I'll keep you posted with more photo's.
I wonder what the kids will call me, today one said "I'm looking for the Apple Teacher"......and another said "Are you Mrs Maker?" ......funny.