Posted: September 26, 2011 in eLearning, Tech

The PVUSD building.

Well here I am in Phoenix, Arizona as part of the ‘In conversation‘ study tour. After three flights and more uncomfortable seats than I’d like to recount we have hit the Arizona Biltmore and had a tour of Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Tempe and Scotsdale. Phoenix is a beautiful city, very clean and seemingly well organised and progressive. I’ve never seen so many solar panels before and getting around town was quite easy (although I’m glad I wasn’t driving!). It’s 40 odd degrees but it doesn’t feel overly hot, quite strange really. Everything is big, from my 30cm tall coffee this morning to the Arizona State University which seems like it’s own city. I can’t wait to see more and blog about the next things I learn about.

Our host is Jeff Billings, the Director of ICT for the Paradise Valley Unified Schools District. Amazing place and an amazing man. Jeff is in charge of all things ICT and eLearning for (from memory) 34,000 students across 52 schools and took us to their technology hub including Data Centre, staff and training facility. From what I have seen already the next week or so is going to be incredible. I’m sure I am going to come back with TONS of ideas!!

One of the most painful things about the flight from Sydney to San Francisco, apart from the seat, was the fact that my favourite football team was playing a Preliminary Final, one step away from the Grand Final. There was no way to know how they were going for 14 hours. Hell on earth! We landed and I scrambled to get onto wireless to check the scores. Luckily SFO has good wireless and I could get the scores quickly and find out my team won. From there I had so wait another 5 hours before getting to the Biltmore for access the wireless here. When I heard  Mark Pesce talk about hyperconnectedness I knew I was like this but wasn’t truly aware of how much.

I now have an AT&T mobile but only calls and text. How am I going to survive? An interesting experiment, try turning your phone data capability off for a few days and join me in hyperdisconnectedness….. Thank god for the Biltmore wireless!



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