Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 1, Microsoft PILFG

Monday, November 7, 2011

Much to my surprise, today was very low key!  Ok, let me explain.  Compared to the US forum, today was great!  We didn't have a lot of down time and time that was relaxing at the US Forum, but that seems to be built into our schedule here at the Global Forum.

First, we had our introduction and a few activities.  It was not too exciting, but great to see some of the things that Microsoft is doing in education.

Our guest speaker was a man named Will Richardson.  The neat thing about his talk was that he owned it!  The material is a part of who he is.  He talked about our need to use technology and teach in a way that is meaningful and useful to students.  Translation:  use technology and teach these students 21st century skills.  It was a great talk.

We also met our learning excursion groups!  I have a group that is diverse in many ways (except sex).  Susana is from Ecuador (but doesn't speak English), Indra is from Latvia, Jinan is from Lebanon, and Maureen is from Ireland.  We were charged with creating a project that deals with water and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.  It was a very fun day with the ladies!  I was acting as the defacto translator for Susana part of the time!

Exhibit setup was uneventful, but we as the US team were separated from rest of the crowd.  We had to setup at the Warner Theater for our time with the US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Tuesday.

Then, we got free time!  Pauline, the gang and I hung out and chatted about various items including the US Forum and our classrooms.

The last item of the day was definitely the most exciting for me.  We had a reception at the American History Museum.  First, we met the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, G. Wayne Slough and his wife.  What a neat guy.  We also met the Sig Behrens, Microsoft education director.  The list goes on!  By far, the neatest part of the night was the Star Spangled Banner Flag Exhibit.  We got to experience the battle from the war of 1812 in which the US fought of Britain at Fort McHenry.  When Francis Scott Key saw the Brits retreating from the fort, he wrote the song we consider our National Anthem.  Around the corner, we saw the neatest part of the exhibit, the flag that flew over Fort McHenry.  Just standing there in awe, near tears in my eyes, so thankful for the skill and perseverance of American soldiers.  I went through twice.

The rest of the night Pauline and I toured the museum.  What a place!  There are exhibits about transportation, electricity, flight, music, and many others.  The highlights for me were the Stratavarius Violins and electricity exhibits.  We actually got to see light bulbs Edison invented and that didn't work!  After a night of fun and food, we rested at our hotels, ready for the big day of Tuesday, likely our busiest.

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