I suppose the journey to New York started a year ago. A group of us at school were writing an extensive report for the Principal about ‘ICT and Active Learning’ and we thought, why do all this work just for the eyes of the Principal, let’s leverage our research into other fields. So we did. We applied for two academic conferences by submitting abstracts of work we hadn’t written yet and managed to secure both of them. One was in Seville last November, which was the subject of my last post, and the other is next week, The Learner’s 21st International Conference on Learning, in New York.
As my flight out of Sydney took off I had an exhilarating view of Sydney Harbour, like I’ve never experienced before. The plane tipped and arced the rim of the harbour on the inner side of the bridge, my right hand side window seat providing the perfect view. I felt like it was a good omen and it turned my nervousness into a positive vibe. A few hours later I pulled my laptop out of the overhead locker and worked on the paper and structured the presentation. It was the first time I had felt good about the writing and confident that it would be a success. I was smiling inside and out. It also helped that there was a spare seat between me and a man on the aisle. Appropriately, I was reading Quiet by Susan Cain, because for the entire journey to Los Angeles we didn’t speak. When he went to the bathroom, I also went, so to not disturb his sleep or movie. However, when we landed we started a conversation, and lo and behold, we have a mutual friend who works in the office next to him at Sydney University. Small world. As for the book, there are some elements that really resonate with me but other parts irritate because it is quite against collaboration in schools. It isn’t extreme but it isn’t balanced either, which is understandable given the nature of the book but I’m all about balancing approaches to teaching and learning in schools. Perhaps the book will be a topic of another post. Nah, who am I kidding, I won’t have time to do that!
My luck continued. We were the first flight to land for the day at LA so moving through customs was a breeze. There was also a spare seat between my window seat and the passenger on the aisle for the next leg of the trip. I was determined to mark a set of assessment tasks on this leg and though I struggled to stay awake until I finished, I did, probably thanks to a revolting Ice Coffee from Starbucks at LAX, and managed a 40 minute nap towards the end of the trip. Again I was in luck when we flew over the spectacular Grand Canyon. It was definitely worth the $25 I paid to ensure I had a window seat for the flight. My luck dissipated slightly upon landing at JFK with an hour wait for luggage.
I’m staying at the Library Hotel which is gorgeous. I’m in room 603, themed Management (600.003 in the Dewey system). It is small but full of Management books, one of which I used in my last uni course. See the photo above for an idea of the room. I was too diligent at turning off my phone for the flight so sorry, no photos of the great natural wonders of the world. Unpack, shower, room service and six hours sleep brings me to the next morning and looking forward to an eventful day. I’ll fill you in on the other end.