Once again, it was great to meet educators, enthusiastic for change and progress. I never fail to be inspired by the enthusiasm you meet in the vast majority of teachers and yesterday was no different.
The event coincided with Microsoft's special announcement: the revelation of their new 'Surface' tablet.
It will be interesting to see the impact it will have.
It got me to thinking of the key components that technology must have to successfully embed in our schools today. There may be a number of different boxes that need ticked in this regard; technical things like size, weight, portability and battery life.
Practical issues like cost and, well.. cost.
And educational questions about implementation and deployment. Which is where I would place this wonderful and all-important word:
In their book 'Made to Stick' Chip and Dan Heath talk of 'the curse of knowledge', essentially the idea that the more time and effort you have put in to developing a project or product the more you are aware of its complexities and the harder it is to communicate in a powerful, sticky, simple way. For a truly sticky idea, you need to edit the message to its very core.
This, I think is key to the integration of technology in education.
The core message must be that this piece of tech will become whatever you need. Very few people are switched on by complicated messages about processing power and screen pixels, memory capacity and graphics chips. What does switch us on as teachers and educators is the message that this makes things better, this can bring your maths lessons to life, make your geography projects relevant and interesting, simplify the process of recording your science experiments, create beautiful graphs and charts and give you tools in language, music, art and drama that will make your job easier and your classroom relevant in the 21st century.
We have got the message with iPad, loud and clear. It just works.
This is the job that the new Microsoft tablet must do to be successful. Convince us that no matter our level of technical expertise it will do what we want, with no hassle.