Why outdoor gear is like learning today

This is how much gear two blokes need for a three week Alpine climbing trip. Note the branding. there are a wide variety of brands. My philosophy when in the outdoors is to buy the best kit that I can afford. This means, buying kit that keeps me alive, as well as the gear that is on offer at the time. I also ensure that I have a huge range of gear so that I can take part in a wide range of activities.

The result? Between the two of us we must have at least 10 different brands of equipment. As we are still living, were able to take part in a diverse range of activities, and enjoyed the experience. To me, the outdoors is not about kit, but enjoying the moment and, well, getting out there. I also won’t reject kit for the brand name if a) it does the job well, and b) is at the right price.
So where is the link to learning today?
Well, to me, learning (doing the job) is the end result and is facilitated by a multitude of different learning tools (gear).

This week, a few bloggers have reflected upon the upcoming Google Teachers Academy (GTA). The discussion about whether or not to apply has been of particular interest. I’m concerned that the GTA is being seen as one way of doing things. Is there a split opening up between the tools available? I hope not. Such a split would mean that learning is compromised, just like a division in outdoor gear would mean me falling in to the crevasse below.
My view? I have put my hat in to the ring for the GTA because although I am aware of the Google Tools, I’m not totally proficient in how they can support learning. I see the GTA as an opportunity to find out (although I am not assuming that I’ll necessarily be there!), to be inspired and to share. The fact that it falls within the summer holidays is a bonus.

I’m not a Google evangelist, just like I don’t buy the latest technology kit straight away. I will use Google stuff if it supports, enhances and transforms learning. Having said this, I don’t think that teachers should be surprised that big corporations push their products in return for free training – isn’t that how the world works?
For those lucky 50 attendees, I hope that the experience is as good as the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forums, where the focus is clearly on sharing great practice and transforming learning. I have a feeling that it will be.
In the meantime, I hope that we remain focused on learning rather than the tools.

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