I left Melbourne airport at 10am on Friday and arrived into San Francisco at 9am on Friday...but that has not been my only experience of time travel in my first two days here in California.
I was picked up at the airport by my friend John Bailey; vulcanologist by trade, but now doing wonderful work on the Google Earth outreach team. On the drive from SFO to the Googleplex I counted 6 Waymo self driving cars, dozens and dozens of Teslas and many other electric or hybrid cars. The future of automobiles is already happening here.
I then spent the day with John helping him prepare devices for the Geo for Good conference he is running this coming week whilst chewing the fat and catching up. Seeing VR, AR and the amazing Google Earth Voyages technology; technologies which, when combined with powerful and purposeful pedagogy, can take learners beyond the physical boundaries of their schools gave me another glimpse into the future now.
Then finally today, I made the most of my pre-study tour time to wander through the Stanford University Campus; a hallowed place in Silicon Valley which has been innovating for over 130 years.
The campus is beautiful and certainly has an historic atmosphere, but there is a palpable sense of innovation which I think was beautifully captured by their 2003 Bio-X lab; deliberately built to promote cross-disciplinary learning, thinking and creating. This again made me think back to Google X and the powerful collaborations that happen in the Moonshot Factory to come up with ideas which tackle the world's largest problems; including self-driving cars. It strikes me that designing learning which allows our young people to collaborate in the face of an authentic challenge is not only immensely rewarding, but should be a default paradigm in education. I look forward to exploring this idea in more detail over the coming week, but while I am waiting for the start of the study tour, I think I will just have some pie...