|This isn’t Dunedin, but a rather interesting picture I took from outside the window of my hotel room in Rotorua, of early morning steam vents around Rotorua Lake.|
|This is a picture I grabbed on the road between the airport and Dunedin proper.|
It seems that you have to hop along New Zealand. From Rotorua, I flew to Christchurch, and then from Christchurch, I flew the rest of the way to Dunedin. Flying home, I’ll catch a plane to Christchurch, then to Auckland, then (maybe) to Fiji, and then San Francisco, then Chicago, then Raleigh. Geez!
At any rate, I am very lucky to be here. What a beautiful city, tucked in the apparently ubiquitous mountains of the South Island. Once we broke cloud cover, my views out the window, of that very peculiar looking plane, were magnificent — mountains running right up to the coast of the Pacific. The city, again, is beautiful with wonderful vistas almost every direction that you look. I would show you the view outside of Greg Carroll’s dining room window, but I haven’t processed it yet.
Greg, a primary school principal and former cluster facilitator, is hosting my visit here, and the workshops I’ll be doing today here in the Mercure Hotel. It will be a relatively intimate event, with only about 50 attendees. I consider it a unique challenge, because the perspectives of educators here are quite different from that of most of my audiences. Here, if teachers like and idea that I suggest, they can say, “I can do this!” “I can’t wait!”
In the U.S., they will say, “How might I convince the powers-that-be that we should be doing this!” Of course, it’s not always that way, because there are certainly conspicuous pockets of courage and vision in the United States. But things are so different here.
Challenges remain! Just like the U.S., there seems to be a vexing digital divide between urban and rural locations, with regard to broadband. Though there city broad band is significantly higher than the U.S., it is also significantly slower than that in Japan and Korea. However, rural areas still rely on dial up.
I’d like to clarify one point from yesterday’s blog (or was it Thursday? Where do you live, anyway? 😉 It is so confusing!). I’d said that New Zealand does not enjoy an E-Rate style solution for making broadband access to information more affordable. However the government has set up, or funded a network called School Zone. For most schools, it gives them a discount, though not in all instances. They also provide e-mail for students and web-hosting services.
Much more that I could share, but I’d better conserve what capacities I have left in my brain — which is starting to feel like a spinning top!
[Again, if you are in New Zealand, and any of my statements need clarifying, please comment]