Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Change We Want to See

Today, I'm sitting in the San Jose International Airport where, I am delighted to report, the wi-fi is free to anyone and greatly appreciated. I wonder why can't Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport hasn't done the same? At any rate, traveling geeks like having the internet nearby and airports that cater to us are held in high esteem.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be a candidate in the Google Teacher Academy. Fifty-five other people from places all over the earth and I spent a goodly portion of the day exploring Google's ever-growing collection of tools. Aside from the fact that I was actually there and not dreaming, I was very interested to know how my GTA peers integrate technology in their respective environments. I was intrigued because I want to share what's going on in places other than my corner of the world in southeastern Georgia. What I learned was that my friends have been
In addition to doing absorbing as much as I could from the GTA participants, I also kept my eyes and mind open as our group was given a tour of the Googleplex so we could all see, first hand, how Google structured its working environment so as to foster innovation. To say that our trip through the Willy Wonkaesque cognitive workshop was enlightening is an understatement. The experience was akin to having our mental batteries recharged...and then some! Everywhere we went we observed surroundings that superbly meet the needs of those who pass through its boundaries. Walking into Google is like crossing over into a parallel universe where things have somehow, suddenly gone right. While it's not Utopia, it's pretty darned inspiring.

Those fortunate enough to be employed at Google have a work environment that, while demanding, is simultaneously humane. Great things are expected of the folks who power Google. At the same time, the company recognizes the value of its employees and does all it can to make their work a joy rather than drudgery. The company has a set of values that drives its decision-making. Education would do well to take them to heart. These values are:

  1. Focus on the end user and all else will follow.
  2. It's best to do one thing really, really well.
  3. Faster is better than slow.
  4. Democracy on the web works.
  5. You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer.
  6. You can make money without doing evil.
  7. There's always more information out there.
  8. The need for information crosses all borders.
  9. You can be serious without a wearing suit.
  10. Great just isn't good enough.

Before we left Google, our group was charged with the mission to go forth and be the change we want to see in the world. I've been thinking about that. What I would like to see is a world where anyone can learn in environments not unlike that of the Googleplex, places that are fun and fundamental in solving the complex issues that challenge all of us. If Google can do it, so can we.


Jerrie said...

Hey Jeff,

I have missed your informative and delightful posts on the SegaTech blog.....Kept wondering where you were!!!! :) Even emailed you to inquire, but never received a response.....

And then, just now found your new blog....You go, man! I am glad I am in "touch" again!!!!

See you at NECC?????

Best, Jerrie

Ms. A. said...

Hi Jeff,

We're back in GA with the TIE Network Summer Institute getting ready to do the webinar. We miss you.

I love the GTA values, especially the first one of keeping the end user in mind. It's wonderful to see this modeled, which you do so well.

I'm so looking forward to your GTA redelivery here in GA. Please just give me/us advance warning so I can make plans to be there.

Safe trip.

Nicole said...

It was nice meeting you briefly at the GTA. I look forward to networking further on the google group!