Today Northern Michigan University rocked my world. I’d been reading and listening to the news about President Obama’s budget proposal and his desire to emphasize educational technology and classroom innovation.

And today I saw a tweet linking to this Mediasite presentation and bam, there was President Obama on my desktop from NMU in Marquette, Michigan, talking to students at Negaunee High School and Big Bay Middle School about the importance of technology for not only education, but also job training and retraining.

The three locations were connected via videoconferencing, each school having its own endpoint, and NMU then streamed that videoconference to others who weren’t at an endpoint – like you and me – so we could watch, and of course return to the webcast to watch again on-demand.

I’ll admit it. I was star struck. And this wasn’t the first time we’ve seen famous peopleor an Obama – in the Mediasite player.

What had me excited was the dialog between the President and the students.

“No one is going to have one career for 50 years. You’ll probably have 6-7 different jobs, and the key is, to have a skill set that can constantly be upgraded and retooled. Part of what technology like this can provide is, as you may want to shift from one aspect of science to another, you may be able to learn remotely in a way that’s a lot cheaper so you can still go to work and study. It doesn’t end up being as much of a strain on your budget and we want that lifelong learning to be taking place all across the country.”
– President Barack Obama

The President was on-site to announce his plan to build out high-speed wireless services. He chose NMU because they’ve been able to grow as a result of broadband access, enabling distance learning for university and community students.

President Obama did admit there’s a downside for students to using technology like this… “Today we’re demonstrating how this technology can make sure you are learning not only in the classroom but around the world, but - it means you guys may not get snow days anymore.”