This ancient Chinese proverb expresses how I feel my learning has been progressing the past 6 months, not stagnant, but moving forward slowly and as the end of the year approaches, and the first anniversary of this blog also approaches, I can say I am not standing still, but may need to walk a bit faster.
This is my first blog I write since August where I have not needed to turn on my trusty VPN as I am in Singapore on holiday – it is liberating. Living and working behind the Great Firewall has been an adventure, but the internet restrictions of the GFW have stolen half the tools within my 21st Century Teacher Toolbox…
-Google Docs and Apps for Education
-Edublogs (Unless we subscribe as a school for over $1000)
…all unreachable within my classroom environment. Blogging platforms and Google gone from a modern classroom seems unthinkable and I have spent the past half year rethinking and reworking my philosophy to ed tech as it relates to my present situation.
All of the restrictions aside there is still much that I can do as a professional for my own learning and there are still ways that I can create a connected classroom…
-I am creating a class Wiki. Wikis are not my preferred tool with a year 2 class, but it will suffice in the absence of a blog. Additionally, it will allow me to embed YouKu videos (China’s version of YouTube) and gives us a platform to share work as well as host relevant clips for flipped learning at home. With many of my parents not being native English speakers it may also break down the barriers between school and home.
-Skype: I can access skype through my personal VPN, so connecting with other classes through Skype is achievable.
-Email: Letters never seem to arrive, but connecting to other classes through email is a definite.
Now for me as a learner and a connected teacher I just need to keep looking at the glass being half full. I am researching into some online study, but reconnecting with my PLN is a must, as through the GFW and timezone differences I have been inactive on Twitter and Google+ and not dedicated the time to blog reading and hashtag following that I normally would. Edcamp Home is a mere 14 days away and I can not think of a better way to inspire a new year and prepare a teacher for the second term.
I have discovered that learning to code is like a Soduku or Crossword and is giving me a better understanding of how a computer and the internet works. I am halfway through a html course on Code Academy and trying to create Apps for my Android phone with MIT AppInventor (You have to give it a go if you have an Android, and get your class to give it a go too!).
I got my class involved with Decembers Hour of Code initiative for Computer Science week – seeing 6 year olds programming Angry Birds was inspiring and let me know that Scratch, another product of MIT, will be part of my class program next term.
Lastly I need to remember about this blog – writing a blog post like this is the best way for me to clear my head and order my thoughts, make a plan and direct my thinking, let me reflect and redirect, as that was the purpose of this blog when I created it, but if I do not use it with regularity is is a waste.