Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Successful Lesson.

I had a whole class to myself last night. Carey's grade 6 geography class in Virginia was great. We introduced ourselves, I invited a Malaysian special guest, the class watched the videos made by my students in Malaysia, and I was able to answer some of the questions the American students had. We connected via Skype, and it only disconnected a couple time.

Email From Carey & Link to her Geography 6 Blog:


Today was amazing! Words can't even describe it.

Here is our first "completed" video. It is actually a photo story, but
you get the idea!


Tech Task #13.

I made a Podcast using Audacity. It's a Podcast teaching a some very basic Bahasa Malyau (The Malaysian Language). I talk about numbers, food, and how to say hello, how are you?

Bad news is my Padcast never made it to iTunes. I converted my audio to an mp3, and copied the URL into the spot on the iTunes store, where it says submit your Podcast, but it times out everytime. Does anybody have a solution for this ??

Long House Visit.

Last night I went with Tashia, Sharlene, and almost the entire SK Mador staff to a long house. Our night started off with the ladies of the long house meeting us at the door with bottles and bottles of rice wine. We were taught about the Iban culture, we danced, some sang kareoke, ate dinner, cut the bomboo tree down, and were even given gifts. It was definitely one of our best nights in Sarawak.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tech Task #3

I added Will Richardson to my Google Reader list, and read his blog "Why is it so Hard for Educators to Focus on their own Learning ?".

Will Richardson writes about how teachers are missing out on the fact that they need to focus on their own learning. He says we need to change our thinking so we can learn from the technology that's available to us, instead of just using it as a way to communicate.

US Students Project.

Did You Know?

We are doing a collaborative project with students in Malaysia. Mr. Jackson, our mentor teacher is working with them. We need to make a video entitled, “Did you know?” about our culture. What are some interesting things about our lives and where we live? It may be more difficult than you think! Often, we are so familiar with our surroundings that we don’t know what would seem weird to someone across the world. In order to look at our own lives more clearly, we are going to study it as a geographer would. Do you remember studying that way back in September?

We will use the 5 themes of Geography:



Human-environment interaction




Each group will study an aspect of life here using those 5 themes. You will do research and will come up with some interesting facts about your topic. You must find at least 5 facts for each theme. From the list you have, we will make a video just like the one Mr. Jackson sent to us for the students in Singapore. Each group will need to take photos to put in the video.


School Life

Social Life


United States


Tuesday: Each student will find at least 3 facts from each category. You may come up with one from each category from stuff you already know, but you must research to find the other two.

Wednesday: Groups meet to decide which facts to use. Decide what would make good photos to use. Take photos if possible.

Thursday: Start making videos. Students from Mrs. Dawson’s Digital Film Editing Class will be helping us.


You will be graded in the following manner:

Group Work Rubric: 21 points

Research: 20 points

Video Rubric: 20 points

Final Project. (email from Carey)

I love that you keep tossing ideas!  I am the same way and I think it
makes you a great teacher! I assigned some of my students to focus on
school stuff so I think it will be covered in what they are already
doing, but I will make sure. We are using Photostory so it isn't video
per se, but it should work. They are supposed to start the recordings
today. Scripts are written, photos are chosen. Should be good. It may
be a little long. I am going to try to get them to speak slowly, and
hopefully the photo references will help.

I have to say that personally, you have already touched me with this
project. I just about fell out of my chair when you said there wasn't
internet access at your school. It puts things into perspective when my
students are doing a slide that says that 9/10 students at our school
have iPods.

My students are LOVING this project. I attached the sheet that I used
for this project for them.

I hope next year when you have your own classroom that we can continue
to collaborate!


Mentorship & Final Project Update.

Mentorship & Final Project Update.

Where do I start? I feel that the opportunity to collaborate with Carey, in Virginia, has been priceless, and definitely the most valuable project I've been apart of since being in Malaysia. Thanks to my situation I've given her class the opportunity to discuss topics such as location, place, human-environment interaction, movement, and regions.

My students in Malaysia have been able to practice their English speaking and writing skills. I also moved them into groups and they had a chance to work cooperatively, which doesn't happen very much in Malaysian education. They've been learning about what schools are like in Canada, and the US. I've taught also taught them about our houses, food, weather, and sports.

Thanks to Carey and her class I've been able to test, and think of different ways to connect with classrooms around the world. We've Skyped, used Google Docs, Bloged, shared videos on YouTube, and emailed. Each one of these programs was brand new to me, but I'm feeling more confident with them, and I'll be comfortable using them in schools. With practice I'll become more efficient and more likely to try new technology ideas.

My mentorship has taught me how wonderful technology is, but at the same time I've spent many frustrated hours trying to download something, or make something look just right, and I wanted to toss my computer under a bus. Technology is wonderful, but I haven't been able to count on it like I should. I've had to rewrite more discussion posts because of a lost connection then I can keep track of. If the technology is available to you and it's reliable teachers need to take advantage of it. My school in Malaysia has three very old computers(that don't get used), and four laptops. They have working projectors in three classes, no internet, and to make photocopies they need to drive a school down the road and provide their own paper. Thanks to this experience, and my mentorship I've realized, and want everyone to realize how fortunate we are to have the technology we have. Don't take it for granted, and don't let it go to waste. The teachers in Malaysia would loose their socks if they ever saw a Smart Board, or a cart of laptops that could access the internet.

Collaborating with Carey has taught me that there's really no limit to learning, I have plans to do a project with my friends in Penang once they become teachers. Carey and I would also like to try a mentorship again. I think it's great for both teachers, it brings different ideas together, and we can learn from eachother. It also gives the students something fresh, and something to look forward to. I can't think of any disadvantages to teachers collaborating, teachers can always learn from each other and from each others students.

Based on the connections I've made with Carey and her class. Using the various forms of technology, and creating a project for her class in the US and my class in Malaysia. I would grade give myself 30 / 35.

Social Learning.

Social Learning.
There have been times, while being in Malaysia, that I have felt far away from home, from the U of R and from my comfort zone, but other times I felt like I was no further then a couple hours away. This is definitely because of the technology that is available to us. If there's anything I need to know it's not hard to find out. The the Internet provides the opportunity to connect people, connect classrooms, and connect communities. While being in Malaysia we've written to community newspaper, schools newsletters, while keeping up to date with friends and family. I've connected my class in Malaysia with a class in the United States, and posted my thoughts on my blog for people at home, Canada.

I've made great connections because of this class. Obviously Dean and Alec, E Comp. Professors, are great connections to have. Their classes are always changing and improving the technology in classrooms. I have had nothing but success with my mentorship partner, Carey Pohanka, we've learned a lot from each other, and from our students. Carey has even suggested that we continue to collaborate next year and possibly for years to come. And I've learned lots from my classmates, I don't think I have met any of them in person yet, but can't wait to meet them, and hopefully encourage them to participate in the Malaysia exchange. I've had great times commenting on each others blogs, chatting during class, and writing emails back and forth saying, “What's up with that?” I got a connection to school division from a classmate, they've emailed me their responses to survey questions, we've discussed final projects, and I think the most important thing is that my classmates have always been the first ones to tell me that something on my blog wasn't working. Thank You.

Being so far away and still staying connected seems to be one of the themes of my trip. And I hope by me being over here I've made others realize that potential to connect with other places in the world. I think teachers possess a social bond that helps us create these connections. I don't think these types of relationships can be found in many other professions either. Education can always be improved no matter where you are or who you are. Teachers don't always have to reinvent the wheel, we can learn from each other, then adapt to make things fit in with our classes and our students. I recently registered for Twitter, and know I know why the 455 class was going crazy about it. Twitter is the Hub for social learning. There is no limit to the connections you can make, and Twitter is just a single tool that can keep everyone together.

I'd like to think about the connections I've made in these four short months.

  • Principals and teachers at over 10 Malaysian elementary schools, and 1 American Elementary School.

  • Professors at 2 Malaysian Colleges, and 1 Canadian University.

  • Students from 3 different different campuses.

  • I'll be going to Australia soon to meet up with friends I met working at a summer camp.

  • My friend Sarah, who's on this exchange, has accepted a teaching job in Thailand.

As far as the social learning that I've done specifically in this class; I feel that whenever I've needed to find something out, or see an example of an assignment I've always been able to rely on my classmates. I hope that they keep posting to their blogs, and I would encourage the first and second year students to ask me any questions they might have in the future. Once you become a teacher I feel you then enter a social circle of teachers (A Teacher Club), and I've seen how the networking operates, teacher workshops & inservices are very social places. Passionate teachers always want to know what other teachers are doing in their classes, what's working and what's not, this is very important for teachers to understand. Education changes by the second, teachers need to change too. It's not acceptable to teach the same units for 15 strait years. I feel that is a habit of older teachers, and hopefully soon to be retiring teachers. We need to continue to grow, continue to improve, and continue to learn from each other.

I don't know about a grade for this section. 12/15 seems good, Based on the opportunities I've made to share learning, I never missed a class, and commenting to classmates (emails & blog).