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).