Thursday, December 10, 2009

Project Reflection- Develop Digital-Age learning assessment

This video story telling project on Chinese idioms is planed for the second semester. Usually I would use the traditional way to ask students to compose a writing article on the being taught Chinese idioms. This writing task is based on the deep understanding of the Chinese idioms, including how the idiom was created, what was the original meaning of the idiom and how this meaning has been extended or transformed into the context of modern Chinese language. From this understanding, students are to write a story, in which the rich and subtle meaning of the particular Chinese idiom is well embedded and unfolded.

Why to design the Digital video story project instead? the NETs standards for teachers.

1. Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity.

Teacher use their knowledge of subject matter, technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity in both face to face and virtual environment.

a) Engage students in exploring concept understanding in using digital tools and resources.

2. Design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments

a) Design and adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and
resources to promote students learning and creativity.

Demonstration on how to proceed this project work:

Firstly, I choose one of the most popular Chinese idioms-自相矛盾, and find this cartoon movie on YouTube. The cartoon story below is very well told to explain how this idiom was created.

Secondly, based on the fundamental understanding of this idiom, I develop a digital story that the theme of the story could be summarized exactly with this particular idiom, so that the audience can see how this idiom fits in certain situation and gain clear understanding of how to interpret the meaning of this particular phrase.

Example of a digital story on the Chinese idiom:

Students are to produce their own digital story on the respective Chinese idiom assigned to them.

What are those standards the students are going to obtain throughout this project exceptionally? AASL [American Association Of School Librarians] Standards

  • 2.1.6 Use writing process, media and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understandings.
  • 2.2.4 Demonstrate personal productivity by completing products to express learning;
  • 2.1.4 Use technology and other info tools to analysis and organise info
  • 2.1.5 collaborate with others to exchange idieas, develop new understandings, make decisions.
  • 3.1.3 Use writing and speaking skills to communicate new understandings effectively.
  • 3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organise and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use and access.
  • 3.3.2 Respect the different interests and experiences of others, and seek a variety of viewpoints.
  • 4.1.7 Use social networks and information tools to gather and share information.
  • 4.1.8 Use Creative and artist formats to express peronal learning.
  • 4.4.5 Develop personal criteria for gauging how effectively own ideas are expressed.

I look forward to seeing my students' creative works on this project.

Please click here to look at the project sketch.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Powerful "Blackberry"

I can not tell exactly when I noticed of the portable devices like ipod, mp3, mp4, iphone...and especially the various brands of cell phone with multiple-functions are being brought into class by my students.

At very beginning, I was quite upset with this distraction caused by it. Students are constantly wearing earphones to listen to music, navigating on the tiny screen of the cell phone with their heads down when they are doing classwork, or even when teacher is giving lecture. I eventually had to collect them from the students and put all of them on my teaching table, and guess how many of these devices are there on my table? Almost the equal number of the students in the class. And more than half of my students own "Balckberry" , which is the most popular brand of a cellphone.
Cellphones so far have not been an educational tool, they have been distraction. It almost laughable that the cellphone industry is pushing a study showing that cellphone will make kids smarter." Janet Bass, a spokeswoman for the " American Federation of Teachers.

However, the frequent use of these cellphone of my students on daily basis gradually changed the way I thought of it. I started to notice of the power of these portable devices, the benefits my students gained from owning this device during school days at ISB.

(1) Students can check their powerschool grade constantly. When I enter the grade of their work into powerschool, students can immediately access to the powerschool via blackberry. From time to time, right during classtime, students check the grades asking for more details of the grade on a particular work, reminding me of entering the grade for the make-up work they
did...and interestingly, I come to realise that students are becoming more conscientious and clearly aware of their school work with the capability of being able to access to their grade results at once via blackberry.

(2) Students are able to create project work via blackberry anywhere and anytime when they are available. Two students were playing the role-play, and the other one was holding that powerful blackberry making the video-story, then published or shared this audio file with online media tool right away.

(3) One Student lost his study-guide paper. He wanted to study it after school time. So he came asking me to upload this paper into PatherNET, and he could access to patherNET via his blackberry.

I am indeed impressed by the power of blackberry. I would love to think positively on how to embed this blackberry into my teaching and learning activities, although I have not done much with it for the time being.

Indeed, the mobile device can be well-used for the purpose of making learning more easier and more fun, as mobile phone has become an important part of young people's life, and why not invite blackberry to campus as one of the study tools?

" ...mobiles have been evolving rapidly in recent years. Multi-touch interfaces, GPS capability, and the ability to run third party applications make today's mobile device an increasingly flexible tool that is readily adapted to a wide range of tasks for social networking, learning and productivity. In some places, mobile devices like iphone have already begun to supplant portable computers as the internet-capable device of choice." [Horizon Report]

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The practice of use of laptop in my classroom

Before having this discussion on classroom management of laptop, I would like to think over this concern: Is it necessary for me to allow my students to use laptops in class? When do I use laptop in my classroom? For me, this only happens during student-centred activities such as creating oral project or produce creative writing in narrative paragraph or dialogue...and so on, laptop is not allowed during teacher-centred lessons.

Students should be assigned a performance task with clear instruction from teacher, which includes the required academic standard, the step by step instruction of proceeding to the final work, the deadline of submission of their work, the criteria of grading their project...when students have the end in mind, they know where they are heading to, what they are doing and how they are going to achieve it.

This video shows a moment of my students' using laptop to start their writing project.

1) Each group only has one laptop. One student does the note-taking work, and the other members of the group contribute to the content, the expression of their work.

2) When students start to make draft, they can either choose to type Chinese characters into laptop via PinYin, or do the handwriting on a piece of paper, then leave the laptop aside for a while.

As only the classroom laptops are installed Chinese software, if they want to type the draft in computer, they must make effective use of the classtime in order to finish the work on time. It means they do not have time to mess around.

3) Students are clear with the steps of this work for this laptop class. Once the group finishes the draft, then they can use the digital media tools such as audacity, voicethread, window movie maker or photostory3...whatever tools they prefer to apply. Someone might search pictures, someone might be looking for sounds, music fitting later they can combine the puzzles into the whole picture. And most of time, students know where to go to get the picture and music, as they already had the favorite websites in mind.

4) Teacher must walk around the class all the time having eyes on what the students are doing with the laptop. It is necessary always.

No searching of information or browsing websites should be done during classtime. This kind of messing around work should be assigned as homework or carry on in after school time.

5) The case of "One laptop per student " only happens when teacher introduces some useful learning tools, softwares to students, students should have the experiences in trying them.

" Remember, it is about them(students), not you, you do not have to be a master of technology, nor do you have to know everything kids can do with technology. Create a framework for an engaging student-centred assignment and let students surprise you with their innovative contributions!" Management classroom of laptop

The most important thing in a laptop class is to create an engaging student-centred assignment.

Then you do not have to worry about student's distraction.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Approaches to being good educator as a classroom teacher for the 21st Century

Original picture from:
Global perspective

Original picture from Tech in classroom

ISTE's Educational Technology Standards for Teachers.

Obviously, having this above standards or not, we teachers have been always encouraging our students to explore the new knowledge, motivating students to be independent learner thinking critically and educating students to be citizenship responsibly and ethically in respective societies.

So here are the questions:

  • What are the most outstanding differences of our teaching in 21st Century?

  • What are the emphasis standards mentioned above comparing with the traditional ones?

  • How is this educational technology standards replacing some of our traditional teaching values ?

From my perspective, here is my understandings of the above questions:

  • The most outstanding differences in today's teaching life is to embed the Information technology into our classroom teaching. And this means at first teacher must own the information and technology literacy by all means, as it is written " Demonstrate fluency in technology system and transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations"
  • Here comes the second answer, "what are the emphasis standards?" What does this applications of the information and technology occurring in daily classroom teaching mean? This 21st digital-age is an age of collaboration and communication globally. So the emphasis of this ISTE standards are Collaboration and Communication.
  • In order to have our students collaborate and communicate well with people of other cultures from different continents, teacher himself at first should have global awareness, deeper understanding and appreciation of different perspectives of certain issues. Before leading students to this standard, teachers must be there first. Being more tolerant and broad-minded are the necessaries.
  • 21st Century is Information age. There is huge amount of teaching and learning resources for us to research. Teachers should display on how to relocate, analysize, evaluate and create new knowledge and understadnings out of the ocean of information from the internet world.

The above is my understanding of the challenge of being a good educator for the 21st century.
Yes I would rather say the ISTE standards for teachers is relevant enough to face the future challenges in the education of 21st century. And yet, how far have we been as teacher to meet those standards? Teachers of international schools worldwide might have more advantages of meeting those standards than the teachers in schools of home countries regarding more advanced technology teaching environment and having global perspectives as third culture person.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What do we teach our students through technology and information literacy?

I certainly agree with Mr David Warlick in this argument that 'if teachers' job was to help their students gain the technology skills they will need after graduate?' and the answer is No! He said" we do not know what word processing will look like in 10 years, 5 years or if it will still exist."
"Students simply learn how computer can help them do interesting things, gain the skills and confidence required to teach themselves with the guidance of teacher, the applications to make it happen."
After all, It is not the technology itself that we want to teach, it is those standards beyond the tech, such as dispositions in action, the responsibilities and self-assessment strategies that come along with obtaining the skills and knowledge.

So why not require that every student accomplish a significant project as a final assessment? The only requirement would be that it applies to something they are learning or have learned in school, you have to hand it in on a thumb drive or via a URL.And it would be assessed by teacher.

I have tried this in my Mandarin II class. I asked my students to hand in a Mandarin oral project on the topic " Making appointment" as a final assessment for this chapter. They can choose to present it by either integrating technology (whatever medis tools they prefer) into the project or simply playing role-play or drama physically in front of the class. So at the end, 80% of the class chose to embed technology in the project. And the result is quite exciting. Some group uses Voicethread to upload the oral project,, some group prefer make a movie for this project. And they are all fantastic!

In this process of completing the project, students have to discuss about the distribution of the work, making draft, listing down the needed vocabulary, phrases and sentence drills, doing rehearsal, arranging time after school to do recording...and so on. They gain personal growth in how to work as a team, the importance of collaboration and communication, the friendship they have built among the team during this time, the responsibilities in sharing skills and understanding of the knowledge with each other...all these things are necessary to success in this project. And of course, these also apply to those students who prefer present the project physically in front of the class rather than the use of technology information methods. But when they watch their classmates' digital production of the project, they might think of trying it next time, after all their hard work can be displayed beyond the classtime and can be shared with more audiences.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

whose job is it to teach NETs and AASL standards to students?

Before we discuss on this question shown in the title of this post, let us have a quick look at the NETs and AASL:


  1. Creativity and Innovation
  2. communication and Collaboration
  3. Research and Information fluency
  4. Critical thinking,probelm solving,decision making
  5. Digital citizenship
  6. Technology operations and concepts


  1. Inquiry, think critically, and gain knowledge
  2. Draw conclusions,make informed decisions,apply knowledge to new situations and create new knowledge
  3. Share knowledge and particapte ethically and productively as members of our democratic society;
  4. Pursue personal and aesthetic growth

Plus, under each of the above four AASL standards, there are four sub-categories which are: Skills, Dispositions in Action, Responsibilities and Self-assessment strategies.

So now, we come back to the question: whose job is to teach those standards to students?

Of course, we can say it is everyone's job including parents, teachers, learning communities and the whole society. Among these, I shall say the learning communities such as school is playing the crucial role in this. After all, students need to be put in an healthy and conducive environment where they can obtain those qualities required in those standards.

This video is just an example of how students can be taught in such a fantastic environment where the target language and its cultural are immersed in their daily life.

Apparently, teacher is standing in the front line who carries the standards into his teaching, and yet he needs to work within a system which makes that teaching possible and available. The individuals' effort can make difference indeed, but it depends on the quality teaching of the individual teacher whose knowledge and perspective varies from one to another, therefore setting up an good education system in which teaching and learning activities can be assured to follow the proper standards from top down to the bottom.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Reflection on final project-providing the authentic learning resources in Modern Language Class

How to provide students the authentic learning opportunity in language class has been always an important issue. I am so excited to produce this above mini movie when I was travelling in Beijing this 16th -24th Oct 2009 to attend a weekend workshop. This movie will be a wonderful learning and teaching resources in teaching of the Unit " Travel". And here I would love to share how I made this movie and how I want to apply this movie in my curriculum content.

The structure of this movie

Software I used to make this movie: window movie maker;

Music chosen: "Beijing Welcome you" from 2008 Olympic theme song

The basic information on travelling: transportation, hotel, shopping, souvenirs, eating outside and local culture; I edit the photos and videos in such order as the basic information when oneself needs in travel.

How I embed this digital movie into my teaching

This movie can be either used to assess students for their academic grades or to encourage students to work for their credit points. There are three ways for students to use the movie:

1) To get the Chinese words as much as possible in the movie to edit them into a mini-travle dictionary. Then select the best travel dictionary among the class;

2) To produce a relevant movie based on this;

3) To compose a travelling story based on the background, the information in this movie;

Students can be a writer, a director or an editor to produce the above respective performance tasks, and display their work to the public.

Not only the movie can serve the above purposes, but also students have the opportunity to test themselves if they can apply what they learnt from textbook to the real life situation, for example, reading the menu book of the restaurant, telling the services offered in business centre in the hotel, recognizing the public signs in airport, central commercial district...and touching the pulse of modern Beijing in 21st century.

Monday, October 26, 2009

How could screencast be used in my classroom?

This screencasting is used for listening practice.

Students can exercise their listening skill by playing this video as many times as they want. The listening quiz is to ask students to choose the right answer while the dialogue is being played. This is particularly helpful to those students who can not follow the dialogue during class time.

Study of the new Mandarin vocabulary.

Teacher demonstrates the word pronunciation with its right tone and makes the revelant sentence in that said vocabulary. This will be very practical for students to review the currently learnt words, especially before the quiz, students can use this screencast to do self word dictation while listening to its tone, the pronunciation and its meaning explained in Mandarin.

Feedback on student performance.

Screencast can be used to provide richer feedback on students performance. The above one is to teach reading comprehension skill by reading the paragraph clearly and pointing out the most tricky questions on it. Teacher demonstrate how to interpret the question by catching the key words of that question and type the correct answer.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How has the explosion of web based video changed the teaching and learning landscape?

1). Teaching of Chinese character has become such a fun activity.

The above video. visulises. how Chinese characters have been evolved into. the modern version; Teacher can pause the video and asks the students to guess which C.hinese. character that the particular picture shown in the video would be developed into, or make a guess on what the individual character means according to. the original picture ...

This video is a cartoon of Chinese character. It tells a fairy tale story that the magic dragon ate the extra Suns in the sky to save our planet-Earth. That is why dragon is the totem of Chinese nation. All the scenery in this cartoon is. made of Chinese characters, such as mountain, river, fire, birds, horse, the Sun ...

Students can recognize those. chinese. characters from this cartoon. It is the wonderful way to memorize and understand this language.

2) Demonstration of the process of Chinese cooking.

It makes demonstration on Chinese cooking so easy. Students can just watch the countless videos online to. comprehend Chinese cooking step by step. Teacher can give. students assessment on this video to interpret the cooking in Chinese as much as they can ...

3) To appreciate song words / C.hinese. poem via music videos.

Students can listen to the song music while reading the Chinese words as subtitle. Teacher can asks students to make analysis of this song together with the music ...

The explosion of web based videos have made teaching of Chinese more. easily understood, the learning process more engaging and interesting for students; Meanwhile making the proper use of web based videos enable students to make connections in between different subjects, for example, the relation of music and words, the food and its culture.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Empathetic, naked and message cleared

I do not use PowerPoint often in my classroom teaching. However, Powerpoint is great when used to create a *short* multimedia presentation that goes alongside the lectures. I find it very helpful in teaching of those vocabulary that are hardly explained in words. For example, in the Chapter of traditional Chinese festivals and its food, there are different Chinese dumplings for the particular festival; Each kind of dumpling has its unique name in Mandarin, but they are all same in English-'dumpling'. In order to show students the differences among them, I created a PowerPoint for it.

The concept of " Presentation Zen" is being introduced into our third course. I love it !

Empathy is one of the six aptitudes in good presentation.

" -the ability to put presenter in the position of the user, the customer, or the audience member...,
-incapable of understanding how anyone could possibly be confused by her explanation of the data is lack of empathy...
-The empathetic presenter can make adjustments based on his reading of this particular audience. " From Design to meaning

-"Be present in the moment. Right here right now. Do not be occupied with thoughts of the future, of thoughts concerning what the results of your presentation might lead to. Do not ask about origins and ends leaving the moment forgotten. When you are with your audience, all that matters is that moment."
-Keep it simple. All of it. Simple goals, clear messages, and moderation in length.
Naked Presentation

These words are great enlightenment in my teaching. I start to reflect on the PPTs I made before.

BEFORE. Above (left) is the original slide. The problem with the slide on the left is that there are 4 images squeezed into one slide with the words, phrases and sentences on top; I was too greedy in delivering too much information at once, I was occupied with the thoughts of the future rather than be present in the moment; The text is difficult to read. And students can hardly match each of the food images with the corresponding Chinese phrase. Obviously I am not an empathetic teacher.
The slide on the right (above) was an effort to display the same information in separated slides with much less words attached. For the sack of clarity, the visual displays only one dumpling per slide. Also, the Chinese phrases are made short and clear. " Keep it simple. All of it. Simple goals, clear messages, ...."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Reflection on making my first voicethread presentation

It has been a great experience for me to create this voice thread digital story. This is about an introduction on traditional Chinese festivals: the food for the particular festival, the relevant activities that people participate during each festival.
  • In the past, when I taught this chapter, I made a PowerPoint slides where the quality visuals and key vocabulary are displayed.
  • Now I come to know more media tools from this course. I re-edit this PowerPoint slides by following the principles of Presentation Zen.
  • Voice Thread is one of the fantastic media tools I am introduced in this course. It has the following unique features:
  1. Still images and video files can be combined;
  2. Comments in four ways ( oral-record/telephone, type text, add video clips) on each slide/clip enable the presenter and the audience to interact with each other;
  3. Collaboration outside of class, listen to each other's messages and give feedback orally.

  • On each of the slide, I introduce the name of the festival, the food and the activities. I particularly emphasize on the pronunciation of the key vocabulary and phrases, repetition of the same sentence patterns in each festival's introduction.
  • Students can access to my voice thread slides outside of class, listening to my introduction, commenting on the slides by adding up their own images, videos or recording their opinions, questions and so on..By doing so, I created an online authentic learning environment for my students.
  • It is perfect for students to practise their oral skills in target language.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beyond the five Fuwa-the Image: BeiJing Olympic Mascots

Google image

I choose this visual image '2008 Olympic mascots' to teach the section "colours and animals" in Chinese.
I think it is the best image that can be embeded in this curricular content, as I can use it for both teaching colours and animals, meanwhile this image unfolds the traditional Chinese culture.

Each of the Fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name -- a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China.From left to right: they are Beibei-the blue fish, Jingjing-the black panda, Huanhuan- the Olympic Flame, Yingying- the Tibetan Antelope and Nini-the Swallow. When you put their names together --Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni--they say "Welcome to Beijing".

The five Fuwa(福娃, in Chinese, it means: kid bringing people good luck), in their origins and their headpieces, you can see the five elements of nature-the sea, forest, fire,earth and sky, embody the natural characteristics of four of China's most popular animals--the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow.

Beibei in blue -In China's traditional culture and art, the fish and water designs are symbols of prosperity and harvest
. A fish is also a symbol of surplus in Chinese culture, another measure of a good year and a good life

Jingjing in Black-As a national treasure and a protected species, panda is adored by people everywhere. The lotus designs in Jingjing's headdress, symbolize the lush forest and the harmonious relationship between man and nature.

Huanhuan in red: national colour of China- stands in the center of Fuwa as the core embodiment of the Olympic spirit. And while he inspires all with the passion to run faster, jump higher and be stronger, he is also open and inviting. Huanhuan is outgoing and enthusiastic.

yingying in yellow:- A symbol of the vastness of China's landscape, the antelope carries the blessing of health, the strength of body that comes from harmony with nature.

Nini in green: the winged swallow, stands for spring season's coming back, therefore green implicates new life, hope and great vigor. Her wings symbolize the infinite sky and spread good-luck as a blessing wherever she flies. Swallow is also pronounced "yan" in Chinese, and Yanjing is what Beijing was called as an ancient capital city. Among the five Fuwa, Nini is as innocent and joyful as a swallow.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Move towards the new world of teaching

I have been thinking hard of how to embed the media tools, online resources into my language teaching class, not just for the purpose of including the information technology in teaching, it is how to make the technology serve this mission: to create "meaningful learning where students construct enduring understanding by developing and applying knowledge, skills and attitudes."

-ISB definition of learning

(1) Since last school year, I have created my wiki page via wetpaint. Students at different levels can go to the webpage selecting the relevant learning materials, and do self-study. They can submit their compositions, comments, me as a way to gain their credit points for this subject; They can also simply look through those Chinese character videos to have deeper understanding of how Chinese characters were created; I am going to continue developing this wiki page, hope eventually it becomes good learning resources for my students;

(2) I have tried the tinychat room in my native class. I did not use it as a chatting room, instead, I used it as a platform where the students can share their works with each other; I asked my students to do the immediate translation in the chatting room after listening to the CD I played Or to do the summary writing in the chatting room after reading a paragraph of an article, then each student displayed his work to the public chatting room at the same time when I allowed them to submit it, and they can compare each other's work and see what mistakes they made and what are the better ways of doing the translation and writing the summary;

I have tried the podcasting in my Mandarin level 2 classes. ( see my blog post: podcasting Chinese song)

What do I hope to learn from this course:

I also have been constantly searching for images from online-google, flickr, make the teaching of Mandarin understood easily, to simplify the complicated language items, to visualise the abstract learning activities via showing students the suitable images, videos...; During this process, I found it hard to get the pics or videos that exactly serve my teaching purpose. Most of the time, students are attracted by something else in the pic or video, and changed their focusing points discussed; I wish I can obtain more knowledge on this area and even start to make my own video and pictures in the near future.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reflection on final project-Podcasting Chinese Song

Teaching Mandarin Chinese to foreign students has been always a challenge to teachers. As the alphabet language system is so different from the pictograph one. The students need to take quite a lot of time to be used to the character writings and the sentence structures.Normally foreign people, especially westerners are afraid of the complicated strokes of Chinese character and the four tones of inflection. It seems that they have already had many worries before they start to learn this language.

However, Mandarin Chinese is unexpectably easy in its grammar comparing to English, French or Spanish, of course, here I mean the modern Chinese language. Among the four language skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing, the foundamental ones are listening and speaking. When you feel comfortable to have oral communication in a foreign language, you will have more self-motivation to develop your reading and writing skills. It is pretty hard if you do it in an opposite way. Many people speak their mother-tone language well without being necessarily capable of reaidng and writing.

Having these above observations, we can draw this conclusion: Being able to speak and listen to one language well helps shape our thinking in the target language. We pronounce the word silently when we read, we speak to ourselve in mind before we write it down. So how to let students listen more and speak more in foreign language class is very important. To make teaching of speaking and listening very interesting, engaging the students instead of enraging the students is a challenging task.

Traditional way of teaching these two skills is not more than asking students to ' read after me' or 'follow the tapes'...or do role play and so on...Most of time this become either very boring or quite we create difficult situation to students.

Thanks to the media tools in this digital age, Audacity is an excellent teaching tools for training students to get used to a foreign language spontaneously. Here is how I do it:

-Firstly, I find two popular Chinese song for teenagers.The song word sheet attached:

The song words is beautifully written. It is a wonderful teaching material in which I can teach new vocabulary and sentence structures.

-Then I convert the song into mp3 format( Song 1; Song2) so that I can import it into Audacity, where I can make my podcast.

-Edit the podcast: create a new track under the imported music song track, click the 'record' button, then I start to recite the song poem, meanwhile the song is playing as background;

-Save the file as mp3 file and now you can listen to my podcast.

Students enjoy the song and music, meanwhile listening to my reciting of the beautiful song words. I especially choose the songs with the key sentences being repeated many times , so that students can remember these words and sentences unconsciously when they are indulging themselves in the fantastic musical world.

After class, students need to finish their own project: In groups, students present the podcast production " my favourite song " .The class learn all the songs produced by each group including the vocabulary, sentences, culture, literature....And Lastly, students can download the favourite podcasts produced by their classmates into their ipod. Isn't amazing?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cyberbullying, Whose responsibility is it?

Cyberbullying is one of the nagetive sides of the digital age. Its being worse than f2f bully lies in:

1) You have no way to escape from the virtual bullying online group;

2) Because it is 'invisible' in our physical world, parents,teachers and school officials are not aware of this kind of bully going on in some teenagers' lives.

Most of time, the students who are being bullied try to keep it with themselves. They do not share this "humiliation" with family or teachers untill they could not take it anymore one day. The worst consequence for this could be individual commiting suicide or all of sudden a bloody campus massacre might happen.

It is serious thing in this digital-native generation. No one seems to be able to survive without cell phone. When Dad Banned Text Messaging, we understand this family's frustration in this situation.

What are the appropriate actions should parents take for this?

  • Parents firstly should have the knowledge of how to identify the symptoms when the kid is being cyberbullied;
  • Parents should report the cyberbullying case to the kid's school and the relevant institutions
  • Student should keep all the evidences that the cyberbully is provable

The question here is whose responsibility for these young people to be safe online?

Harassment occurred off campus so jurisdiction unclear

  • Schools have the authority to suspend or expel students for bullying fellow students over the internet, in text messaging or by other electronic means.
  • Anti-bullying programs are to be brought to schools and to integrate anti-bullying education into school curriculum.
  • Students should have the awareness of the consequences of cyberbullying and to be educated on the appropriate online behavior.
  • See ISB High School Cyber-safety Week

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Power of the Web lies in Connection of People and Collective Intelligence

credit to Nick White Photo by ShoZu
This morning I logged into my twitter (just registered last night!). I see Kim Cofino and Jutecht. From Kim, her latest message mentions the voicethread library from the other twitter librareanne; From Jutecht, he shares a travelling service web which is unbelievably advanced of any kind of travel agency. I can go on and on to those countless educator twitters connected to
Kim and Jutecht navigating the eye-opening webpages where I
found the breath-taking media tools for teaching and learning. So What is this you think? It is the Connection power of the Web.

The traditional business meeting can be held wherever you are via skype. This web-power has already caused great reform in our business life:

"...a software firm in Palo Alto, Calif., Last year they began using Skype, a program that lets them make free calls over the Internet, with better sound quality than regular phones, using headsets connected to their PCs. Callers simply click on a name in their Skype contact lists, and if the person is there, they connect and talk just like on a regular phone call. Better quality at no cost...Almost 90% of the firm's $2,000 monthly long-distance phone bill has vanished. With 41 million people now using Skype, plus 150,000 more each day..."

With the rapid growth of the web connection power, Collective intelligence has shown its profound impact on all areas of human being's society. Here are the changes taking place:
Mass collaboration on the Internet is shaking up business

  • New Economic Order
    --Online Customers' production design and marketing
    "...Corporations, those citadels of command-and-control, may be in for the biggest jolt. Increasingly, they will have to contend with ad hoc groups of customers who have the power to join forces online to get what they want. Indeed, customers are creating what they want themselves -- designing their own software with colleagues, for instance, and declaring their opinions via blogs instead of waiting for newspapers to print their letters.
    "More companies are starting to understand the logic. If they can get others to help them design and create products, they end up with ready-made customers -- and that means far less risk in the tricky business of creating new goods and markets. So businesses are accessing the cyberswarm to improve everything from research and development to marketing…" Corporate planners are even starting to use the wisdom of online crowds to predict the future, forecasting profits and sales more precisely..."

---Other information-based industries, such as entertainment, media, and publishing, that are rapidly going digital.

"People are not only sharing songs and movies -- legally or not -- but also creating content themselves and building sizable audiences. The threat comes from more than the 10 million-plus blogs"

"The five-year-old online paper OhmyNews in South Korea has marshaled 36,000 'citizen journalists' to write up to 200 stories a day on everything from political protests to movies. Its popularity with 1 million daily visitors has made it the sixth-most influential media outlet in Korea, according to a national magazine poll -- topping one of the three television networks."

"Hollywood is under full-scale assault by 100 million people sharing songs and movies online via programs such as Kazaa and BitTorrent. The situation is the same with ad-supported media: Google Inc.'s (GOOG ) ace search engine essentially polls the collective judgments of millions of Web page creators to determine the most relevant search results. In the process, it has created a multibillion-dollar market for supertargeted ads that's drawing money from magazine display ads and newspaper classifieds."

  • New Region of Higher Education in web2.0
    University of the People is open for enrollment in April 2009.

    " What colleges should learn from newspapers' decline?"

    In 1997 the legendary management consultant Peter Drucker said, "Thirty years from now, the big university campuses will be relics. ...
    "According to the Sloan Consortium, nearly 20 percent of college students — some 3.9 million people — took an online course in 2007, and their numbers are growing by hundreds of thousands each year. The University of Phoenix enrolls over 200,000 students per year."

    Elite institutions like Stanford University and Yale University are giving away extremely good lectures on the Internet, free. Web sites like Academic Earth are organizing those and thousands more like them into "playlists," which is really just iPodspeak for "curricula." Every year the high schools graduate another three million students who have never known a world that worked any other way.

    "the public university still looks like something of a middleman here — and in the long run, the Internet doesn't treat middlemen kindly. To survive and prosper, universities need to integrate technology and teaching in a way that improves the learning experience while simultaneously passing the savings on to students in the form of lower prices.

  • Government 2.0: Broadcast Democracy to Participatory Democracy

Harness the genie of Citizen Engagement By Don Tapscott
For far too long, we’ve been living in what I’ve called a broadcast democracy. Voters only count during election time. They have little or no influence in between elections, when the lawmakers and influencers are in charge and citizenry is inert. The “you vote, I rule” model was all that was possible, until recently.

What the system has lacked until now are mechanisms enabling government to benefit from the wisdom and insight that a nation can collectively offer — on an ongoing basis.Courtesy of the Internet, public officials can now solicit citizen input at almost no cost, by providing Web-based background information, online discussion, and feedback mechanisms.

There are lots of Internet-enabled ways to engage America, from policy wikis, citizen juries, deliberative polling, ideation contests, and virtual town halls. I call one of the most promising the digital brainstorm.
Also check out this web: Apps for democracy

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The signficants of rethinking copyright laws in Web 2.0 World

It has always been extremely restricted issues regarding the off-internet copyrighted materials.
These include all the intellectual properties owned by those creators in every industry in the world. What is the purpose of the copyright?

" promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
Though I have doubt about the accuracy of the above explaination of the purpose of copyright. I understand it explains part of the whole issue. We must also admit that copyright shows respects for the hard work and efforts of the creator and protect the work from being copied and shared without contributing financially to the original creators or companies. It is just that most of time, the traditional copyright owners or the laws make it impossible for the fair use of the copyrighted materials. What is the fair use? Simply allow the others to re-use the copyrighted works by the means of value-added, transformative, repurpose, remix of the original works.

"Many believe that the traditional approach to copyright protection is obsolete. As tools such as wikis and blogs are increasingly used for teaching and learning, black-or-white copyright protection inhibits the opportunities these applications provide...In some cases, individuals who have the time and wherewithal to seek formal permission to use intellectual property are unable to locate the copyright owner or even determine whether the work is protected" --7 things you should know about Creative Commons--Why is it significant?

21st century is the age of digital and collaboration. Creative Commons is introduced to the world just at the right time. What is Creative Commons : an alternative to traditional copyright...Creative Commons allows copyright owners to release some of those rights while retaining others, with the goal of increasing access to and sharing of intellectual property...Seeing the need for options besides 'public domain' and 'all rights reserved', the creators of Creative Commons sought to establish a middle ground of 'some rights reserved' that respects intellectual property while expanding the acceptable uses of protected materials.

And Who is doing Creative Commons : Higher Education is rooted in the belief that the free exchange of knowledge is fundamental to the common good, and faculty and researchers in large numbers have begun using Creative Commons licenses to facilitate a climate of openness and sharing. Granting explicit permission for certain uses of one's scholarly material expands opportunities for collaborative work and increases the professional stature of individuals whose creative output is used in other academic efforts."
Other than the above benefits that educators and learners have, I think of a few other significants in the invention of Creative Commons:
  • Everyone has the great potential for its work to get accepted and shared popularly.
    Traditionally, non-website( off-internet) intellectual property is published by the commercial organizations only when the creative works are accepted and recognized by authorities such as experts or professors in the corresponding areas, the values of the creative works is being identified or predicted before it is released to the public. Morever, most of time, such publications occured mainly due to the identity of the writer who is either a public figure or already had the sound reputation in his professional area, which therefore the publishing of their works can bring profits to the publishers, in another words, that kind of works have the market values even though some of those works are not written in good quality or do not have sound value at all, or at least not better than the work done by some unknown.

You can imagine, it is not easy for a new writer to publish his works as the market often recognizes 'Brand' and 'fame'. A new and young fellow's works hardly catch those eyes of authorities and publishers. The great revolution in 21st century information technology not only bring the convenience in the means of communication, but also provides people great freedom of publishing their creative works online and being shared widely within the virtual community. Many of the popular Chinese songs and fiction writings in martial arts are widely passed around in online world at first, then eventually come to the physical world.

  • People love to see their creative works being put online and having the potentials to be used, appreciated or shared by the others around the world.

As described above, those well-known authorities and commercial monopoly groups love to hold their ' 100% reserved copyrights" as a mean of maintaining its profits. On the contrary, most of the unknown mass such as students, learners, explorers...would love to have their works shared and appreciated by the great amount of others. Internet provides the platform in which their works are displayed and tested by the public. They can see the potential value of their works, gain confidence from knowing that their works are being recognised, shared. They would be happy enough to be informed of its work being used, that is the most basic CC licsen called 'Attribution'.

  • A robust interpretation of fair use will create new business opportunities.
    Creative Commons itself is an excellent example for this. CC covers the gray areas of traditional copyrights by offering different license choices( all licenses require attribution, and the least restrictive only requires attribution. Other licenses include 'No Derivatives','NonCommercial-No Derivatives'...) to the creators. The Creative Commons Website explains the license choices and provides a tool that walk users through choosing one. This website attracts people from all over the world to put their creative works on CC, it has become one of the most popular websites in the world. This created great business opportunities already.
It is not hard to imagine more business opportunities will be brought in when the
Intellectual property is allowed to be developed under the law of fair use of copyright.
As " Educators are not only followers, but also creators". During the process of teaching,
Educators are adding values to the copyrighted materials and re-purpose using of them.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Digital footprint and habits of mind

Flying Kites "Play safe. Fly kites, balloons and model airplanes in wide-open spaces, and particularly avoid power lines. "--unknown

  • What is Digital Footprint?

    "Digital footprints are traces left by someone's activity in a digital environment. There are two main classifications for digital footprints, passive and active. A passive digital footprint is created when data is collected about an action without any client activation, whereas active digital footprints are created when personal data is released deliberately by a user for the purpose of sharing info about oneself." -WiKi
  • What does your digital footprint mean?

People normally feel uncomfortable with being exposed to the public regarding the sides of their personal lives whether they do pleasant friendly chatting or offensive objectionable attack or slander...We don't want the unknown to pay attention to us. So people have different kind of privacy, that should be respected, I believe. Do you think what you typied and put in your cyberspace is your privacy? Do you feel absolute private and safe when sharing your thoughts and ideas with your friends within your virtual community? Well, most of people feel so.

But, watch out this:

"...In good times and bad, people are always looking for jobs. But as more and more people have entered the job market, employers can afford to be more selective. A lot of times the choice comes down to who has the cleaner digital footprint."

" Many private things have become far more public with the internet so close at hand. Rohatinsky said it’s not something of which to be afraid, but it may be something you want to manage. " --Protect your digital footprint

"I recommend that you start a blog highlighting your professional skills. Write posts on your field to show off your professional knowledge. List your full name at the bottom of your posts. Include links to the positive comments you found. And be sure to list your accomplishments in your bio."

" Companies like ReputationDefender and Reputation Hawk specialize in improving online reputations. These services can be costly. In some cases, you'll pay thousands of dollars. Others charge $30 or so for each post they remove."

"Cleaning up your reputation can take months. So, start now — whether you're job hunting or not."--Your online reputation can hurt your job search


So digital footprint doesn't sound a relaxed thing after all. But on the other hand, what does it really mean to keep cleaner digital footprint? Do we have to betray who we are to release deliberately active data with the world? What about just honestly being who I am, even though that is passive?

Here, I start to think about this: Do we really know who we are? Or We come to know who we are by the facts that how the others appreciate, evaluate us; how cabaple of us handling troubles and solving problems; how much contribution we do to our family, our work; what kind of friends we have in life circle...and so on. So all these help us to form the picture of who we are. Actually we do not exactly know who we are untill something happens.

Same goes to this question: Who I am in the Internet world? What digital footprint should I leave behind?

  • When and where should we be teaching our students about their digital footprint?

-The second half of a man's life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half. ~Feodor Dostoevski

-Habit is thus the enormous flywheel of society, its most precious conservative agent. It alone is what keeps us all within the bounds of ordinance, and saves the children of fortune from the envious uprisings of the poor. ~William James.

Every grown-up man consists wholly of habits, although he is often unaware of it and even denies having any habits at all. ~Georges Gurdjieff
Again here we go. Habits tell who we are. Regarding teaching students the digital footprint, we definately should train our students to form good habits of using their online tools. It should be started as soon as the students begin to use computers.Say even from K2.

Because people recognize you by your digital footprint within the virtual world regardless of wherever you are in the physical space, we should always miantian our good manners over there, and this automatically relates to our mind habits in the real world.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind: Principles of Personal Vision

Friday, March 27, 2009

Is there such a thing as privacy online?

I have been thinking how people's online behavior look like. There is great freedom over there. Oneself can chat with his/her friends about almost anything. Anyone has the right to post pictures and articles expressing his/her own point of view on any topic prefered.However, It does not seem that there is any restriction on online freedom. What would a resentful office worker say about his boss within his virtual community? What nicknames would some rebellious students give their teachers in the chatting room? What kind of video shows or pictures would a desperate man publish on his ex-girlfriend online?...Are these people enjoying their freedom that is based on the others' sacrifice of their own privacy and freedom? There should be always responsibility coming along with freedom.

Samantha MacConnell post Don't overestimate privacy of online information

"Employers hiring potential employees and firing current employees based on
their online social networking profiles
is an issue that deserves attention,
but the bigger dilemma is the lack of privacy online." " I have to disagree with hiring and firing employees based on profile photographs. Shouldn't your personal life be left at the door? A person working five days a week deserves a little down time on the weekends. What a person does on his or her own time on days off should not be used to judge work ethic because that person may be serious and hard-working when they enter the workplace. Employers know that Facebook is popular and that our generation is utilizing it, but business and personal lives should not coincide."

________________________________ ________________
Yes, we need to drawn a clear line in between business and personal life. And yet, there is also close link between personal life and potential success or failure of that person's future career. Here, I am thinking: what kind of online profiles make employers fire those employees? If your online information is just about usual chatting of normal daily life...that everyone is doing, why is there worry for that? _________________________________________________________
Husna Najand post the following article titled Beware: the Internet could own your future

"The candid camera shot is the ultimate example. If you have never been personally confronted with this embarrassing problem, look no further than the latest public example - Michael Phelps. The photo of him smoking marijuana is the epitome of the candid camera shot gone wrong. He went from an exalted American hero to a petty criminal, thanks to one picture.As a result his professional life took a hit and he could be facing an arrest. It is a scary realization that a single photo can be your undoing and it is worse to know that you have no control over how that photo might be used. Sure we can ask our friends to remove a tag or take a picture down. But with ever-changing privacy terms, that may no longer be sufficient in getting rid of a potentially damaging photo"

Does this mean that person would be all right if he could hide the evidence of committing a criminal?I personally feel 21st Digital Age does do good to monitoring those public figures' personal lives. Nobody has the privilege to play double faces even being a celebrity and
important public figure.

At the same time, the concept of privacy and right is a very separate thing to a demand for total ananymity in all things. We are not only individuals but also groups. We can not expect to be invisible. At 21st digital Age, It is especially important that our students are to be educated to become integrated individuals. By only doing so, technology serves as tool instead of purpose.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

learning dispositions--reflection on planning project sketch

" learning encompasses understanding ( your subject-matter objectives), skills (fundamentals such as reading and writing and "new" 21st century literacies), and learning dispositions. Learning dispositions are important traits, attitudes, habits, and feelings we encourage but usually can not teach directly, such as confidence, curiosity, resourcefulness, cooperation, motivation, persistence, and courage." --Reinventing Project-Based Learning.

I do love the above perspective! Indeed, education as a whole, its task is not only to teach students certain academic contents existing in those subjects. After graduating from school, We probably forgot what particular mathematic and history questions taught in classroom, we perhaps even can not remeber what subjects we learned in school, but these things remain in our entire life: The pattern of leaning, the mind set of an educated human being, the thinking skills of re-solving problems... those qualities mentioned in 'learning dispositions' will permnantly shape our personal character and the way of our doing things.

Tradition education only focused on the direct academic teaching, and students only care about their test results. Students with high academic achievements are normally lack of life skills. Someone has a lot of knowledge about food nutrition, but cann't cook a simple dish.

I love 'project-based learning', in which teacher combines understanding of the taught subject, skills with learning dispositions.

I have this consideration in mind: Normally, 'Project-based learning' includes multi-activities. In this model of teaching, more facilities and space are required. It means that schools, MOEs, governments should invest more financially in education so that not only wealthy pupils in International schools have the privileges. Thus our world will be consists of more and more integrated individuals.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Learning, Knowledge and Connectivism

Science technology has been the greatest dynamic force to move us from the primitive state to the modern society. With all the revolutions of modern science-technology occurred since 19 century, changes in all areas of human being’s life has been taking place enormously. Miracles come to the reality and dreams come true. We cannot imagine what our life would be without the modern transportation and communication tools. Human being's life is being changed permanently.

  1. Learning
    21st century is E-time. It is digital age. We are now facing the challenge that we need to re-consider the traditional learning pattern: Behaviorism---cognitivism---constructivism.
    This change will be totally different from those changes happened before. This change is going to reform human being's learning manners.
    Some significient trends in learning:
    --George Siemens

    " Technology is altering our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking."
    "Many of the processes previously handled by learning theories (especially in cognitive information processing) can now be off-loaded to, or supported by technology."

    Is technology rendering certain innate capabilities within us? of course, it is. Apparently there is no need to maintain the abilities that technology can perform on behalf of us, such as typing words in computer instead of handwriting, relying on the database stored in computer instead of memorizing them in our own can list on and on...

  • What is left behind after we hand over almost all our internality to technology?

  • What is actually left for us to learn?

  • Are we heading for half robot-half human type of community?

Pointing out the limitations of traditional learning theories 1) 'is that learning occurs inside a not address learning that occurs outside of people; ...2) are concerned with the actual process of learning, not with the value of what is being learned...

  • What are the essential differences between individual and social learning?

  • How does individual experiences differ from one to another?

  • What are the criterias for evaluating the worthiness of certain learning?

2. Knowledge

With all these tremendous changes contributed by science-technology, one thing is the core value--Knowledge is the strength and power. Here 'knowledge' can be transformed into productivity, mainly means 'Nature Science'; As for the concept of knowledge as whole, it also includes the knowledge of social science. There are various of knowledges regarding its depth and width. We need to obtain certain knowledge that helps us lay a soild base on which we can move further to and dig deeper of the unknown, then the new ideas and thoughts are created, constructed from there.

What is the defination of knowledge?

" Knowledge is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as (i) expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject, (ii) what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information or (iii) awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation. Philosophical debates in general start with Plato's formulation of knowledge as "justified true belief". There is however no single agreed definition of knowledge presently, nor any prospect of one, and there remain numerous competing theories.
Knowledge acquisition involves complex cognitive processes: perception, learning, communication, association and reasoning. The term knowledge is also used to mean the confident understanding of a subject with the ability to use it for a specific purpose if appropriate. See Knowledge Management for additional details on that discipline."

From my understanding, one kind of knowledge must apply to a particular system or environment. For example, the theory of gravity works on Earth, but not on Moon; The four season's weather exists in temperature zoo, but not in tropical zoo; Most of time we are only interested in the knowledge within our system. It is unnecessary to know what exists outside of our system. Perhaps we can call knowledge at this level 'L1 ' knowledge;
However, we must also understand why gravity does not function on Moon, and why there is only one summer season in Bangkok, and four seasons in Beijing. Those general principles work universally. We can use these common principles to explain the differences and changes. One day Clobal warming might change Bangkok to a city with four seasons, and we must understand how this happens, therefore we can predict the trends of ongoing events. The general principles is at level of 'L2 ' knowledge. So there are different layers of knowledge.
Also there are so much new ideas and new phenomenons being created at rapid speed.
"...the shrinking half -life of knowledge...the half-life of knowledge is the time span from when knowledge is gained to when it becomes obsolete."-George Siemens. Are these so called half-life of knowledge worth learning or exploring? Personally speaking, I would rather not see 'half-life of knowledge" as a kind of knowledge, I would rather see this as a process of forming a kind of knowledge, then later on relatively solid principle comes along. It would be more professional to teach our students those L2 knowledge before leading them to the Chaos.

3. Connectivism

“nodes always compete for connections because links represent survival in an interconnected world” (2002, p.106). ..Nodes that successfully acquire greater profile will be more successful at acquiring additional connections. In a learning sense, the likelihood that a concept of learning will be linked depends on how well it is currently linked. Nodes (can be fields, ideas, communities) that specialize and gain recognition for their expertise have greater chances of recognition, thus resulting in cross-pollination of learning communities"
" The starting point of connectivism is the individual. Personal knowledge is comprised of a network, which feeds into organizations and institutions, which in turn feed back into the network, and then continue to provide learning to individual. "

  • Having amount of solid knowledge base makes connectivism significient.

  • Individual quality in possessing valuable knowledge determinds the quality of the connection formed by the individuals.