On the last night of our summer holidays in Broadbeach, my husband and I decided to go to the night craft markets at Surfers Paradise . As we walked along the mall, we could hear music and singing. It was part of a celebration of the Chinese New Year. 120 students had come from 3 cities in China to help share Chinese culture through music, singing and dancing with the people of the Gold Coast. What a treat this was!
As I watched, I started to realise the impact that 2010 has had on me as a teacher and the amazing potential that technology has for education.
- My year 11 Information Technology class joined and merged virtually with a class in Malaysia for a 5 week period, using the software – elluminate. There were Chinese students in this class.
- In September, I travelled to Malaysia and spent time in a Chinese school, SMJK POI LAM, conducting workshops for teachers and students and met face to face the above virtual class from Kuala Lumpur.
- Veronica Woo, my colleague from SMJK POI LAM, has used videoconferencing to share an eCultural Journey and the farewell celebrations for their Principal, including the Chinese Lion dance.
Implications for education
- Classes/teachers can connect to anyone/anytime/anywhere for empowered classrooms using videoconferencing, virtual classroom software and virtual worlds.
- My year 11 students maintain that the highlight of their time in Information Technology was the direct linkup with the Malaysian students where they could chat to each other, share a whiteboard with each other and discuss likes, cultural differences but also learn that they had the same ideals etc. They said that it felt like the Malaysian students were just next door to their room and not thousands of kilometres away.
- Why should we use textbooks and read about other cultures when we can see, feel, hear, share by using technology in a virtual classroom or by using videoconferencing.
- Learn the language direct from each other
- Share conversations and blog posts
- When the timetable changed and we could not longer work in real time together, students found each other on facebook and the connections continue outside of school hours.
Technology has the power to transform education.Why aren’t we doing more of this? Why is it not becoming mainstream? How do we get it to become mainstream?
Finally, happy New Year to the Chinese Community!