Looking for some K-2 classrooms!

Hello CoETaILers!

I’m a 12-13 year COETAIL grade and currently ed tech facilitator at ISB in Beijing.

Our grade 1s are currently in a unit called “Kids are Kids.” They will be visiting a local Chinese school to find out what kind of games they play and what they like. We hope they will find out that kids are kids, even across different cultures. This was the perfect unit to make connections with kids in other schools digitally. We thought they could introduce themselves, share what it’s like in our host country.

We created a wikispace that participating classes could contribute to. I will create a page for each class who is interested in joining. Our kids are ages 6-7. My intention is to set it up as a 2014 project and do it again next year with any classes that are interested.

We thought each class to start by posting a simple self introduction and photo. Then we’ll take it from there and see what evolves! We can discuss and decide together what we will post on the wiki.

Have a look: http://kidsarekidsproject.wikispaces.com/

When you request membership, please include your class name so I can make a page for you.

Join us if your students are between the ages of 5-8!

Continuing the journey…

In the past few years, I was in a blogging rut and hadn’t been writing or sharing anything. But a requisite of the COETAIL courses was that I would be posting and reflecting to this blog. I felt good about getting back into the routine but after the course ended, I dropped off again. I’d like to continue blogging about educational technology, and also a bit more about my travels, photos, and ideas or reflections in general. I don’t want to have to write about topic a on this blog, topic b on that blog, etc, etc, etc. So I’m going to move it all to this locationand keep my COETAIL course content right here. I hope you will read posts and interact with me at my blog’s separate location. Thanks!

http://www.elvinatong.com/blog

Crowdsourcing for Good

My beautiful friend, Serene has been training for several months to run her FIRST half marathon in Fairfield, Connecticut. I can’t summarize her well enough, so in her own words:

Inspired by my recent trip to Cambodia and the incredible PBS documentary “Half the Sky”, I am running in honor of a most worthy charity, The Somaly Mam Foundation. With my run, I am hoping to raise money and awareness for the issue of child trafficking/child sex slavery. Thanks to the overwhelming support I have received, I have decided to raise my goal to $3,000 – the cost to rescue ONE GIRL, and bring her through to rehabiliation, education and reintroduction into her community with dignity, marketable skils, and economic hope.

She created an online fundraiser with Crowdrise, here is the link:
http://www.crowdrise.com/SereneRuns131forSomaly/

I realize this is not the forum to ask for donations but I know many of you are international school teachers and like-minded about these issues. To put it into perspective, a donation of $30 would pay for one medical examination for a girl or woman who has been exploited in the sex trade.

And now to pull this back to something that relates to COETAIL or this blog… Although Crowdrise is a for-profit website, I am thoroughly impressed how online crowdsourcing has worked in this situation. My friend set a goal, surpassed it, raised her goal and has now surpassed that. I tweeted out her mission and it was immediately retweeted by the Half the Sky movement, then retweeted again by others from there.

PS: I encourage you to read or watch the “Half the Sky” book or documentary.

Course 5 project

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For my course 5 final project, I chose to modify a writing unit, “Oral Storytelling” with technology.

Since this was an activity to give them more practice with thinking dynamically and spontaneously, I didn’t focus too much on story planning and storyboarding. However, the downfall of using an app while doing this, was some loss of creativity and imagination. Students were starting their stories based on the puppets and characters available in those apps. This was not the worst thing in the world for some students that have a hard time generating ideas. But I wonder about what some of the imaginative children might have come up with, without the prefabricated characters.

For some pairs, the app was distracting. They were playing and began to forget about the task at hand. This can happen with young children and iPads with any activity, not just this one. Next time I would have the students tell me the story orally once, without any device, then go off and record it after.

My greatest learning in the COETAIL Program was: try, and try again. Just like with any other aspect of good teaching, with technology, we introduce tools to our students – sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. I think it’s important to reflect on those outcomes and modify for next time.

Apple Distinguished Educators program

In December, I submitted my application to the ADE Class of 2013. I didn’t share my video like many others before me have, nor did I even tell that many people I applied. The only ones who knew I applied were my husband, handful of close friends, and my school admin (because the application required that I notify them)

I suppose I didn’t say anything out of the possibility that I could be rejected. It seems competitive and only 50 teachers in my region would be selected. Well today I found out that my application was accepted! I am very excited. Here is my 2 minute application video!

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