Archive for September, 2011

Can you imagine eating Chinese food without chopsticks? —–Effcient Use of Laptop


I’ve been overwhelmed and impressed with 1:1 initial laptop program since I first heard about it. Laptops allow students and teachers to integrate technology into the curriculum. They also enable students and teachers to access unlimited information to support learning. With audio grading, submission of assignments via GoogleDocs, storage of files online, and the posting of class lectures on the OLC.

Although I was in LS at that time, I still participated in IT courses. There I learned DyKnow software. Last year I changed to MS, finally I can practice it in teaching.

DyKnow, it functions as a virtual, interactive whiteboard, it allows teacher to mark up lecture material, share it with students, and accept and display in-class work from them, it made class, particularly in the Chinese, more visual and interactive. It works particularly well in large lecture classes, because it brings my notes to each student, and the submission of in-class assignments makes diagnoses easier when students have trouble with new concepts.

When I started to use it, what I like the most was that I could save all the different activities for students on different levels. Such as: Polling, chatting, File Send/Retrieve, and group panels Management. It sounds like the collaborative capabilities for the classroom are almost too good to be true.



















However, I soon discovered that the files I sent to the students were too small for them to read. That meant I would have had to design each file, that’s why I went back to OneNote. But I missed the DyKnow Monitor which is useful in focusing my students’ attention and engaging them. Another problem was that students don’t have styluses. If the students can’t write, that interaction is impossible. The laptop and its spinoffs can be invaluable learning tools. They can also be terrific timewasters.











Therefore, efficient laptop learning requires not only teacher’s competence, but also well equipped hardware and software.

Or can you image eating Chinese food without chopsticks?

Future Education–No Classroom

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This video showed the future classroom in 2007. But the future is already the present. The smart classroom is a technology enhanced classroom that fosters opportunities for teaching and learning by integrating technology, such as computers, specialized software, audience response technology, networking, voice recognition, audio/visual capabilities, and other technologies. Who knows what the future classroom in 2020 will look like.

One thing is for sure: technology is essential in the classroom in our ever changing world. Children today are already more adept with technology than previous generations so the future classroom will need to be filled with technology to satisfy the thirst that up and coming generations will have for a constant stream of up to date information.

For myself, I would like to be flexible and teach wherever I live with mobile devices. Such as: iPad and many other useful gadgets.This even Confucius whose special day we are celebrating today could not have imaged in his wildest dreams!

Is Minecraft the main craft ?


Yesterday I received an email from a new core teacher. She asked me: “I have a student in my Study Period class, and for the past couple of weeks he has been on a program called “MineSweep” (or something like that) which he says is for a project for your class. He said that you told him he can use the program to build a dream school. Is this accurate? I just want to make sure that he is doing something school related!” So I replied to her saying Yes.

 It seems like we are at a stage in education where the students are more adept to using technology than the teachers.  For example: This year when I shared previous  “Dream School” project with my students , they asked me whether they can use “Minecraft” instead of Google SketchUp. I told them as long as the program is suitable to learning Chinese, just go ahead.

Here is a sample of Oliver F.’s Dream School. It is obvious for him, Minecraft is the main craft.













Technology Integration As I See It


What Does “Technology Integration” Mean? To my understanding, the integration of technology should serve to enhance learning objectives. That is only possible when embedding technology through the curriculum. Thus teachers can use technology to introduce, reinforce, extend, enrich, and assess student mastery of curricular targets.

There are various levels of integration, with the ultimate goal being seamless integration. According to Mary Beth Hertz .We can distinguish the following:

A) Sparse Technology is rarely used or available. Students rarely use technology to complete assignments or projects.
B) Basic Technology is used or available occasionally—often in a lab rather than the classroom. Students are comfortable with one or two tools and sometimes use these tools to create projects that show understanding of content.
C) Comfortable Technology is used in the classroom on a fairly regular basis. Students are comfortable with a variety of tools and often use these tools to create projects that show understanding of content.
D) Seamless Students employ technology daily in the classroom using a variety of tools to complete assignments and create projects that show a deep understanding of content.

For the past few years, I have been trying to integrate technology into my classroom at various levels.  By doing this, I feel that all my students have developed a deep understanding of technology as a useful tool for their language learning.



Road to Route 21


The NETs (National Education Technology Standards) are from ISTE (International Society Technology in Education) and the AASL standards are from the American Association of School Librarians.

I think our school has the standards like those of ISTE and AASL and even the combination of the two. However, how many teachers know them? How many teachers value them? How many teachers practice them? 

I cannot answer these questions, I only know that as a Mandarin teacher I try my best to integrate them into my daily teaching. For example: I always try to find out more about my students’  IT level and critical thinking skills so as to be able to make use of their knowleage for projects that aim to enhance their language learning.

It is my conviction that only in this way the needs of a successful learner can be met. Because learning has to progress from what students already know to what they want to know and need to know.

This is also the road to Route 21.

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