After I broke free of the Chinese firewall by moving away from Shenzhen, the natural next step was to take an online course. I imagined myself flying through news sites and scandalous reading material out of the watchful eye of the Chinese Big Brother. Alas, in my excitement of gaining news access (suddenly I can read local news stories) I failed to take into account the internet speed in Myanmar. Sure, I can load news, but it might take 20 minutes. Sure, I can load interactive sites like Facebook, but trying to leaving a reply without repeating the comment 6 times is a challenge. The Coetail site is a funny one. It loads fine and, at times, I can even reply. However, unless it’s 6:30 am, I usually can’t click on anything.
This issue of speed has simply made me more flexible and resourceful. My early bird detention time has become my work on Coetail time. I am forced to plan ahead, which admittedly, is not my strong suit in non-teaching life. This course is also helping me think about how I can integrate technology into my classroom with the challenges my students face. My classroom websites are all updated and my students are now learning to post and comment on my blogs. I am more focused on creating 21st century learners in a setting where cell phones are considered high tech and only for the rich. I am letting go of my technology excuses and embracing all the online world has to offer.