STEM at the Border…a Final Attempt (for now)

Butwal Access Students

I just returned from Butwal, my final technology outreach visit before we depart Nepal. It’s a hot, dusty town near Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. These sorts of trips are never convenient nor easy, on a number of levels, but the end result is always worth it. The students and teachers are inspiring and I come away enriched.

These trips challenge me to share something useful in a very limited, one-off session. With a few rare exceptions, the students don’t have personal computers or devices, and the Internet is generally very slow. Developing technology skills takes dedicated time and practice: it doesn’t come during a two-hour window. The ideal would be to meet with these students in a computer lab, over a period of time, and help them truly learn to use the Internet and computers for learning. But, that isn’t a possibility. So, I struggle with sharing something that can be meaningful and lasting. The truth is that they likely will remember very little of what we talked about. What I do hope they remember is that someone triedSomeone cared. That’s far more important than any tool or vocabulary term or Netiquette rule.

[Read my EdTech Didi blog entry for lessons learned and photos]

Advertisements

Technology Outreach: Access Leadership Conference

Google presentation Link to presentation in Google Slides

What a week! Last weekend I was in Sydney presenting at and enjoying the Google Apps for Education Summit. I learned from edtech rock stars who are using Google Apps and other tools in brilliant and innovative ways to inspire teachers and students.

This weekend I find myself in Pokhara, Nepal, speaking at a leadership conference for 160 Nepali Youth. I was invited by NELTA to address these English Access Microscholarship Program students. My topic, “Creativity and Innovation: Leveraging Technology to Change YOUR World” was inspired by the three keynotes I heard at GAFE by Suan Yeo, Jim Sill, and Chris Bell. Thanks, guys!

I’ve worked with the Access students before, told countless stories of my experiences with them, presented in the Global Education Conference about them, and even had a feature article published about my efforts with them. They are dear to my heart, even though my time is limited and I’ve not been able to do as much as I would like.

These students have come for a 5-day conference from their various locations to be taught and inspired by educational leaders. For most of them, this is the first time they have left their home town/village, stayed in a hotel with friends, and met their counterparts. They are vibrant, happy, and having a great time, even though their days are long and packed full of activities.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I brought my two oldest children along with me, and the students were so warm and accepting. I didn’t really see my 8-year-old daughter much, as she was adopted by several of the girls. These are such great kids, full of life, hope, and energy, despite coming from very limited circumstances. Through their efforts in learning not only English, but Western ideals and culture, and gaining the skills that come from true collaboration and hard work, they have an opportunity to change their lives and make a difference in their communities.

My goal of this presentation was to show how technology – when leveraged for good – can be a powerful tool to help them change their world. We may not be able to change the whole world, but we can change our own world. I showed several inspiring examples of people who have made a difference. I showed them some tools for learning (Khan Academy, YouTube EDU, MOOCs, Google Drive, Google art project, etc.) and encouraged them to use the Internet at their local cyber for learning. The Internet is an incredible leveler – anyone in the world has access to the same information as anyone else. True, not everyone has fancy tools or a personal computer or tablet. But anyone that can get online can tap into the wealth of knowledge out there. Knowledge is power – the question is, what will they (we) do with that power.

I wanted to open their minds  – to show that the Internet is for more than Facebook and YouTube, that social media can be a tremendous tool for good. They really don’t know what they’re missing.

I think my message got through. It’s truly a privelege to work with them and I am always the one who comes away humbled, honored, and inspired. I came away wanting to make a small difference in my own world. Hopefully, this weekend I have done that in some small way.

Oh, and at the last minute I decided to give away a nearly new Dell Streak 7 that my dad donated. I didn’t want to draw random names out of a hat: I wanted it to go to someone who would really appreciate it and use it for good. So, I had anyone interested write an essay. Here are a few quotes from the 22 responses:

How I Can Use Social Media to be a Global Citizen

  • “Social media are those media which not only helps to connect with one individual, society, or country but it includes or connects to whole world”
  • “I can search or explore new inventions about science and technology”
  • “Today our world is becoming narrower as it is a village because of social media”
  • “We can use Facebook for making new friends from different sides and corners of the world”
  • “The coolest thing about social media is its global nature for me. It’s great to go to bed and know people are communicating, opinions are being debated, and news is being created and shared.”
  • “Knowing that the world is full of decent, intelligent, caring people and being able to tap into this, the biggest pool of all, gives positive outlook indeed. We are moving from consumption to communication and co-creation.”
  • “We can upload our problems”
  • “When we share about our idea that idea will reads one/two person then after it will pass one to another and another to another. So, it will be provide everywhere. Then everybody knows our idea.”
  • “Social media helps us to know the world’s culture. For e.g. we Nepali don’t know about the Christmas Day. But the use of social media we know about Christmas. And it’s wonderful when we develop a vision of globalization of the human race.”
  • “We know the world’s culture by the help of social media”
  • “Someone say that every things have good or bad things, so as well as social media have both things. We have to follow good things and recognize bad things. So I want to say always use good part of social media and never use that bad things.”
  • “Through social media we can give information to others who are away from us”
  • “Through the Internet we can learn others cultures, religions, and we can be together.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The winner was a very appreciative and humble young man from Ghorka. Read his full essay here.

So, yes, it’s been a spectrum of a week – but a great one!

ELL iPad fun

I think I finally got it right: the near-perfect combination of engaging, educational, and fun.

Because I have been so swamped by my EdTech courses and other efforts, I haven’t taught the Access students as much as I would like. I was thrilled to meet with them again and see how much their English skills have continued to improve. They are awesome.

I’ve said before that they are great students: motivated and respectful. They are warming up to me, which means they are more willing to talk, discuss, and answer my questions. I’m also getting less nervous which helps. They work really hard, and I mean really hard. Tomorrow is Saturday, the only day off public schools in Nepal. It’s their only day to sleep in and yet they will meet for their Access class at 6:00. That’s a.m. Motivated! That’s in addition to coming after school during the week for 90 minutes each class. They told me tonight in their government schools they attend during the day there are between 50-70 students per class. It must be refreshing to be in a small class of only 20!

Their classroom is simple but fully functional. Its walls are covered by their recent writings and holiday drawings. Today one wall showcased handmade Valentines cards, since they also learn about American culture and holidays. Often they start the class by singing, “She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain” or “Oh, Susanna!” It’s great.

I’ve tried different things with these students along the way. Some have worked, some haven’t. It’s always a struggle to figure out what I can teach that will really help them. None of them have computers at home. They have limited time at the Cyber. I think I’m finally on to something.

 

I decided to use technology directly related to their field of study: English Language Learning (ELL). If you’re wondering why I haven’t thought of this before, I have. I’ve tried. But this semester I’ve designed some technology integration strategies for ELL students that I thought might prove beneficial to them.

[I also received a different projector (thanks to a grant from GSA) that allows me to mirror everything on my iPad. The projector I’ve been borrowing is battery-powered, amazing HD quality, and the size of an iPhone. It’s still great, but it has two drawbacks: 1) it’s not bright enough for bright daylight, and 2) it only works through certain apps like slideshows or presentations.]

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet

I began with what is, in my opinion, one of the best iPad apps released to date: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. This is an app that demonstrates what is truly possible with a tablet. It’s a phenomenal blend of video, eBook, interactivity, and sheer genius. If you haven’t experienced it, you really should. I used it to prompt a discussion on how they think such an app could help them boost their English language skills [it shows text on each page while it reads].

Next, I asked them to reflect on learning English for the past 15 months and rank the following concepts from hardest to easiest: conversation, writing, grammar, speaking, and vocabulary. Both classes marked grammar as the hardest with vocabulary as a close runner-up. Easiest was writing and then conversation. I was thrilled with their responses because the two hardest tasks, grammar and vocabulary, are the easiest two to support through technology. How exciting! My mind began racing with ideas for future implementation.

I divided them up, sending half off to the four computers in the next room to explore  websites listed on their worksheet. The others stayed with me and we explored some fun apps on the iPad.

They loved it! Everyone had a chance to interact with the iPad, which takes them all of one second to figure out. Just for fun I tried some really basic apps that I use with my young children. I took care to explain that even though I knew these apps are really easy and below their level, which they are, I still feel it’s helpful to hear native English speakers (which they hardly ever do), practice pronunciation, and review vocabulary. We practiced animals and colors using Fun English and Flashcards. They giggled and laughed and competed against each other. It was great. Then I moved up to SpeakingPal, which allows them to listen to a quirky video conversation and complete a quiz. This was more on their level and they enjoyed trying to beat their previous score. Just for fun, I tried a speech-to-text app called Dragon Dictation, which really struggled deciphering their accents but gave us all some good laughs. If we had time, I threw in a few extras (like Stack the States and Scribblepress).

Time flew by, they were active, engaged, learning, and having fun. I came home feeling like in some small way, I had made a difference.

As always, the honor is mine.

P.S. These are their new bags — aren’t they great? They gave me one too!

Relative Advantage of Instructional Software in the Classroom

Teachers have a responsibility to equip their students with knowledge that will prove useful throughout the course of their lives. Current methods should be examined and a teacher must determine if goals are being met and what might be adjusted in order to achieve more. Numerous technology tools are available–even to those with limited resources–that can greatly enhance student experience. Research shows that when teachers wisely evaluate, select, and implement instructional software in the classroom, student achievement, retention, and motivation increases. Students also gain valuable 21st-Century skills that help equip them to be lifelong learners.

I created this presentation for a group of English teachers here in Nepal. I outline advantages of integrating instructional software that will help students enhance and practice their English skills in ways not possible through traditional exercises. Most of the resources I’ve listed are free and accessible online from anywhere. While students do not have computer access at home, they can use cyber cafes around town to practice emerging language skills through drills and tutorials. Teachers can also use their computer in the classroom for group role-playing, vocabulary drills, educational games, and pronunciation guides. I think they would see maximum benefit for minimal effort.

The Whole World in my Bag

I returned to Gorkha for my second attempt at offering both ACCESS teachers and students some training on technology. It was good to be back and I felt I was more prepared for the scenario and the students opened up more this time. They treated me like I was an old returning friend, which I am.As I’ve said in previous posts, it is a challenge to teach technology to students who barely have life’s necessities, to make my time and theirs worthwhile. They came on Saturday, their only day off to attend. They go to school 7 days a week and many come from great distance on foot. It’s not easy for me to leave my family for the weekend, to give up family time with them to travel on a bumpy, dusty, windy, cliff-hugging road. But I do it because I care about these students. I want them to know that technology is an important tool — and fun. When I started pulling all of my gadgets out of my bag, one very wise teacher said, “You’ve got the whole world in your small bag.” So, that’s why I do this.This time we watched a movie I made about them and Nepal. They loved it and it got their creative juices flowing. I then told them that the Prime Minister is coming to Gorkha and he wants to meet the ACCESS students. He wants to see if the program is worth continuing. This is their chance to be proud of their town, their school, their academic achievements. I gave them five questions and they wrote the answers. Then they took turns filming each response and taking pictures. Keep in mind these students have been learning English for 5 months. Here are a few of my favorite responses among the 40 students:

I love Nepal because:

  • It is my motherland
  • It is beautiful country and has many resource of water and wonders. It is just like a heaven. It has Mount Everest which is highest mountain in the world. So I love Nepal and I proud of my Nepal.
  • I love Nepal because I born in Nepal and all my family live in Nepal.
  • It is smaller than America but it is so simple and beautiful. I like my country very much.
  • It is a country full of natural beauty and greenery. It is the place where Lord Buddha was born. It lies in the lap of the Himalayas.
  • There is many kinds of temple. In Nepal is many forests and rivers. In Nepal is very lovely place. They love each other. Nepal is my born place.
  • Nepal’s people have Nepal’s aim.
  • In Nepal every person lives together and helps each other.
  • There are many kinds of festival.
  • I love Nepal because Nepal is one of the most beautiful country in the world. All love their birthplace and I also love my birthplace Nepal by heart. The culture of Nepal is many and different, but by being different culture, the pople of Nepal never fight in name of culture but all the people share their culture to each other. Nepal is an example of peace and friendship. So, I love and never forget my beautiful country Nepal.

One thing I like about living in Gorkha is:

  • It’s my birthplace, where I get birth and enjoy every moment of my life. As well as many love of my parents it is one of the historical and important places of Nepal.
  • It is a district of Nepal and here are many religions and temples
  • It is not so big but naturally beautiful
  • It is historically important and here are many architecture, wood, and art from ancient time
  • It is so beautiful and unity
  • People follow heir traditional culture. The are cooperative and it’s full of natural heritage. It’s so peaceful. There is unity.
  • Clean environment and full of opportunities
  • Our forefathers Gorkhali are very brave, clever, and they became success to save their life and nation
  • All the Nepali people came to Gorkha and pray for their long life.
  • There is no crime and people help other people

When I found out I was accepted into the ACCESS program, I felt:

  • Very happy
  • Very glad and excited
  • I think I can learn many new things
  • Very proud of me
  • I think that I learn something from here to make my future bright
  • There was no boundary of my happiness
  • I’m very lucky because I got opportunity to learn about English language and American’s culture. I like American’s country very much.
  • I became so excited and I felt that I am the lucky student

Learning English has been:

  • Very useful and so important
  • International language speaking all over the world
  • Very important in university and college
  • Backbone of human being
  • We don’t know the English then we don’t do anything
  • I can express my view and expression with many people from different country. I feel more comfortable speaking English

To me America is:

  • The future career
  • Very beautiful. If I got the chance to go to America I feel I’m very lucky in the world. America has different culture. There’s language, style of sit, style of eat, style of clothes. I love it. I’m fan of America. So I love America.
  • Very developed country, rich in scientific area, powerful country
  • There are many facilities. We can spend better life there.
  • It’s ahead in every sector
  • To get entertainment
  • Richest and big country
  • One of the importance country
  • America is one of the gifted country for technology. For me America is one of the helping and loving country who help us like student for giving scholarship and help for making good in English
  • Is like a god because America helps to read at any cost. No any countries has been helping this way. America is my future.

As always, I am the one who gained. I am the one enriched. Several of the students drew me pictures, but the words of one beautiful girl will remain with me:

Gretel,
Thanks for your group and thank you for you
Great people like you is few
Thanks for being our friend
And trusting us like student
All the beautiful things is for you
I want to give many more thanks for you
And many many love for you.

So, maybe the whole world is in my bag after all.

[I went with 3 educators who did teacher training all weekend and distributed books donated by the U.S. Embassy to regional school teachers. I also donated a printer so that the students will be able to print, scan, copy, and fax. It was a successful weekend for everyone. Part of teacher training involves teaching American culture and traditions, so the ACCESS teachers learned about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Students (and teachers) don’t get enough opportunity to do arts and crafts as the supplies are too expensive, so it was fun to cut/glue/tape/color with them. I was the ‘puzzle expert’ and helped each teacher assemble their puzzle. All these years on the floor with my children paid off.]

Technology from the border

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s a little strange being a walking Apple store in the middle of nowhere. I’m 5km from India’s border in Bhairahawa, surrounded by mammoth mosquitoes, mud, and heat I haven’t felt for weeks in Kathmandu. In my luggage I have enough technology to set up my own shop on the corner: an iPad, laptop, iPhone, speakers, portable battery-operated color printer, HD projector the size of my iPhone, camera, Flip HD camera, and the cords/memory cards/batteries/cables that go with it all. Amazingly, I am without four things I really need: an umbrella, ball point pen, earplugs, and mosquito repellent. As I write I’m devising a plan to ward off the mozzies in my room to avoid dreams of malaria dancing in my head while I sleep. So far I am still wearing my scarf and long socks from this morning’s crisp Kathmandu air even though it is roasting. I like a protected neck and toes. Festival music blares and beats so loudly It feels like a small earthquake on my thin mattress.

I am here to teach another group of ACCESS students about technology. This is a fun but in no way easy assignment. These are kids who struggle for the basic necessities of life and who come from several surrounding villages to receive 5 hours of English language per week. They all make great sacrifices to attend but feel it a great honor to learn English. I  had an hour and a half with two classes of 20 students each to teach them everything I could about technology. I spent a lot of time thinking of what I could teach them that would be useful, applicable, and interesting. But in the end, as usual, they are the ones who taught me.

If any of your American kids need a lesson in respect, I have the perfect place to send them. They didn’t enter the classroom until formally invited in and then greeted me by name and ‘Namaste’ as they entered. Each student gave me fresh-picked flowers. Forty bouquets of flowers! If I handed them a piece of paper or quiz, they stood to receive it. They did not make a sound and listened intently to every word I spoke. When called on to speak they stood and spoke clearly. They kept eye contact. They sang me two welcome songs: “Oh Susanna” and “She’ll be coming ’round the mountain.” One boy read a poem he had written. In case you missed the memo, these are teenagers.

Hence the challenge. What could I possibly teach them?  I mean, only four of the 40 have ever even used a computer. Briefly! A room full of teenagers who have not once in their lives sat down at a computer!

I revised my game plan based on what I have learned from my other teaching experience with ACCESS students and in the end I think it was my most successful mission yet.

So what did I do? Well, what would you do? I started somewhere.

I introduced myself using a multimedia Keynote presentation on the projector (with speakers). I told them I had two objectives with it: one, to introduce them to an American; and two, to show them how in just a few minutes technology could help them learn about something they otherwise knew nothing about. In this case, me. I showed them a trailer I had created of the Teej celebration in Kathmandu, and a trailer my son made of our India trip. They loved it! There is something energizing about a darkened room and watching, hearing, and feeling something on a big screen. It’s not on their daily agenda here. I gave them a short quiz on 5 technology terms and went over each answer. I demonstrated a network and the World Wide Web by using yarn strung around the room. The best part that I incorporated this time was to divide them into groups and let each group play with a tool. I gave one group the camera and watched as they went from holding it backwards (I’ve got some great close-ups of noses) and pushing the wrong buttons, to zooming in and taking a decent picture. They had me pose in a dozen ways, holding this bouquet of flowers or that one. My smile muscles are sore. Another group took the Flip and disappeared outside. I caught glimpses of them enacting scenes and narration and can’t wait to look at the footage. They were quite the drama stars. I gave the last group the iPad. That was a huge hit and confirmed my knowledge of how intuitive it is. It took them about a minute to figure it out and they were trying out different apps and each vying for a turn to swipe and tap. Thanks, Steve. Isn’t that what we all enjoy, the chance to play and tinker with gadgets?

Their favorite app was rather pointless but had them all laughing hard. Jib-Jab, of Elf Yourself Christmas movie fame, has a story app that inserts their picture into an animated pizza-making adventure. They loved watching their own face rolling out the dough, spreading the sauce and cheese, riding a bike, and doing a dance. I didn’t have the heart to point out there were both beef and pork on the pizza…

Before the students arrived I spent a few hours with the four English teachers. They are educated people who want to help these students learn and do a wonderful job. While much of our time was spent trying to get their Internet up and running, even though I insisted we would be fine without it, they were eager and willing learners. I showed them some of the power behind Google docs and they want to create a class blog. I think they will.

We all left in high spirits. One girl gave me a book she made. On the front are ornate wooden window cutouts and her written note, “Let’s have a look in our Nepal through this beautiful windows.” She illustrated a stupa and lovely Everest scene. Then she wrote this letter to me, “Dear Madame, I would like to say thank you as you came in our class and teach us about the computer. I felt very happy. To tell you the truth, when I just going to start this class, at that time I just think this class teach us about english language only. But now we are learning about computer with someone like you. Now I am feeling very lucky. I made this card by myself and I hope you’ll like it and keep it and may this card always memorize our country Nepal.”

See what I mean? They teach me.

Web 2.0 at the top of the mountain

I had the opportunity this past weekend to visit a small town called Gorkha, about 6 bumpy, dusty, cliff-clinging hours outside of Kathmandu. It was my first time out of the Valley, and I was thrilled to breathe again and be in the mountains.

My mission was to teach a group of ACCESS teachers and students about technology. This was no easy task, considering most of the students have never used a computer and Internet access is extremely limited. In addition, these students are learning English, so their skills are emerging. It was a challenge, but a fun one, and in the end was enriching for all of us.

The teachers were amazing. They teach English classes to these students, college courses to other students, volunteer large amounts of time, and juggle various professional pursuits. They were well-equipped with computer skills and were willing and gracious learners. I helped them explore Google docs and they were sold immediately on its practical application. We exchanged ideas and I felt an immediate connection with them and an appreciation for all of their efforts. It is a real challenge to incorporate technology into learning when 1) you don’t have the technology and 2) you don’t have the Internet. Yet, they are trying and hoping to head in that direction soon.I took my aunt and uncle, who happened to be in town and who are retired professors. They were great sports to make the journey. Word spread fast, and before we knew what we had gotten ourselves into, we were the “distinguished guests” of a panel in front of a room full of teachers that had come from all over to hear them speak. Though we were slightly unprepared, a lively discussion ensued and participants asked great questions about the differences of Nepali and American education systems, curriculum, outreach, and teacher training. We were even presented with a “Token of Love.”I led a few sessions with the students, and I immediately realized I wasn’t prepared. Their English skills were more limited than I anticipated and few have ever used a computer. The quiz I prepared on Internet 101 was too hard. So, I went to plan B. I pulled out my iPhone-sized projector, pop-up speakers, and iPad, and showed them some multimedia on the wall. I introduced myself and hometown of St. George, Utah, through a Keynote presentation, and showed them an iMovie trailer of their counterparts in Kathmandu. We talked about the usefulness of technology, a little about netiquette, and I challenged them to learn all they could.

They are great students: eager, willing, and polite.

We gave them some practice with a camera and printed out some photos for them. They enjoyed that. The first class I observed was about neighborhoods, and I enjoyed their list of their neighbors on the board.

While it was all a wonderful experience and I made some great contacts and connections, I came home a bit troubled. I truly believe in using technology and its power to enhance and further educational experiences. Computers and the Internet are valuable tools, nearly indispensable. But for these students, it just seems so unattainable, so unreachable, so far away. I have to ask myself, will it even help them? Do they really need all of the fancy tools and applications that most of us rely on? I’m torn, knowing that the answer is both a resounding YES and a cautionary no. I’m content knowing that they are learning English, receiving an education, and are empowering themselves to really make a difference in their lives. In the end, that’s what really matters. The rest will come, in its own time.

Internet 101

I had an opportunity this week that very few people ever get, especially if you live in America. For an hour and a half, for two separate sessions, I taught 40 teenagers Internet basics. What’s so unique about this? Well, many of them have never used a computer or the Internet. At all. Ever. Now that’s cool. I’m not even a teacher by profession, but my setup with these classes would make any middle school teacher jealous.

Let me tell you why.

Partly because of their culture, and partly because they are the recipients of a unique opportunity to learn English, these students are ultra-respectful and gracious. Each one greeted me as they came in the room with, “Good afternoon, ma’am.” Each one looked me in the eye as they left and said, “Good evening, ma’am.” They started their class with singing. I’m not talking barely moving their lips, self-conscious singing. These students were singing to their heart’s content. Every one of them, boy and girl. They sang “Oh Susanna”, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”, and a moving song about overcoming and being strong. I was moved.

These students are part of the Nepal ACCESS program that provides them with the opportunity to learn English and other parts of American culture. For two years, these students meet together after their normal school (which in Nepal they attend 6 days a week for long hours). They even meet on Saturday, which is normally the only day off students have. They come from underprivileged, difficult backgrounds, but you would never know it. Their eyes shine, full of light, and they WANT to be there. At the beginning of the program in February they spoke little to no English. Now they are flourishing.

So, I volunteered to teach them roughly once a month about technology. This is what I love and what I’m passionate about. Fortunately, this is a topic that teenagers anywhere are interested in, so I didn’t have to pull teeth to get their attention. In fact, you could have heard a pin drop in that room. All eyes were on me, and I had their complete attention. No texting or talking in the background. No murmurings or whisperings. Nothing but a ready and willing audience.

Yes, these are teenagers.

So, I taught them! I am still waiting for a projector that will allow me to use my iPad for instruction, so I did the logical next-best choice: I packed up my entire 27-inch iMac into our small car, drove it through insane traffic and bumpy roads, carried it up 3 flights of stairs in the monsoon rain, and put it on the table.

It definitely piqued their interest.

How could I talk about technology without letting them see, hear, and experience it? I was in my element, teaching about something I really enjoy, and we had a lot of fun. I showed them a movie trailer I made using iMovie and footage I took of them during their Teej festival. They loved it. These are kids who probably don’t even own a single photo of themselves. They oohed and awed over the screen as they watched themselves sing and dance and recite poetry. I gave them a quiz on Internet basics and we went over all the answers. My assumptions were correct in that they don’t know very much at all.

I really feel, which is why I am doing this, that teaching someone about how to access available tools is empowering. For them, the Internet provides knowledge about the world. It levels the playing field a little, giving someone in Nepal access to the same information that anyone else in the world has. It’s about opportunity, providing them with skills that will open doors and change lives. It’s also about confidence, as their skills and knowledge increase, they become more confident in their ability to help others.

I’m not sure what I’ll talk about next time. They want to know how to use Facebook, Skype, and email. I’ll teach them about Google Docs, because it is such a great resource, especially for someone who doesn’t have a computer and software of their own. I’ll help them use various search engines to access information, talk about netiquette and staying safe online. We’ll take and edit photos and videos.

In the end, though, I think they will be the ones teaching me.

Netiquette page

This week’s challenge in EDTECH 502: Internet for Educators was multi-fold. First, we were to research basic Netiquette principles with our specific students in mind. This is timely for me, since I plan to teach some of these things to my ACCESS students next week.

After completing my research, I designed and wrote the XHTML and CSS code for my website. This was my first use of a callout box (the box that floats right on calls attention to key points) and other typographical specifics. It was rather grueling, and everything is very new to me. I suppose it’s a bit like learning a new language. Hopefully some of the repetitive tasks will get easier and more routine over time.

This is a picture of my page as I first published it. I’m sure I will adjust and adapt as my skills improve, so I wanted to capture it as is. Here’s a link to my current Netiquette page.

If it looks too easy, I dare you to try it…