So it may seem strange to start my first blog post ever from China with a picture of my daughter, but the reason I’m feeling so giddy at the moment (aside from about seven hours of sleep after a 27-hour travel day) is because I am just loving my Skype, Skitch, connected from wherever I am in the world life. It’s about 9 am here in Shanghai and I just got off an hour Skype video call with my kids (where it’s about 9 pm) where I, like I normally try to do, helped them with their homework (Tess and I had an interesting conversation about “bartering”) and asked about Tucker‘s soccer practice and talked baseball. (My Cubbies are hangin’ in.) I know it’s not the same as being there, but I have to tell you it’s pretty darn cool to be half a world away and still be able to see them and interact with them. And I loved snapping pictures of them on my end with Skitch and then giving them the link so they could see what I just posted and watch their faces break into huge smiles, all within, literally, 45 seconds start to finish. In five years, I know, that’ll seem like nothing, but right now, it’s a big deal.
Sheryl and Wes and I arrived about 9 last night and Wes was by far the most productive on the trip, writing about 37 blog posts, doing a couple of podcasts, and getting yelled at by the Chinese authorities at the airport for taking pictures in the customs line. (I’m sure they are on Flickr by now, which, btw, is blocked here.) Jeff picked us up and brought us to the hotel where I crashed hard after flipping through the dials and seeing almost nothing but English and American sporting events and something that looked strangely like “Chinese Idol.” Could that be? With my very limited first impression, I guess I’m almost disappointed at how Westernized it all feels. But Jeff is promising to show us the real Shanghai on Monday and Tuesday after the conference which I am looking forward to greatly. And, my own personal angst was about the air quality here…on the drive last night, you could only see about a mile or two ahead the haze was so thick. And Jeff said that was a great improvement over the last three years…they’re gearing up for the Olympics next year, you know.
So now I’ve got an afternoon to get my brain in gear for what promises to be a pretty interesting unconference-y conference with folks from around Asia. It will be really interesting to see what their take is on all of this. I feel pretty much out of my element, and in those cases I usually end up learning more than anyone, especially with the focus that Jeff and the organizers have put on the conversations. I’m leading five sessions, two of them are going to be totally unconference, one to discuss the Cult of the Amateur as it relates to Learning 2.0 and the other titled “Teachers as Learners; Learners as Teachers.” The other sessions I’m going to “present” for about 10-15 minutes and then hopefully use the rest of the time to talk about “The Big Shifts in Learning,” problem technologies in schools, and our own personal learning practice as educators. There will be a lot of Twittering going on, so if you want to follow that conversation just tap into the Learn2cn feed. And don’t forget the almost mandatory Ning site for the conference that has, I think, the coolest Ning banner to date. Hope to see you in the mix.
Technorati Tags: learn2cn, shanghai, learning, education, China
Ken Carroll says
Welcome to Shanghai, Will.
It’s good that you have time after the conference to look around. The city is absolutley not what peiople expect. It’s mostly all new and glitzy but when you look behind the facade it has very much its own Chinese character. I’m sure Jeff will be a great guide.
I look forward to meeting at some point this weekend.
Let me know if you three need a Psiphon node to get around the Great Firewall of China. 😉
Curious to hear/read more about the “Cult of the Amateur and Learning 2.0 discussion.
Enjoy your time in China.
Thanks for the compliment about the ning banner, and welcome to Shanghai! Looking forward to meeting you.
Will, sounds like you’re having a bit of culture shock with the westernization of China. Dubai is a bit like this but a much more in the extreme. I think every place in the world has a section that is overly western. The Pudong area is looking like its Shanghai’s expat ghetto.
Wesley Fryer says
Well, not quite 37 posts, just 1 blog post and a partial podcast I finished last night before bed! I might have done more on the flight but the battery juice went quickly! 🙂
And yes, the customs pictures are on Flickr! 🙂
Have fun in China! You really captured in your entry how much the world has changed with the use of technology. I am part of group of educators in Montana that is studying your book “Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts . . . We will be using your ideas to incorporate lessons into our curriculum. Technology has truly become the universal language that is bringing people across the world together.
Kevin Jarrett says
Will! Great to ‘see’ you in Shanghai. Wish I was there with you! Thanks for the pointer to Skitch but you might want to change your embedded link to:
Skitch.com is having issues, apparently.
Keep up the great work!