So what am I learning at Learning 2.0? This is a bit of a very tired brain dump, but, I’m learning that…
…the teachers everywhere struggle with many of the same challenges and pressures that teachers in the States struggle with, by and large. The one big thing they don’t struggle with is NCLB.
…that teaching at an international school can be an amazing and rewarding experience. I’ve been struck by how many of the people I’ve met here have parents who taught abroad, and how many of them can’t imagine teaching in the US again (though many of them did.) That’s not to say that they are all expats, but it is interesting to hear them talk about how “hard” it is to come back to the States, for any number of reasons.
…that for the first time, if I had it to do over again, I would seriously consider taking my kids abroad for a year or two to give them a more global perspective. That’s not to say that they still don’t have the chance to immerse themselves in another culture before they get out to their real lives (and I think now I’m going to give them a lot of encouragement to do that), but as I flipped the pages of the yearbook in the office at the Concordia International School where the conference is being held, I saw a bunch of kids from all over the place who were getting a pretty amazing experience. For some reason, I’m really loving the sense of adventure that seemed to jump off of those pages.
…that Susan Sedro, Clay Burrell, Kim Cofino and others are just as compelling and interesting as their blogs suggest, and that they are doing some really fantastic things in their classrooms with these technologies. It’s been great to get a chance to talk with them and hear their contributions in my sessions.
…that things are cheap, really, really cheap here. And on some level that conflicts me. I am really looking forward to this afternoon and the next two days when the conference has ended and Jeff (pictured here) takes us around to where the “real” China is. (Where we are right now is kind of an upscale expat village where mostly corporations house their workers.) But I’m also somewhat put off by the zeal for buying knock off Rolex watches and designer clothes. China is a huge contributor to the environmental problems of the world, (the air here is just not right) not to mention all sorts of human rights violations and poor working conditions that I have not doubt surround the production of all that junk. And while I’m no saint, consumerism in general will be the death of us all. I keep wondering, how are we going to help our kids navigate the looming environmental crisis if we ourselves can’t do it. So, downtown Shanghai will either blow my mind or make me more depressed. Maybe both.
–that Gary Stager is a really good guy, which I already knew, btw. We may not agree on everything, but more than most, Gary wants kids to learn in engaging and meaningful ways.
We wrap up at noon today…that’s midnight EST, as my body is still well aware. Photos, I have a feeling, are going to be scarce as Flickr is blocked here and while the Firefox plugin seems to be working, the upload isn’t working. I’m going to have to get my brain around how to do it.