Tag Archives: China

T.I.C. Chinese School PE Program Inspection

This routine is practiced almost daily for a few months before the inspection. At the start of the year it involved skipping ropes, but our school (neighbouring theirs) showed a lot of interest in basketball, so they incorporated basketballs into their spring routine.

Every student was asked to bring a basketball from home. The small items on the ground near them are cardboard rings that they made to keep their ball from rolling around at the back of their classrooms. Often during PE classes you’ll see the younger students wearing these like bandanas on their heads. Cute!

Watch to the end to see the speed at which they run to their line-ups to head back into the school. It’s that fast even when there isn’t an inspection happening.

A neat look into a very different school culture.

Looking into North Korea


We arrived in Dandong at about 9:15pm. This is the view of the Peace Bridge heading into North Korea. The lights on the bridge end at the border. Apparently a city of almost 2 million about 200,000 people sits in the darkness. Any hint of light is probably a military installation.

We’ll learn more in the morning, but this one image tells quite a story.

Can you spare some Bandwidth?

This is a plea to friends living places where internet bandwidth is not an issue. 

I would like a copy of this interview: http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/8649 to share with my Grade 9’s who are starting their Flat Classroom Project

And my digital colleague Lyn Hilt recently shared this link with me,  and I’m a huge Alan November fan. Related to that, Brian Crosby shared his TEDx video that I also can’t watch right now: http://learningismessy.com/blog/?p=1091 

So, with the internet all but shut down both at my school and at home… I’d love for someone to throw these in a public DropBox or share these with me in some other way that doesn’t require me streaming the video. I’m a huge TED & TEDx fan so don’t hesitate to throw a few of those (that you like & recommend) into the mix as well!  🙂  

DropBox won’t let me share a ‘public folder’ link, just a ‘public file’ itself (dumb, I miss drop.io!). I just checked to see what the public file link does, using a link to my Brave New World Wide Web video and it streams it rather than lets me download it… Uhhg! (I can’t even get past the opening Quicktime ‘Q’ without losing the connection and getting a ‘?’…  much less watch the video that way). So, if we use dropbox it will have to be through sharing a public DropBox file via invitation. If this doesn’t make sense, ignore me. If it does, invite me, I’m datruss on gmail, or ask me to invite you (that’s better for me, I get all the videos in one folder that way). 

I’m sure there are other file sharing options out there, but I just tried looking and my delicious bookmarks won’t even load right now… must be the extensive graphics on that page (he says in a tone dripping with sarcasm). 

Anyway, to anyone that can help me out: Thank you, thank you and THANK YOU! 

Oh, and I’ll owe you a cup of coffee, or a beer, when we next/first meet. 


T.I.C. – This is China – Blocking still works

Congratulations to the Great Filter Wall… it is alive and well, and doing it’s job. 

I’ve only heard rumours about why things are so slow here now, but I’m guessing they are right… It’s hard to create a digital ‘movement of the masses’ when connecting digitally, (and especially to the spaces where this happens), is painfully difficult. 

VPN’s (that bypass the ‘Great Filter Wall’) have been hit hard, even mine that has been stellar so far required me to get a new address from support to link up. Instead of linking through Hong Kong, my connection must now go through Los Angeles to connect. The slow internet, plus the longer connection route means it takes longer to connect, longer to load pages and impossible to do things like watch a video.

Teachers here with Yahoo or Hotmail will say to me, “What did your email say? I can get into my inbox to see you’ve sent an email, but I can’t open the message.”

I created a “Funhouse” for our club days, for a group of primary kids, and they have seen it, but not visited it yet. I did get to read the scrolling book that I pre-loaded the first day, but since then the internet has been useless and sending them to image-rich websites would be a useless activity. (I loaded the Funhouse link above to get the address to link it here and the page has yet to load as I type this.) 

So, blocking works. But at what cost. I’m scared to introduce Weebly to my staff because although it’s a great blogging platform that works here, I can only seem to get the editor to work after school when no one else is on the system. I know someone at Intel who says he can’t even upload work related photos on his home line. How many other businesses that rely on the internet are pulling their hair out? How do you do business in a connected world when the connection is severed? 

I don’t turn on Tweetdeck at work anymore because I don’t want updates to steal bandwidth from my teachers. I’m a disconnected principal that enjoys being a connected principal

The reality is that I’d like to think that information is free and accessible to all, but 1/5 of the population of the world have a filter on information, news… and learning!

T.I.C – “This is China” – Midnight Chinese New Year Fireworks

I was in Beijing for New Year’s Eve, December 31st, and midnight came and went without a single firework going off. I looked out my window of the 20th floor and saw one building that had a “Happy New Year” Sign down it’s side… that was it! Last year we were home in Dalian from our holidays on the Saturday after the Chinese New Year, the first set of fireworks went off at 4am, the constant noise of fireworks started at 6am, and I think at about 2:30 in the afternoon I looked at Ann and said, “I think we just went 3 minutes without hearing a firework go off”. Seconds later they started again, and I don’t think we had another 3 minute break until 1am! But, we were not treated to the visual bonanza Heather got at midnight in Beijing on Chinese New Year this year. Thanks to Heather Davis for sharing the video! 

T.I.C. – “This is China” – Community


There is a Chinese school right behind ours, and their main entrance to our shared field and school is at the side of our building. It snowed last night and when I walked by their entrance there were about 15 parents and a few older students shoveling the front walk.

Many hands make light work:-)

I’m sure there are a few small communities around the world where this could happen, but living in a city of 6 million and seeing this community effort makes my morning!


*Update: There is more to this story… See the rest on my Pairadimes blog. 

T.I.C. -“This is China” #1 – A small back-street in Dalian

via datruss on qik VIDEO (Mouse over the image to press play.)

This is less than a 5 minute walk from our school, and it’s a China you don’t see when you visit Beijing or Shanghai and do what the tourists do. A block up was a barber cutting hair on the street corner. I’ll share that photo tomorrow.

For the next few days I’ll share a number of different sights and sounds and ‘Chinglish’ phrases that help to make this a wonderful experience here. There are many hard-to-describe events and circumstances that happen here and our staff will say T.I.C. – “This is China”. I’ll use this same term to celebrate and share in the adventure our family is having here.

Just to put a little perspective on T.I.C. – one of my teachers shared her elevator ride to her apartment with a neighbor and her goat today… T.I.C.