Tag Archives: learning

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!

Alan November: “Do learning”


Forgot that I had made a screen shot of this until I decided to clean up my desktop, (which at the time looked very much like Alan’s when he presents:-)

This goes well with my recent pairadimes post

We aren’t in the ‘teaching business’, rather we are in the ‘learning business’.

…and yes, Alan, we aren’t in the technology business either! 

The learning doesn’t stop when I hit ‘post’!

Comments make blogging a rich experience.

Comments on four of my recent Pair-a-Dimes blog posts have blown me away!
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again… The learning doesn’t stop when I hit ‘post’! 
Check out the amazing conversations: 

Thank you, thank you and thank you to all who have ‘joined the conversation’… I really appreciate the opportunity to learn from and with you! 

Will Richardson ‘Almost Live’

So it didn’t quite work as planned, but then things seldom do.

I started to watch a recorded Will Richardson presentation and he had a backchannel going. I went to the link, but it had expired. I thought to myself, ‘wouldn’t it be great to start a new chat with some people and have our own backchannel conversation while we watched!’

 I decided to go on Twitter and invite others to join in and watch Will ‘Almost Live’ (#WillAlmostLive) with me. Patrick Larkin in Burlington, MA, USA joined me, Beth RG popped in, and Shannon Smith from Ottawa tried to join us. It was bad timing since although it was 8:30pm here in China, it was the start of a work day back in North/South America, and 11:30pm in Australia, where I seem to have most of my connections. 

Will Richardson said on Twitter: “@bhsprincipal @datruss Let me know what I say. ;)” – It would have been great to actually have him join the back-channel though I’m not sure I’d want to relive my own presentations in that way. 

Problems arose: Although I pre-loaded the video, (my connection here is painfully slow), it still stopped at about the 11 minute mark with over an hour to go. I couldn’t get the video to reload, and Patrick couldn’t get the slide show on Google documents. 

Solutions: Patrick Skyped me in and I copy-pasted quotes and points into the backchannel chat. I listened to Will Richardson’s Minnesota presentation from China, via a Skype call from Massachusetts, while Patrick in Massachusetts was getting the content of the presentation from China. 

We typed rather than talked so that we could listen to Will. We still had a good backchannel conversation. Although it wasn’t quite as planned, it was enjoyable to share in the learning. 

I still think this is a good idea. Why not run a conference session after the conference session? It’s far more engaging to have the backchannel running and sharing thoughts and ideas with digital colleagues. 

Asynchronous to the actual event, but synchronized to other learners. An ‘Almost Live’ presentation. 

What do you want to know about teens and social media?

Danah Boyd asked this very question, last June, and here was my response: 


I’m interested in knowing more about:

1. Gaming: As it relates to socializing with others vs isolating & playing on their own.

2. Friendship: Actually two things here, first, definitions of online friendship by teens, and second, more about the duration and quality of friendships teens are creating. I know that as an adult I have created some very meaningful online relationships (in my case with other educators) with people I have never met f2f, is this happening with teens as well?

3. Content creation (trends): What are teens creating and sharing online? Here I’m actually interested in the bleeding edge, where are they taking content creation to a new level? How are they ‘mashing’ things up?

4. Learning: How are teens taking learning into their own hands, what are they doing outside of schools to educate themselves and learn new things?


I’m still interested in these things… who can help me learn more?

What should we do with tools to make them great? » Online Sapiens

What should we do with tools to make them great?

David Truss (via @sabridv) suggests what we can do with tools to make them great

1. Give students choice
2. Give students a voice.
3. Give students an audience.
4. Give students a place to collaborate.
5. Give students a place to lead.
6. Give students a digital space to learn.

Compare this list to:

Stephen Downes Connectivism Principles:

1- Autonomy
2- Diversity
3- Openness
4- Interactivity and Connectedness

and to

Chickering and Gamson Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

1. encourages contact between students and faculty,
2. develops reciprocity and cooperation among students,
3. encourages active learning,
4. gives prompt feedback,
5. emphasizes time on task,
6. communicates high expectations, and
7. respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

As George Siemens posted, It’s not about tools. It’s about change.

It’s the change underlying these tools that I’m trying to emphasize. Forget blogs…think open dialogue. Forget wikis…think collaboration. Forget podcasts…think democracy of voice. Forget RSS/aggregation…think personal networks. Forget any of the tools…and think instead of the fundamental restructuring of how knowledge is created, disseminated, shared, and validated.


Eduardo did a great job of putting together several ideas around the same theme such that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts!

On my post David Warlick added, “Give the learners a sandbox.”
I like the idea of ‘Play’ and also that he changed ‘students’ to ‘the learners’.