Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Every day I get an email list of jobs. They are jobs in education that range from tutoring to administration, secretarial work to executive directors of after-school programs. Every day, I look down the list for things that I would be interested, but more importantly jobs that I might be qualified for. Although each day's list includes 15 to 20 positions, there is usually one or none that apply to me.

Over and over again in the past few years while I have been looking for work I struggle to find positions which I was experienced enough for. Although a math major (who loves to calculate figures and count money), any teller must have previous teller work, or at least retail experience. After-school tutors must have previous experience tutoring or working with children when my only experience with children was the many years of babysitting which was all off the record. Maybe through my years in college and summers when I needed a job, I used this as an excuse, but I could not figure out how to get into the jobs I desired without first volunteering. In my mind, I couldn't volunteer because I didn't have the time or the transportation--I needed the money to even travel to the locations.

So what is it that our society is doing in order to get teenagers on the right track, the experience track for their future job search? I was never encouraged to get a job neither were many of my friends. Instead our teenage years were supposed to be fun and free. I thought of getting a job, but was never pushed to do it, not even by myself, and later I felt I suffered. But isn't it logical to help each teenager to get a small part-time position in an area of interest? The San Jose Conservation Corps provides work to at-risk students which contributes to the betterment of their community. As a soccer player, I would have enjoyed and appreciated experience as a soccer referee. A friend aspired to be a computer programmer worked in a software company's office. There are many opportunities available to get teenagers on the right tracks. Why aren't every teenager encouraged to and shown how to be employed at a local organization?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Blood Drive at the Zoo

On Saturday, I went to a blood drive at the Kansas City Zoo. The high was close to 100 degrees and with the heat, there were not many attendees. Still I saw this as an excellent educational opportunity and was excited to find a family there giving blood. The two parents were participating in a public service that was educating their children to value such a contribution to our societies health. In addition to the blood drive, the family was able to share some group time, learning and discussing the many animals at the zoo. As a bonus to my enjoyable time and view of a great opportunity, for the first time when giving blood, my vein was easy to find and only pricked once--yay for experienced professionals.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Check out for a place to find volunteer opportunities, events and organizations interested in your own cause. Then check out the Kids & Teens site for more resources and the Teachers site for ways to use in the classroom. And look for even more opportunities later in mid-August.

Carnival of Education

I'm included in the 24th Carnival of Education over at The Education Wonks. Currently the link to my site is wrong, but hopefully that gets fixed! Anyhow, go check it out; there's always great submissions.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Thanking teachers

So recently, while using my student voice, I've had to tell many stories which include the excellent teachers I've had through the years. Teachers have such a huge influence on life; this is why teaching should be considered an important, if not the most important job. Anyway, I hear all sorts of stories about great teachers and them teachers helping out their students as they get older. Then their old students come back in town or write a letter or call and thank the teacher for all the things they did and opportunities they gave their students. What I want to know is how these students are able to stay in contact with their old teachers?!

I have several teachers who I'd like to be able to thank for all the opportunities they gave me. I have teachers who were amazing at making me feel special and learning what it takes to be a great person in this world. Sometimes, I'd like the opportunity to tell them thank you and not just pass on stories about them. I think it should almost be a requirement for people to go back and thank their old teachers. And I suppose I could get in contact with some of them, maybe by calling the schools and asking for contact information. But I don't. What would happen if we gave more people an outlet to thank their teachers? Or maybe there is a way, and it just needs to be mass marketed.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Teaching Good Citizenship

The One Campaign recently emailed out a request to get American citizens to call their local Senators and ask for support in the Santorum-Durbin Amendment for global AIDS funding. I believe this is an excellent cause following the goals of the UN's Millennium Development Goals. I have been considering calling myself. I am reluctant, however, as I always am when it comes to contacting a US Senator or Representative about what laws I would like to see or not see in the USA. I have a hard time contacting someone with only my own agenda in mind.

I was contemplating this reluctance and also my desire to help create change in the government, when I realized a lack in my, and probably many other students', citizenship education. Although I know some students are taught how to write a letter to a big company or the government, I never experienced this. A friend of mine did, but it was about some cause she never cared about.

The successful workings of the US government is dependent on active citizens--citizens who are not afraid to voice their opinions to representatives. But when children are educated, they are only talk of how we voted for people to represent our opinions in the government. The focus in our world (particularly a student's world) is on the voting process. This is very important, as each representative must show that they will represent the voters well. But when do the citizen tell their representatives what they want? Voting for representatives only happens periodically, but voting and decisions in the government happened much more frequently. Shouldn't the opinions of citizens then be discussed more often between the every day individual and their representatives?

Students should be taught from a young age to voice their opinions and talk to their representatives. These students should be given the opportunity to be a part of working toward something they desire and should learn that activism is important and takes a lot of work. But not only do we need groups fighting for our causes, but we need individuals.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Student Voices presentation

Wednesday, June 29 at the NECC in Philadelphia, we [student presenters from around the world] spent a great deal of time working on our presentation on the student perspective of education, technology in education and the future of education. We each made sure we knew what we were going to say during the panel of questions. Mike and Jennifer worked on the TakingITGlobal portion of the presentation which would briefly cover what TakingITGlobal is doing for students, and Luke had the long task of preparing the slides for the background of the presentation. There is a final report of Student Voices on the website, and I hope I am correct in saying there will also be the slide show at some point that shows other international student perspectives from the discussion boards. Following is my notes on what I had to say during the panel:

First we introduced ourselves by answering the questions: When did you first use a computer? When did you first use the internet? What has been your contact with technology in the past month? My answers:

I was lucky to have a father working as a computer systems analyst growing up. When I was about four years old, he brought home a terminal and put it in our basement. It was exciting to see and even more exciting to be able to type on, despite the fact that at the time my typing did nothing to it. Throughout my childhood my dad brought home more computers. I watched him as he worked on them, as he fixed any problems, and quickly learned how to operate the computer using a DOS prompt. My favorite activities were first word processing and games, but eventually also programming in QBASIC. At school, on the other hand, computers were most often used to play educational games, such as Word and Math Munchers or a learning-to-type program.
I remember at the age of 13, hearing my best friend Sylvia talk about the Internet. Her brother had introduced it to her, and she had become a part of a teen chat room, in which teenagers talked about all sorts of adolescent issues. Eventually, Sylvia become an online counselor in this very same chat community. At 14, after what seemed like begging forever, I received email, but it wasn't until the age of 15 after more begging that I first access the internet in my home. I felt it opened up a whole new world of resources to me.
Recently, technology surrounds me. The first thing I do in the morning is turn on my computer. I check my email account, actually all four email accounts, and blogs, both personal and edublogs. I am always on instant messengers; not that I am always talking, but I find it nice to have immediate access to discussions or at least messages to friends close by, family, friends far away, or people I've met across the world. I have my iPod with me often. My cell phone is always in my pocket, and I am often text messaging friends about random happenings or what we're going to do for dinner. At university, my life was surrounded by technology. My first contact with teachers is often through email. We use BlackBoard at the University of Kansas so many of our assignments and quizzes are posted online. We have several computer labs that I have found very useful day to day and when working on projects that require internet, word processors, photo/art editors, Powerpoint and much more.

The first panel question was: How has technology impacted your life? My answer:

My life would not be the same without technology; it just wouldn't be my life anymore. I depend on technology for learning, communication and entertainment. I use technology, particularly the internet as several resources to see others' experiences and perspectives. I do not live in the most diverse environment, and I have discovered that with technology, I can find someone with knowledge and experiences in any topic to learn from. I do not have to see only one point of view of the world, which can often be the case in a classroom.

The second question was: How do you like to learn?

I like learning to be an integral part of my life. I learn in everything I do both in and out of the classroom. I enjoy learning from others, others' views, values and experiences. But in the classroom, I like learning to be discussion based so that I can learn from peers, teachers and other educators. I enjoy teaching others so that I have the opportunity to feel like I am both helping and I have become an expert in a topic, and I like learning to be project-based. One experience of my project base learning was in sixth grade. I took math in the morning outside of class so that during class I often had nothing to do while my peers were learning math. My teacher encouraged me to work on our my projects about math. I choose to study Pythagoras. I wrote a short report about him, but also discovered he had studied frequencies. Learning from his studies, I found/created a formula to calculate the frequencies of each piano key and created a chart that was place on a wall outside of the classroom for everyone to see. This was one of my favorite project-base learning experiences, not only because it was a project instead of worksheets, but because I was able to take on, choose and discover the project myself.

The third question was: How does your ideal classroom look and feel?

The whole world. I want to learn from inside, outside, all around the country and all around the world. I enjoy active learning. I want to learn from experiences and other people's experiences. Professionals who are working in the areas in which use the skills we are learning in the classroom. I enjoy learning from my peers; I have learned a great deal from the other panelist, who are from around the world. But within an indoor classroom, I like the idea of student investment in the classroom. The teacher and students should be able to discuss and decide together where the furniture in the room goes, what the day's schedule is, what activities they prefer, and contribute to the decorations on the walls.

The final question: What are your dreams and concerns for the future of education?

Very simply, I would like to see all children around the world educated equally. More specifically, all children should be taught compassion, a love for learning, critical thinking and celebration of the world's diversity.

I think the panel went quite well. The first session at the National Consitution Center was very enthusiastic with a great deal of applause, but the second was much quieter. Still we had several very interesting questions following each presentation, both individually and while we were still on stage. Several teachers loved what we had to say because it was exactly what they were trying to do in their schools. They expressed an increase in motivation from our enthusiasm and passion. Many wanted to go back to their schools and try harder to bring technology and better educational tatics to their school, even though their fellow teachers did not understand the need. I was very excited and enthusiastic after hearing their response.

In back is Luke (TIG Education Manager), Mike (TIG co-founder and Technology Director) and Dilmurod(Uzbekistan student). Front Shraddha(Nepal student), me and Cherrie(New Zealand student). This is us actually after the third presentation which was in Seattle. Jennifer was at the first one, but unfortunely there are no pictures including her. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Podcasting education at NECC

The second day of NECC, we made sure to register and got our lanyards/name tags. We added ribbons, including Newcomer and International. They were out of Presenter ribbons, but I did get an international one because the group claimed I was interational to them. We went to the panel of educators who had been on the internet for ten plus years. I posted links from this discussion which was very exciting to hear and learn bits and pieces about, but I did not receive enough information to state any viewpoints.

It was at this panel that we were invited out to a nine course Chinese meal for dinner with a very large group. We were a bit late from spending time preparing for our presentation, which was hard to start on having just met each other and not remembering/knowing exactly what we wanted to say. Still we made it to this dinner, which was way too much food for any of us to finish, but a great many things for us to experience new and several interesting people to meet. There was one teacher who had been in the field so long he had amazing stories about all over the world to tell, his wife had been a Peace Corps volunteer years ago which I was excited to hear about, Lisa Jobson from an exciting organization iEARN was there, and Patsy Wang-Iverson of Research for Better Schools was the main organizer. After Mike, Jennifer and Luke left for their Microsoft grant reception, Dima, Cherrie, Shraddha and I headed over to the Marriott to catch the end of the Student Film Festival. We found, however, that all the films had been shown and all that was left was discussion. Patsy, however, was there and invited us into a very long line to see a presentation on Podcasting.

This presentation I had wanted to go to, but didn't want to force any of the other students to join me on something boring to them, but lucky for me, this session was huge and very popular. There was food and drinks, the room was pack, and they had to do the session a second time after we got to see it. It was excellent to get to see a group of avid podcasters and researchers explain the basics of podcasting and introduce iTunes 4.9 which makes Podcasting more easily available to everyone.

Tonight I have spent some time listening to some education podcasts from both NECC and others, such as Bud the Teacher and Teach42, and would highly suggest others to go check it out with iTunes 4.9, or even more avidly through a search online (such as on Podcast Alley) for there still are many Podcasts out there that have not made it to iTunes. I'm addicted; you should become addicted too!

After the podcasting presentation, here we (Dima, me and Shraddha) sit waiting for the TIG employees to return from their receiving of a Microsoft grant to support TIGed work to get programs into the classroom. Posted by Picasa

A family among strangers

During the Student Voices travels, we ate out a lot. The first big night out was at Swanky Bubbles from Jenn's birthday. The meal was served family style. We ordered a bunch of food to share and the dishes were brought out as soon as they were prepared in the kitchen. It was excellent see people try new foods and sharing dishes, as if at home among family.

When going to other restaurants, we often found dishes to large for individuals. This is something I find in American restaurants everywhere. I suppose Americans just eat too large of portions, but I am one of those who is never able to finish a dish either. We found it easiest to continue this family style dining. At each restaurant, we'd order enough dishes for all of us and share, making sure to have vegetarian dishes and different styles of food for each person's taste. I believe we all had a few new things and learned a lot about each other from this.

It was not just the dining, however, but much more of our trip which created a temporary family while spending 12 days together. We shared rooms, checked in on each other, spent the evenings relaxing together, teased each other and fought over seats in the van. By the end of the trip, I felt very comfortable around each person; such that if we were to spend more time together, we would even learn each other's secrets.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Educator using the Internet websites

During a session about the last ten years of the internet and education (powerpoints), I collected a list of links. Andy Carvin lead the session: and created EdWeb in 1994 and many of the panelists work with The Digital Divide Network; Global Schoolnet Foundation; Generation YES; Generation Y; Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study; International Education and Resource Network, also US I-Earn at; David Warlick was one panelist, I like his blog; Landmarks for Schools at; a reminder about the ThinkQuest competition at; the Globe Program at; and finally at place to check out and use copyrights at

Liberty Bell

Most of our time in Philly was spent at the convention center or in the hotel working on our presentation, but we did get to check out the Liberty Bell. Not too exciting, but something to say we've done just the same. Here's Shraddha (Nepal), Cherrie (New Zealand), Jennifer (TIG Executive Director, Canada) and Dima (Uzbekistan) Posted by Picasa

Student Voices in Education Trip

There is so much to say about my two week trip to NECC and School of the Future World Summit with the Student Voices participants from TakingITGlobal. It is hard to know where to start.

I left expecting to learn a lot, meet knew people and hopefully make connection in beginning a career in education. I also had many fears that something would go wrong, that the mixing social norms of cross-cultures would lead to unhappy people, and in the back of my mind that this great opportunity was all fake.

My fears were met when I got to the airport only to find my ticket to fly out to Philadelphia had been voided. I called the travel agency, but it was the weekend and all they could do was book the flight again for over $2,000. I called all the numbers I had received from TakingITGlobal, but they were flying or sleeping. I tried very hard not to lose hope and distract myself while waiting for a return phone call. Mike from TIG contacted me and re-booked my flight. It was excellent to hear him so nice and respond quickly to get me on a flight only later that day.

Arriving in Philadelphia, I did not know whether I was to find my own way to the hotel (as I would have if I arrived earlier or I was being picked up). I walked toward the baggage claim, but couldn't help but notice a familiar looking face with a sign along the wall. With some reluctance, I went to meet Luke for the first time, who had been mine main contact in planning this trip. We turned to look for my baggage and waited, and waited, and waited. All the while we both seemed tired and unable to hold a conversation.

Finally we gave up and took a shuttle to the hotel. I checked in, but even this took too much effort when the people behind the desk could not find my name. Turned out it was there the whole time, and I bugged Luke for help for nothing. Luke headed back to the airport to pick up Shraddha and my bag. I met Dilmurod and we walked down to Market Street to look for something to eat.

The whole walk, I struggled to understand Dilmurod because he spoke quietly, with a thick accent and I couldn't hear well. We explored together, but could not find any place to eat, until we gave up and got food from a convenience store WaWa's. There was no place to eat, and we walked back with the food. I was carrying my bag with a heavy laptop in it and kept having to switch shoulders. Dilmurod had offered to carry the bag several times, but not experiencing that often, I did not realize it until at some point he managed to take it from me. It made me a bit uncomfortable because I have been raised in a society where I don't want help from someone unless I truly need it. It also made me feel a bit like I was supposed to be a weak woman. But it also made me feel good to let Dilmurod help, knowing he may have felt much better following the correct role carrying my bag for me.

Upon returning to the hotel, we both went our separate ways and ate--the food wasn't any good. After a few phone calls and exploring the room, Luke and Shraddha returned with my bag (but not her's; it was lost). But we all realized the room had one bed and went to ask for another one. Shraddha and I enjoyed a bit of conversation, but finally there was sleep after a fairly awkward day of travel.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Educators as Students

I participated in a Leadership Symposium at the National Educational Computing Conference. Aside from four people in the room, who were students or recently students, all the participants were educators--teachers, administrators, etc. During this session from 8:00am to 12:00pm, I felt like I was back in middle school. Teachers/educators are very much like students.

There was continuous discussion among the group--friends trying to catch up, meeting new people--during the presentations and instructions. When told to follow instructions, my table of six people had a terrible time staying on task and instead would discuss other topics and speak with those people who came by to our table to chat. The participants would often get up from their tables, during activities to go get more coffee, snacks and going to other tables to visit. The presenters had problems keeping the PowerPoint and technology working, even though they were supposed to be prepared experts. At the beginning of the symposium, I heard many negative comments about the activity before the teachers had even experiences it. (For the record, by the time we finish many people were impressed.) The presenters even had to raise their voices multiple times and threaten the audience to get the group to quiet down.

Wow, the struggles that teachers have are continuous... It was crazy to see and made me want to let the educators know how much they were like their students. Despite these things, I really enjoyed the activities and visiting with the teachers, etc.