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More of Sunset Ridge

As I toured the school I was blown away. The school has star of the art everything and is so bright and cheerful.

 

 

 

 

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Part of me thinks this is a bit much, they could have saved some money. I wonder if they were shown anything that they actually said “no” to.

 

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The New Sunset Ridge

Our district built a new school to replace an 85 year old building. Last night Sunset Ridge held an open house to show the taxpayers and stakeholders what this $25,000,000+ school.

Learning Center (a.k.a. Library) Check Out Desk

Maker Space

Maker Space

 

 

 

 

School Swap Korea

In this documentary three Welsh teens fly to Seoul where they will experience three grueling days in a Korean high school.

I knew Korean students were pushed to excel and studied long hours but this documentary horrified me. I wish I knew more about the exact content on the tests that we were seen how the teachers actually teach. Both of those elements would have made for a stronger film, but we do see how stunned and exhausted the Welsh students were and they tell us what they think about this education system so we do learn a lot about South Korea’s high schools, which are among the top in the world.

The episode here raises the question of whether this intensity is worth it. It mentions the international test scores and gives the ranks, but it doesn’t give us the spread. Are the top 50 schools pretty close to each other or is their a wide spread between them?

Like Wales, Americans can improve and intensity their curriculum, but neither country is going to start having students study till midnight in cram schools so if Westerners study five hours a day in school and a few hours at home, they would never surpass students who are in a formal classroom from 8 am till midnight.

I think it’s better to have a balanced life and be able to work on projects, which emulate post-graduation work, than just to memorize.

Not You Again

Yesterday, six weeks into the semester, a student who failed last semester returned. He popped up in my English 2 class, though he failed English 3. His study skills were awful and he missed more than 33% of the classes.

No one explained that he was coming back and his English is so bad that I’m not sure whether he’s now in my class or if he’s just coming this week because he has a test on Sunday.

They give our final exams again to students who failed and then even though my final is only worth 10% of the grade, they pass if they get 60% or better on the test.

I emailed the administrative office and they’re not sure why this boy’s returned. Hmm. If he’s turned over a new leaf, I’ll be happy to take him, but if he’s basically the same, which missing 5 weeks of class suggests, I’ll grudgingly take him.

I hope this gets cleared up tomorrow.

For College Success

Joan Keem offers good advice for advice for new and continuing college students.

E-MBAs?

While in Beijing for a day Monday before I moved on to Japan for a conference and some sightseeing. I noticed some signs around town for “eMBA’s.” I assumed the “e” stood for online, aka electronic learning.

I was wrong. Last night on Channel News Asia they did a segment on parents’ efforts to get their children into just the right primary school. Seems Beijing is like New York in their desire for elite private schooling from grade 1. “eMBA” stands for Early MBA. In these expensive classes children some not yet 3 study economics because to paraphrase a parent, “you can’t start too young.” They showed the lessons and the kids while bright certainly weren’t getting it.

These kids are going to several afternoon lessons in addition to kindergarden — English, math, geography, soccer (which looked far more serious than what my nieces and nephews did at age 3 or 4). These kids were quite articulate on the process of gaining entry into a prestigious primary school. That might have troubled me the most.

Ask and It Shall Be Given

A few weeks back when we studied advertising in English 3, I showed my students ads by the Chinese office of DDB. I used to work for DDB and have an affinity for them.

I then contacted the name on the press release about this campaign. A couple weeks and a few emails later, I’m delighted to say Volkswagen is giving us 6-10 units!

The air has been cleaner this spring, and it’s about to get even more so on campus.

Toxin Release Inventory

For my Government Documents class I had to make a brief presentation on the Toxin Release Inventory.  It’s a very interesting website to find out how much companies are dumping into the environment.

A company or agency has to report what they do when they produce more than 25,000 pounds or handle more than 10,000 pounds of a listed toxic chemical. You can see how things are in your neighborhood or anywhere.

Finally!

This week I’ve been trying to complete a remote installation of a software program on to a server in the Illinois from China. It’s for my digital library class. While I’m above average with computers, I’d never had to use my Terminal box on my Mac to put in codes and change code.

The Terminal looks like this:

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We had to install Greenstone, an open source digital library software, program on to our servers at the university. I knew doing something like this from China would be hard. It was painful to sit through the online lesson as a lot of people had problems. The class ran an hour overtime. I figured, I’d just watch and try on my own. I wound up having to leave the class when it was 40 minutes over time. (I wish they’d stopped, realised they needed to find a new way to convey the information and find another means and time to do it.)

It took three tries, but now it works.

Knock on wood.

I won’t call myself a Linux expert after one project, but I’m pretty satisfied with my new skill.
I’m glad I had a Mac, because to do this on a PC, I’d have to have downloaded a program called puTTY and its website says you need to get government approval to use it in China.

Nah, that wouldn’t happen.

Have you overcome any challenges recently? Or learned anything new?

Plagues, Witches & Wars: A Good Class

I’ve started a fascinating class in historical fiction, for readers or writers, through Coursera. It’s called Plagues,Witches & Wars: The Worlds of Historical Fiction. It’s free and offered through Coursera by the University of Virginia. I’m just in week 2 and am learning about the roots of historical fiction.

The professor is knowledgeable and the lessons for each week come in 10-20 minute lengths, perfect for little gaps of time.

If you want to learn about a particular subject, you can browse Coursera, which has lots of courses in all areas. Some you must pay for and some offer a certificate if you pay.

Let me know in the comments if you see something interesting and sign up for it.

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