Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cheongna Dalton School World Experience Tours 2017

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hongcheon World Experience Tour Day 1

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

PodOmatic and Soundcloud for Student Podcasts and Music

If you have students who create their own music or produce their own podcasts, your can use SoundCloud or PodOmatic to publish them on the Internet for free. Both websites offer free accounts that can manage a load of material without dropping any cash. The Slides below will walk you through the basics of publishing a podcast on each website. Youtube is another option, but I prefer SoundCloud and PodOmatic because they are specific for the task of sharing music or podcasts; Youtube is great, but video content is more the focus of the website. I've encouraged students to do podcasting in a number of ways, but my personal favorites have been when they promote their own music or opinions and learn to use social media to spread their content.

In my Presentation and Performance course, I would make podcasting like a journal assignment in my English courses. The idea was that each student published five episodes a semester and each episode was two to three minutes long. I left the content up to them, but I did require them to promote the podcast. Students were require to visit each other's podcasts and leave at least one comment for all of their classmates during the semester. Most of the students loved it. They had freedom with regard to content so they were interested in making episodes and promoting them. One student produced his own version of Car Talk; one student made videos of her singing her favorite songs and challenged others to make their own versions of the songs; and another student demonstrated different styles and techniques in applying cosmetics. One of the biggest benefits for students, other than learning how to make podcasts, was their appreciation for the sound of their own voices. A person sounds very different when recorded and played back and it gave students an opportunity to work on voice quality and control in a non-threatening way.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Delaying Gratification Isn't Always Wise

There has been a huge amount of talk lately about the importance of learning to delay gratification. People much more intelligent than me are promoting the idea and there was an amazing TED Talk called Don't Eat the Marshmallow by Joachim de Posada. Currently I'm living in the land of delaying gratification -- Korea. Korean students are told to work diligently and wait for everything good to happen later in life. There is even a children's book about not eating the marshmallow. First Koreans struggle to get into a great high school; then a great university; and finally into a great job with a major company. But my question is what happens while you are delaying all of your gratification? It is a little thing called life and it is important.

I'm not going to argue the pros and cons of delaying gratification. The research clearly demonstrates that children who learn to delay gratification lead healthier, more productive lives. But are we also raising a generation of people who never take risks? Sometimes in life you just have to try something just to see how it turns out. Sometimes you need to live with a little danger, a little risk, in order to feel alive. What we really want to teach our kids is how to delay gratification, but how to also pick times when seeking gratification is acceptable; even opportune. Imagine if Richard Branson had never jumped at the chance to own Virgin Atlantic? What if he had decided to "delay gratification" by not purchasing the other half of the business? His willingness to take a huge risk led to his amazing success. We want our children to do that! To spot times and opportunities that sometimes require us to not delay gratification, but instead to embrace gratification immediately. But not all the time! Basically we want to teach kids how to balance life.

As I stated before, I'm not suggesting that we stop teaching children the importance of not eating the marshmallow, but I am suggesting that there is more to it than that. Not eating the marshmallow is part of the picture, but knowing when it is the right time to eat it is just as important.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Time Management Tools -- Google Keep and Tasks

Do you have a problem with time or task management? Do you know a student or colleague that does? Do you have GSuite for education? If you answered yes to either of the first two questions and yes to the third question as well, then you are in luck, because you can actually solve the problem with GSuite. Google Keep is a rather new product from Google and I like to think of it as an Evernote-lite. Tasks exist in your Gmail account and you probably never notice them at all. Either one of these products can help your organize your time and tasks better.
This presentation walks through the basic features of each product and also makes a comparison of the two. The basic choice comes down to what you want to be able to do with your task list. Do you want to share it with others you are collaborating with? Then Keep is best option. Do you want to use it on your own (and possibly sent a list to someone)? Then Task is part of your Gmail account already, so why use another tab?

Monday, April 10, 2017

The 20th Anniversary!

March marked the 20th anniversary of my first trip to Korea. I had graduated from the University of Montana in December of 1996. It was the middle of the school year, so my option were limited. My choices were basically work another job and try to sub when I was available or to sub as much as possible. Neither option really appealed to me. And then it happened... I was walking through the education building and came to the announcement board. Someone had posted some EFL teaching positions available overseas in Korea and Japan. I spent the next few days doing some research with at the computer lab and found several options. The pay in general seemed a little better in Korea when the cost of living was factored in to the situation. I wrote an email to one of the recruiters. Within a week, I had signed a contract with a small language school in Dong-jin and my overseas career essentially began without me even really knowing it. The plan at the time was to get some practical teaching experience and then return for the U of MT job fair the following spring. My hope was still to work in Alaska.

The year passed with some great adventures and wonderful experiences to look back on. I returned to the US in late-March and picked up some volunteer work with the Office of Career Services where I had work in my work-study job. The job fair came in May and I was signed to be dorm advisory and sub in Galena, AK. During the summer, one of the teachers would back out of his/her contract and I switched to full-time teaching and living in the dorm. It was a crazy two years in rural Alaska and the itch to travel and live aboard resurfaced in Galena's -40F temperatures.

I was hired to work in Turkey where I met my wife, Aysem. We decided to leave Turkey together and traveled to Saipan to work at Saipan International School. After four years there, we went to a job fair and got hired to work at Korea International School. I was back in Korea and loving it. After a long run at KIS (seven years), we were offered the opportunity to return to SIS when I was hired to be the Headmaster. I thought for sure that my Korea days were behind me for good, but then the typhoon happened and we changed our minds about island life.

We started looking for work and finally landed at Cheongna Dalton School. We were back in Korea! It was like returning home. We have both been happy to be in Korea again and I strongly doubt that we will consider leaving again. In those 20 years, I've seen some amazing changes on the peninsula, but the basics have stayed the same. Korea is clean and wonderfully efficient; the culture is incredibly unique; and the people are diligent, intelligent, and kind. I've left Korea twice before, I don't think I'll leave a third time.