There were two surprises this morning: one was that it snowed during the night, and the other was that the Chinese government caused the snow--they seeded the clouds last night. I didn’t believe it at first, but those at the conference who live in Beijing said it’s not unusual, and that they had heard the snow cannons during the night.
The Flat Classroom Conference is in full swing, and the teams are working on their projects. This conference is unusual in a lot of ways, but one of the most significant is that it engages both students and teachers in active learning. As Vicki Davis describes it, at most conferences teachers talk about students and about active learning; here they are actually doing it. Another way it is unusual is that the project teams are very diverse and English is not the native language of many of the participants. That adds an extra challenge, but it’s beautiful to see teams overcoming obstacles and working together in spite of their differences.
My Survey Monkey experience came in handy this morning when setting up surveys for conference participants to select three student projects to move to the finals. The last upgrade to Survey Monkey included the ability to embed a form into a webpage, so I added an html widget to a conference wiki page and pasted the code from Survey Monkey into the widget. It worked well and we didn’t need to use Plan B which would have meant resorting to sticky notes.
It was a pleasant surprise to meet Central College alum Cheryl Moen at the conference (see photo). She’s a teacher at BISS now, but grew up in Pella and her dad is retired Central professor Al Moen. It’s a small world!
Farah Kashef and I walked to a nearby Pizza Hut for supper tonight and ordered a pizza. The one we got wasn’t the same one that we had ordered, but we were hungry enough that we ate it anyway. Farah told our waiter that she didn’t want ice in her drink, and instead he brought her a plate with ketchup on it. We’ve learned just to go with the flow, though---if our English sounds as strange to them as their Chinese sounds to us, it’s no wonder things get confused!