ISTE Standard 5: Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership
Triggering Events Question:
What type of local and global learning communities could I participate in to explore creative applications of technology in order to improve student learning, while living in a country that has heavy Internet restrictions?
I would love to share the process that I have had to go through in researching this topic! The country I live in places heavy Internet restrictions on its users. Websites such as BBC, CNN, and Facebook cannot be accessed without a Virtual Private Network (VPN). I have a VPN, but often this does not even work well because different VPN Company’s are
constantly being monitored and shut down. Just last week the VPN I was using for almost a year was disconnected due to “political meetings”, so I had to download a second VPN.
In order to research my topic I thought it would be more useful to see what was available to me without the use of my VPN. While most people would just do a Google search of “global teaching communities”, I had to use bing.com because all Google applications are blocked. Once I got to Bing, I then had to translate my search into English. That all worked great, however, accessing any of the websites available became the issue. After several attempts at trying to search and open websites related to “global teaching communities I gave up because nothing would open or it was not applicable to my situation. Next, I decided to see if my Microsoft Education account would open without a VPN. No luck.
So what does that leave me with you might ask? Should I just give up and say it’s impossible? Nope, thankfully I have a wonderful community of educators I have connected with in my technology class that have offered a plethora of wonderful websites. This collaborative community has passed on not only technology resource websites, but also collaborative community resources. Once I get a specific website URL I can check to see if it works without a VPN. For example, one classmate shared the website home.edweb.net. Good news! It worked (most of the time). I was able to access different resources from the website. I have not joined in any of the webinars so I am curious if I would run into any complications streaming the sessions. I am excited to see that I can still be part of educational communities and connect with others in a global context! Some other education communities I can participate in without a VPN are:
What I have learned is that living in a country with heavy Internet restriction makes me work twice as hard to find creative resources and appreciate the resources I do have! Other opportunities for me to explore using technology in the class to support student learning is partnering with elementary classes in America; instead of having “pen-pals” our class would have “web-pals”. This would be a fun way to explore and use technology in the class but really support our students in a global environment!