Expanding my Boundaries by Visiting India

I’m blogging on my traditional site but will cross post here for this trip.

In two weeks I will be boarding a plane (or two) to visit a country that is 11.5 hours ahead of my timezone. Typical reactions I receive when I tell people I’m going to India—a place far from Boulder, Colorado—range from “that is not for me” to “I wish I could go”.

I also get many comments like, “That is so cool!: “ What will you learn?” or my favorite, “I’ve been there and you will love it. Let me tell you about…”

I’ve asked myself why I’m willing to leave the comforts of home to explore something so different, and the answer is simple: I have a strong desire to push my own boundaries to explore, learn, and hopefully return with a new way of perceiving and interacting with my world. A trip like this could change the way I view and solve problems, including those I face in my role at Boulder Valley School District.

IndiaCitiesMap.jpgThis personally funded trip is led by CoSN (Consortium of School Networking), an organization I belong to that supports K-12 technology professionals through advocacy, tools, and support. CoSN visits a country each year to learn about how the educational system functions and how technology is used.
We will visit three diverse cities—Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai—each with different cultures, food, and even religious followings. We will spend time at schools with students and administrators, and we will visit historical and cultural sites, including the Taj Mahal. This trip promises to be anything but routine.
After months of preparation and many vaccinations, I am ready to leave on November 12. I hope you will follow me on my 12-day journey through these social media tools:
Please chime in here with your thoughts. What country you have visited that has changed the way you view the world.

Expecting to the Unfamiliar, Yet Familiar

Like many of my colleagues joining this CoSN delegation to India, I have had the opportunity to visit schools in many parts of the world. I am consistently stricken with how familiar “K-12” schools are in their design and their activities, among many other similarities. Somehow I find that reassuring. It makes the world seem just a little bit smaller. On the other hand, it’s so much fun to experience the different customs and learn about different structures and priorities. As we prepare for our trip to India, I am desperately trying to not have too many preconceptions so I can take in all that I experience. I’m looking forward to sharing those experiences via this blog.

Background readings…

We have provided you with a great and extensive list of background readings.  I encourage you to read all of them…and, I found the following report particularly helpful for this delegation since we are exploring the use of technology/ICT to transform learning in India:

The EdTech Promise: Catalysing Quality School Education at Scale   This report by the Central Square Foundation provides an overview of the EdTech landscape in India and the role that technology can play in improving student learning, teacher training and instruction, and school governance. It also analyses EdTech innovations from India and abroad to demonstrate how technology-based models are evolving in different contexts to produce higher learning outcomes. – See more at: http://www.centralsquarefoundation.org/publications/#sthash.MdHHoI2A.dpuf