Monday, February 4, 2013

Three cheers for emails

Part of my job is to pretend to teach technology. I say pretend because I'm not really a tech wizard as some would think, I just know how to Google stuff really well. We're switching to Google Apps, so that we can access all the gloriousness that is Google. I know that sometimes it seems like they're taking over the world, but I would accept them as my leader before anyone that is currently in power.*

I introduced the new emails and access to my grade 6 students, and it was received with cheers, jumping up and down, and general excitement. I was a bit overwhelmed on two fronts.

First, in the US we assume that access to technology is a standard. Office workplaces provide emails, as do Universities, and now a lot of K-12 schools (at least in all the schools that I've worked/volunteered/student taught at). However, here (probably all of South/Southeast Asia, maybe the world outside of North America and Europe really) they don't. I met a University professor who had his personal Hotmail account on his business cards, because the University didn't have continuous electricity, much less an IT department. I don't necessarily greet having an email address with cheers because it's always been the rule, not the exception that it is here.

Second, it's just really overwhelming to have your students cheer for something that you basically implemented. How am I supposed to react? Mostly I turned red and said "you're welcome."  Another student last week made up a song about me and sang it to me on the way to class. what world am I living?

Seriously though, I'm really excited about the students having emails. I'm also really excited for all the awesome Google Apps that they now have access to. Such as being able to make online portfolios with Google Sites**, being able to collaboratively work on assignments using Google Docs, and mostly avoiding the confusion of having multiple email accounts and wondering which one they're supposed to check for their assignments.

Interesting fact about life in Bangladesh: if you live in a slum (or shantytown as they are sometimes referred to) you are a squatter. Occasionally the government will want to come in and clean you out of there, because they want to exert their power, its gotten too big, someone else wants to buy/use the land, or they just want you to move elsewhere. Well, they'll try and make you move, force evictions, etc, but then there's the question of who is going to clean up the mess. How convenient then that a fire rips through the entire thing (generally not injuring/killing many) and makes it unusable for human dwellings any longer.
Agaragon slum burns to the ground. Picture from news story here.

So, when you go home to your house and land you rent or own, be thankful.

*At least in Utah. Our Attorney General has basically been caught red-handed giving and receiving bribes and is under investigation by the Feds. He says he's not going to resign though. I didn't vote for him.

**Sure, I could use something like Weebly, which has been the standard in a lot of other school districts I've worked with, but then I would need new accounts and I would have to manage all that. I like to work smarter, not harder. Sometimes.

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