China Immersion Plan

Over the next several months I will attempt to learn as much as possible about China in preparation for my trip to Beijing and Xi’an in April.  The learning adventure I will embark on will hopefully provide another way to show my students the power that one has to learn on his/her own.

Itemized below are some of the tools that I’ll be using to start this study. Have any other suggestions for research? I hope to post summaries and reflections along the way to share what I learn. If you would like to join me on my 3 month quest to improve my understanding of everything China, reach out to me on Twitter or through posts here on this blog. Let’s see how much we can teach ourselves!

1) Books: I’m hoping to read a few books over the next few months that relate to Chinese history and culture. As I read, I will facilitate my understanding by following up on ideas via research using the following Web 2.0 skills.

Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China by Peter Hessler
In China’s Shadow by Reed Hundt

2) Blogs by educators in Asia: (Does anyone have suggestions?) I’m hoping to find a series of writers/thinkers to follow who work with/in China. Here are some folks who have been recommended to me.

Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts by David Truss
E-Learning Journeys by Julie Lindsay
– One Percent Yellow by Leslie Lindballe

3) Podcasts: (Any other suggestions?) As I drive to school, work out at the gym, do dishes, folding laundry, etc. I’ll be listening to various Podcasts on anything I can find that has to do with China. Filling fluff time around the house with China will help to maximize my learning opportunities throughout the next few months. (All the following podcasts can be found on iTunes)

– China on the Rise Series by The News Hour with Jim Lehrer
– The China in Africa Podcast
– The China History Podcast
– The China Business Blog Podcast

4) Twitter: (Suggestions of people or organizations to follow?) There are several experts, and expert organizations, that deal with China that also happen to work actively on Twitter. The more groups that I can network with, the closer I’ll be to information that I want to find.

– David Truss @datruss – Educator in Dalian, China

– Julie Lindsay @julielindsay –  E-Learning Coordinator at Beijing (BISS) International School

– Asia Society @AsiaSociety – As described by its website, “Asia Society is the leading global and pan-Asian organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of the United States and Asia.”

5) Interviews with Students/Teachers: (Do you know anyone who has been to China or is familiar with China?) I’m hoping to conduct interviews with those that I know who have experience with anything Chinese. I’m hoping to reflect on those interviews on my blog and see what I can learn from talking to these folks.

– Elizabeth
– Francesca
– Sharon

6) Participation in Chinese Exchange Program at School: I’m fortunate that my district will host a group of Chinese students and educators  next month. I’m looking into taking a leadership role with this exchange with the hopes of learning as much as I can.

7) General Website Reading: (Does anyone have trusted sites for information they’d like to share?) What are trusted sites that I can use to help beef up my understanding of the various topics that I read/hear about.

Asiasociety.org

China Internet Information Center

United Nations in China

– Lonely Plant.com

– General link hopping on Wikipedia

8 ) TED Talks: (Anybody seen other interesting presentations on China they can share?) Watching presentations given via TED Talks can greatly enhance one’s understanding/curiosity of a subject. I have found three interesting videos so far. Does anyone have any other suggestions for online videos to watch (even if not through TED Talks)?

Joseph Nye on global power shifts
* As described by TED.com, “Historian and diplomat Joseph Nye gives us the 30,000-foot view of the shifts in power between China and the US, and the global implications as economic, political and “soft” power shifts and moves around the globe.”

Hans Rosling: Asia’s rise — how and when
* As described by TED.com, “Hans Rosling was a young guest student in India when he first realized that Asia had all the capacities to reclaim its place as the world’s dominant economic force. At TEDIndia, he graphs global economic growth since 1858 and predicts the exact date that India and China will outstrip the US.”

Hans Rosling: Let my dataset change your mindset
* As described by TED.com, “Talking at the US State Department this summer, Hans Rosling uses his fascinating data-bubble software to burst myths about the developing world. Look for new analysis on China and the post-bailout world, mixed with classic data shows.”

9) Documentaries: (Does anyone have suggestions for documentaries/movies to watch before my trip?) I’m looking to rent various documentaries about China in order to get yet another perspective on important Chinese issues.

Wild China” – Trailer * This documentary chronicles the story of Chinese wild life. As described by Amazon.com, “An exotic fusion of natural history and Oriental adventure, “Wild China” is a series of journeys through four startlingly different landscapes, each based around the travels of a real historical character.

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