Saturday, July 30, 2011

No Time to Waste... I mean, Wait.

I got a Blackberry this week. It pretty and burgandy and matches my laptop! 

It wasn't smooth sailing though. We went in, filled in the paperwork and they told us they were offline and I would have to wait for the next day to get the phone. I was SO disappointed and very IRRITATED. The next day I went in and they said I needed a letter from My Man to collect it since he had added it to his existing contract, and I would have to come back later with a letter. I was ACID since he had been there and arranged this the night before. I phoned him at work and asked him to email them their instructions. I can't say that I was thrilled with my attitude at having to deal with all the 'red tape'. (I did however, apologise later for being somewhat abrupt.)

Anyway - this post is not about the Raspberry but it triggered a thought.

Rewind. Some years ago I was teaching Grade 4 about email. I introduced the lesson by doing a short "one man show".

"I hunted for a piece of writing paper, and a pen, then I sat down and wrote a letter. I searched  for an envelope.  At this point I realised that I didn't remember the persons address so had to go and look it up. I wrote it on the envelope and then realised that I didn't have a stamp. So I put the envelope in my bag.... and walked around a bit. (Days pass.....) Oh look! The letter is still in my bag! I forgot to buy a stamp... let me do it now. Go to the PO buy a stamp and stick it in the postbox. Then it has to be sorted and sent this side, and sorted and delivered on the receivers side."

(You get the picture by now...don't you?)  It could take days, weeks even months to reply to a letter or send one.  Hence the name - snailmail.

After this little piece of theatre I showed them the marvels of email. I opened my email on the projected screen for them to see, added the address that was memorised, typed a mail to My Man, and pressed "Send". Within 2 or 3 minutes I had received a reply from him, and his email went via the UK before it reached him.  "Is this not fantastic?" I asked them. "Yes!" they said. It was awesome!!!

Fast Forward. Those same children that I taught are now about 17 years old and the chances are good that they all have some kind of Smart Phone and can either BBM or Whatsapp and have various Social Media accounts.

Last night I bbm'd My Girl and waited, and waited, and waited...and eventually went to bed.

The point is that going from that generation where email was considered fast - we are now in a generation where email is almost taboo. Its just too slow. We don't want to wait for a response. We want it instantly. Straight away. No waiting.

Now, I love Technology and am in the business of embracing the advances of it, but I can't help wondering if this influences our attitude or our character in some way. How do we respond to people when we are told to wait for something?

Does it affect how we "wait on God".
What do you think?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's All Distinctly Normal

Ho Hum.

I haven't blogged for a few days and really, weird as this is, since I do talk quite a bit, I have nothing to say. (Which probably means that when I do talk it's all a bunch of rubbish anyway!)

  • I mean, you don't want to hear that we lost the first TriNations rugby, do you? No, I didn't think so.
  • What about how our dogs have dug up virtually an entire strip of our back lawn? Riveting stuff, isn't it?
  • Or that I need to replace the laundry taps? What on earth would you do without that piece of information?

I guess what I am trying to say is that life is normal. I guess after these holidays it just feels more normal than 'normal'.

I am in need of a seriaaaaas partay with lots of friends, very loud music, dancing, laughing and great food & wine! Somewhere. Soon.

So - I will leave you with yet another of my favourite songs, from one of my favourite bands that were out here last year... Enjoy.

(Yes, I am aware that these songs are old - but I like them... I am sure that I will share some of my newer favourites at some point)

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I love everything, everything about this ... the band, the song, the video. Love. Love. Love.

Can't wait for their October tour!

(Let it buffer completely first or it will be ruined)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Springbok Friday

Springbok Friday!
                     Tri-nations start tomorrow
World Cup around the corner....
already know ....

let me nail my colours
out there.

Go Bokke! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Special Gift

Last night I had one of those moments that will stay with me forever.

We were with a group of people that we see reguarly and had gotten together for supper and to catch up after the holidays.

In the group is a young lady, wife and mother of a 3-month old. The family escaped from Ruanda and speak very little English although it is improving really fast. She has no work and has very little to call her own. I can't profess to know her well but what I do see is that she is always full of smiles, optimism and hope.

Last night out of the blue, she produced a hand made gift for me and the other ladies there. I was told later that she sat with a photograph she had of us and thought about what would suit us best. It was so unexpected and I felt so humbled. I have so much and she has so little, yet what she had she lovingly worked into something beautiful for me.

That sort of kindness and generosity is rare and incredibly moving.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ready, Set, Go!

After the excitement of the holiday workshops buzz, today was back to school day! 

It was great to be surrounded by everyone, Staff and students, who were happy to see one another again.

I absolutely love that I didn't have to try to get any Staff members to 'buy into' all the ideas that I came back with, and already I have set up appointments for demo's to be given at our school for various products, and scheduled a visit to a school close by who are already using this technology.

This term will see us begin to find technology that we can use to teach IN the classroom - so not waiting for the students to "come to computers' ... but taking technology in all forms to them in the class, making learning way more interactive and fun. 

Here are some products that we are comparing to see what works best for us:

Already one of our teachers has come to me and said: "We are doing Reduce, Reuse, Recycle this term.  How can we broaden this using ICT?"

My board at home is filling up squiggles, arrows, boxes and ideas for Projects! 

In fact, I am going to have to organise a clocking in machine at home so at some point I stop thinking about them! 

I am so thankful for my working environment and all involved there - there is a saying that goes something like "If you find a job that you love, you'll never have to work a day in your life."

I definately believe this applies to me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Confused July

It's winter.

Atleast, I was under the impression that it was.

Personally, I just think that I am very much loved and this warm weather is a tangible way of making up for me freezing my butt off last week.

Seriously though... July is meant to be a month where every person you meet moans and wails about how awful the weather is.

On Sunday we took the dogs for a walk and it was bliss. No wind and the sea was like glass as far as the eye could see. Pretty soon the whales will be frolicking in the bay! We have had so many dolphins this season too. Hard to believe that these are out there with our notorious great whites!

Today looks like it may be another beaut. So I am going to take my work to the beach this morning (aka "The Office" since I mostly do my prep there!) and soak up the heat and have a bottomless coffee.

It's the last bit of holidays - I feel the need to make the most of it!
Enjoy your week!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bulleted Highlights...

  • Finding out I was going...*duh*, obviously.
  • Meeting Louise at the airport after my email and her interntional phonecall hook-up
  • Not sure if any of the 3 of us stopped talking long enough to breathe on the flight there
  • Not sure that Leonie stopped talking even while waiting for the luggage.... by her own admission
  • Meeting Leanne on the shuttle. 4 Ladies whose names start with "L" in one bus....
  • The Hotel Room - OMW!!!!
  • Conversations of every kind
  • The presentations - mind boggling. Wish I could see them all again. I don't remember doing mine not because public speaking makes me nervous - but judges do!
  • Getting fingerprinted. We can go back anytime now girls
  • The College itself. Unbelievably beautiful
  • John Davitts workshop and trying to convey how a periscope works via text messaging... yes. Really.
  • Trying to carry my backpack, my 'geyser' (renamed from 'hottie'), get coffee and food, all at once.
  • Not knowing how to keep warm that one FREEZING day
  • The Google Earth & Maps Workshop - Loved that one
  • Sitting in the sun with friends - when there was sun
  • Locking my stuff under Louise's bed
  • Needing the loo in the middle of the night and thinking - FORGET IT, it's too cold
  • Hanging out in the back row of the auditorium, being very distracted by 'someone with a Mac' taking special effects pic of us all.
  • Watching Louise win
  • Unbelievably great food and great organisation overall
  • Sitting at the edge one of the fountains in the sun, looking out through the arches and thinking how lucky am I
  • Laughing myself silly with Skattie Skattie. I think I am going to post that actually.*
  • Never having coffee that was actually piping hot
  • The Gala Dinner. What a night. I am sure pictures will be emerging from various sources in a few days. I am sure that I will have embarressed myself badly but I have got to make the most of every opportunity to d.a.n.c.e since it's not My Mans favourite activity
  • The Black Eyed Peas - Tonight's Gonna be a Good Night. Love, l.o.v.e, LOVE it. Can't help myself. Truth be told... I don't really care. You only live one. Why go to gym if you can dance. That's my motto.
  • The bus ride back...and seeing where my camera had been! :)
  • Watching the 2 guys come down the airport ramp literally riding their trolleys
  • It wasn't lekker to say goodbye ... I didn't like that. Not one bit.
................................ I am sure that I have left tons out

To summarise really - the highlights revolved around meeting, sharing with, hanging out with and learning with and from people that I became really fond of in a short space of time.  Maybe because we are like-minded in education, maybe its just, well, just because. Whatever the reason. It was good.

So, now it's over. I'm a little sad but at the same time pretty amped to try and use some of these new found tools and ideas...

We'll have to make do with FB, Tweets, Skype, and whatever else until we all meet again!

*  Skattie Skattie - is a remake of Justin Biebers song "Baby, Baby". It formed part of a presentation this week, done by a High School Afrikaans Teacher. His goal, with his Afrikaans 2nd language students, was to extend their vocab in order for them to communicate better. What he did, amongst other things, was to let them choose a song, and they had to translate it into Afrikaans and present it in whichever way they chose.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's really about people

I feel as though I am in a dream.
                                      Everything seems rather surreal.

These last few days have been an incredible experience for me.

Initially it was all about "what people had produced" and, believe me, they PRODUCED fantastic stuff. There was media used that I had never heard of and amazing topics exploring themes that ranged from Romeo & Juliet in R&B, teaching Grade R about shapes and how they change, investigating stereo-types, e-waste, etc. I could go on and on because there were 22 projects.

Now the 'hype' is over and I am left with this - I feel enriched by these people and not for their knowledge but I have met some just such lekker people. 

In the end - I will remember them long after I have forgotten their project no matter how good it was. I am hoping to be able to keep some of these new friendships alive and carry them on into "our real lives".

Tomorrow the workshops begin and it will be heads down - act like a sponge and suck it up!

What a week. What a life.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Excitement Begins...!

It's 22h30 and I am sitting in a suite fit for a queen. I thought maybe they had given me the wrong room! I wish My Man was with me - he would love it!

It's been a whirlwind of a week of preparation. Getting my presentation ready, packing, making sure the presentation is saved in various places, timing my talk - I have not fallen asleep before 02h00 in the last couple of days for thinking about this week. I wasn't anxious, and am still not, but all night I kept thinking, what do I say, what do I leave out, should I have done anything differently?  I am sure you have experienced times when your mind is just overly pre-occupied and over active. I never battle to sleep, but after this week I have renewed sympathy for those that do struggle to.

I have just finished dinner at a table of 5 (and there are 20 of us) and have come away feeling completely inspired - and that's just listening to them talking about how they teach. Is my brain going to cope with all the great ideas this week?

This conference is all about understanding that the way that people learn, is changing. The 'old way' that children used to learn doesn't work anymore. It's boring and doesn't engage them. We, as teachers, need to find a new way to teach.  It's about understanding that this age is a technological one - and how can we incorporate technology into our classrooms to capture our kids and still teach them what they need to know.

It was rather funny when I realised that this mirrors my spiritual journey. The 'old way' of living out my faith, doesn't work for me anymore ~ it doesn't for a lot of people. Just like the teachers have realised there is a whole 'other way' of teaching, so there are those that are realising there is a whole 'other way' of living out our faith.

I am so excited about this week. I feel so honoured to be amongst these people to learn from them, to pick their brains and to go back to school and hopefully inspire others too.

There are times that I am overwhelmed by the grace of God. Today is one of those days.