Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Post India Trip!

Thankfully, we had a safe trip back from India. The traveling was definitely the worst part of it all. Even though it had its pros and cons, it was a great experience, and I don't regret it for anything. We toured the first three days and then the conference started. We had to make an invention to present that was a way to improve education through the world of technology. It was very stressful because we only had a few hours to do it, and in Mrs. Vicki's class we usually have a week. The last day we went to a school for underprivelaged children. This trip was made so we could try and incorporate it in our project. Personally, this was my favorite part of the trip because the children's faces lit up when they saw us. We got to play with them for about an hour, and see how their school system worked. We are greatly blessed in America! Their recess area was dirt. When comparing where we live to where they live, I definitely learned to appreciate everything I have that much more. I had heard how bad the conditions were over there, but I didn't actually realize how true it was until we actually saw it: the smell, the trash, the pollution. the poverty, and the over-populated cities. Aside from this, we experienced good things as well. The first three days we got to see some beautiful buildings of the city. We saw 2 temples, Ghandi's residence, the Gateway of India, Ju-Ju Beach, and Elefanta Island. We also had the opportunity to buy many things along the way for very reasonable prices. After the conference started, we stayed with host families. Mine and Jordan's were Australian and they had two cute little girls. Their home was very nice and welcoming. We had a great time with them getting to know them and learning more about India, as well as Australia. I hope that we will keep in touch with them, and we cannot thank them enough for their hospitality. Another thing that caught my attention was the traffic and the driving. They drive on the opposite side of the road for us, and the driver's seat is on the right. They also do not have lanes; they just weave in and out. When they go to pass each other they just beep the horn. It's crazy! I think you either have to be a really good driver or a really bad driver to be able to drive in that sort of environment. It was an eye opener because it is nothing like what we are used to!
The food was also very different over there. They had a McDonald's and KFC, but instead of beef they use lamb. Needless to say...we did not eat at either of the two places. We ate out only three times in the city. In India, they put cury in everything. This is a different tasting Indian spice. We had a meal pre-ordered for us and everything was with cury. The other two restaurants were continental so they were pretty much compatible with our tastes. The other meals we received were either prepared by the hotel or the host families. The food, surprisingly, did not bother me as much as I thought it would since I am a very picky eater. I really liked most of the things I tried. Overall, this was an amazing experience. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to travel across the world. I definitely would recommend if any student has the chance to go to take it because it is a once in a lifetime experience. If this trip would not have been school related, I probably would never have gone to India in my life, but I learned so many things and have memories that will last forever!

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

The trip to India was a wonderful experience for me. It took us over 15 hours to get there, but once there it was all worth it. The hotel that we stayed at was very nice with very tight security. One of the things I noticed right away was the entire run down areas and poverty stricken places. You would see a nice building on one side with a rundown building on the other side. I can’t imagine what it would be like to grow up in those conditions; it really makes you appreciate the things that you have. One of the main differences I noticed while visiting was how they drive in India, there are no lanes to drive in, and it’s just a free for all they do not even care if their cars get banged up. When we were on our way to the hotel from the airport we saw a taxi flipped over on its side. No wonder the host families we stayed in had their own personal drivers.
While visiting Mumbai I learned a great deal about other people’s cultures, different technology and different ways of thinking. One of the things I enjoyed the most was living with my host family. I was able to realize that halfway around the world teenagers are not so different after all. They dress the same, socialize in the same ways, hangout with friends and listen to the same music just as we would in America. It was really interesting to see how they live and interact as a family as well. They have live in servants, chefs and drivers. I only saw Ishan’s Mom one time while we were visiting; the servants do everything for their families. This was very different than my family. The food that we ate while visiting was very different than what I was used to. Over there many people are vegetarian therefore many of the restaurants would have vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. At first I will admit I was not that big of a fan of their meals but as the days passed it seemed to grow on me, although I was glad to be home and have some mashed potatoes and red meat.
The conference was one of the high points of the trip. When the conference began I was thinking to myself “wow three days of work this is not going to be much fun”, I was definitely mistaken. It was so cool to meet so many new people from numerous parts of the world. Many people I met shared the same interests as I did, it was really interesting to share favorite songs with them, and they even liked techno. At the conference we split into groups. My group was Hikaru, Jane, and myself. The idea was that each group would come up with various ways to help other people. Our idea was to show how technology could be implemented in the classroom and the advantages it could have if everyone was able to have a laptop. Unfortunately our idea was not selected as one of the top three.
When the conference was over I was excited and sad all at the same time. I had gained so much from this trip and have such wonderful memories. Although it was lots of fun I was happy to be going home to see my family and friends and start my normal life over again.

Thank you Mrs. Betty and Mrs. Vicki for taking me on this trip, it changed my life!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Daniel's Post Trip Blog

The India trip is something I will never forget! The different lifestyles that I was exposed to and the great people I met changed how I view the world. The second I arrived in India, the hospitality was amazing and everybody had a smile on their face. It hit me, when we were touring the less fortunate areas of Mumbai, that my little problems are nothing compared to the starvation and the lack of hope of these people. The food over in India was very different from that back in the U.S. Since I always like to try new things, it was a new experience for me. Some of the food was actually good. The places we toured were very amazing from the architecture all the way to the exotic flowers everywhere. When it was time to attend the conference, my thoughts about it were mixed. I got there thinking it was going to be nothing but work, however it turned out to be the funnest part of the trip. The different people I met were amazing! I worked with other people from countries such as the UK, China, Korea, India, and various parts of the U.S. They were all very nice. Everybody had a different point of view on things which was interesting to hear about. The video that my group created made me really think about the aspect of students becoming the teachers in the classroom. The Flatclassroom conference taught me that students could come up with solutions to help improve education. All in all, I came home with a new view on life and an ambition to do something to help the less fortunate people back over in India.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Will's Post-Trip Post :)

This trip to India was AMAZING! I would go back in a heartbeat!
We had lots of fun sightseeing.

On Monday we went to an Islamic Mosque, where Muslims go to pray and
worship, although a few people in our group were not allowed in the mosque
because they were wearing shorts, the Islamic faith has a very strict
dress code and if tourists are not dressed properly they are not allowed in to
see the mosque. The mosque is a very old building that was built hundreds of
years ago on a jetty that juts out into the Arabian Sea.
After that we went to a Jain Temple. The Jains are a group of Hindus that
are unlike most Indian Hindus today. The Jains never beg for money (They
feel that their gods will provide for them in their own ways), and the
Jains that have money give most of it to provide for the temple, they only buy what they need, not what they want. The temple was very beautiful, with many
statues of gods and elephants.
Then we went to Gandhi's house where he lived when he traveled to Mumbai.
The house is now a museum that has many pictures and exhibits on Gandhi and the work that he did while he was in India.
After Gandhi's house we traveled all the way back through the city to Juhu
Beach, Mumbai's biggest and most visited beach. We had an authentic Indian
meal of chicken masala, dal, and naan bread, and the best chocolate ice
cream i have ever tasted for dessert.
And finally we traveled back to the hotel. We were all so tired we all
went straight to bed and slept for about 10 hours!
But that was only the first day!

On Tuesday we took a ferry across Mumbai bay to Elephanta Island. This was
my favorite place so far! They ancient temple was very beautiful. The
temple was cut right out of the stone cliffs in the center of the island. Shiva
was the Hindu god that was worshiped in this temple, there are many murals,
rock cuttings,and statues depicting Shiva and some other gods as well. On this
island, monkeys can roam free almost everywhere. I have never seen so many
monkeys in one place in my entire life!
When we got back from Elephanta Island we shopped for the rest of the
afternoon. and returned to the hotel even more tired than we were on

Wednesday was the first day of the conference. But today was also the day that i got sick! I think i got because i took my doxycycline on an empty stomach! i missed the tour of Mumbai with the other students, but kaycie said i didnt miss anything, except another chance to shop. That night we stayed with our host families, Ishan was our host student, he is pretty cool. He lives with his mom and their two servants. Their house is pent house on the first floor with a big terrace veranda and a view of the sea. that night i slept like a dead baby because my medicine that i was taking made me so tired!

On Thursday, i met my teammates in my group for the Flat Classroom project. Beatrice was from Korea Intl. School, Jeongmin was from Beijing (BISS), and Arjun from ASB. We had 3 virtual participants, Riki from Japan, Nancy from Madrid, and some girl from Germany. Our project was IMPACT, Inspirational Museum Promoting Arts by Children through Technology. I think we had the best idea, and the most votes for our pitch.

Friday was just another work day, we worked on our project all day and gave our pitch and moved on to the next round with Like-Write and AHA! teams.

Saturday was the bad day. we advanced to the next round and the finals and had to create a video about our project. we worked really hard until about 1:30 when all of a sudden... ALL of our work was gone!!! we dont know how it happened but it did so we were pretty mad! so we had to work really hard and almost didnt make the deadline! Our video wasnt as good as we wanted it to be but Beatrice is working on a revised version of it so maybe we can get more votes and possibly win and get our project made into a reality!!! maybe...

That night was the night we left for home. Our flight left at about 12:00 midnight from Mumbai and then we took a 15 hour plane ride back to Newark and then we returned home! the first thing i did when i got back to Camilla was go to McDonald's and get Big Mac!!! it was SOOOOO good. then i went home , took a shower, and then slept for about 12 hours!!

This trip to India was a once-in-a-lifetime trip and i enjoyed it very much! I learned alot about technology and education. Next year i plan to go to Beijing for the next conference! i hope to see all my new friends there next year!!

Thank you mrs. vicki and mrs. betty for taking me on this trip!!! I LOVED IT!!

Post-trip blog

Our trip to India was very interesting. The flight over was around seventeen hours long, total. When we got to India, we were taken to a hotel where I realized just how large of a contrast there is between the living standards of the rich and the living standards of the poor. Here we were staying in a beautiful and luxurious, and right outside we could see the small dank houses of the impoverished. A drastic distinction between the wealthy and the poor was apparent. While I was in India, I learned how to bargain, I learned about the Hindu religion, and I learned much about the Indian culture. The traffic was outrageous and helped me to appreciate our traffic system and the value of patience much more. The cuisine was quite peculiar. In some places, it was entirely vegetarian. In other places, it was not vegetarian. In some places it did not seem vegetarian, but in actuality, the meat was stuffed with vegetables. We saw many interesting land marks, such as The Gateway to India, Elephanta Island, and an Islam mosque. The Islam mosque was very interesting because of its rules and regulations. I was not allowed to wear my shoes into it. Tayler and Ethan had to wait outside of it because in order to get in, you have to wear pants. They had on shorts. An interesting side note to me was that all of the citizens and tour guides claimed that there was little risk of danger in Mumbaii because all of the inhabitants were happy. Yet there seemed to be max security everywhere I went. Perhaps this security was just a formality to put the minds of the paranoid at ease. My host family was very hospitable and I really enjoyed their company. They had two live-in servants and a driver. This was very interesting for me, because I’ve never been anywhere that had a live-in servant before. We stayed with an ASB student named Ishan and his mother. He was a very generous host and taught us much about the Indian culture. We accomplished much during the flatclassroom conference. We prepared a presentation in about two days. My group’s project was about worldwide collaboration of literature. We did a short skit about how worldwide collaboration on a literature project can help to expand a student’s mind after hearing an opinion from another culture. Then we did another project which became one big presentation. My part of the presentation was to participate in a skit that represented the difference between a traditional narrow-minded teacher and a more tech-savvy teacher that uses Web 2.0 tools to teach students. Needless to say, the tech-savvy teacher has more of an impact on his or her students. We also attended a meeting in which we learned about new technology and methods of teaching. It was all very interesting and productive. I hope that more students will get the chance to experience what I have experienced this past week. This project is certainly an effective way to enlighten students and make the world more "flat."


India was such a great experience! It was so fun to be able to travel to such an interesting place! This is the second time that I have had to opportunity to travel to the flat classroom conference, and it was definitely worth the 15 hour flight from Newark to Mumbai. I could tell an immediate difference when we got off of the plane at the Bombay airport. Obviously, the people looked much different, and it didn't smell much like America did, and that's all I'm going to say about that. When we left the airport, we went straight out onto the interstate with our cab driver. It was so cool how everyone weaved in and out of the other traffic, not really heading that there were even lanes on the road. The hotel that we stayed at was very nice, and one of the nicest in India. I was a bit nervous whenever we had to leave the comfort of staying at a 5 star hotel to stay at a host family's home, but it turned out to be great. The family that Daniel and I stayed with had two personal drivers, four at-hand servants, and two chefs. That alone was great, since the chefs prepared eggs and chocolate pancakes every morning for Daniel and me. That was sweet. The conference was very fun too, and I enjoyed meeting people from other countries. In my group, there was a girl from Korea and a boy from India. Also on my team was a man from Oman, and a guy from Germany. My group's project made it too the top 3, and it is now available to be voted on.