So. KoTESOL was this Saturday. It was open to non-members and there were some fairly cool presentations. I went to the classroom TECH niques group because I KNOW I am a tech-tard, it is bothering me, and I want to change it. I want to be part of the cool kids doing cool tech stuff. So I woke up early, paid my 10,o00 won (about 10 dollars US give or take depending on the exchange rate of the day). N. and I were late, but that was ok, and I went to several of the presentations.
They were all quite interesting, but … and it is a big but, the presentations really didn’t give me what I was looking for. The first one I went to was WebGems, and the presenter mostly gave out his favorite websites, and although they were cool, and I appreciated his presentation of different ways to use one site or another for different levels, I already knew about quite a few of them. The one that surprised me the most, and the one I can’t wait to use for my kids wasn’t very tech at all. It was about having the students do their own radio show, getting them to use English outside the classroom but having them write and record the radio skits outside of class. It could be done high-tech with a podcast, or low tech with a tape recorder, but I really liked the idea. The one on YouTube and Wizard of Oz, although well done, didn’t help me at all. I thought she was a good presenter, but I really wanted her to talk about how she got the YouTube videos into the Powerpoint, how she set things up. It was a good class, but I really don’t want to teach her class, I wanted to know the tech, you since that was the whole reason I woke up on a cloudy Saturday.. sigh…
There was on bright spot (other than seeing some people I hadn’t seen in a while) It was the talk on using TED. Now it was mostly about his research on the lexical information in TED (in case you don’t know what TED is, it is a web site that has talks from all kinds of people about all kinds of subjects: http://www.ted.com/ and it is pretty interesting.) His research although not about tech in the classroom was also really interesting, and I enjoyed it. I also did finally get some cool tech that I’m not sure I will be able to use in my classroom, but if I can it will be kinda awesome. It is called prezi, and it is what Powerpoint wishes it could be: http://prezi.com/ I don’t know everything about how it works, but like http://www.xtranormal.com/ it is a cool toy to play with and pretend I am working.
So kinda disappointing, but not a total waste of time. After the workshops, I had a plan with some friends, and so got on the subway, that was packed. Sardines in the can have more room, and then the subway stopped, kicked us all out, and closed. So… I grabbed a taxi, since I wasn’t very far away. The taxi driver decided that since I didn’t speak fluent Korean, it was ok to take me on the city tour. This upset me more for the waste of time than for the money (although that didn’t make me happy)– I kept thinking, I should have just stayed in bed.
I am glad I didn’t. We finally got everyone together, although I still couldn’t reach one of my friends, and we went to a place called Yeti in the Hongdae area. Hongdae is one of my favorite neighborhoods/ areas in Seoul because Hongik university is one of the art universities. If you want to be an artist in Korea, that is the place you go. So it has the funky university vibe, plus it has a lot of the art vibe. Ewa and Sinchon are close as well, and there are always clubs, restaurants, funky little shops, and cool things going on. Yeti is one of them. It is an Indian/Nepali/ Tibetan restaurant with some awesome curries, done right, with nan. And bonus, on one of the walls they have Bollywood movies, real chai, and lassi – I love lassi, mostly because I haven’t met a yogurt drink I didn’t like. We hung out quite awhile, watching the dancing and singing, and since the movies didn’t have subtitles, the action made even less sense than most Bollywood movies.
Sunday I wanted to sleep in, but the sunshine woke me up. Sunshine!! The sun really did come out. After weeks of really horrible weather, snow, sleet, clouds, cold… Sunshine. A friend I haven’t heard from in a while called me up to take a walk down by the river.
We were not the only ones with this idea. People were roller blading, riding their bicycles, walking, playing with remote control cars (we almost crashed into a race) playing basketball. It was like the whole neighborhood decided to come out and play. And the sun shone down on all of us, and everyone seemed to be happy and smiling, and just damn glad to get out of the house. I know I was.