Lady Gaga and the Universal Language of Music in Malaysia

Recently, Homa Tavangar of ‘Growing up Global’ asked me via Twitter my thought on how parents can raise “happy, informed global citizens”. I’ve had a myriad of answers to this question during the years, but Homa’s recent question has caused me to think about my experiences as I’ve traveled and interacted with global cultures. During my most recent school visit in Penang, Malaysia, an entirely new, and very exciting answer came to me…
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Digital Voices of the Cambodian Youth

During the past 3 months, I have occasionally pulled out the iPad2 that I had purchased with the hopes that students around the world would be able to produce videos entirely on this device. Although I’ve worked with teachers and students during the past 3 months, we haven’t really used the iPad very much. I’ve mostly pulled it out to use Photobooth or Camera apps to spontaneously record the wonderful people I’ve met. But two weeks ago, Ponheary Ly Foundation President Lori Carlson asked if I would conduct a short workshop with fifteen Chey School students. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to spend a couple of hours a day preparing the students.

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Art in Cambodia — The Search for The Sounding Room

GUEST BLOG POST

James Russell Fritsch, Label Manager for Public Guilt and Deadverse Recordings, went in search of The Sounding Room in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He shares his love of music and art with us…

When trying to find a hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I found the Diamond Palace. The price was affordable and it was a 20 minute walk away from the center of town which had many of the cities famed sites (Royal Palace, National Museum, Wat Ounalum, and the beautiful riverside.) One of the customer reviews stood out in my mind,”Nice room, breakfast is okay. The problem is the location. You have to pass by a really terrible slum area which clouds your vision. Hard to believe people can live in such squalor. I would not stay here again because of that.” Upon arrival, I passed the building on a few occasions and took note. While it was old and crumbling, it also reminded me of parts of my hometown, Baltimore. Continue reading

Students using XOcomputers

Bridging the Digital Divide in Cambodia

Months ago, I was telling my friend Charla about my trip and my desire to collaborate with teachers and students worldwide with the goal of bridging the growing Digital Divide. She gave me the contact info for Lori Carlson in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Last week, I arrived in Cambodia and fished Lori’s email address out of my backpack. After a brief email exchange, I tracked her down at the Ponheary Ly Foundation house to learn about her work with the local schools… Continue reading

TT in Mongolia

The “Metropolitan” Mongolia

Click on the Image to see Sükhbaatar Square in 360 degrees. How many construction cranes can you see?

I stood in front of Tsentuya’s English class at School 23 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia as she explained that I was a teacher visiting from the United States. After the quick introduction, I asked the students if they had any questions. A boy seated at the back of the room raised his hand, tilted his head, and inquired: “Before you came to Mongolia, what did you know about Mongolia?”

I laughed. He knew my story… Continue reading

The Byambatogtoh Family

Gers, Camels and Motorbikes…

Mongolia is divided into Aimags (Provinces). Early one morning, I went out to the Dragon Bus Depot to catch a bus to Bulgan Aimag, west of the capital Ulaan Baator.

Click on the image to see the Dragon Bus Depot in 360 degrees.

After a six hour bus ride, I arrived at the ger home of Mr. Byambatogtoh. The Byambatogtoh Family is a nomadic herding family that moves four times per year with the weather. The family owns 40 horses, 10 cows, 3 camels and 400 sheep and goats. When I arrived, I was welcomed traditionally with milk tea, sweets, and biscuits. Lunch was a delicious fresh noodle (I watched it being made!) and more tea. After lunch, I accompanied Mr. BYambatogtoh’s son to herd the camels on motorbike! We then rode the camels 14 kilometers to a Buddhist sacred space.

The next day, I traveled to the home of Mr. Otgonbayar. The family was wonderfully welcoming, and I enjoyed getting to know everyone: I spent the most time with the grandparents and children. While attempting to communicate with the sixty-two year old grandmother with a phrasebook, I shared photos on my iPad. I then showed her Photobooth. She LOVED seeing herself and playing with photobooth.

 

Sadly, after two days in the countryside, I became sick due to a lack of a sanitation system. It was a strong reminder of the importance of continued development work necessary around the globe. Watch the video for the ‘Reinvent the Toilet’ initiative that my good friend Sara is working on with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Currently, universities around the globe are working to develop toilets that can be functional without a water system. That’s Smart People doing Good Work!

School 1329, Moscow, Russia

More from Moscow!

Доброе утро!  (dohb-ruh-ee oo-truh)!

Good Morning!

Red Square (click on the photo to view 360 degrees!)

I have arrived in a new country, so am now able to begin posting some of my Russian Experiences. I am currently work on a video postcard, but in the meantime, who knows the answers to these Trivia Questions?:

1.  It is 8:00 is New York City. What time is it here in Moscow?

2. What is the currency in Moscow? How many ______ do you receive for 1 US dollar?

3. Russia is known for which type of dance? (HINT to the G-Girls of 2009-10: Ms. Gross took ONE class in this type of dance)

4. Shopping in Moscow — What American Fast Food “Restaurant” is popular here in Moscow? HINT: You can see it in this 360 degree photo.

Click on the image to see the Mall

For non-GFS students and teachers, leave your answers in the comments below by Monday, October 10th and be entered to win a Skyping session. Hope to see you soon on Skype!

Ms. Gross, The Traveling Teacher

travelingteacher-moscowbanner

Hello from Moscow!

I have spent an excellent four days in Moscow. I was introduced by officials at UNESCO to School 1329. Everyone was so welcoming. I received a tour of the incredible building (including TWO swimming pools and a boxing arena) and met with an English class. I will post more when I arrive in my next country (I will be without internet until then). In the meantime, a message from the bright students at School 1329

See you next week!