Thursday, November 20, 2008


I was sad leaving Hong Kong because I had such an amazing experience. I also wished I could stay another couple of months to really get to know this place. I am still pinching myself every day to convince myself that I really had this experience...the phone call, the excitement, the rock star treatment, the people, sights...this stuff only happens in movies!
In this video footage, you can see the extent of Honk Kong proper.

Good bye Honk Kong...I will see you again!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Found Jackie!!
Many of you know that Jackie Chan is one of my all time favorite mega celebs. He is from Hong Kong...I didn't see him (sigh!) but this was close enough! Yeeey!

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Victoria Bay

Sorry, couldn't find any translationPlease support us by using Babylon search engine
Man, Hong Kong's skyline is dominated by some of the world's tallest buildings. However, the city still uses bamboo scaffolding for much of its construction work – a traditional skill passed down over 5000 years.
As you know, bamboo is sustainable, lightweight and cheap and, as long as it remains fairly dry, a good construction material with significant mechanical properties. Researchers, engineers, environmentalists and bureaucrats have taken an increasing interest in the craft, such that regulations and practice continue to be improved and refined.

Hong Kong obviously does not have the safety and structural design codes that we do here in the US. However, the bamboo structures seem pretty sturdy and safe. Bamboo is a weed and it grows very quickly so there is tons of this recyclable resource everywhere here in China.....Brilliant!!
This stalls where squeezed in a small alley!
Gold Fish for sale by the hundreds!
Meat and Fish also sold here way into the nightlll

On of the most amazing things about Hong Kong is, of course, the flea markets. There are markets for everything: Bird Market, Gold Fish Market, Ladies Market, etc... Locals and tourist make shopping a favorite past time here in Hong Kong. In fact, Hong Kong is know as the world's best shopping destination. People from all over Asia, come to Hong Kong just to shop!

These markets stretch for blocks with hundreds of stalls selling all kinds of cheap merchandise. There re also food stalls (many specializing in seafood), plus a few fortune tellers and palm readers that add to the exotic atmosphere of HK.

Unfortunately I did not have too much time to shop. I intended to shop for a couple of hours but I found myself walking and walking because I wanted to see it all and take hundreds of pictures. I will have to shop on my next visit to HK

Friday, November 14, 2008

It is simply amazing what happens when teachers are allowed to do what they do best which is create and teach. The presentations and projects I saw today were simply mind blowing. I want to be a student in so many of these teachers' classrooms!!! Teachers from all over the world are working to better the education for their students and I hope administrators and politicians begin supporting what we do

Microsoft Innovative Teacher Forum 2oo8


With everything ready and on hand, we got on the bus today and headed to the Asia World Expo center to prepare our presentations. Everyone was really nervous because a lot of work has gone into many of these projects.
The Asia World Expo center is about 40 minutes away from HK proper and it is like the Lansing Civic Center (a convention center) times like...dunno...25? There is even a train station inside that to take people to and fro down town Hong Kong. I don't really think I have ever been in a building this big other than an airport.

In the video, you can see the hype and buzz and everyone setting up their booths for the judges. The coolest part of this day, for me was all the booth hoping I got to do. I really didn't have time to stop at everyone's booth because it was so easy to get absorbed into a conversation/discussion about any given presentation in any of the stations. There were so many questions to ask, business cards to exchange and amazing ideas to be amazed by that I think I only got to maybe 5 or 6 booths on this first day.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hong Kong Street Scenes

The streets of Hong Kong are always crowded. People walk at a relatively fast pace here. They also plow their way through unsuspecting tourist. People are not really playing 'chicken' like I literary have to get out of their way or they will plow into you!!

This must be a natural
defense mode that people here have developed to manage the amazing over crowding.

Despite this energetic way of sharing the side walk, I saw no road rage by drivers or pedestrians. When people bumped into me, they simply excused themselves politely and went on their way.

Steep Streets
Most of the streets in Hong Kong are ridiculously steep. It reminds me of San Francisco except these streets are a lot more crowded. The building are also very close together and incredibly tall. People here live in harmony even though they are so packed in together.
Most of the apartment buildings are at least 30 floors tall.
Man, I would hate forget my books in my 48th floor apartment once I got to the bottom of the street!...what if the elevator breaks?? its no wonder everyone here has amazing gluts and calves...

Looking for Food Again

Sigh....why am i looking for food??? Check out the spread Microsoft had for us every single day!
Now, Time for the NEW

The World's Longest Escalator

After a tour through the old part of town. we were taken to the new part of town to see some of the modern improvement the Honk Kong government has built. At this point, our team still did not have any ideas of what our project was going to look like. We were too busy absorbing the sites.

We were taken to the world's longest escalator. I feel so happy right now I feel the need to be very generous. Email me a paragraph about the world's longest escalator in the world and earn 5 points toward your last test. You must be the first one in your hour to send me the information and I must publish it write here on this post in order to get the extra credit. I hope you are not sick and tired of the videos because there is so much more to come. I miss you..... that a LAMBORGHINI?

The World's Longest Escalator
by Sandie Zhao, 5th hr World History

The world's longest escalator is the four section Ocean Park outdoor escalator system located at the Ocean Park amusement and entertainment center at Hong Kong. The escalator has a vertical rise of 377 feet and stretches out to 225 meters or 745 feet in length.

The longest escalator in the western hemisphere is located at the Wheaton station of the Washington Metro subway system. It has an overall length of 155 meters or 508 feet and takes over 3 minutes to ride.

Thank for posting Sandie...You have earned 5 Canton points to use on your Unit 4 Test!! Yeyyyyy!

The Man Mo Temple
This temple was built in the 27th year of Emperor Daoguang, Qing Dynasty in 1847 A.D.

Be the first in your hour to email me with a paragraph about this temple and earn 10 pts. toward your unit# 4 and final tri test....imagine that!

PS: Make sure you get an approval email from me before you assume you won the slot....K?

Come inside the Man Mo temple with me....

Saturday, November 08, 2008

In Search of Clean Underwear!?!?!
My teammate Molly's suitcase did not make it to Hong Kong at the same time she did. So the night of our arrival, we decided to go out and buy the essentials. As you know, my hotel is located inside a mall that boasts 700+ stores. Well, in Michigan, that all sounded fantastic! In the real world, it is a virtual nightmare. A happy nightmare but a nightmare non the less.
I mean, I have been to some of the world's largest malls but this one takes the cake. I am guessing it probably takes up a couple-three city blocks and connects several large skyscrapers and office buildings together.
The mall is called Harbor City and it is subdivided into different departments. Every department (like childrens, sports, youth, etc) has a gazillion stores and it is about the size of a football field. it took us almost 30 minutes to even find the lady's department so we could buy underwear. We kept getting turned around, asking for directions and then getting turned around again and again. The hardest part was trying to stay focused on the pursuit of the underwear....there was merchandise calling me left and right...making it impossible to keep my eyes on the prize....what a nightmare!!!
It was almost a full hour+ before Molly actually purchased the underthings dang it!
The mall even had several harbor outlets so huge cruise ships like this one could dock right on the side of the mall and let tourists in....!?!?!

Watch the in search for undies videos 1 (left) and 2 (right)

Hong Kong Tid Bit

by Nick Mulder, World History 2nd hr.

Hong Kong is a city in China made up of 235 islands and a section of mainland called Kowloon. Settlement in Hong Kong began during the Paleolithic era. It was occupied by England in 1841. Durring the first half of the 20th century Hong Kong was a free port. Hong Kong has similar government to us with three branches. Hong Kong is made up of territories and districts. About 95 % of Hong Kong’s population is of Chinese descent.

It takes up about 426 square miles of land. 4.6 % of the area is covered in water. The land is very mountainous. The average yearly temperature is between 65 and 85 degrees F. Summers in Hong Kong are similar to Michigan summers. The population in 2008 is about 6,985,200 people.

Nick has earned 10 Cantonese points toward his Unit #3 test. Thanx for playin', Nick!

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Molly is the most important half of the American delegation to the Innovative Teacher forum. She is definately the "structure" to my "fluff & hype". She is, like, super accomplished, has her own education consulting company and works as a course developer and virtual soc. teacher @ Michigan Virtual University.
We have been working together for the Microsoft CareerForward project for a couple of years now. Last year, after months of development, we took the show on the road and traveled all over the state of Michigan training trainers (mostly education Information Specialist and Technicians) how to teach this course to teachers. Now CareerForward has been released nationally and it is free to all students in the US that care to take it. Hopefully, after HK we will be working on the International launch of this very cool, very useful course.
We plan to work hard all year to create CareerForward 2 (Urban Edition) and enter the project in next year's National Microsoft Innovative Teacher Forum in Seatle to see if we get selected again to go to the next International Competition. Yeah...we are pretty addicted!!!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Ok, I promised myself I would not take any videos of the very spicy Honk Kong night life for obvious reasons but I heard the first 2 bars of this song....I ran as fast as I could into this basement club, pushed people out of the way so that I could record this cover band play this song....Small world isn't it?
This all Chinese band is a great example of the ethnic diversity in Honk Kong.
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Thursday, November 06, 2008

There was so much to see in this market that there is obviously no way to show u everything.

I loved playing with all the dehydrated shtuff!!! mmmh I wonder what this one tastes like.

wow! I saw a ton of dehydrated animals. The poultry was the most amazing because ancient travelers could eat duck soup any time the decided to boil these dried up ducks in a pot. If you click on the picture, you can see a lot of detail....including the duck bill
In the picture below, you can see that they even dried up lizards and sea horses.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Congratulations USA!!!
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek".

- Barack Obama

What are you willing to do to change yourself, your home life, your school, your community? No more blaming others or making poor excuses for the state of our country. Get Involved....Here is how
The Dried Food Market part 2

The purpose of our trip to the Dried Food Market, was to help us understand HK's traditional history. Today, we were to keep to our theme of OLD AND NEW and try to find inspiration for our next international collaborative project here. We also visited new areas of HK that I will share with you in future posts.

This is a very, very extravagantly expensive box of Bird's Nest. Bird's Nest is not really the nest of a bird but close. This delicacy is composed of the dried spittle that birds use to build their nest and other obvious proteins. A bird can only produce a few announces of spit in its entire life time so it takes a lot of birds and a ton of spit to come up with this amount of Bird's Nest.
This is considered to be very restorative and a cure for a variety of ailments.

Playing with my new Indonesian friend in the market. Indonesia has the world's largest population of Muslims.

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Today we went on an organized tour of the city of Hong Kong. We were first taken to the Hong Kong dried foods market which represents a part of Hong Kong Ancient history. In the olden days people in Hong Kong used many forms of dehydration to preserve their food.

One of the many reasons I love Asian food is because of the dietary variety. Asians not only take advantage of the obvious regional produce and resources but also tend to find nutritional value in just about anything from the sea, the earth and the sky.

Historically, this has been a clue about how people from different geographical regions of the world have dealt with hunger and famine. Hong Kong has seen its fair share of wars, regional conflicts and terrible dictatorships. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong, people in Hong Kong died by the hundreds of thousands because of hunger and poor food distribution. Thus, they found food where most wouldn't and came up with innovative ways of storing, transporting and distributing a ridiculously huge variety of food.

Be the first one in your class to make a short (2 min) presentation about the Chinese Cultural Revolution and earn 8 extra credit point toward your next test!! Simply email me your intentions before you begin your research to claim you spot. Good Luck!

In the two pictures above, you see a jar of pickled jelly fish and a barrel of of smoked sardines.
For 80 Hong Kong Dollars (HKD), you can walk away with one pound of these tiny guppies. These are a delicacy where I come from (Spain) as well. In Spain we call them chanquetes. They are ridiculously good and when deep fried, they taste like really tasty french fries with a slight fish after taste. Here in HK, these are used as fish broth or soup base.

Here is a picture of a variety of sea creatures that most of us would simply pass up in our search for food. There are a couple of different sea sponges and two varieties of the famous sea cucumber. These 3-5 inch long varieties of sea cucumbers grow to about a foot and a half when rehydrated. Although they do not taste like much, they do provide very high levels of protein and folic acids that are fat free and cholesterol free. They are very ugly...down right rude looking...

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Dream Team
Here is my new team (part of it anyway). World Innovative Teachers G6 Team!!
(from left to right) Jae Yang Park (S. Korea), Nanie (Brunei), Me (USA..duh!) Yin Kuan (Singapore), George (Greece), Unknow Tour Guide (Hong Kong). Missing from the shot, Mathew Ong (Singapore), Bum Joo Park (S. Korea)

These teachers are all winners of Microsoft's Innovative Teacher of the Year competition in their respective countries. Some of them won out over as many as 60,000 entries!! Their projects are all ridiculously innovative and mind blowing. The stuff they do in their classrooms makes me shake like a crack whore.These guys are the dream team of International tech teachers and I get to be the poser among them...puhahaha.

I am so humbled by their accomplishments that I feel like a helpless babbling stroke victim when it is my turn to verbally contribute to team discussions!!!

We will be working together during this next year to produce a top of the line project for next year's Microsoft gig in South Africa. Man, the ideas are flowing like Tsunami waves and our project is about to ROCK!!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

The weirdest and most amazing thing happen to me today. It was the opening of the convention today and I got a chance to meet teachers from all over the world that are here for the International Innovative Teacher award.
After registration, we all got our little Microsoft goody bag with cool Microsoft goody bag shtuff! I was really excited 'cause teachers love free shtuff.
After the welcome address, we were all put in random teams based on a color system on our name tags. There were teachers from all over the globe and we had to walk around the conference room looking for our team members (that match our name tag...well..tag). I had problems finding anyone from my team 'cause I was too busy being in awe and gawking at everything like the farm peasant I am.

Finally, one of my team members from Singapore found me...and guided me around 'less I hurt myself. She is an elementary school teacher in a model 'school of the future' in Singapore. I immediately asked my brain..."school of the future? SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE??? Yeah...What the ying yang is THAT?"
She must have read the puzzlement on my face 'cause she kindly (and speaking really slowly) told me the kinds of things that go on in a "School of the Future". Geeeeeezzzz, my knees started shaking as she spoke and I had to quickly find a chair before I made a bigger fool of myself. Wow! (more details to come)

The event MC then spoke of the homework that he was going to give us. The homework is due next year in South Africa!!!! Each team was given a challenge and technology tools that could be used to enhance student learning across international lines. Each team has to construct a project (long distance mind you) within the next year that pushes global barriers, overcomes technology obstacles, and is able to be piloted by every one of our students simultaneously (regardless of age, language, geographic location, income and race). Oh...God is soooo good!

Today, they are taking each team on a separate field trip around Hong Kong so that we can find inspiration and begin to brain storm about our project. I am so excited, I keep wetting myself!!!

These teachers are people. We speak the same educational technologista language, we finish each others sentences, they study ed tech trends, twitter, use LMSs, pour over ed. projections, use virtual communities to play with our students...Oh sweet St. Pete....they even snort when they laugh. I am an Alien NO MORE. Could it be that I am not crazy?....I have found my pack!!!!!