Monday, 16 January 2012

Touring Cheng Chung University campus

Another action-packed day so I'll give you the brief overview.  I spent all morning with Dr. Kan looking at their TEAL (Technology Enriched Active Learning) classroom which was absolutely gorgeous and made me a little jealous.

They had whiteboards that knew when you were writing on them and projected the information on the TV screens, microphones at each table, the students were slippers to class and so much room to wander between tables!  (It only takes a couple lectures in the NCSU SCALE-UP rooms to treasure not having to squeeze between tables, accidently pushing students into the tables as you hop over a pile of backpacks and jackets.)  It was fascinating to hear about the professors experiences setting up and teaching in these classrooms- the education design specialist stopped by to talk about all the data they are using to track student progress.  She said she is happy to share the videos, test scores, papers and assessment instruments my way- all in Chinese- but I guess that's incentive to speed my language learning along.  All the professors were really excited to talk to me so hopefully my summer project gets funded because they are more than willing to contribute.

Lunch was beef noodles, served sizzling in a hot pot, and a red bean roll.  Yum!  After some more TEAL talk, Professor Lee gave me an extensive tour of campus- he's so busy he said he doesn't get out much so he was seeing some of these places for the first time.  They have the most mammoth buildings here with mazes of staircases (kind of like Harry Potter's Hogwarts but at least they don't move!) with uneven exits to the outdoors due to the hills.  It's such a gorgeous campus with interesting architecture and so much green.

When we hiked along a path that lead to this little hut and it smelled like a campfire in the background, I felt like I was on the set of LOST.  The gym was another highlight- a huge indoor and outdoor pool, bowling alley, gymnastics room, the most ping pong tables I have ever seen in my life and a dance hall.

We explored museum about the history of the University at the top of the library (which was very well hidden away), a secret courtyard and got an excellent view of the campus, as you can see.
After a lot more visiting with people, Professor Lee and one of the grad student friends took me to the night market which is the Taiwanese version of a carnival but it happens every week (almost every day in the cities).  They sell everything from scarves to dishes to tools to underwear, of course have tons of food and have games for the kids.  I tried Stinky Tofu and a bite of a Taiwanese hamburger.  I still can't believe how much these people eat- my stomach is not big enough for this country!

Conference starts tomorrow but I don't present until Wednesday.  I just found out that most of the talks (perhaps all of the talks...) will be given in Chinese so I don't know how much of those I'll be seeing outside the education section.  I guess I assumed that because they wanted me to speak and English is the language they write all of their exams in, the conference would be in English.  Apparently not!  Oh well- free trip to awesome country- I'm not complaining.  Talk to you soon.