Uncovering my meanings of thank you & goodbye

That time has arrived.
I start the journey towards my beloved.
AND I’ve worked out the secret to not missing my beloved; I am going to ask my beloved to come and join me every time I have to leave town for whatever reason.
And certainly this would help when I am scheduled on trips like this one, where i am away from home on our wedding anniversary!

So today I ‘turn’ and start my journey towards home.
Something will ‘turn’ within me today – it always does.
As I leave, somehow I ‘leave’ something behind, like a piece of me.
A piece that remains and can be found again if there is a next time.

It feels like my focus and concern shifts.
This week, the daily matters of home and Flinders haven’t been able to have my first attention, instead, I have been immersed in a different culture, meetings, new faces, and new understandings; not to mention the graduation ceremony (photo below).

This changes today.
The daily matters of home and work need to have more of my attention.
I let go of the transient nature of this week’s activities and return to more familiar faces and surroundings.
I have enjoyed the ‘space’ to think and write on planes, super-trains, subways, taxis, hotel rooms, walking …. the space to ponder and wonder.

There will be many thank-you’s and goodbyes today.
Is there a pattern to how I say thank you and goodbye?

During my first thank you and good bye today, I caught myself saying, “have a wonderful day“.
As I said these words, I found myself thinking, what did I just say? And, what am I meaning to express when I say ‘have a wonderful day’?

These words have me wondering.
Is a ‘wonderful‘ day the same as a ‘wonder-filled‘ day?
Further, is ‘having’ a wonderful day experienced as a ‘wonder-filled’ day?
Could it be? Should it be? I want it to be.
I ‘hope’ so.

And then, there is another word that gets included occasionally, ‘hope’ – I ‘hope’ you have a wonderful / wonder-filled day.

So to those many smiling faces and special people that have influenced and shaped my week, I have written a new expression for saying thank you and good-bye.

“I am ‘hope-filled’ that you have many ‘wonder-filled’ moments today”
(c) Me

I must race now to the ‘Red Elephant cafe’ just along from the hotel to have the best coffee in Beijing. I’m meeting with, and saying a ‘see you later’ to my Flinders colleagues, Trudy, Greg & Libby, who continue teaching today.

till later, c u



My brief and belated notes from the Higher Education Teaching and Learning conference (HETL) 2014 conference, Anchorage

Chair HETL – John Anchan (Canada)

Organiser and CEO – Patrick Blessinger

Some notes from the workshop presenters:

Nancy Hensel
– is a priority for online to be ‘cost effective’ or can it be about taking topics in-situ, given that we are to be concerned w the total experience
– prof support needed for staff teaching online (if we want staff to be engaging)
– how do we have the conversation about educational purpose?
– whose doing interesting things w technology? Grounded and bottom up..
– where is the generative dialogue?

Robin Melton
– app-ologist
– need to make use of technology
– device powered learning
– purpose vs technologies (technologically enabling?)
– BYOD (bring your own device)

Danny Birchall
– key role of HE today is to ‘curate’ sd’s lng

Hash # sites

@ sites
@nearpod – recommended we explore

Someone said
– sds need to see us using IT tools
– heutagogy is ‘life for life’

Richard Martin
– rc.martin@winnipeg.ca
– unesco pillars
– service projects as experiential learning for undergrad sds

– learn to STORIFY todays experiences, then curate for all. Eg storify.com/w9M9M

Michael Sutton (Westminister College)
– with blogs, need to dev soft skills if you wish to dev a community of inquiry
– “Blogs are the way of the future”
– blogs as sds lng space
– using wordpress, set up a blog that is a collaborative lng space for students to blog as a team,
– blogs for negotiating meaning
– bandura – self regulating learners

Tools of engagement project (TOEP)
– discovery lng
– prof dev
– edrs must have a ‘commitment to pedagogical quality’
– t-pack.org

Albert Sangra (asangra@uoc.edu)
– res on ‘lng ecologies’.
– 4 main pillars – 1) flexibility 2) personalisation 3) collaboration 4) informalisation
– UNESCO Chair of Ed and technology for social change
– Barron, 2004 – opportunities for learning cf learning all the time, integrative learning supported by technology

Ruth & Jan
– MOOCs are widening access, linear / sequential
– re MOOCs – difference between ‘connectivity’ and ‘connected’
– are MOOCs just cheaper lng?
– there is a difference between a ‘platform’ and ‘pedagogy’

Robert quigley (Uni of Texas)
– uses scribble.live software
– this software can be taken into a blog

Claire Hamshire
– Claire has a teaching role in the school, narrative researcher
– technology-enhanced learning ie use the video function on the ipad to capture and critique others practice
– tchg is about inspiring change
– never stop listening

Paul Cashian
– what does digital literacy mean?
– why are we doing this?
– what does a mobile lng strategy look like?
– why don’t we ask students to access the Internet/Wi-Fi from the mobile phones as the primary medium of inquiry
– we need to debate BOYD
– how can we use media to clarify the message?

Please note that these notes are the views and opinions of the author
Prof David Giles
June, 2014

Learning from the footpath … Sequel …

The footpaths around Beijing are like any other footpath, except for one feature. There is a 30cm wide corrugated tile running along the length of the footpath. On pondering why this tile, and why this arrangement, I arrived at the idea that it had something to do with the rain. I had previously walked on these tiles as a kind of foot massage (very nice). Thinking I had it sorted, I asked a ‘local’ [guess I should have started there]. Simple answerthe tiles mark a path for those who are ‘blind’ to see their way forward.

Pondering this,
– the ‘path’ is available if it can be found
– the ‘path’ may give a sense of safety to those who feel their way
– the ‘path’ is an ‘option’ for those who are blind

– I suspect I walk blind most days, not seeing through or past what I ‘take for granted’
– I walk ‘blind’ in the sense that I am not always ‘seeing’ tiles ‘laid out in advance’ for me [who laid them out?]
– I am reminded of Parker Palmer’s book, “the hidden wholeness”. In this book there is a poem entitled “now I become myself”. For me, the poem speaks of a personal ‘becoming’; a recognition that we need to be ‘learning’ to see the essence of who we have always been.

and all this from tiles I have trodden on many times….

Just thinking about my keynote at the #SASPA14 conference with a focus on futuristic thinking.

The challenge and opportunity for leadership is in building, growing, and sustaining ‘innovative, entrepreneurial, and generative’ relationships in a continuously changing educational landscape.

I would argue that the essence of our mission and work in education has characteristics we can carry forward.

Be encouraged; walking blind at times, as we search for a ‘way’ doesn’t have to be deficit thinking.


Some other topics

Very good meeting yesterday, with the Head of Beijing City International School, learning about the educational context of international education in Beijing.

Wonderful catch-up deep sleep last night – 8.45pm to 5am. Either I was exhausted after walking in 37 degrees (or it could have been the Heineken beer.

One more event before the flight home – the graduation ceremony for Capital Normal University (CNU) students being awarded a Master of Education (MEd). This will be the 11th graduation of MEd students involved in the CNU / Flinders partnership. This is the second time I have been at this ceremony; I still recall the excitement, the photos, the breadth of the smiles, indeed the celebration. And indeed what credit is due to these students completing a postgraduate degree in, at least, their second language [Reality check: could I do that?]

As for today, it’s 9am and no sign of the sun as yet. Think it will be struggling to emerge today. This morning I am writing action plans for the many meeting I have had this week before dressing up for the graduation.

I had a bit of fun early in my trip and it might happen again tomorrow. My tickets have been booked under the name of Professor David Giles, but the officials don’t recognise the professor title and queried me as to what it was and why it did not appear in my passport (as if this was part of my name). I was asked if it was my second name.
If there is a significant time delay between now and the next entry in my blog, perhaps the name on my ticket was a bigger issue after all.
In that case, its been nice knowing you.

Take care and ‘dwell with possibility’.

Planes, thunderstorms, & trains

Yesterday, we stood in line to check in for our Shanghai to Beijing flight.
We were met with, “sorry, the flight is cancelled because of the thunder storm that is coming”!

And the options given were, (1) sit and wait for a flight in the event that the storm moves through quickly OR (2) come back tomorrow and try and get a new ticket OR … (3) Catch a train.

A decision was made; option 3, the train.

The decision had consequences -> Get our skates on to the train terminal -> buy a ticket, board, just made it.
But where do I put my large suitcase? No room.

For the next 2 hours of the 5+ hour trip, I had my large suitcase sandwiched between my seat and the one in front of me. Also jammed in were my legs ….

I had no idea that I would have this particular experience … an experience that called for flexibility, improvisation, patience …

At times I wonder whether we talk about ‘uncertainty’ in a kind of ‘certain’ manner. We acknowledge that uncertainty is a possibility but it exists ‘out there’ or ‘over there’ or more applicable to others …

Have we ‘objectified’ uncertainty as a ‘thing’ that we may or may not encounter? Or is our uncertainty an ‘essence’ of being human?
Is our uncertainty akin to what Heidegger described as ‘throw ness’, an essence of being human which exists beyond the predictability of our rational minds, and beyond our ability to have complete control over our own lives.

I’m signing off now to attend to the calling of a cafe latte resting in front of me ….

C u


Ps: if you’re from flinders, Trudy and Greg have arrived safely

Looking back over my week from the 13th floor in Shanghai

Sometimes I feel like I’m flying on the ground and in the air.
Got back from my daughter’s wedding last Sunday. A beautiful bride says the father of the bride.
Pauline is staying on with family in NZ.
On Monday, Flinders launched the masters of educational leadership with a rural emphasis. The first group of students began their academic program between Monday and Wednesday.
Thursday was another day for packing.
On Friday morning I set the alarm for 4 AM to get to the airport for a flight to China.
Flew into Shanghai last nite after 12 hours flying from Adelaide via Sydney.
28° outside.
Very different temperature to Adelaide where I was wearing a woolen coat.
It’s midday here.
Have my feet up.
Water bottle on stand by.
Have done a couple of hours wondering with many notes now in my journal.
That energy burst has come to an end.
Pondering a nap.
Taxi arrives at 3 PM for a 5 PM flight from Shanghai to Beijing.
Hoping to see my colleagues Trudy Sweeney and Greg Carey in Beijing tonight.
A week of meetings ahead and one graduation ceremony.
Meetings include Beijing International School, Beijing Institute of Technology, Central Normal University, Nankai University in Tianjin at this point.
The graduation ceremony Is for the 11th cohort of students in our MEd Program.
Have to say though- flying gives an opportune time for thinking thoughts as well as ‘allowing thoughts to find us’. I had both!
Til later, go well!

A photo from the wedding

Beautiful wedding in the weekend.
I’m waiting for my flight from Melbourne to Adelaide.

1 photo from the wedding – from right to left – my daughter and bride Hannah. In the middle is my oldest daughter Amy. The little one is Ava, my son eldest child.