The Elusive 12

As I continue my learning project of learning the names and locations of all 196 countries in the world, I find there are a common 12 I have trouble with. I took the Countries of the World quiz again, the same quiz in which I started with. Here are the 12 countries I was missing:

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Each black dot represents a country I did not name in the 15 minutes provided. I found this frustrating for two reasons – for one, my spelling has to be dead on. For a couple of these, I knew what they were (how to say them) but I could not for the life of my figure out how to spell them. So spelling is something to work on. The other was that many of the ones I missed in Europe/western Asia are extremely small on the map, so small in fact that I can’t see that I’m missing them. I find that I can consistently get 195/196 countries on my World Map app – that is when it says, “Find …. (insert country here)”. When I don’t have to spell the country, I can usually find in no problem.

So I have a little work to do in this area still, but I am already noticing that as I hear the names of different countries in conversation and the news, I find myself quite content that I know where in the world that is, and I feel a little more informed about the world around me. More than once I’ve had conversations about this learning project with friends, and they say what a useful thing knowing world geography would be – and it is! I am particularly pleased with the fact that this will be a lifelong skill and that it will come in handy in all kinds of situations.

Phase two of learning world geography is going to be learning all of the capitals of every country. The spelling is proving to be quite difficult in this sense, and I have taken to using a flashcard app where I can create flashcards with the names of all the countries on one side, and the name of the capital on the other. This way I can visually see the spelling and what I really like is that you can also turn on pronunciation help, that demonstrates how to say the name of the country and/or capital so that I don’t sound daft when I go around spouting my world geography knowledge. I challenge you to take the Countries of the World quiz here or the Capitals of the World quiz here and see where you stand!



The Making of a Splendiferous, Transcendent and Funkadelic Blogger

In case you were wondering, yes – those are all indeed real words. That is the goal here; to become an awesome blogger. The word “awesome” in my humble opinion is close to dead so I am increasing my vocabulary. To continue this process of becoming a kryptonian blogger – from here on out, assume any words you’ve never seen/heard of refer to awesome – I have created by first Feedly account. I have began following a number of sites and blogs, each to compliment a different part of my life. For example, I chose to follow TED Education for the vast degree of diversity among videos. You can learn everything from why human bodies are asymmetrical to why bread is fluffy, vinegar is sour, and Swiss cheese is holey. I should mention at this point that I am kind of a nerd and LOVE all random facts, history, and the science behind simple things.

Here is a glimpse of what my feedly looks like at the moment:

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I obviously want to increase this feed to include all my interest and things I am passionate about, but at the moment I am still learning how to use all of these fancy things.

I also am interested in the world around me. As some of you may know, I am jetting off to teach internationally next year and am passionate about culture and people from all over the world. I think it is important to know what is happening outside of our North American bubble, sometimes even our Canadian bubble. So another feed I decided to follow was BBC News specifically. There are a huge number of news outlets and feeds, but this one I like because it covers world news, and is a news site I regularly check anyway.

And finally, a blog called ILearn Technology. It has everything from professional development to classroom management to teacher resources. Oh, and it has this video on how to make your year more awesome. Or stupendous, righteous, or resplendent if you would rather. Enjoy and let me know if there are any other feeds I should be following! I’m not a funkadelic blogger yet, but I’m trying to be.


Swaziland, Kyrgystan, Tuvalu, and Other Weird Places

As part of my last semester, I am taking a class on using computers and technology effectively in the classroom. One of our assignments is to do a learning project – we have to learn something over the next couple months.

I have chosen to learn about the world we live in! I’m going to learn the names AND locations of all 196 countries of the world, and their capitals. Depending on how effective I am, I would love to learn even more about these countries, but I will play that by ear. I have chosen to do world geography for a couple reasons:

  • When I meet someone from a new country, I want to know WHERE that country is instead of vaguely knowing it is in Asia for instance.
  • I want to be more aware of the world I live in. When I watch the news and they are talking about an event in a country (for example, the tragic shooting in Burkina Faso this past week), I want to know where that is, what it is normally like there, etc.
  • This is something I will not just use this semester, but for the rest of my life. Being more culturally and globally aware is something that will benefit me way past when this class ends

When I started this project last week, I wanted to know how much I already knew. I took a countries of the world quiz in which all you have to do is type in as many countries as you can think of in 15 minutes. You do not even have to know WHERE these countries are, you just have to name them. I could name 68 countries out of 196. Pretty pathetic.The green in the picture below are the countries I could name, and the red are the ones that I did not name.

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My knowledge of capitals of these countries of the world was even worse. I could name 11 out of 196. ELEVEN!! I obviously have much to learn.

I have downloaded an app on my phone called World Maps in which you can pick a continent and it asks you to find a certain country. You can start with the top couple countries, and then increase the amount as you master them. I’m hoping to master all the countries in the world in the next week or so (good enough that someone could point to a country on a map and I would be able name it) and then move on to the capitals!

Has anyone else studied world geography or have any good ideas/apps/sites in which could help? Let me know in the comments!

The Light is at the End of the Tunnel

Well, after a not-so-brief hiatus I am back to blogging! A little update for those of you who read my blog a while ago and are still here – I am in my 4th year in my final semester of the Bachelor of Education program. After finishing my internship in McLean, SK last semester, I cannot say I’m overjoyed to be back doing university classes after having a taste of what being in the classroom is like. But the light is at the end of the tunnel and in just a couple months I will have the opportunity to take all of the skills I have been developing and to begin my career. For now, I will concentrate on developing these skills further, and building my network.

My last post a year and a half ago (yikes!) stated I was headed to Malawi, Africa for a month. I have to say it was the most challenging and fantastic time of my life. Teaching children of a completely different culture and language than myself, I learned how to communicate with not only my words but my actions and the kinds of activities we did. It was stretching for me to be in a place so different than our typical North American classrooms. Some had no desks, some had goats wandering in and out, some had no doors, and some even took place outside under a tree. However, despite all of these things I have never seen children so eager to learn and to demonstrate their learning than these kids. These experiences have all impacted me and helped me realize what I’m passionate about.

My class, translator and I after planting a tree to do our part in stopping deforestation.

I am passionate about travel, children of all cultures, and Jesus. I plan to teach internationally when I graduate, and therefore I think technology will play a huge part in my future career. Not only in my personal life to keep in contact back home, learning about the new culture I have immersed myself in, and researching the people, but also in the classroom. The world is huge and technology has so much to offer. I love the feeling of being connected to people from all cultures and places all around the world. Stick with me over the next couple months and help me learn how to incorporate technology effectively into the classroom. What are your favourite classroom experiences with technology?