Linda Ullah is an Online Instructor at Krause Center for Innovation, Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA and has been a coach for Friday Institute in NC, New Tech Network, and Personalize Learning, LLC.
I’ve known and followed Linda for over 20 years. What I love is Linda’s passion for kids and why it is important to bring curiosity and wonder to learning. Every time I have time to talk with Linda, I feel that sense of wonderment she mentions in the podcast and post. Below are a few excerpts from the podcast and at the bottom of the text is a link to a blog she wrote that provides more details of global projects. Enjoy and feel the wonder!!
Beginning with Linda’s Journey
I grew up in New Jersey and went to school in Ohio. When I was a young woman backpacking in India and Bangladesh, I met my husband, and we are still married. My travels started back when in grad school for sped and I had a chance to study Renaissance Art in Italy so I took it. When I was there, I hitchhiked through Europe and since then I have the travel bug.
You and I met when I lived in the Bay Area in San Jose, CA. Then, I followed my grandchildren to North Carolina and then moved to Spokane, WA to follow them again. I have two grown sons. One works here in Spokane for the Better Business Bureau. The other one is an Archeologist now in Kazakhstan doing his field work. I have 3 grandsons, 10, 9, and 4, who are the loves of my life and my inspiration right now.
Let’s talk Education
I’ve been an educator for 50 years. This has been my life’s work and passion. I’m not ready to retire. Like I said this is my passion. The last place I visited was Croatia when we did this podcast and will be going to South America. I teach a course on project-based learning and encourage teachers to collaborate with other teachers even if that means with the teacher in the class next door. I worked with Paula Ford and coached her with the Kenya project. [Episode #4] When I travel, I visit schools and try to see what ‘s going on in the world in terms of education. It’s definitely a lifelong passion. I bring back to my grandsons’ classrooms a travelogue to try to inspire them to want to travel and see the world.
Can you share how real learning inspires a sense of wonderment?
Do you ever wonder about things? My grandsons wonder about everything. When I work with kids I see them wonder about all kinds of things. If we think of life through the eyes of a child, children are full of wonder as they grow up. The questions I get asked by my grandsons are just amazing. Last year, the eight-year-old came to me and asked me what fossa is. From the movie Madagascar, he got interested in learning more about it. He did the research on his own, capturing pictures, learning how to do PowerPoint. He now wants to go to Madagascar, and that came from his sense of wonder from a movie he watched. It was his interest and what he wanted to do. This makes me think of a fabulous quote:
“The world is full of a number of things. I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
If we tap into kids curiosity and their inspiration, then we develop that sense of wonderment in children and it doesn’t go away. What I worry about is all too often it’s sit down, be quiet, and do what I tell you to do rather than allowing children to explore and learn what they want to know about. If we help children discover their interests and talents and what they really want to know, then we can tie it to what they need to know. We can help them that way. That’s what wonderment is all about and I don’t want to see that go away. That’s why I travel and I learn so much. Every place I go, I have new questions. That’s what happens when children have wonderment, they learn something and that develops new questions.
“Just keep the wonderment going. When we cease to wonder, we die inside.” — Linda Ullah
How do we bring a sense of wonderment as professional learning for teachers?
I worked with the Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project when I was a technology learning coordinator for Oak Grove School District and for 2 schools in the Eastside Union High School District. I want to share about a teacher who taught social studies at Oak Grove High School. He started every year with his kids having them do a personal project on anything in the world they were interested in, passionate about, or really cared about. It was totally open-ended. At the end of that, he took the information and as he taught world history, he helped the kids tie their passion, interests, questions, and curiosity to the history of the world. The multimedia projects they did were all tied back to their original personal passion project.
Linda wrote an amazing blog post last November about wonderment that includes examples and links to global projects. Please take check out how you can Inspire Wonderment through Global Projects.
Linda Ullah has a M.Ed in Special Education and a M.A. in Instructional Technology. She is an online instructor at the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College. She has been an elementary classroom, special ed, Title 1 and GATE teacher, a technology learning coordinator, teacher in residence at the Krause Center for Innovation , a school development coach for the New Tech Network, a coach for the Friday Institute at NC State University, and a coach for Personalize Learning, LLC