Friday, 25 January 2013

Apple, RDFZ Beijing and Madrid

The RDFZ middle school was featured by   Apple   in its world wide review of innovation in technology and education as:
the first school in China to participate in a Mac one-to-one program, which provides each student with a MacBook Pro and has transformed learning into a collaborative and engaging experience

I recognised the red logos on white track suits immediately when I clicked on the link to the video, and even saw the sports field which I have walked on in person.
RDFZ XISHAN is the middle school section of the school in Beijing with which I have been privileged to be associated over the years.

The RDFZ High School Affiliated to Renmin University is an amazing school in many ways. For a start, the inspirational Principal, Madame Liu is a powerhouse of ideas and passion for education. She travels the world making connections with the educational institutions to share the best current practice and to open opportunities for her students.

I have been delighted to welcome   visiting groups  from RDFZ to my former school in Madrid. During their visits, which took place in January each year for 4 years I arranged home stays for them with my students. Their visits to Madrid included sharing Spanish language and culture with the host students and visits to key sites in the city such as the Royal Palace, the Prado art gallery and, of course, the Bernabeu stadium, home of Real Madrid football club. Each group was treated to a talk on Spanish music by one of my expert and generous piano teacher colleagues.

One of the visits included a tour of the   IE University   in Segovia, a memorable occasion and an opportunity for the visiting students from an innovative school in Asia to have a taste of a truly world class university  in Europe.

In 2010 I was delighted to be invited to speak at a  conference  in Beijing organized by the RDFZ High School to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Speakers included education luminaries such as Anthony Seldon  . It was a fascinating event and I am grateful to the school for their generous hospitality.

For me the highlight of my links with the RDFZ school was to accompany 8 students from Madrid to Beijing in November 2008. My students had the unforgettable experience of living with Chinese families in their homes for one week.  Of course, the intensive plan of visits to major historic and cultural sites such as the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Olympic Stadium were all striking and enjoyable experiences, but the most important aspect of the visit
 was the personal relationship established with the host students and their families. Even years later I know that some of the students were still in contact with their hosts by email. The Madrid students’ families later expressed their gratitude to the RDFZ High School for their kindness and generosity and repeated over and over what a profound effect the visit had on their young sons and daughters.

Thank you again, RDFZ High School Affiliated to Renmin University for your generosity, kindness and inspiration, and thanks to Apple for bringing back happy memories.

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