Sunday, July 31, 2011

My reflections on Module 10 (Week 6)

I definitively loved doing module 10!!  It is not only because it explains how Web 2.0 works and its features, but also because by doing all the activities I felt that everything I have learned so far in this course started to make sense.   Now I have a totally different vision about what a learning technology is and what I can get out of it… and I am sure that there is still much more!! The concept of Web 2.0 which includes collaborative work or user-generated content with so many free web-based applications is more appealing to me and I am constantly reflecting on how we can take advantage of Web 2.0 for our business courses.  Another aspect that I love of it is that students can have contact with authentic material of all sorts and that enhances their opportunities to learn the language.  I must say that the only queries I have are related to what Nick Peachey called “the dark side of Web 2.0” in the video: if we are talking about a user-generated content, what about quality and credibility?  How are these companies financed? What about privacy?  What happens with your personal information?  How does Web 2.0 affect our consciousness and way of mind? (especially children)  Those are questions we should all reflect on.

When I started this course I had never thought that the new trend in teaching was that teachers would create their own material (such as exercises, wikis, blogs, etc) and upload it into a site for their students to participate.  Since everything is so new for me, I decided to check all the sites suggested in the module and some others recommended along the course and I was really amazed because Web 2.0 has an array of possibilities for students to learn in a fun way and for teachers of all sorts to develop engaging lessons. 

I feel totally different because when my kids, my husband or some teachers talk about certain websites, free web-based applications or any learning platform (such as Moodle), I can understand better what they are referring to and even, I can give my opinion... I can’t believe it myself!!  I think that the next step for me should be to buy a BB to get familiarized with that sort of technology (I haven’t bought it because I commute by subway all the time, so I think it is safer to have a regular phone).   

To finish my reflections after 6 weeks, I could say that, to my surprise,  now I am conceiving the idea of creating  a collaborative website (including blogs and wikis) where all the students from the company can participate (most of our courses are individual courses).   I am continuously motivating our teachers to incorporate LT´s into their classes and it has been very rewarding because they say that everything I have suggested to them has worked out to be a success in class.  I am afraid that in order to create a collaborative website in our company we will definitively have to upgrade our teachers´ IT skills.  But…we are on the way to do it!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My reflections after 2 weeks...

I have learned so many things regarding evaluation of websites, integration of the web into lesson plans, searching on the web and copyright – among other things - that I feel I have made a quantum leap.  One of the most important concepts that had a great impact on me is what Marc Prensky states in his article “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”:  “Our students have changed radically.  Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.  The arrival and dissemination of digital technology in the last decades of the 20th Century is the reason of this change”.  Teachers cannot continue ignoring the existence of LT´s and have to pay more attention to the way they deliver the information to their students because they – being the majority Digital Natives – process information completely differently than their Digital Immigrants teachers.  At the moment I am trying to enhance our teachers´ appreciation for LT´s.  I have had success with some but others are reluctant to use them.  But I am on a crusade!!

Web 2.0 (e.g. blogs, wikis, video sharing sites, etc.).and copyrights are concepts that really called my attention as well.   I am surprised at the fact that there has been a lot of effort to create a virtual community with rules which have to be respected.  I used to suggest our teachers searching for a music video in youtube, downloading and playing it in class.  Wow!!  Now I know that I can use videos, audios and documents only for educational purposes, that I have to acknowledge the source, ask for permission whenever is possible, use Creative Commons material and burn or copy CD´s and videos for teaching purposes only under “Limited Circumstances”. 

Evaluation of websites is another important and useful aspect of LT´s I have learned so far. In my particular case, it is very important because I have to recommend websites to our teachers, so now I know I have to check beforehand if a site is trustworthy.  

My last reflection will be on searching tools. They are time-saving and teachers as well as students have to master them in order to be more efficient when doing a research of any sort.  In my particular case, I need to explain to our teachers how to find the most suitable ELT materials for their students in the shortest time possible (paying attention to copyright of course!). I found the video ones extremely effective because of the possibility to narrow down the searches by specifying duration, custom range, close-captions, etc.   Last week I explained some of them to one of our teachers and she was thrilled with them! 

To sum up I could say that my deepest reflection after these 2 weeks of class is that I have to do my best to go from being a Digital Immigrant (or visitor or tech-comfy) to becoming a Digital Native (or resident of techsavvy) or at least, to get  closer (at least a bit) to the latter. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Week 1: Becoming an activist!!

Day 1: Chaos!  My first experience with WiziQ was shocking!  Even though my husband had already adjusted the audio settings in our computer for our first session on Saturday June 4th, the internet connection failed the previous night and the next morning, I had to look for another computer in a rush.  The result was that I lost the first part of the session because I couldn´t hear Miguel´s voice!  So the first thing I learned regarding an online course was that you should get a wireless internet connection in case your regular one fails. And of course I have already done it!

New words popped up during the week… WiziQ, blogs, wikis, collaborative writing, posts, etc., etc.… I used to be a technophobic and all these years, I have been trying to get familiarized with computers, but I never thought that learning technologies were so many and complicated… So everything was completely new for me!

I am quite certain that no teacher should avoid using at least some basic technological resources in class, especially nowadays that people have incorporated them fully into their lives (blackberries, iphones, skype, etc.).  So, I know I have to sink my teeth into it! No way to escape from it!

This week I read a material which made me understand my learning attitude.  The article talks about 4 types of Learning Styles: Theorist, Activist, Reflector and Pragmatist.  I came to the conclusion that I was more a reflector than anything else and that I had to become an activist – someone who explores the task and learn from his exploration with no fear to make mistakes.  I really think this is one of the most important things I have learned during this week.

 For those who are interested in reading the full article about learning styles, pls go to this link Learning Styles - Open University