Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Week 1 - Get Started


photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathangill/2357002711

Bud the Teacher wrote a thought-provoking blog post with an open letter to the teachers available at http://budtheteacher.com/blog/2008/08/16/an-open-letter-to-teachers/

After reading his blog post and watching the following video, reflect and share with your colleagues at least two aspects of your teaching that you want to change or give a different approach:


Then, reply to at least one of your peers by adding a comment or asking a question.

Make this space an open area for your thoughts about the beginning of this journey.

Click on "Comments".

23 comments:

Emiliana said...

I guess it is very difficult to change. We have our own methods of teaching, but I think it's very important to be connected to our students and to be connected with them, we have to use some technology in our classrooms. I would like to give a different approach to my class being able to put more technology and maybe things that they do not know, so this will motivate them. I am willing to learn new approaches with technology to surprise me and my students, to show us that having the technology guidelines, we are able to create a class using lots of technology tools, and not only the regular tools, like book, audio and maybe a DVD.

elearningctj said...

Dear Emiliana,

It is thrilling to see your excitement in the search for purpose, meaning to your classroom. I´m sure that by integrating more technology in the classroom, you can raise students´ motivation and interest if it is a pedagogically-sound inclusion. We need to integrate it not just for the sake of keeping up with our students, but as an educational tool that can favor discovery, autonomy, etc. It´s not easy, it takes time, it is a process, but it is really worth it! The results might surprise you and your students. Change is difficult, but it can be a huge qualitative leap in terms of learning.

Anonymous said...

Making use of technological resources has been one of my main goals as a language teacher, for I believe it's a way to engage our students in the learning process. As it was mentioned in the video, school should be a place for students to interact, develop projects, activate their critical thinking skills... How are 21st century students get involved in a teacher-centered class? I believe that technology can be a bridge to conduct teachers to the students' realities more easily. And that's why I'm here.

Evania Netto said...

I think we all agree that the use of technology in education is not a choice anymore as the new generation has incorporated technology in their lives and has been using it to communicate, socialize, do research and other things. Also, technology has created an environment that is a very rich source for teaching and learning, which we, educators, can simply not disregard. So, I think we have reached a turning point in our careers - we have no other option but to adapt ourselves and our teaching methods to make our classes an environment that relates to the students’ reality and better prepares them for the lives that they have now and the lives they will have in the future.

Kamyla said...

I think technology is something that, in our field, came to help us and to facilitate students´ lives. If the teacher is an open-minded and is used to changes, there´ll be no problems about dealing with the new ways of teaching. We need to understand that we should follow our students´ needs and not always ours. I´m here to share and learn a lot!!!

Selmix said...

I feel as if we,teachers,were on the threshold of a new world of infinite possibilities of communication with people everywhere. We are looking forward to changes in the traditional, comfortable,but old way of interaction with our students. I have an uneasy feeling,a fear of what is still unknown to me. However,I am willing to dare; I am eager to learn how to connect with the world and share everything with other teachers as well with my students.

Erika said...

My thoughts related to this starting of the course is similar to the Emiliana' comments, the technology makes part of students' lives and ours, so it is completely necessary this use of new tools, and why not web tools, this is great! The students require from us something different and can change their lives, ideas, points of view and, of course, the knowledge. This resource makes the process of learning magical, full of new things, with different strategies, methods and ways of visualizing the world, and these elements make the difference to our students, it is aware them to this process and provide the constructing of knowledge in a very new manner.
This awakening also happens with he teacher and I am sure I am here because of this, I will pass to this process and I wish to see and live the same expectations and challenges they will.
It is wonderful, challenging and incomparable this sensation, how nice is!!!

Julia said...

I guess it's not exactly a matter of changing a teaching aspect, neither giving it a different approach. If fact, I believe on the importance of adapting to students' learning style, whatever they are. I mean, weak students need us to perceive what is necessary for them to learn, either a song, a speaking activity, a traditional grammar (and repetitive!) exercise or anything involving technology, such as blogs, videos... Perceiving what students need to learn is the real challenge in my opinion.

Judy said...

On the video: LEARNING TO CHANGE-CHANGING TO LEARN
Wow! This is earth shaking. The last line: “It´s the death of education but it’s the dawn of learning” is challenging, to say the least. I think the educators interviewed would qualify that as “the death of schools as we know them”
The title says it all, really. We have to change the way we learn. In order to change, we have to learn how to change, for change is never the result of only desire. It is a process that must be sustained by a driving passion (like that which is so beautifully modeled by Carla!) and guided by inspired teachers and teachings mixed with our own on-going experiences and feedback. That requires a high order of dedication, of vision that this new age of learning-facilitators is unavoidable, inevitable, excitingly desirable, irresistable. I, for one, definitely want to be on this train, and I am sure that you all do, or you wouldn´t be in this course.

Jorge said...

According to dictionaries, some entries for the verb change are ´To become different or undergo alteration´ and `To undergo transformation or transition`. Some entries for the verb `evolve` are `To develop (a characteristic) by evolutionary processes` and ` To undergo gradual change and develop`. Well, what I mean by saying that, technology has been evolving for ages, and educators have always been trying to apply it in class accordingly. In other words, it will be of very little help to use the best state-of-the-art technology with our students, if the activities/tasks are not meaningful for them, doesn´t match students´ needs, and/or there´s no or very little room for fruitful analyses, discussions and reflection. Using technology only doesn´t mean students will learn better if we’re not aware of how and why to use it. To tell you the truth, this craze about using high-tech resources in teaching sometimes scares me because if they aren´t used in a suitable way, teachers and students will “change” but won’t “develop”. Hopefully I made myself clear.

Carla Arena said...

@Evânia and Kamyla If we keep our minds open just like you've shown here, we can certainly evolve as educators, rethink our practices, remix to incorporate this technology that permeates our lives and our students' lives.

@Selmix This uneasiness is certainly a step towards new discoveries, a bit of fear, but this trepid feeling that there are some exciting new possibilities out there, which we are about to explore together! Not all, but at least, some!

@Erika being on the learners' shoes is what will make a difference for you and for them, for you will get to understand the challenges and the rewards of this new world of findings.

@Júlia What you said is totally rigth, for if you can perceive the needs and interests around you, you'll be able to teach in whatever ways fit the learning goals for our students. Nowadays, going digital is just one more way we have to tap into students' neeeds, and it can be a really exciting way if we make pedagogically-sound choices.

@Judy If we are driven by our passions and this desire to keep learning, very powerful things might happen! Well, I loved the fact that you mentioned that within the change process, we take with us our previous experiences, backgrounds, feedback we've gotten previously. This is so true! Some might think that now that we have technology, we need to change and throw away all what we've been doing. That's not true at all. As we move foward and experience change, we can add our newly acquired knowledge to what we had done before, our building blocks. Technolog is just one more of those blocks in our learning path that can make a difference for us and our students. It's thrilling to see your excitement!

@Jorge You've hit it. You have a very important point there. It's not adding technology just for the sake of it or just because it is mainstream now. No. It's using it because it makes sense, it makes a difference in the classroom. If not, do it the simplest, most effective way. I always say that technology is never a substitute for good teaching. We still need to take informed decisions, decide what is most pedagogically effective, using technology or not.

Judy said...

Dear Jorge and Carla,
You made mention to something that I have been worrying about: It is the tendency to insert technology into the course, just to show it is there – like a commercial advantage. I know of students who are really turned off by e-boards because the teacher seems to spend so much time getting the thing running and working. Technology can also be cold and impersonal. But, again, Carla´s model of leading us shows us that it can also be very human, warm and exciting.
As others have already said, we have to think of our students´ learning needs first, then their learning styles, then “variety – which is the spice of life”. Most of my students want someone to look them in the eyes, to really see them, to stimulate them and help them overcome their difficulties – that´s why they are in my classroom and not at home doing self-study. Technology, in the classroom, often means we turn on the machines, sit back and relax, thinking the whatever-it-is substitutes us for some minutes. I can´t think of the last time I played a movie in class. Those days are really over. We (at least, I speak for myself) need to learn how to incorporate technology in an efficient way and at a fast-moving pace, that provides meaningful and varied methods of presenting, practicing and even testing what they are supposed to be acquiring/learning. It´s not about entertaining them, which they can do at home.

Márcia Guimaraes said...

It's a fact that technology does not substitute for a good teacher, but together they can make the learning process become more authentic, interactive, collaborative, communicative, reflective. It's also a fact that in the 21st century, knowing how to deal with technology and doing it is not a plus anymore, but a must. However,as some people have already said here,we teachers do have to know when and how to use technology in the classroom. Each person has their own learning style. I also totally agree with Bud the Teacher when he(?) says that we should reflect upon and share the good stuff. E-learning is all about this.

Evania Netto said...

I think we are all right. Technology is a must as it is being able to choose what is appropriate and what is not, what makes students learn and what doesn´t. So I think common sense is the key and that is what we have to have in mind when we make our choices.

beckiene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beckiene said...

So much has been said that's challenging now to add something new. I would start saying that I think that change is a good thing and it's usually difficult because people resist change.For some people even the thought of changing something is horrifying...
But what would be life without the challenges?
I also believe that teachers have to be aware of things, tuned with the world, trying to learn new things, especially because we teach something alive: language.
I loved the video and reading all yours ideas... I believe that technology can make a difference, can raise motivations, can help not only the students but also the teachers to keep up with the language... But the passion,the excitement of it is on whoever presents it.

Marcia Sawaya said...

The inspirational message in Bud’s letter gathers the essence of teaching and learning: you need to be a learner first and then you can be a teacher “You are probably the most experienced learner in your classroom. But don’t assume you are the most knowledgable person.” The actual teacher’s role is not just passing on knowledge, but sharing how to learn. And, in such a process, for the sake of learning, you should take lots of risks and encourage your students to take risks as well – as long as you are modeling that. It is important to keep trying new things - I figure out that is why we, as educators, are here: we are all in this together for a change.
When you think of education, we usually think of what we knew as school – the way it has always been. According to the video, “the 21st century literacy looks a lot different from the model most of us were raised in”. However, education today should address a rapidly changing world, which was impacted by a dramatic technological revolution, with new problems and new possibilities. Thus, teaching/learning should be challenging, creative and flexible. Teachers are, therefore, challenged to change, to adopt a new paradigm for the 21st century. It is time to move forward with new paradigms for learning and embrace emerging technology learning skills, and allow learners the same technolgy they have outside of school. Making such a paradigm shift is not an easy task, but you have to find a way to make your voice heard and create change which will make the world a better place.

Marcia Sawaya said...

Evania,
I totally agree with you when you say "We have reached a turning point in our careers..."

Marcia Sawaya

Carla Arena said...

@Kátia @Rebeca @Márcia @Márcia Sawaya @Evânia @Judy and all. You´ve all touched in the essential aspects of our embracing technology today. We need to have common sense, to be sensible, informed decision makers. We need to keep our passion for education alive in order to become better learners ourselves. We need to be good observers of our learners to see how to adapt what we already do well in a way that is meaningful and can add value to our classes through technology-enhanced lessons. We need to learn how to balance traditional classroom practices that are efficatious to some new twists that migth work. We need to be brave enough to embrace change and not be afraid of our falls, which are part of any learning process. We need to become 21st century skills literate learners who seek knowledge through collaboration, remix, co-creation. We need to learn how to be community builders of learning.

Did I forget anything?

Thanks you all, for the wonderful contributions, deep reflections and thoughts that will help us out in the weeks, years to come :-)

Ana Gerin said...

Hello everyone. I've arrived a little late to the discussion, but I'd like to say that I couldn't agree more with all of you. Specially to the part that Evânia reminded us that technology is a must nowadayas. If we don't go with the flow and start using what they already use everyday, we will lose their interest. Moreover, I have to say that, although technology seems to be a monster when you're first presented to it, it is great! Isn't it fun to be able to talk to people we like that are very far? And we can see them as well!!! Son, I think the big challenge is not to show students this is great, but to make them realize how great it is to use it to learn and practice English!

Simone Telles Martins Ramos said...

When I was watching the move a very touching image came to my mind: rural teachers and students all over BRASIL...They travel and walk miles to go to a classroom in the middle of nowhere. Technology is HERE, we just need to make it available, to provide a best system of education. AFRAID? Are we afraid? Afraid of what? Afraid of being happy? Afraid of providing a best education? We should really think about it.

Lúcia Carneiro said...

Hi, guys! I'm so sorry I just read your thoughtful reflections today. I couldn't have said it better myself. Oh boy, you are an insightful bunch! You have addressed different aspects of the question and added a new spin to it.
I really agree with Jorge when he focus on some teachers using technology only because it's in vogue ( and it certainly attracts parents as well as a lot of students). But we, as educators, must find a way of using technology meaningfully. It has to be done in such a way that students feel curious about the language and encouraged to explore it as well. Also, students should definitively take charge of their own learning process.In that case, technology could help them immensely. Although I agree with all of you, and know all the shoulds and coulds and woulds, I'm still at a loss. I have no idea of how to accomplish all that. But I'm willing to give it my best try, and I hope that this course will enlighten me a lit bit more in this new path that has been laid in front of us.

Moacyr Caminada said...

I would like to be thankful for all the participants who were giving the right value to Education. Their great thoughts are impressive and make teachers all over the world so motivating and envolving with the students so that we (teachers) can inspire them much more now. I am looking forward to hearing from them more meaningful words.