Friday, December 18, 2009

IT (Part 1)... No, I didn't mean ET.

Well. My coordinator finally sent me the info about the subject I will teach next year "Information Technology in the classroom" I forgot to say in th previous blog that this is the first time I will teach in the university I Graduated from. I am a teacher aid but it's not the same.

When I started reading the syllabus and objectives I felt kind of lost. I realized that first I need to do research about what Information Technology (IT) is about so that I have a clear idea and then I can contribute with ideas to improve the syllabus.

After reading four pdfs with some research about it I still couldn't understand what it was. I wanted a clear definition. So I went to google, type "IT define" and it sent me to the page where all of us go to look for instant definitions... Yes! "Wikipedia". According to Wikipedia, (that by the way it is cited at the same time by the ITAA - Information Technology Association of America ). It refers to and I quote:

"The study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based Information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware." It deals with the use of electronic computers and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit, and securely retrieve information."

In simple words. The idea is that my students teachers will learn how to use technology tools like an in focus, a digital camera, a CD, set the camera and audio for a video conference, etc in order to use them in education.

Yeaph. Sounds easy for some people, especially for those who are constantly in touch with computers, cell phones, etc. But for other is is something new that can even cause panic. I don't know my students but I'm sure It will be a great experience for me as a new University teacher and as an IT learner. Believe me, While I am writing this I have tons of ideas I want to apply in classes. Since they are semi presencial, I will try to teach them in situ how to use the equipment and on line how they can use the tool in education and of course to actually do it.

I Guess now that I have everything clear I can re - read the syllabus, gather more ideas in order to get started.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Online Education.. The Final Frontier?

Well.. no! Is it the future? Well.. I would Say It is our present. Or we pretend to begin using Technology in 10? 20? years? Remember that we only have until 2012 to do it (According to the Maya Calendar hehe).

Welcome to my Blog!. It might not look so sofisticated as I have seen in others blogs but little by little I will find the way to make them as attractive as the others look :).

I'm an English Teacher from an University in Ecuador (Casa Grande., The Best)! enrolled in this on line course to learn to Use Technology in classes. (For for information about me click on "About me"). So far, I have found every single tool fascinating: Google pages, diigo, blogging.

What it's challenging, yet fascinating, is to use all this elements in order to apply them in a class I will be teaching next year :"Information Technology in the classroom "( No idea what it is. I'm waiting for my Carreer Coordinator to explain a little bit of it).

As an online student, now I can see the challenges and skills that my students would have and develop: Self discipline, group work, Researching and creativity. And that I have decided to explain in depth.

1.- Self discipline: Nobody tells you "Hey, turn off your cell phone" or "Shh girls and boys, put attention". Here is you against THE MACHINE jaja. You have to do what you have to do and in the time required. It is up to you to organize your time in order to complete the assignments. (Like me for example, I would love to be....

But I can't because I know I have to work on this and submit it tomorrow by 12. (although I don't think I will do it ) Although the teacher didn't say the exact time because he wants us to learn instead of doing everything fast without actually learning. I Think it's nice from him, this is new for most of us so this helps us discover new things, on the other hand I can't not be so flexible with students, especially teenagers, Most of them already know how to do it and if I don't give them time they will come us with excuses from "My dog died".. to "I was about to start when the light went off " (Right, As is the blackouts last for 24 hours)

2.- Group Work: Hey Man! or Girl! if you register to learn online, read the small letters in the contract! You have to find the time to get in touch with your friend and work in groups!. It's a good idea to decided from the very moment when they will meet online to do the assigments. (Come on! There is e-mail, chat, Facebook, Cell phones, text messages, regular phone calls and even mail. to dio it. No excuse.)
Although I don't want to accept it, Group work gives you peer pressure. As for example, My friend Cesar has been asking me whether I created my blog or not. This is an individual activity. Forty minutes ago I wanted to be like Homer, But then that message of "Ya hiciste tu blog?" Get me started. And here I am writing the first part!. He gave me a little push to start writing. Without him iwould have done it probably tomorrow.

3.- Creativity: Maybe it's because I graduated in UCG, or maybe is something that all humans develop at some point, but I love to make things diffent. I love to see all my wikis, blogs, PPP presentations to look appealing to someone's eye. I do take into consideration the content but for example I just couldn't continue writing until I has a nice template. And I notices there were nice ones when I saw Cesar and Justin's blogs. Students should be encouraged not only to be good at reflecting bot also at creating, decorating, finding the appropiate colors so that they feel proud of their masterpiece.

Searching Skills: Any husband would find his wife reading "Cosmopolitan" "Hogar" "Biachi (a really good cooking magazine)., but not mine. He finds me reading books about Teaching English with Technology, on internet reading articles from the Diigo Bookmarks, Searching fro new gadgets to add to or even talking all the time about what I want to do in my next semester class. Most students love technology. I mean who wouldn't like to have a Blackberry or an I phone?. You see them all the time in the phone searching for backgrounds to download or new aplications. I think the same will happen with students who enroll in an online course. If teachers connect their interests to the content plus the technological tool, they will be addicted to it.

So far I have identifed these 4 aspects only. Maybe the more I am involved with it the more aspects I will find but so far like Michael Jackson's movie.. This is it!.