Friday, June 15, 2012

Week 10: Finish line or the starting point?

I really felt I have gained enough knowledge on technology in this course until I took the Loti-Digital survey. After that I found myself in the foothills of the Himalayas. That really means that this course gave us enough equipment to take that challenge…reaching the highest levels of Technology Integration in our teaching careers. This incorporation should be accompanied by students´ participation in the process of syllabus design and the consideration of our local community needs. 

Week 5 will remain my track record of challenge. As for the Project Based learning I still need to do some work. I would love to be able to create a motivating project for my students. ANVILL is the topnotch of my web tools; I will have time to explore it in details during the next weeks. Creating my own electronic worksheets was a wonderful thing I learned in this course as well.

In the final chapter of this course, I must say that this training have changed my life as a teacher. The tools and the knowledge that I have been exposed to were profoundly appreciated. I learned how to take better steps to meet the needs of students in terms of language learning and acquisition. I feel in the disposition to highly recommend the “WebKills” course from the University of Oregon. To them and to our instructor Janine, a BIG THANK YOU for their guidance and support. To my world-wide classmates, it has been the greatest pleasure to have worked together and learned from each other in our discussion forums and tasks. I will never forget this chapter of my life. Please, stop by this site once in a while; this will be my virtual “home”.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Week 9. Multiple Intelligences, LS and Tecnology.

This week we learned about Multiple Intelligences, Learning Styles and the use of technology. In 1999, Howard Gardner said that “already, it is possible to use technology to vary the presentation of important materials – from physics to musical composition” (1999:153).  In 2012, this is not only possible but a reality to achieve what he envisioned as an “Individually Configured Education”; that is, an education that is tailored according to the student´s learning style and needs. How do we as teachers meet these learning styles? There are multiple ways to get to know our students’ preferences, like quizzes and standardized tests, but, primarily, observation which is a simple tool that should never be overlooked. Today, we have the availability of catering most of our students’ styles by providing a rich syllabus and varied learning environments. Technology-wise, there is an application that will surely fit and fulfill every cognitive trait towards learning. We as teachers should take steps to be aware of this toolbox and act accordingly. 

As for the final project, this week was very rewarding in terms of completing an investigation that was done by a teacher. We followed specific outlines for an Action-Reseach Project and it gave positive results. What I have learned from this experience? Teachers are able to tackle issues that he or she may face in the teaching or learning process by taking basic scientific measures that will lead to a change or improvement of a particular situation. My project dealt with English pronunciation during reading. I went through several stages which included a pilot experiment for an expected result, adjustments and a final solution. I feel very satisfied with the results but my students are the ones that got most of the benefits. They have improved their English pronunciation and have gained self-confidence and above all they learned how to solve problems of that nature by themselves.

I cannot believe this is it; the end of this course is coming soon. However, I feel that a new staring point begins for our teaching career. I cannot possibly be the same teacher after this training so for me it´s a brand new start; a rebirth in my profession. A BIG THANK YOU  to the University of Oregon and to our mentor Janine.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Week 8: The craft of an exercise.

This week we had the chance to explore lots of sites to create our own exercises according to the goals of our class or the needs of our students. There were different creative sites; the ones where exercises were ready to go just print and give away. Others required more teachers crafting. However, the one that caught my attention was ANVILL. This one is a super tool. It is especially good for developing listening and speaking skills. It also allows you to create classes and lessons with embedded audio and videos plus make evaluations with multimedia. I will definitively explore and use this platform in my future classes. It has everything a language teacher can ask for in terms of enhancing aural abilities. 

As part of our training we had the great opportunity to have a live webinar from Oregon with the creator of ANVILL, Jeff Magoto who “walked us through” the application and gave us a general overview of the tool and how to set it for creating our classes. It was nice to see and listen to other classmates and get to see our instructor Janine on the screen. 

On the other hand, we finally gave in our first drafts of the projects. We are working based on peer reviewing, so everyone is checking everyone´s work. It feels so nice that this revision protocol has been laid out very well and we all know what to do next. At the moment most of my classmates are engaged in the polishing phase of our writings and joggling with other things like creating an interactive exercise; but we enjoy it. I tried a Google Docs survey that I used for my project and I have seen some other examples of my colleagues in Nicenet which are very creative.