viernes, 26 de julio de 2013

On The Flat Classroom Conference,Hawaii 2013

I met Theresa Allen around October, 2012.  She was the first person from the Hello Little World teachers skypers who agreed to have a short meeting to explain to me the mechanics of the group.  Then we realised we had many things in common. For example we were collaboration believers and mothers of three children.  However I am here to reflect on her sesion at the Flat Classroom Conference in Hawaii.
To begin with there are many opportunities for the English Language Teacher if they want to collaborate either asynchronously or synchronously, whether you have the technology or not, because it´s not about the technology anymore.  It begins with a teacher whose instinct tells her that there is a potential for learning in connecting her class to another one, and then the road begins with small steps, as the ones she made, first by trying to explain to the authorities of the institution where you work that there was nothing wrong with it, then by figuring out a way to find your partners and finally polishing out the details of implementing a project. You would say that my friend knows how to solve all the technology problems.  The truth is this:  Theresa believes in the power of doing things together, she goes around it with a curious mind and success finds her working hard.  By success I don´t mean, as she said "flashy" success, but the satisfaction of seeing your work done.  I know that the work of teachers like Theresa is done mostly in the silence of the time between family meals and going to bed when the house is quiet.  That´s how passionate educators find their way out of the daily problems.

Flat Classroom Conference ning.

Theresa´s session at the Flat Classroom Conference, Hawaii 2013

lunes, 15 de julio de 2013

What I learned in one hour during #globalclassroom chat

Someone showed us their edu interests
Collaborative Projects
Someone else shared this presentation about Social Media
International Peace Day
A teacher showed us what she did for International Dot Day
Skype Classroom, a place to meet world classrooms and post your project
Virtual Edcamp!
A site to find blog resources
Aurasma was mentioned, check this later!

On Saturday 6th July at 3 pm I joined the Global Classroom Project  monthly chat as I regularly do every first or second Saturday that I am available. I have become used to rushing to my computer to sit and chat with teachers from all over the world on different topics which I always find interesting.  Because the chats are open to a global audience there are three different times, for Argentina they are at 8am, 3pm or 11pm.  At the beginning of the post are the links I highlighted during this session.  I intend to give them a closer look during the week.
What I always find refreshing about these chats is the willingness to share and reflect.  If you ever find lonely in the teaching profession give tweetchats a try.  It´s like going back to the teacher training college when you met with friends and talked about the classroom experiences you had, the problems, what you did to solve them, and what it all felt like. Even better because there is an archive where you can go to in case you want to see if you missed anything, so everything said during the chat is recorded there.  Here´s the archive of the one I was in.

martes, 9 de julio de 2013

What happens when we mix teachers and social media?

     On Monday 7th July we had a very interesting meeting at Learning2gether as part of the regular sessions Vance Stevens hosts either on Sundays or Mondays with educators from all around the world to talk about different topics regarding the use of technology in education.  I have already mentioned how I met Vance.  He was the first one of many teachers willing to share, and help, and listen, and learn with you. By you I mean anyone interested in whatever the topic at hand.  The topic today was Social Media Management and the special guest was  József Horváth, from Hungary, who has given his classes a special twist so that his students wouldn´t look at the clock to see how long it is till the bell rings.
1. Picnic in the Punctuation Park How many times did we glance out of the window on a glorious Summer/Spring day wishing we could all be outside enjoying the outdoors?  József takes his students outside to teach a topic which suffers from a bad reputation among them and pretends he is not teaching, but having a picnic instead. (which they actually do because they bring food and drinks and everything else)
2. Befriend your students on Facebook.  József is in touch with his students through Facebook, and by doing so he learns a lot about them.
3. József gives his students the possibility to write for a global audience.  By using Feedbook his students´ work is available for everyone to read. The original work includes the book cover design as well. Mind you, students are not required to write a book, however most of them do!
4. Emphasis on freedom.  His students usually have a range of ten tasks to choose from and they end up choosing three or four.
5. Collaborative work.  The writing of the book is done in pairs and each student has the chance to be a writer and an editor as well.
6. Evaluation is provided by the student and the teacher, the teacher being the one who usually assigns higher marks!
What I reflected about when I heard about all these techniques and practices had to do with why I did not attempt to do any of those! I was missing all the fun in the world!  The freedom given to students has to do with acknowledging their part in the learning process and recognising that they have something to say and there are people out there who are willing to listen. (or read in this case)
A few years ago I was isolated as a teacher. I did not have access to proper internet until a 2 years ago.  Methodology books have always been extremely expensive, and the Teacher´s Seminars full of theory oriented lectures.
Fortunately things have changed.  If you ask me what I like best about being a connected educator it is the contact with teachers like József whose enthusiasm is contagious because you can tell that he is enjoying his teaching.  After all as good old Paul Seligson says it all comes down to that: "Enjoy your teaching, if you  don´t, who will?"  So eventually it´s not about what technology you use or don´t use in your class, after all as Jozsef put it very simply: "The most important app is the person´s mind.", but rather it´s about making us all want to be there!

Szia!      See you!    ¡Nos vemos!

Check out for the latest podcasts by József Horváth!