viernes, 25 de octubre de 2013

The future of storytelling, Creative Tasks

A story that impressed me.
This is an almost impossible task, because one of the reasons why I´m doing this course is because I am, and I have always been fascinated by stories, that´s why I have so many stories to talk about, in fact I have left several comments in my fellow moocers posts because I have also been influenced by the stories mentioned by them.
I will then reflect on the LAST story that made a powerful impact on me.  It is a film by female Argentinian director Lucía Puenzo, shortlisted for the Oscar academy awards.  However this was not the reason I went to see it.  In fact I had no expectations when I entered the cinema, because I had no clue as to what the film would be about.
The Story:  Wakolda.
The film is about a family who comes into contact with a stranger and decide to share the journey along a difficult road towards the city of Bariloche in the South of Argentina.  They later learn that this stranger, who is from Germany, is a scientist.  The scientist gets interested in the family and he goes to live with them in their newly restored guest house as a guest.  While living there he becomes interested in the younger child with whom he establishes a friendship.  The girl has developmental problems and he says he can help her grow by injecting some medicines.  He eventually does this with the concent of the mother.  At the same time he helps the father with his project of making dolls.  The story makes a powerful impact by using the parallelism of the dolls and the girl.  The search for perfection.
Why is this story special?
As a mother I felt identified with the female characters.  Both mother and child strive to fit to conformity and see no evil in the intentions of others.   Nazi genosides in South America, clandestine plastic surgery clinics, unofficial landing of planes in the Southern lakes and experiments with twins are used as inspiration for the making of a story where the canvas, mentioned by Cornelia Funke, of the Patagonian steppe with its empty wind washed vastness constitutes a character in itself, a metaphor of our own solitude.

Wakolda, trailer

martes, 15 de octubre de 2013

My musings about #RSCON4

     I had been warned before RSCON4 began: Prepare to be wowed, as well as Professional Development FOR teachers BY teachers, and everytime I wrote  the word "Wow!" in the chatbox, I remembered that.  A group of educators sharing what made them proud, what made them grow, what made them realize that they mattered.  That´s the way it should be.  I discovered that our roads as teachers have many things in common, that we feed on the same waters.  I discovered that the picture I have of the 21st century educator is shared by many.  Teachers helping other teachers realize their potential, teachers reaching out to other classes and finding out that we have so much in common,  enriching ourselves and our classes in our differences, teachers going out of their comfort zones for the sake of letting others know that there is a different way to do things, and that maybe that is the anwer to our present problems.  Teachers asking themselves: "Why not?"  or "What if...?"  Teachers who came up with simple yet daring practices to make the boring relevant and to give the students voices.
     I finally saw what Paul Seligson has been asking teachers for years: "Get off the silly buses!(sillabuses)"  take place and I liked the results.  An epiphany to me.
I was also moved to tears when Sonya VanSchaijic showed us a picture of one of the first users of "The hole in the wall" now turned into an educator herself.
     I also noted down, of course, some suggested sites and apps, which I recorded in previous blogposts for later quick referencing and checking, however this conference left me with a feeling of warmth that stays with me.  The presenters were all kind hearted people who were always keen to share and listen.
I am so happy with the evolution of seminars!  I am also happy to have been able to attend as many sessions as I could, and  as I am catching up with the ones I was not present  I am starting to look forward to the next RSCON.

sábado, 12 de octubre de 2013

RSCON4, Useful links Day 2

Tech/App Smack down

Interview with Michael Graffin

Nina Jeroncic

Viral Videos

Elizabeth Anne Teaching English to Scientists, the best of all worlds

The Forbidden Education

Jackie Gerstein

Educator as a  social networked  learner

Leo Selivan

Paula Naugle, Mystery Location Calls via Skype or Google Hangouts

Useful links from RSCON4 Day 1

Sugata Mitra at TED

Roseli Serra´s Session

Panel: Transforming Education with Technology

JACKIE GERSTEIN´s blog post Education 3.0

Camelot and the mists of Avalon

Six Degrees of Separation, Jennifer Smithers Marten

Survery google form to ask for volunteers to speak at classrooms


Urban Legends through digital story telling
Presentation of a session I wanted to attend but happened to be at the same time of the one above!

Urban Legends

lunes, 7 de octubre de 2013

miércoles, 2 de octubre de 2013

On attending and presenting a workshop at FAAPI, 2013, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Things learned at FAAPI13
My friend María Bossa (@mariabossa) is presenting at RSCon13, on the 12th October, 11am Argentina Time!
Gabriel Díaz Maggioli taught us a a ToT is a Teacher of Teachers.  In the course of our lives as educators we all end up doing some "totting".  Those teachers are no longer the experts, but teachers who have been in the profession for a longer period of time and they all posess the Theory of Experience and they apply it by using common sense.  I liked the idea of learning together as a community, a subject also brought about by Fernanda Coelo Liberali in her experience with pre service teachers.  Collective practive finds validity in the community who has agreed to construct knowledge together by negociating, reflecting, changing based on informed decisions. Never alone or in isolation.  Learning as participation.  Learning is messy, you don´t have to tell me! I know that!  I also liked the term: Technology Mediated Teaching and Learning, which also needs a special pedagogy so that it REALLY stands as something innovating and not more of the same old stuff with most appealing design.  Laurillard´s plead to educators to know what is out there, to assess their potential for educational use, not just use just for the sake of using it.
As Leonardo, teachers have all the tools to foster curiosity, to try, to reflect, to share, and by doing this in a supportive way we pave the way for the ones to come, who will in turn take their own ways.  Gabriel urged us to generate local research, valid to our own scenarios.  We owe it to our students.  Change one thing, and see what happens, he said.  Wise words.  In a world driven by change our brains tend to repeat learned skills.  Unfortunately or luckily our classrooms are changing.  Some of us teach at home, others at institutions but our students change, so we should too.
I heard about a new variety of English: Estuary English, it was new for me.  I loved the physical exercises introduced by Helen Ashton, I can´t wait to put them into practice with my students!
The British Council Programme for connecting classrooms is something I would definitely check if I had a primary or secondary school class.  PD, Workshops.
I can´t wait to invite Fernanda Coelo Liberali to a Learning2gether session to learn more about her innovative practises at Pre-Service Teacher Education, because I believe that would be-teachers around the world would benefit from establishing connections with other student-teachers so that when the time comes to connect the bonds will already be there.

        Things I missed at FAAPI13

      My dear teachers from Santa Fe, especially those at Almirante Brown Teacher Trainning College, namely my Adscription teacher (Language II) Adriana Díaz, whose creative and inspiring work brought me to present at FAAPI and whose silent mission continued in their workplaces.  My dear teachers Daniel Fernández and María Isabel Recamán whose lively classes I was lucky to attend and who were there all the way.  One thing I am particularly proud of is also my two colleagues from the same institute who participated in a contest by the British Council, one of them the winner of the contest! Congratulations Letizia María Russo for winning, and  María Cristina Rivas for being selected too! You can check the projects here: ICT in Action.

     More twitter linked educators.  Guys, you are missing all the fun!
     More enthusiastic people like my friend Pía, who came alone, we found each other, again! Keep coming!  Or my friend Vance Stevens from EVO Webheads and Learning2gether another inspiring soul, who arranged the hangout (twice! because I had mischedulled the time!) so that people around the world would be able to join in a workshop about being connected!  Or Gabriel Díaz Maggioli´s sessions full of data, theory, inspiration.  Fun, facts and mentoring.  Such a thrill after having met both at the EVO Mentoring Sessions.  I was one of their EVOers last summer!
     I could not help to feel so sad for a teacher from a rural area whom, I was told later made a comment about not knowing what she was doing there, since her school lacked all the technology.  I wanted to find her and tell her that it was ALL about those teachers who are far away and technology brings us, human beings together and helps us not to feel alone anymore.  I couldn find her to tell her this, I wish I could.  I have one amazing educator from Australia.  Her name is Anne Mirtschin who is living in a rural area, and also Govinda Prasad Panthi from Nepal, who does not have electricity all day long, or Endang Palupi from Indonesia who are all strugling to bring their schools connected with very limited resources.  I wanted to tell her IT IS NOT ABOUT THE TOOLS, IT HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT THE TOOLS, BUT ABOUT PEOPLE.  Gabriel Diaz Maggioli mentioned this in his session.
      More clapping (and why not dancing!) like the spontaneous one when Sao Pablo based teacher Fernanda Coelho Liberali shared this archetypical ( Sing along and dance even if you don´t know the lyrics! ) song at the closing ceremony urging us to put Freire´s proposed theory of Happiness into practice.  Though I am not fluent in Portuguese, I could not stop my tears from falling at: "...a vida e bonita, e bonita.."  After all we are in the best time to be a teacher of English, we have a lot to celebrate!
     More TeachMeet/Unconference time where teachers could share what they are proud to have achieved with their students.  As I was walking down the hallways I heard teachers commenting among groups of friends about this and that that they were doing.  However these comments never left the small circles of close educators, they never reached teachers from different circles who might as well benefit from the experience of others.  As requested by the organizers, I had previously uploaded my presentation on Slideshare and it had already been viewed by at least 50 people BEFORE the 5 (!) attendees had the chance to take a look at them during my workshop.  One teacher from Canada even asked me if she could use the presentation for the upcoming and now running Connected Educator´s Month.  I said yes, of course, that´s the spirit!  Another pleasant surprise was the amount of people requesting permission to share the documents attached to the post containing ALL the materials in my workshop, which of course I also shared.

I left Buenos Aires under a persistent drizzle, the post began to take shape, and,  as I was finishing I realized the sun was making his way through the clouds and I remembered Fernanda Coelo Liberali´s Brazilian proberb: "Everything ends in the Summer!"  Let´s teach as if it was Summer all year round!  Our students will not probably remember what we taught them, but how we made them feel.

My friend Anne Mirtschin´s blog, from rural Australia