Here are some pictures
Now that things have come to some kind of normality around the house and at work, I sit down to write a few thoughts on what has been my second experience with the people of Artesol here in my country.
Getting there and back from home was an entire adventure to me, due to the lack of connectivity by land among our provinces. I live in the capital of the province of Santa Fe, in the center of the country and I had to travel to a province which borders Chile and Bolivia, and in order to do so I had to change three buses and the whole trip (1100 km) lasted 18 hours. All this because I refused to go to Buenos Aires and take a plane to Jujuy from there, which would have been the most sensible thing to do considering the hard time I had on my trip to and from the conference venue.
The reason I attended this conference was to present about the TESOL EVO Sessions, which I had been my greatest source of inspiration and learning the past two years. Apart from presenting I attended several workshops and presentations from teachers interested in sharing things they consider important. I am afraid I will not be able to share links, apart from my material, since the presenters handed out paper copies of material which I don´t plan to scan.
In the conference I met enthusiastic teachers who reminded me of the reason why I keep going to conferences: to meet like minded educators. I got some new classroom ideas, such as the use of famous self portraits to include in a lesson based on Selfies, by Mathilde Verilleaut. I also reviewed some of my practices, such as personalizing material, in the light of the Taxonomy of language learning strategies (from Rebecca Oxford´s, Language Learning Strategies: What Every Teacher Should Know. Boston, Heinle and Heinle, 1990) provided by the presenters Mariana Lloberas and Silvana Irusta.
I drank from the enthusiasm of some teachers like Mónica Rodríguez Salvo, who presented on 21st Century Skills,and also Susana Company and Maria Soledad Loutayf whose demonstration called Digital Literacy for Dummies: ELT in the 21st Century was packed with teachers eager to know more about what they had to say. These teachers I hope to keep in contact with. In a way I feel that we “speak the same language” when it comes to language teaching.
However, I´m afraid, connectivity is still absent from the conferences workshops, plenaries, or presentations. I found myself exchanging facebook names, twitter handles, email addresses in the hope of changing this for future conferences. I am aware that in my country there are teachers with poor internet access who are finding it difficult even to open their email boxes daily. (one of my workshop attendees told me she had to wait for 3 hours for her email account to open)
I have experienced learning with other teachers, some of them were not teachers of English, but we are in the field of education and we have many things in common. My wish is that one day those teachers from geographically isolated places join me in the fun of learning together with the world and by so doing making this a better place for our children.
Meanwhile I will share today with you what I went to present up North and I really hope you find it useful.
Artesol annual convention, Introducing TESOL EVO Sessions from Maria Colussa
TESOL Electronic Village Online
Your Passport to Professional Development.
In an age of rapid change and innovation professional development is a must. Tesol EVO (Electronic Village Online) is a yearly opportunity for us to get updated as regards the latest methodologies as well as an opportunity for networking with other teachers in our field of interest. Come to see how to get the most of this amazing opportunity!
These sessions are held during a period of 5 weeks prior to the TESOL Convention, generally by the end of January and beginning of February. They are free of charge and they are moderated by outstanding educators. After attending my second one this year I want to share my learning journey. Each one of us has a different scenario and how we decide to pursue our own professional development will be strongly dependent on what we want to achieve in our classrooms. The EVO sessions have multiple opportunities for further develop our professional skills, and also provides a space for reflection on our practice together with other teachers from all over the world.
The participants in this workshop will leave with an idea of what the EVO sessions are, how to choose the best option according to their particular situation and also what are the tools to get acquainted with beforehand to make the most of this experience.
EVO Sessions are the future of professional development, a virtual space to share, grow and learn with other teachers who are looking for the same things we are: becoming better language teaching professionals.
Maria del Carmen Colussa, a graduate from Alte Brown Teacher Training Institute, Santa Fe. Over twenty years of experience as a teacher at the VIP Institute Santo Tomé, Liceo Municipal Santo Tomé. Currently teaching freelance mostly to adults and in my journey to become an online teacher. http://mariacolussa.blogspot.com.ar/
The ideal starting place for a beginner's journey on their road to tech integration and pd.
Free: perfect for economically disadvantaged teachers
We learn TOGETHER, which is essential to ease every beginner's anxiety, moderators are available and willing to help.
It's custom made: everyone chooses their own level of commitment by submitting work/deciding how much to participate.
Online, we can do it from the comfort of our own coach/sofa/(in Argentina) under a parasol by the swimming pool!
It fosters networking: helps us build our PLN if we are here it's because we want the same things, the general tone of the sessions is one of celebrating learning no one is competing for any prize!
Moderators carefully plan each session by gradually leading participants into the themes, but at the same time they challenge participants to take risks, the question is: Why not, rather than Why?
Online also means everyone has access to the material, which is convenient for geographically isolated teachers with limited wifi, even if there are live sessions in your chosen session, everything is recorded and can be accessed asynchronously. This is also convenient if you cannot follow a fixed timetable (my case!).
Collaborative, Connectivist great to start building your PLN
Self paced, no rush. Keep calm and carry on!/Sign up for EVO
Chaotic, it's the way we learn these days! However it´s up to you to find a way to organize your learning.
Varied: There's one session for you, no matter where you teach you will surely find something of interest.
1.Study the sessions' proposals by reading the summary, the mods bio, the platform where they will be held, the tools that will be used.
It will probably be a good idea to familiarise yourself with: Edmodo, WIKI pages, Google Plus (and the fabulous Google tools like Google Hangouts, Gmail, Google groups/docs, Blogger). These days there are tutorials available on you tube for virtually every tool you want to learn how to use.
It would be a good idea to choose a session based on tools which you feel comfortable with. However, don't discard a session too soon. In my case the first year I was absolutely terrified by sound files, so I signed up for the podcasting session, and I never regretted that decision since then I have felt more confident to try out new things, just because I had already experimented knowing that there was a safety net of teachers who would gladly answer any questions I might have.
2. One session at a time please! Resist the temptation to sign up to more than 1 session. Next year there will surely be another chance for you to do it. Besides you can always browse the materials and tasks of the rest of the sessions as a visitor. You can also attend live sessions too. Concentrating on just one session will help you focus on what you need to learn today, however sporadically visiting other sessions will probably give you an idea of things you might like to explore in the future. Have a notebook and pencil nearby every time you attend a live session you will have to write down many things!
3.Timetables: yes, they exist and they're there for organization purposes, however no one dies if we fail to submit an assigned task in due time and form. We could always join in the discussion forums/threads, and listen to what people who were lucky enough to squeeze the task into their busy schedules have to say about it. Even if you find no time to follow a week´s task, join the group discussions anyway, or read what others have posted and respond contributing to the discussion, not just praising and agreeing, this really adds value to the group content.
THINGS I'VE LEARNED AT EVO
It's ok not to know. ASK QUESTIONS, there will always be someone there to give answers.
Learning is serendipitous, you never know what you're going to learn, and sometimes you don't even know what you are learning!
Be patient with yourself.
Above all ENJOY THE RIDE!!!
It´s ok to lurk, Go Lurkers! Our brains need time to adjust to new things, just be patient with yourself.