domingo, 23 de octubre de 2011

Copyrights, copyrights, copyrights...

Copyrights, copyrights…, regulations we should all follow, but not many of us know about!  If you are the creator, designer, producer of any product, you have the right to be in charge of its use and one way to control it; is by having copyrights.  However, in the educational system not many teachers know about them.  Teachers, sometimes unwittingly download material that are not supposed to be used without the author’s consent; and they keep on doing it because they have always done it and no one has told them not to. 
In my opinion, this unintentional action is a direct consequence of the lack of information teachers have about how to use technology in the classroom.  Once this subject is openly discussed in the educational system; and teachers are professionally developed in this area, they will star using consented materials. They will even contribute to expand the numbers of educational websites, and most significantly they will be better prepared to guide and teach their 21st century students.
I teach in a private school to secondary students, and this has been an important issue I have always discussed with my students _ “never take somebody else’s words as yours” students must write the source they took it from or the website it came from, and of course, write it in quotation marks. However, when it comes to power point presentations where they normally download images, songs, poems or even a text to analyse, they do not write the name of the source or website the information came from, and to be honest, I have never told them to do so, and I believe no teacher in the school have informed them either about copyrights, they are totally unaware they are doing something wrongful. 
This module has been very productive and useful to all of us, teachers. We need to dig in for more information, be aware of all the educational websites we can use for educational purposes and even try to get in touch with the people in charge of giving permission for the use of songs in the classroom. In this way we will be in a better position to teach our students and lead them the way through the grey zone of copyrights.  It is a start; we cannot just say “I didn’t know”.

viernes, 14 de octubre de 2011

Reflection from my Last Learning Experience - Integrating the Web

Being able to combine traditional lesson plans with learning technology tools is a big step forward in the educational teaching environment. These last two modules have emphasized the importance of planning good lessons and how to include websites in the syllabus as well in the planning

Managing LT tools must be considered an essential part of the teaching – learning English process.  Once we accept it, we will be able to plan lessons according to the students needs and be in accordance with what the future expects from them. We can start by planning, organizing, and implementing creative ideas using LT. Creative ideas that all of us; teachers, have in common.  But always remember that LT not only refers to technological devices or software, it also refers to teaching norms and being always prepared to give an organized, clear and useful class where students and teachers engaged in one common purpose; enjoying teaching and learning a second language.

So, take your time and do some research in the web. There are many incredible ideas that will take you to where your students love to be; in a well organized, useful and fun class.

domingo, 9 de octubre de 2011

Implementing Learning Technologies in the Classroom - Reflection

As I have gone through these first lessons I have come to understand that there is no way back to the point where we used to be. We are in the middle of two totally different teaching systems; the traditional and the digital one. It is our responsibility if we want to succeed as L2  or any other subject teacher to learn about the digital world our kids live in;understand the way they see the world, and accept that they learn differently from the way we used to do it.

My students use a wide range of technological devices for recreational purpose; i-pods,i-pads, laptops, blackberries, Portable PlayStation, PlayStation Console and many other devices that represent a real challenge to us, so why don’t we learn about their applications, take advantage of this ability and find a way to use them in pro of the learning English process?

The first thing we need to do is to educate our students on how to use these devices for academic purposes and be responsible about their uses in the classroom. Secondly, schools` authorities have to understand the need to change the traditional paradigm and accept that technology is an integral part of the educational system.  In this way, norms can be set and teachers will be free to use some technological devices besides the ones normally used; video, TV, CD players and start using the unconventional ones as blackberries, i-pads, i-pods, notepads and many others that escape from my knowledge.

Teachers can create endless activities; for example, one of the devices I use to practice grammar is the notepad. Students are able to write on a piece of paper the answers to a specific exercise; they use a pen that works as a mouse, and it projects on the screen whatever they write on the paper. In this way, everybody can see if what they write is correct or not and do the corrections as a whole group.  This is just one example of many; all we need is creativeness, practice and more practice before implementing the final act, ( it’s not a good idea to show hesitation when using this kind of devices, students will immediately notice it).

As Marc Prensky says in his article Digital Natives Digital Immigrants, “Our digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language, are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language.” so why doesn`t the educational system give us a hand...and accept that we are teaching a generation of kids who learn in a totally different way from that of what we have been taught to teach.  There is not time to waste; time has already caught the educational system in this technological spiral. Let`s star creating  real norms and useful workshops that update teachers`s LT uses.

Technology in the Classrooms: Reflection from my first days

Technology in the Classrooms: Reflection from my first days: When I first was informed that I was selected to take this course, my first reaction was of excitement and then it changed to hesitation. ...

lunes, 3 de octubre de 2011

Reflection from my first days

When I first was informed that I was selected to take this course, my first reaction was of excitement and then it changed to hesitation.  But one of my personal characteristic is to always try and do my best, so here I am; taking a technology course that I know will improve my professional development and my students will take advantage of it too. 

My first day with my e-mates and my tutor was excellent; even though, I almost freaked out at one moment and was about to panic when I realized I was totally lost following a simple instruction.  But thanks to our patient tutor I was able to go on. I am sure I will be able to feel more comfortable in front of the computer next time.

It is amazing how much new vocabulary I have introduced in my hard disk, and what about the existence of a netiquette?  it’s so good to know that there are norms to follow when you go in the net. This is something I am for sure going to teach my students and my staff of teachers. I have even created my own blog; “marisela-technology in the classroom” I thought it was something difficult to do. I’m going to post this reflection there so you all are invited to read it.

Something I definitely have got out of this is not to be afraid of the unknown. There will always be people, institutions and friends who will be more than willing to guide and give you a helping hand. I feel a little bit more comfortable and I’m sure I’ll become a good e-navigator.

I still haven’t gotten the chance to practice anything with my students but I already have some ideas I’m going to include in the planning.  For example, symbols (they may know them already, but I will reinforce it anyway) to shorten content when chatting and of course the netiquette; this will be part of the “tech-class vocabulary”.

My group of teachers will also benefit from this as they will have the knowledge to prepare better classes and be in accordance with what the students like and want.

Next time I have an online class I will be better prepared as I have been checking the platform to get to know it better.  As I always tell my kids  “Practice makes perfect”.