Bendito Technology #edcmooc

I have just started attending the coursera course “E-learning and digital cultures” . You may want to join it, since  it is free and really interesting. Today I would like to share with you my first reflection.

Are you trying to incorporate the latest technology into your classroom without giving too much thought to it? Are you always too eager to bring into your next class that new tool you have just come across through twitter? Do you design a whole class around that flashy new online tool your colleague has told you about in the teachers room? If you answer yes to more than one of these questions, then you are another technology worshipper (You do not differ too much from the characters depicted in the YouTube video)

As you all may know, I’m a big fan of incorporating technologies in the classroom. However, I believe that we have to be more concsientious about the decisions we make, when we bring them into the classroom, in order not to fall into the trap of becoming a fanatic. The fact that we have found a fantastic new online tool, doesn’t mean that we MUST use it as soon as possible.  Technology is not the answer to all the questions and the solution to all the problems we may encounter in our teaching practice. Technology in itself, is not going to revolutionise education. That is a utopia.

As Judy Harris explains in the video presented in this post about TPACK , we should not build a house around a faucet. On the contrary, we should incorporate technology in order to enrich our classes taking into account our curricular and pedagogical needs. That’s why I find the TPACK approach so interesting. If you are not familiar with it, here I can summarise the main ideas proposed by Koehler  and Mishra (2006) in this model.

According to this model when we design a class we need to make 3 THREE important decisions in the following order:

  • Curricular knowledge; i.e deciding on the topic to be covered and the objectives to be achieved by the students
  • Pedagogical knowledge; i.e selecting the type of activities we want to do, the final product, the teacher and students role, assessment strategies, and so on and so forth.
  • AND ONLY AFTER ALL THESE HAVE BEEN SET, TAKE DECISSIONS ABOUT  THE TECHNOLOGY KNOWLDGE; i.e choosing and looking for the appropriate technological resources that will help us to achieve our aims for that class.

Even though these three elements are very important, the TPACK approach goes beyond taking them into account in isolation, emphasizing the new kinds of knowledge that lie at the intersections between them, resulting in four more knowledges teachers need to take into account when  teaching with technology. In this graph you can clearly see them:

 “Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org”

“Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org”

Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK): Knowledge that allows you to organise and adapt the content in the best way to be taught.

Technological Content Knowledge (TCK): Knowledge about how content and technology influence each other. It implies knowing what type of technology is the best for teaching the content and how to use technology effectively in the classroom.

Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK):Knowledge about how education and technology influence each other. It implies knowing what type of technology is available at the momento, and how it can be adapted for educational purposes, since most of it has not been created for pedagogical purposes.

Finally,  the intersection of all three circles results in: Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK).

Effective technology integration for pedagogy around specific subject matter requires developing sensitivity to the dynamic, transactional relationship between these components of knowledge situated in unique contexts. Individual teachers, grade-level, school-specific factors, demographics, culture, and other factors ensure that every situation is unique, and no single combination of content, technology, and pedagogy will apply for every teacher, every course, or every view of teaching. http://www.matt-koehler.com/tpack/what-is-tpack/

Let’s incorpórate technology into our clases, but only after we have taken informed decisions about why and how we are going to use it. Technology is not a sacrd object to be revered, it is just another tool we should have at hand to be used when needed.

TPACK: Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge

“Saber cómo utilizar tecnología no es lo mismo que saber cómo enseñar con tecnología” (Mishra y Koehler, 2006: 1033).

“La incorporación de la tecnología como tercera fuente de conocimiento cobra especial sentido en la actualidad. ¿Por qué? Porque las tecnologías utilizadas tradicionalmente en el aula (pizarrón, libros de textos, mapas o afiches), gracias a su estabilidad, se hicieron transparentes con el tiempo: una vez instaladas, se naturalizaron y no llamaron más la atención.

En contraste, las tecnologías digitales actuales (computadoras, programas, dispositivos), en su constante evolución y cambio, impiden que se vuelvan un lugar común y requieren el desarrollo de habilidades y estrategias para aprender continuamente cómo usar las nuevas versiones, los nuevos modelos, las nuevas aplicaciones. Estas tecnologías digitales tienen potencial para modificar la naturaleza de una clase ya que juegan un papel esencial en la manera en que se pueden representar, ilustrar, ejemplificar, explicar y demostrar las ideas y conceptos de una disciplina para hacerlos más asequibles a los alumnos.” Magadán, Cecilia (2012), “Clase 3: Las TIC en acción: para (re)inventar prácticas y estrategias”, Enseñar y aprender con TIC, Especialización docente de nivel superior en educación y TIC, Buenos Aires, Ministerio de Educación de la Nación.

El oficio de enseñar…

En El oficio de enseñar, Edith Litwin (2008) cita la reflexión de un docente
en el marco de una investigación educativa. Este docente decía:

Deberíamos evitar la tentación de dictar clases magistrales. La
clase magistral tiene una cuota de autoengaño: el docente percibe
que dio la clase bien y entiende que el tema, por añadidura, se
aprendió bien. A una exposición prolija, un aprendizaje pulcro y
ordenado. Pero es muy común que los estudiantes digan: “sabe
mucho del tema, pero no le entendemos nada”. Uno debería
invertir más tiempo en pensar: ¿cómo debo enseñar el contenido
de mi clase? Un ejercicio posible es pensar qué y cómo enseñar si
solo tengo una única oportunidad de dar clase a estos
estudiantes, o cuáles son las cinco cosas que no deberían dejar de
saber (RL, Universidad ORT, Uruguay).

Del aula aumentada a la sociedad aumentada: TIC, TAC, TEP

Me parece muy interesante lo que plantea Dolores en la conferencia. Nuestra meta debe ser ir hacia un uso de las nuevas tecnología que propicie la participación de los ciudadanos acompañado de un pensamiento crítico (TEP). Dejar de lado el rol pasivo de mero receptor de información (TIC). Es por esto que en la escuela debemos proveer a nuestros alumnos con las herramientas para alcanzar este fin que por ahora suena un poco utópico. Para esto, es necesario corrernos de la posición de la escuela como mera transmisora de conocimiento. Hoy la información esta en todos lados. Podemos acceder a ella rápidamente y a veces de forma mucho más completa que como la obtenemos en la escuela. En su lugar, debemos empezar a enseñar a nuestros alumnos cómo manejar todo ese caudal de informacion, cómo pensar críticamente acerca de lo que leemos, cómo crear su propio contenido online, cómo trabajar colaborativamente, etc. Es decir, cómo usar el internet en todo su potencial. Sólo podremos alcanzar este objetivo poniendo manos a la obra y guiándolos en estos procesos en la escuela. Dándoles libertad para trabajar y aprender de sus propios errores.

NOTE: If you want to know what I have to say about this in English go to: http://sabridv.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/critical-thinking-we-aim-at-it/

School VS. Education

Can we go to school and not get an education? Professor George J. Sefa Dei from the University of Toronto summarises in a 2-minute video what I believe are most of the teachers views on Education.

Twitter for Professional Development

I have just written an article for an Argentinian magazine called “The Teacher’s Magazine” about Twitter.  Since it’s been a long time, since the last time I wrote on this blog, I thought of reposting it here.  Somebody may find it useful.  Would love to hear your comments about it, or just a greeting! Kisses and hugs from lovely Panama… (I’m travelling around America at the moment, that’s why I’ve been so disconnected)

Everybody seems to be using twitter at the moment. Most celebrities, politicians, the city government, and some of your friends are twitting and retwitting. For that reason, you may find yourself wondering what this is all about. Or maybe you are already one step forward, and have started to ask how it can help you with your teaching.

I believe it will not only help you, it will open you a door to the whole world. You will be able to interact and connect with hundreds of other teachers from all over the world. Teachers coming from all walks of life, and  from all sorts of different teaching contexts. You will have the opportunity of listening to and interacting with those professionals you admire – fellow teachers, teacher training specialists, authors, publishers, etc.- at a very personable level. Apart from that, you will get extremely fast up-to-date information about what is happening in your field, plus a great amount of links and recommendations for materials and teaching ideas. Even though at the beginning twitter may look a bit chaotic, once you start following educators that work in your field of expertise, everything starts to make sense. In this article we will provide you with a step by step tutorial on how to set up your account, and develop your PLN (personal learning network).

Setting up your account:

1)      Enter www.twitter.com and register. You can use a nickname, if you prefer.

2)      Upload a picture of you. People like looking at the person they are talking to.“Your profile picture defines who you are to the online world.  It might be the first and only impression you get with people you meet online.” [1]

3)      Write your biography. It should be 160 characters in length. Include your interests and your relevant expertise in teaching, so that others can get to know who you are and decide if they want to connect with you.

4)      Now it is time to start following other twitter users. Following somebody in twitter means that you subscribe to their twits or updates, which will appear in your timeline (a list in real time of all the accounts you are following, which appears in you twitter homepage). To follow somebody, you can click on “Who to follow” and view the suggestions or make a search by name or topic.

Once you find a person of your interest, you click on follow and voila, you are already following them. If you do not have any clue on who to follow, you can start by following me. I am @sabridv. I will be glad to follow you back, and help you in whatever you need. If you enter my profile http://twitter.com/#!/sabridv  and click on “following”, you will find all the educators I am already following http://twitter.com/#!/sabridv/following . You can browse through the list, and start following some. They are all very friendly and excellent professionals, who love learning collaboratively.

How to interact with other teachers:

 

1)      The main way is by writing your own twits: write about your projects, ask for guidance to solve problems you encounter in you professional life, ask for ideas on how to deal with a specific grammar topic, share interesting links or useful resources, and many more.

2)      You can also read other people’s twits, which appear in your timeline. Remember that you do not have to read every twit the second you see it appear on the screen. You can click on the star, and it will be sent to your profile “favourites” tab, so that you can  read it when you have time.

3)      You can also address a specific person by writing the @ sign in front of their name/handle at the start of the tweet. Beware that the message will still be public, and will therefore appear in your own timeline. The only difference with an ordinary twit is that this message will be sent to that person’s “@mentions” tab, and will be easy to find even if he is not online at the time you are writing. If you click on your “@mentions” tab, next to your “timeline” tab you will see all the twits that were aimed at you.

4)      If you read an interesting twit and you want to share it with the rest of your followers, you should place the cursor over that tweet and click on “retweet”.

5)      Finally, if you want to send a private message to someone, enter their profile and click on the envelope icon. To read your own private messages click on “messages” on the black bar.

To sum up, I truly recommend you to start building your professional learning network If alone we can get to do a simple and easy project, by being with others, we can always go a step further. I have learnt a lot by sharing ideas with others. I have been able to perfect my own creations by exchanging thoughts with colleagues. I am always refreshed and full of new ideas after a short trip over twitter. Being part of this online community of educators has made me realise how important it is the presence of others, who are undergoing the same learning journey, in order to motivate us and push us forward. Of course, we can learn on our own. However, by interacting and exchanging information with others, we can achieve a lot more and the trip becomes more fun.

References:

The English Language Teacher’s Guide To Twitter, tech tip #11:  http://kalinago.blogspot.com/2009/08/english-language-teachers-guide-to.html

 

Dexter’s Routine. Video Lesson Plan

Are you a fan of Dexter series? Is it worth watching? I’ve never seen it. However, I’ve found two videos on You Tube that are just perfect for an activity revising present simple for routines. First, let’s watch the videos, and start racking your brains to see what we can do with them…

The first thing that got to my mind when I watched them was: collaborative viewing. I’m sure you all know this activity, but it’s sometimes good to revisit old activities. I thought that students could work in pairs. One is watching the first video, and the other one is with his back to the screen. The first one has to retell what’s going on in the video, while the other one takes down notes. The objective would be to write Dexter’s morning routine. Then, they exchange roles to watch the second video. This time they would write the girl’s night routine.

This was the first idea that came to my mind. However, I believe there are plenty more things we can do with these two videos, since they are so visual. Why not sharing your ideas? We’d all be very grateful…

 

Clowning on the first class day!

Yesterday I started a course called: “Clown como estrategia didáctica” (clown as a didactic strategy). I had a lot of fun, and  felt like a child again enjoying the freedom of just playing around and not thinking or worrying about anything else. We should never loose that innocence, and if we have already lost it, recover it by all means. I can assure you it is worth the effort.

While I was there, I revisited two old activities, I haven’t used for a long time, that are perfect for getting to know each other. It was wonderful, having looked at them from a new perspective. There I was the student, and not the teacher, and could have fun without paying attention to anything else (timing, students who were not connected with what was going on in the class, minding students didn’t get hurt, or run wildly out of control). I was free to relax and enjoy myself.

little Gabriel clown by L O O K
little Gabriel clown, a photo by L O O K on Flickr.

However, at one point we have to come back to reality and face the truth: I’m still a grown-up adult and a teacher of kids, teenagers and adults. I remembered about Eva’s carnival  and decided to share these two activities that are very useful for the  first week of classes:

A Chain of Hands: At first, the teacher asked us to start walking around the room. Then, she told us to make eye contact with the people we encountered, while we kept on walking. After that, when we encountered a person we were supposed to give him/her a highfive and say a word or make a sound (whatever came to our mind at that moment). The following step was to hold hands and introduce ourselves (Hi, I’m Sabrina). And finally the best part, we had to hold a person’s hand and introduce ourselves, but we couldn’t stop holding hands till we found another person to hold hands with. It was very funny, because sometimes you found yourself holding hands with two people at the same time, as your previous partner had not yet found a person to hold hands with. We ended up with some strange hand chains. I’m not sure whether I’ve been clear enough, you know you can always ask for more details in the comments section.

You are what you do!: This is a super simple activity but it always spreads a roar of laughter. The participants have to make a circle, and one of them introduces himself and makes a movement, or uses a strange tone of voice, or both at the same time. The rest of them, have to observe him closely and repeat everything he’s said and done. They have to mirror his introduction. I just love this activity, and students really become creative once they understand what they are supposed to do.

That’s all for now falks! Hope I have inspired you for your beginning of classes. If you want to find another idea, have a look at this post. As here in Argentina we are starting the second semester,  and therefore, I cannot try these activities in my classes, I’m looking forward to hearing about your experience. =)

RSCON3: It’s all about them…

RSCON3 is over… is it really over? Of course not, there are still a lot of presentations I would like to watch. But wasn’t it on 29 / 07 you may be wondering… Yeah, but that’s the magic of an online conference. If you could not attend, don’t worry you can always watch the recordings. I strongly advice you to do so, if you haven’t yet. You can find all the recordings here.

Fortunately, this time, appart from attending this wonderful conference, I was able to give my own presentation. I really enjoyed it. Even though at the beginning I was a bit nervous ( it was my first presentation ever), I managed to relax and have fun. I would like to thank @davedodgson for having helped me by doing a wonderful job as a moderator. I love learning collaborately, so I am very thankful for having had this opportunity of giving a bit back to my PLN, after so much taking. If you haven’t attended my presentation, and you’d like to see me in action:  here you can watch the recording, and here you can find the powerpoint I’ve used during it. I would love to know your opinion about it, get some advice on how I can improve my presentation skills or whatever comment you may want to do.

But let’s stop talking about me and let’s pass on to the important thing: my reflection about the conference. I don’t have a lot of things to say, apart from the fact that it was a wonderful experience, I’ve added a lot of new memebers / friends to my PLN, and I’ve learned a lot. However, what struck me the most, was that I have attended many sessions about completely different topics, and we all ended up speaking about the same: our students. Our students were the main protagonists of the whole conference. That shows how much passion we all put into our profession. We are all trying to improve and to find the best way in which we can teach them. We may not have found the answer yet, but the fact that we are treading this path, looking for it together, is more than enough. We are already reforming education, by making little (?) changes in our classrooms. Let’s keep on walking along this path, let’s meet again in RSCON4. See you there! =)

Collaborative learning path leading to RSCON4

Reform Symposium 3: Dogme with young learners and beginners…are you nuts?

In a few days, nearly 8000 educators from over 40 different countries are expected to attend a free 3 day virtual conference, The Reform Symposium, #RSCON3. This free award-nominated e-conference is going to take place on July 29-31st, 2011. Participants can attend this online conference from the comfort of their homes or anywhere that has Internet access. This amazing conference provides educators new or currently active on social networks the opportunity to connect with educators and professionals in the field of education worldwide. With over 12 Keynotes, 80 presenters, and 3 keynote panel discussions you are bound to be inspired!

I am very proud to count myself among the 80 presenters and I would like to invite you all to attend my session. It is really important for me to receive your support… I would appreciate if you can invite the people you know to attend and spread the word…
Here you can have a preview of what my presentation will be about… Hope you like it…

We would like to thank the incredible organizers- Shelly Terrell, Kelly Tenkely, Chris Rogers, Lisa Dabbs, Melissa Tran, Clive Elsmore, Mark Barnes, Ian Chia, Cecilia Lemos, Jerry Blumengarten, and Kyle Pace- and Steve Hargadon of Classroom 2.0 and The Future of Education online communities for making this incredible conference possible.
We hope you can join us for this incredible professional development experience!
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