Board and chalk were the tools to teach.
As teachers of 21st century, we need to face the new shifts in education and the challenges of using new tools and resources.

martes, 13 de abril de 2010

surfing the shift

When I started this blog I was so happy because I felt like having a diary to write about some experiences. I wanted to write and share ideas about how I was being transformed with my learning of tech and different ways of using some of the sources that exist "out there" in the virtual world.
After reading Jennifer Moon´s article about refletion and education I think that this blog is the place where I can still write and share my experiences but also start reflecting on the process of being transformed and the connections that I can make with my future students.
the shifts in educations are already here: in my mind and in my perspective of future classes. Right now I am on the wave of technology and how I can use my previous knowledge to adapt, work and succeed in my role as an on line teacher. Wish me luck!
Invitation to readers: maybe we can share your experience and learning, wouldn´t it be great?

lunes, 25 de enero de 2010

thinking backwards

well, it is true, I feel like the "cangrejo". I have to learn how to think backwards, and plan backwards eventhough the results are forwards. Not easy. In the meantime I found this that I would like to share with my blog readers:

Best Practices in Online Teaching: Don’t Assume

By Lori Norin and Tim Wall

We want our students to learn what we have to teach them. We want them to retain it. In the best case, we want them to enjoy the work, assimilate the driving principles, and look forward to each opportunity to make their work better. We diligently gear up and learn how to use slick software that allows students easy access to a wide variety of materials.

We’ve committed to teaching online, either totally or simply using Web materials to enhance a traditional classroom setting. Yet with all the features and potential efficiency of teaching software, we still know that too many students simply aren’t “getting” what we have to teach, let alone enjoying it. Why? We bought the best software available; we learned every bell and whistle it had to offer, and we’re confident of our own credentials.

So what’s missing? Maybe it’s as simple as a little up-front housekeeping. Before day one, we can take a few simple but effective steps that will help students launch through that first day, and then use their energy on the course rather than on frustration.

From course design and development to best practices in student retention, Online Classroom delivers proven solutions to the biggest challenges in web-based teaching and learning. Learn More »

Here are some easy-to-implement best practices for kicking off your online courses:

Don’t assume students understand the workings of an online course. Offer them tips for online learners that include knowledge of traditional versus online learning, Web etiquette, helpful links, and where to go for help. Also include suggested study tips for online learners. Remind students that even though they are at home when they log on to complete their class work, they still need to find an environment free from distractions where they can turn off the cell phone and the iPod, have someone else watch the kids, and really focus on their class work.

Don’t assume students have the minimum equipment and/or skill requirements needed to be successful in an online course. Be sure to make the minimum equipment requirements readily available to students prior to the official start date. In addition to whatever postings your institution might offer, a personal email to all students enrolled is a great idea. If your institution doesn’t test students for minimum computer skills, be sure those enrolled understand the basic computer skills needed. All too many students who sign up for Web courses can’t save a file to CD or change a font to boldface.

Don’t assume students know how to behave in a Web course. Require them to sign a behavior and ethics contract. Said contract should outline the acceptable code of conduct for the course. With the immediacy of email, students often fire off messages without thinking about the ramifications of tone or word choice. Students routinely use email and texting for their daily communication with each other and they may not realize that what works with peers may not be appropriate in an academic setting. Explain such concepts as flaming, using all caps, and interpersonal communication (inappropriate tone) via the Web.

Don’t assume students know the more important rules and regulations in the syllabus. How many times do students receive a detailed syllabus only to come back and ask an obvious question? Again, give them a short syllabus quiz and require that they score 100 percent before they continue in the course. Four or five questions are plenty.

We’re by no means claiming that this list is exhaustive, or that it will guarantee success. What we can claim is that best practices will net fewer and less troublesome episodes; maybe you’ll avoid that mid-semester insomnia generator that brings you out of a sound sleep with these words: Why didn’t I take care of that when I had the chance?

Lori Norin is an assistant professor of speech communication at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, and Tim Wall is an English instructor at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.

Excerpted from Up-Front Housekeeping for Web Courses: Facilitating Consistent Performance with First-of-Semester Strategies, Online Classroom, Oct. 2008.

miércoles, 20 de enero de 2010

On the road again ....

BD, two simple words with lots of power!. Power to change my perspective in course designing, lesson plannins, assessing students and many more.
I heard about BD once a couple of years ago, but did not get an everlasting understanding that time.
Now, with my new module I started the road to read about it, try to understand it, and apply it for the course I will be teaching next semester.

Backwards Desing?!, is not easy at all. Demands lots of thinking on the reading materials, the tasks for the students and the rubric for assessing them. I still do not know how I will do all this, but I am on the road again even with a disadvantage: I do not know who my students will be. That makes it hard to plan and think backwards.

jueves, 14 de enero de 2010


Humor is als part of the reflection process. If somebody have told me that I was going to make a joke about technology I would have said "no way". Well, things have changed.

martes, 12 de enero de 2010

My first stop

Lots of frustration, tears and almost quiting is the botton line of my introduction to web 2.0 course. Now, since the end of the first module is close I need to make my "first stop".
What have I learned to make me a fascilitator?
- I have to persue my goal of being a better teacher for future generations
- I have to catch up with the tools there are out there.
- I have to reduce the gap between generations
- I have to accept that students learn with different tools.
- thanks God, no matter the generation, they all need to think, digest and reflect on the information.

I had some prejudice towards on line education. I thought it was easier, WRONG!!! IT IS NOT. It demands other strategies, activities but the effort is there, in all the activities and planning the teacher needs to make. Also, in the self discipline the students need to have to accomplish the goals of the course and personal ones.

Each of us have different strenghts. Putting them together in a group work like wiki, or answering a survey is a way to develope team work, and teach from the experience the fact of benefits of teamwork with no prejudice at all. Teamwork is possible on line. collaboration among group members helps the group production.

Peer editing didn´t exist as part of the vocabulary of my teachers decades ago. Now, for me, peer editing is a strength that a fascilitator can use to show collaboration is the answer to overcome difficulties, or to learn and master a new information. Peer editing is useful not only to develope writing skills, and to check that everybody has participated. Peer editing is a great alternative to develope awareness of other people´s need, tolerance to differences.

My first stop is a positive one. I am happy with what I can do now. I am not crying any more and I don´t feel like technology is not my friend. My first stop in my road to becoming a fascilitator has brought me with new ways of working with my computer, having more "space" in my brain to see the cyberspace and have more than 3 windows open at the same time. My assessment?, being able to teach some peers/mates new thinks that I discovered using google has been the most rewarding moment in this journey.