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.

viernes, 1 de noviembre de 2013

"If we teach today´s students as we taught yesterday´s, we rob them of tomorrow". J. Dewey.

This was said back in 1944 and I believe it still makes sense.
No matter the "generation" ours students belong to, and with whom we have to work with. No matter if it is in a f2f course, or at a blended course, and even an online course, teachers should teach in such way that students will be successful for their future life, and future roles.

The question is how do we that?, How do we teach our students in such way that they will be successfull in learning the content of our course and apply that content in their lives? Well, Dewey wrote different books, papers, and articles about the relationship between education and social processes. He considered that education and learning are social an interactive processes. Can we disagree with this concept or with Dewey? I think that will be hard to do.

Students nowadays clearly show the need of learning by doing, learning from experience, learning through hands on opportunities presented by the teacher.  Teachers now more than ever need to create in the classrooms environments that will allow and enhance their experience with the content of our course. From the interaction between the content and the experience and the student confronting both learning is produced.

Since we are language teachers in a country that is not bilingual, we should transform our classrooms into environment in which students could be inmerse in the language they are learning. What challenge that is, don´t you agree? How can we make that transformation?, Is it only in the outside that such transformation is required?, If that transformation a matter of geography in the room?, Or should it come from within the teachers?.

These are few of the questions that I still reflect on.

miércoles, 3 de julio de 2013

Blogs in the classroom

I am sure there must be a lot of reasons to create a blog. I came up with a short list of reasons for me:

  • To express my thoughts or opinions.
  • To stay connected with other teachers/ collegues. Sharing ideas and reading new ones help me expand my knowledge or understanding of a situation, a topic, or a theory.
  • To stay active or knowledgeable in the field or topic. Very useful to get feedback from others, and to recive questions that help me keep reflecting.
  • To make a difference. Since I have been identify as a "digital immigrant" (Prensky) I need to be up to date with technology so I can make a difference in my classes and in my students.
One tool that I really enjoy is using videos in the classroom. I have seen my students faces when they have  watched Disney movies sceens (youtube) and discover that they are still useful for teaching language and skills. No matter the century we have to work in, as teachers we have to engage our students to the content of the course, class. But with all the knowleage that surround us in so many free sources in the internet, I strongly believe that as teachers we have to concentrate in teaching thinking skills.

With this in mind, I am going to use video and this blog. I have been invited to participate in a conference in Cuenca related to the use of technology in the classroom. I am going to invite assisstants to my workshop to participate in this blog and yes, videos will be the topics of discussion and participation.

Here are the links to different kind of videos. Choose one and watch it, please. You can take notes while you are watching. You can watch it as many times as you need to. After watching the video choose at least two questions from the bank, and post your ideas.

Revising Blooms

Day made of glass

Using ICTs in class

What does it mean?

1.- How is technology presented in these videos? What impact will technology have in education?
2.- How does technology determines teaching methods or viceversa?
3.- How is education being visualized in the video?
4.- What is the nature of communication in these future worlds presented in these videos?
5.- What conclusions might you draw from these videos towards teachers?

Looking forward to reactions.

martes, 2 de julio de 2013

Digital immigrants vs Digital natives ?

Technology in the classroom: part I

Marc Prensky (2001) makes a difference when he names two generations. The one of humans  which have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, video games, digital music players, video camaras, cell phones and all the gadgets of the digital age and the other generations, the ones that includes all humans born outside this gadgets frame.  

To first generation he has provided the N – gen, or the technology gen, or  digital gen. It causes a new reframing of generations, the  DN which means digital natives. Everybody else, the ones who were not born under the technology spell but have been influenced, affected or enchanted by it, are called Digital Immigrants. It is important to recognize these distinctions since we have to know who our students are and come from.

In the same article Prensky provides interesting statistics: “average college grad have spent less than 5.000 hours of their Reading, but over 10.000 hours playing video games on top of 20.000 hours watching TV. Computer games, email, the Internet, instant messaging are integral parts of their lives. He also mentions “their thinking patterns have changed”.
Link to this article:
But let´s see first the definition of technology. According to the oxford dictionaries technology is:

·         the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry

·         advances in computer technology

·         recycling technologies

·         machinery and devices developed from scientific knowledge

·         will reduce the industry’s ability to spend money on new technology

·         the branch of knowledge dealing with engineering or applied sciences.

Did you know that this word was stated in early 17th century? It comes from the Greek  word “tekhnologia” which means “systematic treatment” If that is the case, we have been bombarded with technology since the 17th century.

Let´s see what teachers have worked with along centuries:

The telegraph:  Samuel Morse - in 1837. This device he invented was very small, and was used for communication. With this people were able to spread news faster and hold long distance relationships/communications with someone in a different city. They would transmit the message as a series of dots and dashes called "Morse Code". Was this invention used for educational purposes?, I am not sure, but I am positive the whole world was influenced by it, specially diplomacy.

The radio: Experimental work on the connection between electricity and magnetism began around 1820 (Hans Christian Ørsted) André-Marie Ampère, Joseph Henry, and Michael Faraday continued to experiment.  The first systematic and unequivocal transmission of EM waves was performed by Heinrich Rudolf Hertz and described in papers published in 1887 and 1890. Has the radio affected education?, Yes, of course and  in so many ways. Some educational programs are still on the air.

The Cassette: The Philips Company of the Netherlands invented and released the first compact audio-cassette in 1962.  The next year in the U.S. sales began of the Norelco Carry-Corder dictation machine that used the new cassette tape. The consumer's demand for blank tape used for personal music-recording was unanticipated by Philips. In 1963, Philips Electronics designed a new sound recording medium - the cassette tape. Philips patented the new technology in 1965 and made it available free of charge to manufacturers all over the world. Sony and other companies began designing new compact and portable tape recorders and players to take advantage of the cassette tape's smaller size.

Compact Disk: In 1974, an initiative was taken by L. Ottens, a director of the audio industry group within the Philips Corporation in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. A seven-person project group was formed to develop an optical audio disc. In March 1974, during a meeting of the audio group, two engineers from the Philips research laboratory recommended the use of a digital format on the 20 cm optical disc. It wasn't until 1977 that the directors of the group decided to establish a laboratory with the mission of creating a small optical digital audio disc and a small player. They chose the term "compact disc" in line with another Philips product, the compact cassette.  Rather than the original 20 cm size, the diameter of this compact disc was set at 11.5 cm, the diagonal measurement of a compact cassette.

Sony Walkman: In 1978, Masaru Ibuka requested that Kozo Ohsone, general manager of the Tape Recorder Business Division, begin work on a stereo version of the Pressman, the small, monaural tape recorder that Sony had launched in 1977. Sony invented the compact and extremely lightweight H-AIR MDR3 headphones for their new cassette player, just 50 grams with comparable sound quality. The name Walkman was a natural progression from Pressman. On June 22 1979, the Sony Walkman was launched in Tokyo. Journalists were taken to Yoyogi (a major park in Tokyo) and given a Walkman to wear. According to Sony, "The journalists listened to an explanation of the Walkman in stereo, while Sony staff members carried out various demonstrations of the product.  By 1995, total production of Walkman units reached 150 million and over 300 different Walkman models have been produced to date.
With this as an introduction, let´s start reflecting:

Questions to consider:

·         Did the teachers in 1800s felt natives or immigrants to that technology?

·         Did education evolve because of all these devices?, How?

·         What do the teachers (digital immigrants) need to do to catch up with technology?

jueves, 27 de junio de 2013

Catching up

What a fantastic discovery: MOOCs.
What are they?
Well, they are the massive open online courses that we can find in the ciber space.
I got an invitation from a friend to participate in a Coursera course. I oppened the link and my mind was blown away with the fact that a free online course was offered, at the Edimburgh University, and the professors (5) called themselves instructors.
I was introduced to concepts like:
  • digital culture
  • digital natives and digital immigrants
  • utopia and dystopia
  • digital artefacts
  • e-learning
  • many more
It was not easy I must say. There is so much to read, to think about, to reflect and to apply in teaching that I felt overwhelmed. But we have to start somehow, because that is all it matters, to start.
One firs step is with questions or statements that we can reflect on or discuss, so here are a couple:
  1. Is technology a tool that drives changes and creates society or is it the other way around?
  2. How hard could it be to be "human" in a world ruled by technology?
Hope readers of this blog participate.