Thursday, October 20, 2011
Week 4 Reflections
One small step for a man, a giant leap for a teacher!
That`s how I want to start my week 4 post: A picture of a man walking on the moon and my own version of the worldwide known sentence once said by Neil Armstrong.
The statement I want to make today is how we teachers have been evolving with such fruitful course beautifully conducted by Robert. We have already learned so much by interacting with educators from all over the globe and have read so many interesting texts on how to use technology in the classroom in order to enhance all different skills. This week I have learned a lot about working with listening and reading skills with the help of various websites and different learning tools. I have learned how to get a clear picture of a lesson by writing a carefully thought lesson plan and I am eager to listen from other coursemates what they think about it. I have always been an advocate of lesson plans because it provides us teachers a great opportunity for reflection and growth. I am used to writing a lesson plan for every single lesson I teach, however, by reading the information on lesson plan by the University of Tenessee and checking on the template available this week I could improve my own plans by thinking of other aspects and details. Sometimes reality is very different from the image we create in our minds, and the paths the lesson takes are very different from what had been planned. However, as teachers, we can bettter judge and improve our actions if we can clearly understand what we have done step-by-step.
A good lesson I am going to take from this week`s texts and discussions is that technology has the power to transform an ordinary lesson into something special. Students can engage in forms never though before because they like novelty and using techy devices. However, one thing I won`t forget is that a web tool or site should have a purpose to be used. In other words, the teacher should not use technology for the fun of using technology, but envisioning something higher that could only be achieved because technology is being used. We should really ponder and question when technology is really going to make a difference or when it`s just going to make a task look more beautiful to the eyes.
I do believe that now we are going to become more selective and careful as far as opting for using technology for this or that purpose. Little by little we are becoming more skilled and educated and with the wise and brilliant comments and suggestions made by Robert, we are getting to see the "big picture"which is how web skills can make a difference in learning and teaching.
I have always been a fan of technology and heavy user of the World Wide Web. Years ago, in 2004 I used a tool for the first time with two of my teens groups. It was called FOTOLOG and it was a big hit among young people in Brazil. We could post pictures and people could leave their comments there. Basically, every single teen had a Fotolog account. I used my instincts basically and posted pictures related to the lessons and asked them to post comments and interact a bit in our "class page". I am sure I could have explored more this resource but at that time that was what I thought of doing. It was years before I learned about webtools for education.
I have never erased those pages , so you can just take a look at it :
Then, some year later our school trained us teachers on how to start using the internet in class and we were introduced to several webtools and the final project was to prepare a lesson plan for a class using a webtool discussed in the class.
I chose Vuvox and made a short video story with my students.This time the project was carefully chosen and a plan with steps had to be presented. It was 3 years ago and here is the final product: (students created the script and guided me on how to take the pictures. I just had to to the hard part of editing and posting it online!)
Now I watch it and I feel proud of myself because this was such a personal achievement!
And right now? This is what I call my giant leap moment! It is so because for the first time I am getting formal input and studying several different theories and research findings that will certainly make me a more prepared professional. I am learning things that will add value to my teaching. I feel our rich discussions are so profitable and I am learning how to analyze every step I take when choosing to use the computer in class. Learning how to enhance the skills by means of creative technology is so exciting! I am still insecure about my final project because it is going to be a "big deal", a "big thing"! Well, it is the leap I am talking about, it is my own walk on the moon discovering new planets and new perspectives, a real turning point in my profession!
We are all onboard and we`ll make it, I am sure!!!!