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2006 at School

A quick update from this side of the world . Our school year has just started and I have taken to blogging with my classes again ūüôā

I have plugged my 39 10th graders (2 classes) into the ECML Project which can be carried¬† either in English or in French.Check my blog and the blogroll. Each class has 3 x¬† 50′ a week, one of them in the computer room with half the class each time so I am planning to carry on the project until the end of the year and¬†insert blogging/photoblogging /podcasting and digital story-telling during this time.
I have already spent two classes in the computer room to open accounts with ECML , Flickr and Bloglines. They have chosen their templates and given a title to their blog. They are supposed to post their introductions this week and the system allows me to moderate the posts, so I can correct them before they go out. What I have done is to copy their productions to Word, correct using Track Change and notes, send them back . They then repost it on their blogs and I publish them.
Because I have not¬†closed my students¬īcomment area and we are not going to use the blogs for blanket assignments, I have¬† opened my classrooms to interact with the world (P2P-EFL-ESL-X) . They are listed on the Dekita Exchange page so any of you can connect to them. Give them a week to post their intros. You may ask your own stds to post a comment. You know how rewarding this can be.
My 12th graders and I will be participating in the Young Women Caucasus Project and communicating with exchange students from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia later in March.  For people interested in starting blogging with more advanced students, reading and commenting this is a project worth joining.

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Edu Tech Sig

I have started the motion towards creating of an EduTech SIG for Braz-Tesol. I believe the moment is ripe as there is a growing need for how to engage in collaborative projects using technology.

Many teachers still use the net passively, as a book, downloading material, submitting their students and being submitted to top-down practices, just consuming and not interacting beyond classroom walls.

There is a group of committed and dynamic people who are willing to engage themselves in the same venture, so I am looking forward to working with them. In a country like ours, where distances and educational disparities are immense, technology is a too powerful resource to ignore.

How do you fancy this logo?¬† EduTech Sig logo¬†Rudolf’s doing ūüôā

Updating: Have just opened a Yahoo Group for the new SIG.

Margit asked if people had stories to tell…well…I just happen to have a very personal one…which I prepared out of fun…online. Practising how to use Windows Photo Story ūüôā

Care to check it out?

Documenting the process

I have started two other blogs, but not on Blogger this time. I want to experiment with WordPress as I will be giving a workshop on Blogging Towards Autonomy during the Hornby Summer School next Tuesday, January 10th. 

I do not know whether this is a wise move, as most of the participants,  according to a survey I posted on Survey Monkey have not had any experience in webpublishing. Time, experience and you will tell me, but I am willing to face the challenge and take the risk. I think that WordPress feels like a more powerful and efficient CMS (content management system) in the long run. This will allow for different levels of publishing permissions and categories. The possibility of choosing between dynamic (blogging) and static pages (for official information) is also interesting as we can use static pages for course content, or timetable and the blogging section for timely interventions, comments or suggestions.

While writing this, I have stopped to think about the different perspectives and roles I am adopting during this process.

Perspective number one¬†is that of the¬†guest speaker, first¬†organizing and preparing the workshop , then “in loco” guiding¬†learners into discovering and using the tool¬†and trying to convey “what blogging can¬†do for you”.¬†It is important¬†for teachers to document¬†their teaching/learning experience by publishing¬†their¬†reflections, create¬†their own professional portfolio and produce their own material.¬†¬†

A tall order some will say and will call me a dreamer, but I feel I am more practical and down to earth, more of a gardener, trying to sow the seeds of change in some cases or just raise the awareness that there is a variety of different plants and environements around. Whether this will be a fruitful crop, whether plants will resist all weathers, need a greenhouse or simply perish is again a matter of time, practice and reflection.  Learning and autonomy cannot be achieved through an instant ten-step recipe or a 10-day immersion course.  They are part of a life-long cyclical process.

The second one is as the administrator of the Mother blog: signing up for an account and noting down the steps, exploring and documenting the reactions to the environment, discovering its strenght and weaknesses, dealing with the technical constraints.

The third will be of a publisher and reporter, documenting the event, collecting information from the tutors to post and adding links and material to complement what is being discussed.

Finally there is me, my own voice, and my role, not only as an external observer but also as one involved in the process. This is the toughest perspective to dissociate from the others as it permeates all the previous ones. This is the one that reaches out and connects to the OTHER and the world.

What is difficult is to categorize these different posts and decide where to post Рmany times the roles seem to overlap. Any suggestions?