Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Week – 10: "Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Hello My Dear Journal,

It is very sad to realize that we are going to say “Good-bye” to each other. The course was just SUPER!
It gave us so much that I think we need very much time to reflect on everything we have learned so far.
I think I will start from the very beginning.

Once upon a time (actually it was in September) I got very good news from the University of Oregon. They congratulated me on getting the scholarship which gave me a unique opportunity to study online and build my teaching skills through interactive Web.  Of course, the news made me very happy. I shared this happiness with everybody as I understood that I was going to learn the new tools of integrating technology into the classroom.

Now I can’t believe that the course is approaching its finishing point. The time flew so fast.  From being a digital” immigrant” I am taking my firm steps and moving towards growing into a mature “digital native”. I think  it’s high time we reflected on our online experience.

Before the course started I had a slight hesitation whether I would be able to accomplish all the tasks on time, before the deadline. I started very enthusiastically, created the blog, made the first posts. I must confess that at the beginning it was not difficult to do as I had already had some experience of studying online, but this course was different from those that I had taken before. The more we studied, the more challenging it became. To tell the truth, at the moment I feel very proud as I could manage the challenges and completed the course.
 I made a list (by the way it is very weighty’) of what I have learned:

·         How to create a Blog and Delicious page – the course gave me a chance and made me do it. Now I have a blog with weekly posts and delicious page with more than 40 useful links;

·         What Nicenet is and how to collaborate using this tool – We had to make our contributions, and at the same time to read and comment on our classmates’ posts;  it brought me more responsibility and time management skills;
My students discuss their topics and share their experiences using  Nicenet internet classroom.. They enjoy it very much.

·         Ground Rules and Netiquette – it was one more chance to revise them;
·          Writing objectives using ABCD model – I used to write the objectives in a totally different way. The course changed my style, though at the initial stage it was very hard to do, but I tried several times and at last succeeded in that;

·          How to define class issues and create a Technology enhanced lesson plan  -  I had difficulties and didn’t understand the task at first, but with the help of the tutor I managed it;
·         Webquest – it was a new world for me. I even didn’t have the slightest idea of what Web Quest was, but the course task led me even to create it;
·         Rubrics – as we started using new curriculum standards 3 years ago (only in primary school) we didn’t use the rubrics for assessing students’ achievements. With the help of Rubistar I created the ones  for Story Telling – Me and My World;

·         Interactive PowerPoint Slide show – I thought that I knew how to create a PowerPoint presentation. Actually I made them very often almost for all the topics that are in our syllabus. I just used this tool only for making the lessons more interesting and colorful. The slides could serve as a good substitution for paper flashcards and other materials. While in course I learned what a good power point presentation is, what it should contain and what mustn’t be included; what colors are appropriate for making it more readable and appealing to the audience. The course materials provided us with so many useful tips that using them all brought difference not only to the classroom but also to my personal teaching experience. Now I can create interactive slides, make tests  and add hyperlinks to the Web pages;

·         How to work in large one-computer classes – Think-Pair-Share strategy:  in one-computer large classroom it will be a good solution to the problems that a teacher can face; We created a lesson plan for one-computer classroom.

·         How to write a Project Plan using template – It was a very good idea to have participants write Project drafts and exchange them for peer-reading. Moreover, everybody could “see” one another’s papers. So, exchanging project ideas and peer-reading brought us more importance and confidence;
·         Learning styles Technology - Before the course I even didn't think about my students' learning styles. I just taught them the way that was appropriate for me to achieve the aims. Of course, from time to time I changed my style as there was demand for changes. I mean I altered it together with the "time". 

Now I am sure that for successful teaching and learning to take place we should know our students’ learning styles and adapt our teaching strategies to a new teaching context.

I decided to post some photos that I took when my students were writing their posts for the Nicenet discussion forum.

Keep up the good work!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Elmira,

    That’s a great chance to read your clear and detailed explanation. We have grabbed fruitful skills and knowledge of how to implement technology in our class with the best.

    Your photos are amazing as all your students get involve in learning process by posting their ideas in Nicenet as well as experiencing some other tools. It seems that they are really enjoying your ‘digital’ class. Our webskills course might be closed but I’m pretty sure that we still have other opportunities to share our ideas in order to improve our professional development, for example, sharing our interesting tool links in Delicious or just say hello in Facebook or other social networking. Good luck.