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Nives' endeavours as an English Teacher

MM4: Creating Synergy in Online Classrooms via Emerging Technologies

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 Presented by: Dr. Cheryl Lentz

Date: Tuesday, June 03 2014      Where: WizIQ online learning  www.wiziq.com

Class link: http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/1862817-mm4-creating-synergy-in-online-classrooms-via-emerging-technologies

WOW This lady is packed full of energy and an unbelievably fast talker (as in speed) I would say she averages about 180 words per minute, meaning she would be a great instant/live press Reporter. But I don’t think Dr Lentz is in need of a career change because as a college Professor with an online profile she is extremely popular and won’t be out of a job soon.

She gave me the boost to finally get this Blog underway, after I finished my other set work for the evening I sat in front of my computer and went straight to the wordpress website and voilà put pen to paper so to speak.

A summary of this class, firstly a few ideas to think about:

  1. How important it is for the Educator (Teacher) to be up to date with Technology in the classroom?
  2. Should Teachers be showing their faces on ‘social media’ ?
  3. Is connecting with students as important as just Teaching them?

 

These are the first three questions that come to mind when I think back to Dr Lentz’s talk, so firstly I am a strong believer that Technology is as important in the classroom as it is in online teaching. Why? Firstly because I have yet to walk into a classroom and find students who are still in the 2nd generation mobile technology as is often the case with most Teachers. So if our students are way ahead technologically then we should be using that anchor to latch on to rather than keep on insisting with old methods of Teaching. The modern era has given us technological homes –  programmable home appliances, Cable pay TV, ADSL, WiFi or Broadband internet, Satellite dishes on rooftops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, etc. The classroom also with their interactive whiteboards – unfortunately this is only for some classrooms as most schools lack the proper funding not to mention slow connections. The availability of social media means our Teenagers and Young Adults in the education system are constantly connected to each other and to the world at large. So let’s tap into that ‘worldly connection’ get the students to use the best access they have to use it to better their education and to show the Teacher their endeavors. I bet some of you out there still remember ‘show and tell’ at primary school, wasn’t it the best day of the week, even if you didn’t have anything to show&tell but just listening to others was an amazing ‘connecting’ moment. Don’t deny it!  Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Scoopit, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, etc. are just the same – it’s a way of ‘showing and telling’ what we know or have just found out or seen or experienced. In other words it’s simply ‘communicating’ and no matter what subject you teach or are studying getting the message across is what it’s all about!

Teachers who lag behind and don’t jump onto the moving bus WILL get left behind and their students will not follow them in class as they should. The aim of the Teacher is to ‘engage learning’ a process that is not as easy as it seems but simple in its approach. To know more on this subject stayed tuned for further installments in my blog posts.

On the other hand I have had a hard time wondering whether the Teacher should have their ‘face’ on social media too, there are advantages and disadvantages to this as Dr Lentz also brought up in the talk. Although she mentioned the importance of setting up a blog using it also for the ‘flipped classroom’ material she also did state the importance of keeping the social media profile ‘professional’. This is the most important point for a teacher or a point of reference for the modern student, and although I advocate the importance of social media to be used as a means of communication I also strongly believe that the role of the Teacher is to remain the ‘Teacher’ and not become the ‘student’. Let me clarify. The role of the Teacher needs to remain constant, as does the student’s role. The constancy equals the safety of knowledge being transmitted by both and the ability to assess and measure and use that knowledge. To this extent I’m wary of a Teacher who portrays an image of an overgrown youngster on social media, but more inclined to assume the task of using social media to connect and transmit educational material or knowledge.

In the flipped model the Teacher as Dr Lentz showed can prepare audio-visual video tutorials and the students can watch and re-watch the tutorial and do the set tasks then go back into the F2F classroom and put that ‘learned’ new skill into practical use. It is the perfect opportunity to bring the learning curve to the same point for all students in one simple online tutorial rather than spend repeating that material in class where some students with ‘attention blinks’ will miss the boat.

How important then is it for Teachers to really connect with their students? In my opinion this is the quintessential principal of Teaching! If I cannot connect and by this I mean literally ‘get into their head’ and understand what makes them tick, then I can rest assured that they will not understand me or what I’m trying to teach them. At the same time this does not mean me coming to school with pink hair and converse runners with matching bag, chewing gum and disheveled hair just to be considered an equal – I am not their equal or their desk mate – I want to be their point of reference, their mentor, their ultimate goal. OOps that may sound egotistical but I don’t mean it that way, I just want to make it clear that although I can stop to watch a rap video with my high school kids seriously enjoying it will not mean that I will jump on all fours to mimic it. But I want to use that moment of connection to get them telling me about it, and really listening and then maybe using that ‘connection’ to make a distinguishing point – like ‘let’s then talk about Young people and their behavior’ etc… get my meaning!

That’s what Dr Lentz talked about when a Teacher uses the means of connection via modern technology to communicate the learning material and turn the classroom into an online community. Teachers creating a learning blog – a place for students to connect with the study method via an ‘online’ visual of their Teacher. Dr Cheryl puts this idea into a nutshell comment “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Our role as a Teacher is to make our students thirsty” – a brilliant point!

A brief look at Dr Lentz’ talk in this presentation: on the way….

 

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Author: Nives Torresi

Nives Torresi is a Teacher of English as a foreign language; English Drama; Business English and English Exam Preparation (Cambridge FCE). Nives also translates from Italian to English (with a specialization in Business Manuals, Historical archives and Medical papers), works as Interpreter and Mediator for Business negotiations. Currently also teaches online via interactive learning platform for Business English courses and Language tutoring. Participates actively in online Teacher Training or development courses such as M4T Moodle for Teachers, Teaching with Technology, Learn to Blend and Flip with Technology, Action Research Projects to improve Instruction and Learning. Moderator in the Moodle courses for M4T EVO 15; M4T EVO 16 - TEFL2YL EVO 16 Recent online live webinar Presentations include: - The "One Foolish Monkey" series on History of Blogging with co-Teacher Tom Hodgers - CO15 - Connecting Online live Conference - "Understanding Pair Teaching in Micro Teaching Online" with Tom Hodgers. - Webinars for IATEFL YLT SIG: 2015 - "Play, Learn and Grow Together" an After school English language learning project. 2016 - "Play, Learn and Grow Together" a Pre-school English language learning project. - MM7 Moodle Mooc 7 by Integrating Technology - M4T moodle for teachers - Live Webinar presentation "Teaching and Learning Along the Way" November 16, 2015 - EFL Talks - Answers webinar February 20, 2016 "Using a Board Game in the EFL classroom" - EFL Talks - TERMS "PODCASTS" - MM9 co-Presenter with Thomas Hodgers "Teaching Online with Moodle" - MM9 Panelist on Digital Badges Discussion - HeartELT project - contributing author letter "W" - EVO Moderator Training 2014; 2015; 2016 - TEFL2YL EVO 2017 Session moderator and presenter "Board Games in the EFL Classroom" CO 17 Connecting Online live Conference Presenter with Tom Hodgers "Teamwork Online" - 2016-2017 Business English Conversation Course - a 36 hour course for industrial Engineering firm.

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