Reflections on where we are going

While I was at the round table with many of my OWP friends, learning from Aaron Campbell and sharing frustration and joys with the others, my hubby came home around midnight to find me on the bed with my earphones on in front of the screen. He has learned to accept my quirps, but found it rather ‘addictive behaviour’ on my part to be on the internet at that time, with hardly a hello to him and our son.

Well, that’s what happens when you want to talk to people from all over the world about openweb tools in teaching. I’m glad it was late at night and I was still awake, rather than 7am and I (not morning person) NOT awake 😉  – you can’t imagine how much I appreciate you getting up that early to talk to us, Aaron. Thank you!!!

Sharing with people who experience many of the same barriers and similar joys was a wonderful experience!

In subsequent discussions with my hubby (also a teacher) I brought up quite a few of the points discussed. Yes, he is sceptical about the amount of time invested with use of computers and the outcome -‘are we really better teachers?’ and he finds the time spent in class together and the reading of actual paper bound books more valuable. Yet, it was a valuable experience for me to argue my point, especially that of self-responsibilily, which is a major topic in the school. The role of the teacher no longer as ‘the expert’ but as a guide to student’s own expertice.

And, yes, he is still sceptical, but he is more willing to try accept my arguments and may some day apply openweb tools in his teaching. And, I certainly learn more from his scepticism than I would if he just smiled and said ‘good idea, dear’. Having to argue the point and explain what the advantage to your teaching /your students’ learning is, helps me to grow and reflect. Discussions with my fellow owps are helping us all map the world.

Now for my questions: how much of the wheel will need re-inventing? Is teaching for the 21st century different than teaching before? Will we need to teach different skills? Will the others prevail?

How will we overcome the great fear we encounter when we try to get others to see that the world and the way our kids get information is changing? (is it really changing?)

Any more questions out there? Are there any answers?


10 Responses

  1. Illya,

    I was reading your post and smiling to myself. Since we started the session, I am practically glued to the computer and display a ‘heightened degree of focus’ that prevents me from noticing anything else around. Basically, I am very unresponsive when my husband tries to talk to me 🙂

    I think you ask a really important question “Is teaching for the 21st century different than teaching before?” I think we definitely will have to teach new/different skills (e.g., how to control the information overload, how to use RSSs/feeds, etc.). Teaching can also be different – there are teachers who already use wikis instead of textbooks and students build the content themselves. This is mostly happening in general education right now, not so much in language education. But, let’s not forget that some things will stay the same.

    Reading skills/vocabulary acquisition skills, for example, will still have to be taught. I think there might be more skills to teach though. For example, understanding the interface of computer applications – that’s a completely new literacy skill. What does everyone else think? I think you should post your questions on the YG!

  2. Your answer had me in stitches! “Talk to me end of February or write a comment on my blog if you want to talk” 😉

    You mention working without a textbook. I am actually doing this at the moment in preparation for the CAE. I was dissatisfied with the coursebooks students were using, so I simply decided not to use any. It’s hard work at the beginning, but since this is only a 10 week course and I have it on blackboard, I’ll have less to do later.
    I tried springdoo and skype as speaking practice methods as well, but very few were interested in taking up the offer.

    I’ll put my questions on the YG as you suggested 🙂

  3. I scanned this post once a 1-2 liner appeared on my bloglines with headers bold indicating something was new in the feed.

    Definitely teaching and learning methods and means are changing. We need to integrate the facts and application faster in an environment nurturing support.

    OK, now coffee— just woke up
    ahh, and make sure how to tag this to come back to it and read more thoroughly later… links anywhere?


  4. I think you took a brave step in abandoning the books because you were not satisfied with them.

    Sometimes I wonder why language teachers are so far behind in using new technologies in the classroom and creating their own material.

    One of the reasons is that they are not paid enough and have more than one job so do not have the time to do it (this is definitely the situation in my country). Others do not find it is worth it because they are not exposed to the world and live inside their classrooms (“teacher mentality” as some call it)

    Another reason may be that all the content and how to develop it in class is given to them through the publishers´books they adopt. They conform to the line they are told to follow, jump into the latest wagon and enforce it on their students as well, who think they have learnt the language once they have their certificate. As I have commented on Karen´s blog, a language and learning are much more than that. Language teachers should re-evaluate their roles and responsibilities as educators.

    Until now, many have been told what to do and how to do it. I feel that with the new tools we have the possibility to experiment, produce and learn differently.

    By creating your own content, writing about your interests (and this includes the leaners), reflecting on what you do, you grow, you become aware you want to do, what you can do and you develop your voice!(why did you enroll in this session after all, why do you enjoy taking part in this conversation, how did you react when I posted to the group what it would be nice to discuss this later?)

    This is what open and participatory means to me.

  5. […] blogs or as comments to others’, to say in this case Illya’s great set of questions direct to her blog (as some have already) and those who are not ready to take part catch up later when they are. Is […]

  6. Hi Illya,

    These questions and their subsequent (attempted) move over to our OWP YG have sparked me to write an entry about open and closed spaces on my own blog. Your lovely writing style – the professional mixed with the personal details and the interspersed questions a great springboard and similar to the way my brain works!
    I have chosen, however to post my first few answers here to develop these thought-provoking topics.
    How much of the wheel will need re-inventing? This is an interesting one. I think often we try to re-invent too much when some of the basic principles are still highly applicable: lead-ins, end-focus, sense of achievement, personalisation, recycling and so on.
    Is teaching for the 21st century different than teaching before? In contrast to what I say above, yes the dynamic nature of some of the tools demands some changes. I’ve seen this with my own project web-based teaching. The learners expected me to provide them with all the answers until I was able to set up teams, organize and network them. The end product was way beyond anything we could have achieved without the web.
    Will we need to teach different skills? Well we’ve seen this week how sifting through information, being able to select and reading in different ways is fast developing as a necessary skill – it’s not just a question of scanning and skimming. It’s a question of pulling what you need to your desktop so that you can understand and read deeper. Doing that in a foreign language requires new skills and using some of the software does too but I notice the younger generations are really quite PC savvy, aren’t they? Then
    Will the others prevail? Yes, being organized, setting goals, working together are all skills even language learners develop or bring to the class and these prevail but with electronic orgnaizers, social “I’d like to do” lists and such a plethora of communication tools they prevail and extend us into new horizons….
    How will we overcome the great fear we encounter when we try to get others to see that the world and the way our kids get information is changing? (is it really changing?) By leading and illuminating the way together – more EVO courses, the power of sharing. Our biggest concern should now also be to make this a fairer world by equalling out access to knowledge and its construction?
    Any more questions out there? Are there any answers? Oh definitely loads more and loads more answers but loads more sharing and growing. That’s why I called my blog lifelonglearning….
    will it ever end? I hope not 😉
    Thanks Illya great spark! Tell hubby we need you too it’s only a few more weeks of intensity and then you promise to reduce the addictive behaviour….

  7. […] on some good questions In her recent post, Reflections on where we are going « Illya’s EVO blogfolio, Illya asked some very good questions.  While I am not ready to take them all on right now, a few […]

  8. Are you trying to be with my grey framework I have a nice joke. What do you call a bee born in May? A Maybe.

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