So... We reached the
end but our journey is just beginning. All the knowledge we've acquired
needs to be transmitted. Now we just have to define the way to do it and
start preparing. This was overall an excellent experience, and the process we are
finishing made us better teachers, better professionals and much better
I think the key to the success of this course lies within each of us,
and the interest we each have in this kind of education will determine our
progress and how much we'll achieve. In my case this was a fantastic
experience, and coming from a country where this knowledge is not so far
evolved, I think we just need to have the opportunity to learn from others
and put it to practice.
I have always believed in the strength of my people and how much we can accomplish when we really decide to do it. We have great examples throughout history which show us how much anyone can do with the right attitude and the determination to persevere. I think all we need is an opportunity, and if you take it, and face the challenge, you'll overcome anything that comes your way. And that's all I needed, A CHANCE. So I want to thank the people who have believed in me and the ones who gave me the opportunity to grow with this experience. I think I have not let them down and I hope this is a testimony to show others the benefits we can receive.
Good resources and knowledge were transmitted during this 10 week course and the list of contents is endless, not only based on what we received as topics, but also the additional knowledge collected by each of us in the process. I want to begin with a special recollection of the 10 weeks taking this course.
A very important week, maybe the most important one due to all the information which made a difference in the learning process we were about to begin back then and certainly a week that helped us reassess our aims and goals. I created this blog and started my journey towards the final goal. The blogger is always a nice tool and I was happy to incorporate it to my course reflective activity.
The week of the ABCD objectives and the beginning of project related activities. I enjoyed that week because I had read about this objectives and I clearly understood how to handle them and the way to apply them. Important for every lesson plan, the ABCD objectives showed us how simple and precise it is to apply them in any necessary and related context. I also enjoyed describing my class to the rest of my peers but most of all reading about their own class settings. I found that many of them had large classes and I believe they are a big challenge. Based on the way they described them it made me wonder how useful the advice would be for many people in my country with a similar case.
Reading about previous projects, learning about oral/aural skills and the use of Delicious website. All these activities made my learning itch start to move around. I started to read more about the focus of this course so I did a little research and got more into independent learning and read about the importance of student motivation and cooperative learning. I realized that the guidelines we were following were meant to give us a taste of the learning process we were about to implement in our communities.
We began this week reading about Technology enhanced lesson plans and focused a lot on how our projects were supposed to be. We learned the best way to identify a problem in which technology could be applied to help with the solution. We explored some websites about reading and writing skills, and I particularly understood better the aim of an ABCD objective and thanks to Courtney I was able to improve my perception of how to precisely and accurately give such objectives.
The most important for my project, because I learned how to make Web Quests and the Project based learning. As soon as I finished learning about this tool, I had already considered it to be one of the best options for the purpose I had regarding motivation. It was a very busy week due to the rubrics and alternative assessment that came along, but at the end it was fulfilling to have done everything because I realized how easy it was and how engaging it can be. This week I really noticed all the benefits I was receiving and I could start to tell how much I have been improving.
During the course of this week we developed our ability to redirect our classes in a different aim. We started to enhance our students centered classes and our way of using PPTs. The process we underwent showed us how important it is not to let students be listeners, quite the contrary, it taught us how to make them active participants. I have also been a student (like everyone else) so I started thinking about how I felt back when I was studying and how my teachers sometimes used to make my classes boring. So I decided to start criticizing my own teaching method and I noticed that my results were improving my students' behavior.
Learner autonomy WEEK!! It really paid off. I made a breakthrough this week. The topics and my past experiences as a learner had been on my mind all week and I wanted to determine quickly the process that would lead me to the right outcome. I realized that we had been assigned tasks in the exact way we are expected to replicate with our students. I noticed how learner autonomy can give each student the chance to explore on their own and to learn by doing instead of the old way, where they were just listeners.
This week was exciting, we had the chance to create firsthand the resources our instructor gave us during the course. We learned how to make a websites at Google, a Padlet, a Nicenet page, we made everything we were able to learn during the course. We had the privileage to learn from Mr. Jeff Magoto with his ANVILL Course Management System, which was great, and finally we made online resources for our students with the many sites available. I thought this week was really enhancing because aside from learning that these resources were good to integrate learning and foster learner autonomy, we also learned how to develop these tools, so we are now more than ready to apply them in the classroom experience. I was able to work with my partner Sasi Raj during the peer project review of the final draft of my project. He’s outstanding. I really admire him for the work he is doing with such a large class. His project was very interesting and I learned a lot from him as well.
This past week I felt the experience of this learning process, gave me a new vision towards my teaching, and I felt gladly satisfied with my personal results. I presented my Final Project and I felt confident doing so. I think all the knowledge transmitted to us and the entire experience was simply enlightening. Later I was able to enhance my knowledge on Learning Styles, which was particularly fulfilling, especially because the past experiences I had, talking about this topic and trying to make my peers (in my country) understand the importance of it, were a little disappointing. Back then I used to insist on it so that they would realize that not everyone learns in the same way, but they never wanted to listen. So now I can prove that this topic is not only important for me but it has significant importance everywhere and especially in this university.
Wrapping up the course. Finishing the process of learning with UOregon was fantastic. I learned so much, and I now have much more confidence in the way my teaching is presented in class but I wish to continue growing and improving. This final week evaluating my knowledge made me realize that this is not the end. We still have a lot of ground to cover and many people to influence. My best experience throughout this course was the part where I realized this kind of teaching/learning process makes the absolute difference in the educational purposes we try to reach and rises up to a point in which the only thing we’ll be able to discuss is “How are we going to continue applying technology?”
To finish, I want to thank the following people and institutions:
- The U.S. Department of State
- The U.S. Embassy in Bolivia
- Courtney Cunningham
- The University of Oregon
- Fabiola Ibarnegaray from the U.S. Embassy
I want to make a special mention to my family and my current colleagues at SMART STEP for supporting me and encouraging me to show everyone my people’s capacity.
I’m certainly going to miss joining the course every week and reading the articles but I’m not going to stop there. I know I have a great responsibility on my hands to share this knowledge with my community and I have the commitment to do so.
Happy Holydays to Everyone and THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT.
SERGIO PAUQAR CÉSPEDES