¿Hola? ¿Cómo estás? ¡Estoy bien! ¿Y tú? Does any of it really matter? These are questions that I asked myself growing up and taking Spanish classes through high school. These are also questions that I hope my students are not asking in my own classroom; although, I am sure some of them are.
For our final assignment in CEP 812 we were asked to examine the ideas presented by Thomas Friedman, author of The World is Flat (I highly recommend this book if you haven’t already read it) on Passion Quotient (P.Q.) and Curiosity Quotient (C.Q.). In his work Friedman talks about passion and curiosity being key attributes not only in learning, but also in individual success. These two factors are even more important with a high IQ. One can have a high IQ, but if there is no passion or curiosity they will find themselves asking “does any of this really matter?”
As a Spanish teacher, I use my own passion and curiosity and am hopefully able to inspire my students, as I was inspired by my own awesome high school Spanish teacher so long ago.
This week in CEP 812 we were asked to revisit our information diet, which is to say, the information that we take in through sources such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, or even the evening news. Rarely do I watch television (except for during the political debate season, I am a huge politics junkie); however, I do take in quite a bit of information from the Internet. I get this information through news websites provided in my Google News feed as well as social media, especially Twitter. (more…)
This week in CEP 812 we were asked to create a survey to collect information from our colleagues about how technology is integrated into our community of practice as well as their interest in professional development. After receiving the responses to my survey I was able to analyze and come to conclusions about how my school can move forward in training teachers to incorporate technology into their classrooms as well as what types of technology we are strong on, and which types we are a bit weaker on. Click here to read an analysis of my findings and recommendations on moving forward as a school. Check out the infographic below to further illustrate the data that I gathered.
This semester in CEP 812 we were asked to join a think tank and to address a “wicked problem”. Some of my colleagues and I decided that we would address the problem of rethinking teaching. Our discussions took us in several different directions, and it did not take us long to see that this is a truly wicked problem. (more…)
This week in my CEP 812 course we have been tasked with reading several chapters from James Paul Gee’s The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning. In his work Gee includes a very insightful attack on human intelligence and the way that we go about problem solving.
As a Spanish teacher I understand that a key part of the language acquisition process is being able to write in the language that one is acquiring. Often times, language learners are reluctant to write in the second language. I have witnessed this often times in my Spanish class, as well as in the English language with ESL students.
In language methods classes we are often encouraged to have students keep blogs; however, having a student acquiring a new language keep a blog can be problematic. First, keeping a blog is just a modern way of having them answer a prompt that we would have had them write about in their journals in the past. We have changed the forum that students respond to the question in, but we have not changed the questions that we are asking. The second problem with blogging is that the language learner can easily become frustrated. Many language learners enjoy the experience of blogging but when we ask open questions in a language classroom, students will often quickly learn of their own shortcomings within the language. Lin, Groom, and Lin interviewed a group of ESL students about their experiences using a blog in class and found that blogging “increased awareness of their own limited linguistic ability” (Lin, 2015).
The question then becomes, how can we motivate students to write? As students are acquiring language it often helps them to be able to use pictures and illustrations to express themselves.
Image from http://www.storybird.com
In my research of web based tools to encourage writing and literacy for those acquiring a new language, I stumbled upon Storybird. Storybird allows users to make books for free by selecting illustrations from the site’s vast library, and then to write stories to accompany the images – kind of a reversal of the typical writing process. What I like about being able to use an image to generate writing is that it may help students who exhibit writer’s block or express concerns in their ability to be creative.
Another feature that I really love is the ability to open up a project for collaboration. The author of a story book can add other users for collaborative purposes. Allowing students to collaborate on a project could help overcome limits in linguistic abilities as students acquire language at a different pace. While many studies have shown that blogs in ESL and World Language classrooms are instrumental in increasing proficiency, blogs are not perfect and come with deficiencies (Lin, 2015). Storybird is one possible way to address some of the deficiencies that blogging can present.
Lin, Ming Huei (2015). Learner Centered Blogging: A Preliminary Investigation of EFL Student Writers’ Experience. Journal of Educational Technology & Society , 18 (3), 446-458. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/jeductechsoci.18.4.446
Throughout CEP 811 we have been challenged to think about not only how we deliver our instruction, but what content we are delivering in our instruction. When I began CEP 811 I came in with a closed mind to Maker Education. I had heard of it, but was stuck in the belief that MakerEd was for STEM courses only. I thought that I would not be able to apply it to my job as a Spanish teacher. (more…)