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Thursday, January 21, 2010

TESOL and Integrating Technologies

As I get geared up for another semester, I'm very excited about some new approaches to teaching that I'll be trying out.  The premise of this pursuit is centered around Downes's (2008) notion of the following four principles as they pertain to connectivism: "diversity", "autonomy", "interaction", and "openness" (slides 93-96).

This semester I will be co-facilitating two open courses, one dedicated to English language learners wanting to improve their writing skills (video intro) and another course for educators teaching English language learners (video intro). Both courses will be conducted in part on a free Moodle hosting site called Key to School (click here is you're interested in creating your own Moodle site).

Another goal for this semester is to encourage more faculty (i.e., EFL educators) to share their teaching and learning experiences online.  To do this, various performance tasks will be recorded during class, uploaded to BlipTV, then explained by means of an interview with the teacher in order to share the experience and to reflect.

Learning another language and professional development this semester for me will focus on diversity, autonomy, interaction, and openness as both teachers and learners are given more of an equitable opportunity to grow and develop within a network.  Instead of judging one's work, teachers and learners will interact and negotiate through concepts, processes, and products in a way that recognizes that every individual can either be a teacher or a learner at any given moment.

One website in particular developed a platform that supports the idea that each of us is a teacher and learner: Educators 2.0  Using the Supercool School platform, Educators 2.0 promotes learner autonomy by giving learners the option to request a course.  Teachers (i.e., facilitators) are able to create their own course as well and are free to design them according to a particular need, interest, and/or learning preference.  The site is also open and possibilities to interact with others abound. Related articles related to Educators 2.0 and Supercool School can be found here: Educators 2.0 introductory blog, Kirsten ButlerChristine Geith, and Edukwest (interview).

So these are exciting times for me this semester.  Who knows what the end result will be but it's the unknown that drives me to know more.