Online learning

I know I spent the last post outlining the differences between children and adults, and how that results in different methods for teaching, and also how I was slightly struggling to adapt my teaching to those methods. But this weekend I had 3 friends come visit me to go hiking, and as all 3 were auxiliares as well, we inevitably began discussing our jobs. We got into a conversation about science classes (every single one of us seems to be teaching science!) and my friend was telling the rest of us how she needed to think of a good lesson plan to review the English vocabulary for their unit on levers and pulleys. My immediate reaction was to say, “Oh hey, you could get a bunch of wood blocks and strings and then you put them into teams and call out the name of a lever or pulley and then they have to build it!” Her immediate reaction was to say, “I think you are spoiled teaching elementary school. We don’t have those kind of materials at the instituto and we don’t really . . . build things.” It just made me laugh because maybe I am adapting after all!


But when I think about it, it’s true that my teaching style has always been to try to jazz up a lesson. I don’t like worksheets (well, I don’t like dry, boring worksheets that teach you to fill in blanks) and I call on everyone in the class. I like my students to listen when I give a lecture and then I like to let them loose to create. And I especially like using technology in the classroom. I took a lot of free workshops when I was working in America because, hey, they were free. I didn’t know of any other time I would be able to do professional development and have it cost nothing but my time. While working for a community college and a university, I took every class on Blackboard offered by my community college, plus a class on using Google Apps in Blackboard. I also took classes on Adobe Connect, Audacity, uploading to ITunes U, and using Facebook to deliver course materials offered by my university. I took 2 rounds of a course preparing me to teach online (and I actually taught Spanish online for 3 semesters) and I got about halfway through a training course meant to encourage me to apply the Quality Matters rubric to my online courses (I had to stop when I moved here due to lack of Internet, missed the deadline to turn in work, and failed the class. Sigh. I’ll fix that one of these days).


So right now I am reading through a course intended to teach me how to create activities for online course delivery using a Java platform. Any other auxiliares interested in this, the website is JClic. You don’t have to be like me and learn how to make the activities . . . there are many activities online made by other teachers for you to use free. They work great with a SmartBoard. I am just getting really excited about this and the implications for my teaching, both here and back in the US. And I’m not going to apologize for it either. :-) This blog IS called “An Academic in Spain”, after all.


Oh, and I guess I mentioned that I hiked. I bet you want to see some pictures. Here they are. I promise my next post will be about food or wine or something.


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