Monday, November 19, 2007

Teachers as Change Agents: A Conversation with Doris Molero

Doris Molero, one of my WritingMatrix partners in Maracaibo, Venezuela, has invited me to chat with her students in Venezuela about tagging and RSS and using these tools to connect on line as we’ve been doing with the WritingMatrix project:


I found it when I was looking for blog posts on a conference I recently went to
Its conference tag was GLoCALL
I looked in Technorati at this URL
That's a search on blogs with the tag GLoCALL
So when I found this blog guess what??

Doris: What happened?
(checks out the blog …) Looking good in that Vietnamese hat!

Me: You guessed it. I found my picture there by surprise - just now
I'm leaving a comment now

Doris: What a small world!!!!

Me: the world has got smaller due to tagging
Are your guys blogging and tagging?

Doris: Yes... adding blogs to reader...
We are not using Technorati...
We are having trouble with internet and Technorati doesn't open
We are aggregating in Google reader

Me: looks like lots of nice posts in Technorati
I think if it were me I would IDENTIFY people whose blogs i like first, using Technorati and then follow THOSE in Google Reader
How are your guys finding blogs to follow?

Doris: but we don't have time for Technorati now... so we are adding and following in Google reader...since everybody is using Blogger... and are familiar with Google things... they have posted in Sasha's students blogs... and they have received some comments... this week we are going to start interacting more... this group is working on podcast for their final project...
they have to put a podcast together and post it in their blogs... as well as interact with the guys in the project.. as you can see it's a lot of internet skills and use of the language as well as critical thinking and all those things...

Me: for some reason none of my posts are coming up in Technorati, only my Slideshare tags, nothing from Blogger, and I’m looking in any authority too

Doris: I don't understand Technorati much... that's way we are using Google can always find blogs in Google by writing the right tag

Me: Blog Search?

Doris: yes

Me: (trying it out) yes, mine appear here
ok, I like this better

Doris: Yes... but how do you cope with teaching a syllabus and teaching how to work all these tools at the same time...?

Me: try to write the tools into the syllabus
become influential in other words
be a change agent

Doris: it's very demanding...sometimes it's frustrating ... so we got we the flow ... not everybody will be able to ride the wave but things are going to be accomplished ... and the more we use it the better and the more things students will learn...
Did that sound right...

Me: did you hear Konrad Glowgowski's talk at k-12 online?

Doris: This is going to be the subject of my research.... how we can integrate more techno tools in our learning for life.... but some people just want to learn English... multiliteracies... how do we say that in Spanish...? it's a whole new way of looking at things...

Me: you should look up Glowgowski's talk because he quoted a lot from someone using the metaphor of flow and it was on that topic

Doris: well, It just occurred to me....
I love your F.U.N philosophy, though...
lots of teachers love control... and chaos's something they can't control

Me: that's what's F.U.N. about it
someone said "I love to learn, I just hate to be taught"

Doris: that's what I meant by going with the flow... sometimes we want to control everything and have plans we can to carry out perfectly... we have to learn to relax and go with prior knowledge... trust each other..

Me: I think people learn better that way once they have become mature and responsible
How about your students? Can they learn through self motivation?

Doris: some of them are very nervous... some of them get frustrated... some of them love it... at the end of the level most of them agreed that all they did was worthwhile ...

Me: most people hate to pack and travel, but love where they end up, and have good reflections on the experience

Doris: they are university students and want to graduate in different fields... so English and technology is like something extra they have to worry about... but they say it's better than to have classes in the traditional way

Me: in the future there will NOT be LESS technology, and MODELING that technology is SOOOO important, like what you are doing
We are teaching people to take jobs that have not been invented yet
School no longer prepares you for a predictable future.
Check out David Warlick's K-12 keynote for more in that vein
to prepare for your future you need to know HOW to learn
and how to FIND information
and for that you need technology
and you need to know how to use it

Doris: That's the spirit... and that's exactly what I'm writing in my research

Me: and another thing David said: bringing people into school and forcing them to leave their networks behind, to cut them off from their networks, is an insult to them
David's keynote makes the point quite dramatically

Doris: networking... such a new idea for many
Especially in the English classroom, a lot of new things at the same time...

Me: David says that there are two kinds of people:
those who are connected
and those who are not
and those who are have POWER
that the other group has not
so by putting your students in touch with others
to teach them how to connect
is to empower them

Doris: it took me a long time to fully understand it myself
but connecting is more than just connect... it means to be able to do... and to do you have to understand first...

Me: yes, how to USE those connections to learn
or more accurately to know
because according to Stephen Downes, George Siemens, and others
what we 'know' is the sum total of what we can connect to
If you are connected then you theoretically know everything that the network knows
IF you can access that knowledge
and that's what we need to teach today
not facts, connections

Doris: new concept for many people... especially because you have to leave your controlling everything...
now how do we convince teachers of that.....? that's elemental... teachers are change agents

Me: I guess, get people connected
and they will learn it on their own
you can't teach them
there is no such thing
they have to be put in a position where they are willing to learn it

Doris: my guys are working... and they will start demanding more of what they have been using sometime... we have to wait for the right time... so everything runs smoothly...?

Me: speaking of time
I have to go
nice talking to you
connecting with you and your students
will chat later some time

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