domingo, 20 de noviembre de 2011

Reflections on week 6: Web 2.0

I’ve been hearing about Web 2.0 for a long time and I knew very little about this term before but now I’ve got a clearer idea of what it is. As stated by Paul Anderson, Web 2.0 is more than a set of cool and new technologies and services; it has at its heart, a set of some powerful ideas that are changing the way people interact. We can actually perceive how powerful the World Wide Web has become. People have changed the way they use the Web in both a personal and a business sense. Web 2.0 is a change in how we use the Internet nowadays; it is no longer a space to obtain information; it is a space to interact and communicate with others worldwide.
I started to use some of these Web 2.0 tools for my class a couple of years ago. The first tool was Skype. It is fantastic to see how Skype has overcome barriers such as distance, time, and money. Calls are free from Skype to Skype. There are no boundaries with Skype. After this, I started to use  in my classes Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Google maps, Diigo and more recently Blogger and Prezi; but there are actually other Web 2.0 tools that I am going to start using in my classes very soon.
Sometimes with Web 2.0 I feel like a traveller who doesn’t know where to go next; there are so many tools that we can use for our classes that we don’t really know which one to go first but I guess it is a matter of time and practice to see which one works best for each one of us.

sábado, 19 de noviembre de 2011

Reflections on week 4

Hello folks, I am back with some reflections on week 4. In module 7 there was an important issue regarding Internet safety and the possible abuse of technology for bullying. It's important to know how to stay safe when we're using the Internet. We should never give out any personal information when we're online, no matter who we think we're talking to. There are many sites online that allow you to talk to other people on the Web. Chat rooms give you the chance to have a conversation with other people anywhere in the world. Online social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Bebo allow people to stay in touch online with friends worldwide as well as making new national and international connections. I use some of these social network sites in my classes; I try to engage students to interact in English/Spanish/ French (depending on the language I am teaching) with other people, organisations worldwide. However, there’s a downside to this use of the Internet and that is cyber-criminals. Cybercrime is defined by British police as the use of any computer network for crime and the high-tech criminals of the digital age have not been slow to spot the opportunities. For young people in particular social networking sites can mix several of the risks related with being online; online bullying, disclosure of private information, cyber-stalking, access to age-inappropriate content and, at the most extreme, online grooming and child abuse. There are also risks for adults, for instance, loss of privacy and identity theft
All this doesn’t mean that we should stop using the Internet; we just have to avoid these risks following a few sensible guidelines as provided in Sorted for example. In addition, we should teach our young students and children how to use the Internet in a SMART way.

miércoles, 26 de octubre de 2011

Reflections on week 3

The Web is growing rapidly; it is amazing the amount of information on the Internet. There are loads of websites on the Internet and many of them have links to many other sites. If using the Internet is seen as an option to enhance the learning process in the classroom, we cannot and should not let our students wandering online visiting any pages through just a click. A lot of the information online is not reviewed, unlike traditional printed materials such as books, magazines and newspapers; no one has to approve the content before it is made public. I doubt very much there’s a reviewing process by an authority before publishing information on a website. Anyone can say anything and students often believe "if it's on the Internet, it must be right."  I was a bit stunned after watching the video about web literacy. I wondered what would happen if that was happening for real and those students didn’t have anyone guiding them on how to carry out a search online, they would just believe anything that is on the Web; this is terrifying! Therefore, I believe it is up to us, teachers, to teach students how to carry out a search online effectively.

Now, regarding search engines on the Internet, I reckon Google is the best one. It delivers relevant and comprehensive search results, it loads quickly, you can do several searches such as images, videos, books, maps, you can translate words and sentences ( I don’t suggest to translate long sentences). I’ve used other search engines but I stick to Google. However, it is also useful to know a few tips in order to carry out a good search, for example the use of double quotes around a set of words, the use of – symbol before a word to exclude it from search, to define our keywords properly, etc.

With respect to copyrights, it is important to respect other people’s work on the Web. I guess if we don’t pay attention to copyrights online then someday people might not be willing to share their knowledge on the Web and we would have less new teaching ideas on the Internet.

sábado, 15 de octubre de 2011

Reflections on week 2

I believe that when we choose to use a website in class it is essential to critically analyse the information found in these resources. It is surprising the amount of people that are likely to take information on the net at face value and are not aware of the need to question such information they are exposed to. Several people don’t realise that some of the information which they may come across is inaccurate. Critical thinking must be done in order to carry out a proper website evaluation, some of the questions that we, teachers, should ask ourselves when evaluating a website include: does the information seem to be accurate? Is the content dated? Is it easy to understand? Is the website easy to use? How quickly does the page load?

There were some aspects that I thought trough when evaluating a website before I did modules 3 and 4 but there were other aspects that I didn’t take into account such as if the site contained any advertising and whether it influenced content or not; the intended audience and where does the information originate from?

I will certainly consider all these aspects from now on when evaluating web resources.

sábado, 8 de octubre de 2011

My reflections on week 1

A few months ago, I was talking to one of my fellow workers, Iraima, and she mentioned to me that she was doing an online course about learning technologies for the classroom and that caught my attention, I said to myself, hmm that sounds interesting, I could do one of those courses since I am into technology and that can help me to improve my ICT skills in my classes. I guess I’ve always been interested in technology; I remember when I was like 10 and I first saw a Walkman, I was like waow, this is great! I couldn’t stop thinking how fantastic this new gadget was; so since then I’ve been impressed by every new technological device or software that has been launched, and also how they’ve made our learning process easier and more fun. I believe that learning technologies are a great tool to use in the classroom, the effective integration of technology has the ability to engage learners in a variety of ways.

When Iraima told me that the British Council was going to offer another online course about learning technologies for the classroom starting in October I quickly went online and had a look at the British Council website and read all the steps to book a place in such course. Once I booked my place in this course I was really excited about it, I couldn’t wait to start and then the starting date finally arrived. I really enjoyed the first WizIQ session last week; I was like a child with a new toy.

Even though this week has been chok-a-blok, I’ve spared a few minutes when I had the chance to do the activities for Module 1 and 2, I guess this is the best way to do it, little by little when you get the chance on weekdays.

This learning process is really enjoyable.