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Welcome and Introductions

Welcome aboard and thank you for joining us to evaluate online tools and resources in your classroom. To help all of us get to know each other and our backgrounds, I would ask everyone to take a few minutes to share the following: 

  1. Any content areas you are passionate about teaching. 
  2. Geographic location and/or what agency(agencies) you work with.
  3. If you had one wish for a digital tool or resource, what would that tool or resource do?

Please post your reply's to this prompt and feel free to interact with each other introduction. 

We are currently in the recruiting stage. I will post background information and a more formal introduction to our work in the next week. In the meantime, let us take some time to get to know each other some. 

Comments

Glenda Rose's picture

I'm looking forward to hearing about what digital tools and resources folks are using and how they are using them. Here are my answers to the three questions:

1 - Content Areas: ESL, ESL for Professionals; pseudo-content areas: Distance Learning, Technology Integration

2 - I work at TRAIN PD at the Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy & Learning at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.  (But I live outside of Austin in a town called Bastrop.) TRAIN PD provides professional development for the Texas Workforce Commission's Adult Education and Literacy department.  I'm a PD Specialist for two state-funded programs and the Program Manager for PD Needs Assessment and Evaluation.  See tcall.tamu.edu if you want to know more about what TCALL does.

3 - I would like a nanobot that could help my great instructors who are seriously tech challenged become instant tech gurus. (Remember the TV Show Chuck?  That would work.) I hate to lose good instructors because technology is no longer optional.

Talk with you soon.

Glenda

Edward Latham's picture

Glad to meet you Glenda and welcome aboard! As I read through the many roles you work in, I wonder if you see any trends or needs from those you get to work with. Are there common frustrations you hear about or common, "Gee, I wish we had ..."?

The nanobot idea sounds cool. It is scary how fast our fiction is becoming more and more of a reality these days. They have some technologies that are manipulating things at a cellular level, so it would not surprise me if something like the instant skill uploading one sees the the movie The Matrix or the TV series Chuck, might some day be possible. I wonder what technology like that would do to education :) 

Welcome aboard and feel free to invite any educators you think might enjoy checking out new and interesting resources with their learners. 

Edward Latham's picture

I notice we have some new members trickling in and I want to welcome all of you. Please take the time to share a bit about yourself so we all have a bit of context of who we are talking to in the discussions that will be coming up in the next few months. 

Here are my responses to the three introduction prompts, I hope to read yours soon :

1. Any content areas you are passionate about teaching. 

I love to teach any subject that helps individual learners take their next step forward on their life journey especially when the learning opens up a variety of choices. My subject concentrations typically are in Mathematics, Computer Programming, and many of the technology subjects people get interested in. 

2. Geographic location and/or what agency(agencies) you work with.

I have worked with a number of adult education agencies in Maine as an instructor and as a consultant. My consultant work has been in providing technology integration pd and I have helped adult education programs create digital systems using online resources to make their day to day tasks more efficient and effective.

3. If you had one wish for a digital tool or resource, what would that tool or resource do?

I somewhat wish for a tool that made communication more clear. One does not have to look very far to see the many areas of frustration that our poor communication habits create. Whether dating or married, one will always hear of how miscommunication creates challenges. In learning, miscommunication creates challenges and barriers as well. If some technology could clear this mess up so that people clearly could articulate their intent and others receive the messages as intended, I think things might be better. Of course this also brings to mind how would deception and lying be affected. Would we want those to be removed from our human condition? Sounds like a great novel for someone to write :)

Hope to hear from everyone else in the group in the next week. Please continue to recruit. I hope to be able to start sharing content to get everyone up to speed next week so we can start in on our explorations as we get into April. 

Edward Latham's picture

Good day everyone, it is nice to see you all in the member list and yet I feel I don't know many of you yet. If you get a chance, could you please take a moment and share a little about yourself? I offered some prompts at the beginning of this thread if you would like more organized structure for your introduction. 

"Many hands make light work" is a well known phrase. I am sure many would agree that "Many hands make for more rich exploration" as well. As we approach the end of this month, it would be nice if we could all give a push to share this invitation any other educators we know. With more of us exploring the many tools out there, we get the input and experiences shared from many perspectives to give us all a clear view of each resource tackled. The more people that participate, the more resources this project can evaluate and share with the field of adult educators. We all know that adult education is often not the focal point big projects to help educators. In this opportunity, adult educators are THE focus of the work and the end products will directly help support our adult education classes nationwide. 

Hope we can all find some educators to join in the fun and I hope to learn a bit more by reading some introductions next week!

 

Julie Moulton's picture

Hi!

I'm an ESL teacher at a community education center in NH. We are a small city, with a population of about 23,000. My adult students are from more than 8 different countries, and being part of a community of learners with them is one of the most rewarding and fun jobs I've ever had. We used laptops in our classroom, but I haven't used any other kind of technology with them.

I'm passionate about music, and the power it has to bring people together. I use music often in my classroom, mostly around holiday and historical themes (ie. Civil Rights, Earth Day), and we do different kinds of activities with the songs as well as singing them together. I have a very strong interest in teaching my students about US history as well, and fortunately, my students share that interest!

I don't think there is any particular kind of digital tool that I wish for. My students and I do enjoy using things like Google Voice, Kahoot, online ELA news sites, DeliCast World Radio, and a few others. I'd like to share some things I've learned about using these sites, and hear others' tips as well. And I'm looking forward to hearing about other sites and ways to use those sites.

Edward Latham's picture

Good day Julie and welcome to the group!

Music certainly is powerful and reading your post got me thinking about what effects occur if a teacher had access to a sound board resource either online or on an app? So many of our learners today are plugged into music and sounds, perhaps we can tap into using sounds to help queue thoughts, emotions or reactions during discussions, reading or writing?

It would be nice to have a resource that allows a teacher to load up sounds in a way that is logical to the teacher. When the teacher wants to play a sound effect, or even particular play lists of mood music, she simply needs to click the appropriate button or interface to bring up that sound. Imagine reading Tarzan and having some chimps and rain forest sounds faintly going in the background to set the mood. Startling sounds can be used in so many creative ways as well! Anyone who has had a puppy or a baby will instantly react and give full attention to any kind of coughing up type noises :) 

Perhaps students can create their own soundboards as well that help them express mood, ambitions, interpretations and intent. I wonder if some of our learners might be more "vocal" through customized sounds and that comfort might open up their verbal or written comfort over time? 

Welcome again Julie and thank you for introducing yourself! If you or anyone else has any resources that can be used (free is best) by teachers to create a digital soundboard in the classroom, please share. If you have any thoughts about this kind of tool and whether it would really be useful or just a momentary distraction, please share those thoughts as well. 

 

Melanie Velcko's picture

Hi! My name is Melanie and I teach an ESL class at Central Arizona College in Arizona. I love teaching English and Reading. I'm new to teaching at the college level. I also currently teach first grade. There really isn't a digital tool or resource I would wish for.    

Edward Latham's picture

Good day and welcome Melanie! Wow! Teaching first grade and starting off in teaching college sounds like quite a challenge. Are you encountering any surprises or challenges you did not expect in your new college position? 

I note that we have a number of ESL teachers in our group. This is very nice because many online resources are evaluated without much input from the ESL field. I live in a quiet little Maine town that has a number of Hispanic migrant families. Interestingly, the migrants that start in FL, work up through the Carolina's then up the east coast to Maine are doing something very strange. They are staying in or around this little town of Milbridge, Maine. Having personally just moved in a year and half ago, I can understand some of the appeal of the place, but those that study the bigger picture of educating migrant families have taken notice of people stopping the migration for good and settling in to this small town and those agencies are mighty curious. I am not trained in ESL norms, but I have been tutoring and assisting dozens of local migrant families and have a great time. I hope to learn more from you, Melanie, and from the other ESL educators in the group and I look forward to hearing your experience with some of the online tools and resources we get to evaluate. 

Edward Latham's picture

I am sorry, I just realized that I never introduced myself and addressed my own prompts. 

  1. Any content areas you are passionate about teaching.  I am passionate about helping any learner in any subject find successes that help to open options in that learner's life. I am certified in Mathematics and Computer Science, but as with many of us in Adult Education, I assist learners in any way I can as the need arises. I am currently most passionate about teaching skills that encourage entrepreneurial spirit. The ability to hypothesize, test, process and reflect on any given idea helps many learners tackle a wide variety of challenges they face. In some cases, it even helps learners find their passions in life and utilize those passions to create an income that supports their family and makes working fun. 
  2. Geographic location and/or what agency(agencies) you work with. My primary work right now is assisting all educators in a local school district. I am working directly with teachers on technology integration, technology support and I work to help increase the diversity of pedagogy teachers employ. I work as a family tutor with migrant services locally and I have some part time work with local adult education programs in the area. 
  3. If you had one wish for a digital tool or resource, what would that tool or resource do? I constantly aspire to create or find a system of tools/resources that help all in education do their jobs more efficiently and with more efficacy. Our current teaching "habits" are based in large part on past history and a lack of meaningful alternatives to the way things are done. I keep looking for those digital systems that help us explore possible ways of educating that focus more on student-centric practices rather than teacher-centric or text book/test driven foci. When education can more easily identify and meet the needs of individuals, our communities benefit greatly.