How technology has transformed my self-esteem
Technology has made it easier for me to open myself to a wider ‘virtual audience’. The fact that I interact or share with others through virtual communities, social media, learning platforms without having to appear live has been a real relief to me; on the other hand, my online activity through these means has improved my social profile and has raised my self-esteem.
Besides my lifelong online learning, which is extremely significant to me, I feel I have something to offer to others, as well. There are so many communities which offer me the opportunity to communicate with like-minded people and maybe support others’ learning. It’s not that I am that knowledgeable or tech savvy; but if somebody is just a bit less experienced or less digitally literate than you, s/he can more easily be approached and supported by someone who has recently tried to figure out the way to accomplish a similar goal. I eagerly once served as a Teaching Assistant in a Coursera MOOC supporting the course participants with any knowledge I had. In many of my etwinning projects I usually took the lead to coordinate the work. I shared my ‘expertise’ and tips at a personal level. In this sense, I reckon technology to have played an important role in the way I perceive myself as an active person who does not only receive but also shares with others.
How blogging has transformed my teaching
Technology and especially my ardent interest in its educational application sparked off my passion for blogging. I set up my first blog for the classes I taught English as a foreign Language in 2012. I perceived the idea of creating a blog as a two-way-process to approach my parents. They could see both my efforts and their kids’ work on the web and they could communicate with me online if they wished to by posting comments or sending me a message through the blog.
I additionally considered class blogging as a way to delight and satisfy my students with displaying their work online for a wider audience which I knew they adored. Besides, blogging was a great opportunity for me to provide my students with resources for extra EFL practice both at school and at home. I embedded or provided links to authentic and quality non-authentic material such as videos, songs, interactive games, online books and much more appealing stuff. I sometimes flipped the classroom by asking my students to watch a video or read an online book which we then discussed in class. Finally, I made use of my blog as a means of generating collaboration and instant communication by embedding various web 2.0 tools such as padlet, linoit, google docs and forms inviting my students to work towards a common purpose. In short, the quality of my instruction improved, class relations improved and students got motivated in this tech assisted environment. Learning was ultimately enhanced in a fun way! The class blogs I have created so far are http://blogs.sch.gr/acharou/ for years 2012-13 & 2013-14 and http://anthippi.weebly.com/ for year 2015-16. Briefly, here is the positive impact I consider blogging for my classes had on parents, students and myself (click to enlarge):
My ambition is to get my students create their own blogs and to let them express themselves in a creative and constructive way!