Wednesday, 29 June 2016

My #NotatISTE16 experience

My name is Anthippi Harou and I am an EFL teacher in Greece. 

ISTE is considered to be the largest teacher-based, nonprofit organization in the field of educational technology. Every year there is a conference organized by ISTE in various parts of America; this year it was held in Denver from June 26th to 29th. For people who cannot join this great annual event live, there is a special community created called NotatISTE.

So this was the first time I'd ever participated in a NotatISTE community using the hashtag #NotatISTE16Unfortunately, I was not as active as I would like to have been due to an online course on PBL by the European Teacher Academy I had already started

I had learned about #ISTE and #NotatISTE through a blog post by Shelly Sanchez Terrell, who has been one of the most significant and inspiring persons in my PLN.

A positive feature I can recall about my virtual participation is the #NotatISTE16 Google Community which I had joined. I felt glad I met Peggy George in the community because she had also been one of my inspirators and I considered her a familiar person. She offered great support by notifying, reminding and praising #Not atISTE16 educators on their work. She also updated the community LIVEBINDERS, a web tool that she really loves - maybe for the practicality it provides educators with to share bulky and valuable resources.

As soon as I entered the community, I read a pinned informative google doc post by the community moderator Jennifer Wagner. I got a first idea of what participants should do. I fell in love with the challenges we were encouraged to join. The whole idea of the challenge concept was so engaging and motivating providing a gamification element! For each challenge you accomplished, you filled the relevant points in a shared google doc we were provided with. Some of the challenges I completed included writing a post 'about me' in the G+ community, contributing to the Badge Share Google Presentation (mine is currently slide 35), creating an extra ribbon for #NoatISTE. By the way, I liked the great variety of ribbon gifs offered to us in order to use and enhance our creativity. Another challenge was to post a selfie with a monument of your area. For this one, I created a blended image with a photo of myself and one of the Acropolis using LUNAPIC. I watched some periscope live sessions and joined the #NotatISTE  remind class group. I also engaged in lots of tweeting, retweeting about the event news, resources and other stuff which were part of the challenges.There were still many more really amazing challenges till the end of #ISTE16 but I was unable to try them all due to personal shortage of time as I have already mentioned.

Besides the gamification element, an extra advantage to my participation in #NotatISTE was my PLN development. I made connections, esp. on twitter, with valuable people who shared similar interests to me. We exchanged ideas and I expanded my knowledge on instruction practices with the use of technology.

All in all, I consider my engagement in #NotatISTE16 a great experience, which kept me updated with what happens in educational technology worldwide. I am looking forward to implementing the useful ideas I have gathered in my EFL classes when Greek schools start again after our summer vacation!
 Below you can see sample of my challenge contribution:

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A thankful letter for my sixth graders based on #30GoalsEDU

Dear sixth graders,
Dear sixth graders,
Technology has once again proved to be my faithful helper as our school photocopy machine has broken down at the end of our school year! So, uploading this word doc on our class weebly facilitates the process of my addressing you in a thankful letter you see, conditions have made it impossible for me to print it out for each of you!
To start with, I’ m really proud I’ve been your EFL teacher for this year (2015-16). I’m so glad I’ve seen such amazing progress in your character and learning skills. Respect, resilience and empathy are only some of the special features you’ve gradually developed since the beginning of the year. You’ve also done the best you could as an EFL learner and have achieved to express yourself so well in a foreign language! This is actually terrific for a child of your age! Keep up the good work!
Continuing with some sort of advice, I would just like to give you some tips on your future life. Even if you feel you haven’t done your best so far and you could have achieved more, don’t worry, you’ve got plenty of time to further improve! Better late than never! Just set goals that express you yourself and which suit your personality. And, of course, don’t forget that these goals should be realistic and reachable by you, i.e. within your abilities range!
Besides, in your life I’d like you to bear in mind the Starfish story you worked on so enthusiastically in class. Please, always remember the moral we came up with: you, as an individual first, can make the difference for a better education, a better environment, a better society, a better world!
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to make mistakes in your learning journey as you improve by learning through them. Just reflect on them!
I’m really grateful for the wonderful time we’ve spent together and all the magic moments we have shared!
Enjoy your life in a respectful and creative way!
Wishing you the best of luck!
Your teacher of EFL,        
Mrs Anthi  
P.S. I would like to dedicate this song to you!