I am so excited about the iteach initiative at USF. Last semester, I applied for and was accepted to the iteach program for pre-service and continuing education teachers. One of the main goals of the program is to reach out and teach teachers the many ways in which today’s ever-growing body of technology can revolutionize how we reach our students and how effective we are in the classroom. I am extra excited because one of the requirements of the program is that we have to purchase an ipad as part of the program. Mine is scheduled to arrive in just a few days… ! So far, I have participated in two workshops: one about “Challenge-Based Learning” & one about “Facilitating Collaborative Learning Using Web 2.0 Technology”. I can honestly say that I have never been more excited than I am about these new opportunities. As a language teacher, my class needs to be relevant so that students will want to use the skills they learn outside of the classroom. Challenge-Based Learning involves having students identify a problem in their school; community; etc and going through a process to solve it. Imagine a process that is developing critical thinking skills; team work; leadership etc and allowing students to actually carry out their plan…. all in the target language. Simply amazing. The opportunity to facilitate collaborative learning using Web 2.0 technology has also revolutionized how I think about teaching. While in the public school we have to be sensitive to the fact that not all students have access to certain technologies at home, the reality is that online classes are the classes of the future. FLVS** (Florida Virtual Schools) is a great example of how even high school and middle school are successfully being taught in an online environment. When teaching a class in which communication is the key to learning such as a foreign language… I need to be thinking about how I can facilitate true, authentic communication in an online environment and develop a community of learners in ways people previously thought would be impossible over long distances.
As you can tell… I am rather excited about this opportunity. Look out for links about the group 2.0 workshops and other such awesomeness.
**Look out for a reflective post on my time as an FLVS intern this semester as well!