Friday, October 30, 2009


Still another tool for pleasure with enormous potential in the field of English teaching. The possibility to record whatever you want and to post it wherever you want. Now you can teach pronounciation to students anywhere, for instance. The possibilities are endless. Your imagination is the only limit.

Well, that and your temporary economic limtiations. I couldn't do the job because I lacked the tools. But I confirmed what I said in my former entry: all digital tools work more or less the same way. There is a philosophy of design. And it is always about files: you create them with Audacity, then post them as Podcast in a sort of server and then you can post them in your blog. Am I right or not?

The rest are minor technical details.


The experience was of course thrilling. A lot of fun. The Wetpaint software I used was very friendly, really fun to use. The only thing is the not-requested publicity, but even that was interesting, it was yet another thing to explore.
I watched the instructional video in plain English and I see how useful a wiki can be for educational projects. The greatest advantage I perceive is the immediateness of on-line editing.
Wikis are interactive tools at its best. A great representative of the Web 2.0 philosophy.
Personally, I doubt I can use it with most of my Mision Sucre students, because they should go through a Mision Robinson for technological literacy first. (However, I'm sure I can use it with some of them). The thing about ICT and the digital revolution is a matter of attitude. Once you've been initiated, you realize that everything works more or less the same way. Intuition is your best guide, and need is your best incentive.
Technological literacy is not a nice term to use. But it's widely used and accepted.
Some people are hoplessly blocked in front of a computer

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0 tools

The unidirectional approach to information retrieval on the web is known as Web 1.0. It implies visiting static websites where you can review and download information, but without an effective communication with the owners/creators of the site. One good example of a Web 1.0 tool is the webpage used to request your passport. Usually webpages for registering in universities are Web 1.0.
Web 2.0 implies bi-directional communication. There is more to them than just browsing and downloading. You can post information and obtain immediate responses. Blogs are perhaps the most typical and emblematic of the Web 2.0 tools. Chatting devices are also a good illustration.

Blogs have obvious educational uses. You can design a Tutor blog, where the teacher has control on the contents posted. Or you can have a Class blog, with the participation of both teacher and students. A more encompassing approach is the Learner blog, where all participants are free to post comments on whatever subject of interest, ask or answer questions from the teacher or their classmates alike, etc.

ICT in ELT/ Technological literacy

As English teachers, we are mostly interested in the application of digital technologies to ELT. Web technologies in particular offer powerful tools and pose new challenges for English teachers. In particular, they demand the constant updating of competences in the use of digital and Web technologies. But many teachers are still in panic and have trouble adapting themselves to this new field. They feel as technologically illiterate.
This course we're taking in the MILE Masters Program is a great opportunity to gain technological skills which will certainly prove to be very useful to us in our development as teachers. As a first step ahead, we can manage the use of such terms as e-learning, online learning, and blended learning.
E-learning is a first approach, in which we enter in contact with tools such as Webpages. It allows obtaining information from the Web, but in a one-directional way. One example of this is the downloading of documents. Online learning implies bi-directional, simultaneous communication. This is illustrated by the class we had using WiZiQ, where we received information but had the chance to communicate directly with our teacher. Blended learning implies the use of both approaches, profitting from the benefits of both.

ICT in Education/ II

Digital technology, the fifth major development in educational media, has one feature that makes it radically different: it is not meant to substitute, but to integrate its technological predecessors. For instance, a video teleconference integrates and potentiates verbal exposition with TV and satellite technology, reaching the most remote areas, while still allowing its dissemination in written form.

The name Virtual Education has been given to the pedagogical application of digital technology. It poses new challenges, it demands a new pedagogy and profound transformations in the organization of educational institutions.

Virtual Education makes it possible for the first time in human history to take education all over the world, to link all sources of information and make them universally available.

See Facundo, A. (2006). Antecedentes, situación y perspectivas de la educación superior virtual en América Latina y el Caribe. En: Informe sobre la educación superior en AL y el Caribe. UNESCO/IESALC, Caracas, Venezuela.

ICT in Education

There was a technological revolution during the 1980's which opened the way for many developments with a potential impact in the field of education in general. In its 2006 report on higher education in Latin America and the Caribbean area (a book which I translated from Spanish into English) by UNESCO, it is said that digital technology is the fifth major stage in the technological development of education. The first technology employed in education was oral language. It was followed by the development of written language, which allowed the transcription of knowledge (from the heads of those who possessed it to the written medium) and the possibility of storing it. The third major development was printing, which caused a major revolution in education, expanding immensely the reproduction of knowledge. It also marked the end of Scholasticism and paved the way for the modern universities and a freer way of teaching/learning.

The fourth major development was the appearance of the now-called analogical media, i. e. film, radio, TV, and the like. Their impact was so great that traditional educators viewed them as competitors, as enemies of education. While these media were still being debated, a fifth wave came down strongly, with the development of digital media. (Facundo, 2006).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Life-long learning

Andragogy and ESP

I teach English mainly at Mision Sucre. This means that my students are all adults. The average age in my classes usually lies between 30 and 50 years old. Sixty-or-more-years-old students are by no means uncommon in my classes.

Obviously, adult education is an important issue in my field of work.

Andragogy is an educational movement which was very popular from the 1960's onward. Its main tenet is that adult education requires a lot of respect for the students' decission-making capacities. Adults like to be taught things they themselves select. They also wish to have the opportunity to participate in decissions regarding the course's methodology and content.

On the other hand, ESP has become the standard philosophy for teaching English in the Universities. The idea is to teach the students the language as it is used in their professions. ESP methodology relies on testing the sutudents' needs and using them as a guideline for the design of the course.

I am working on a project that combines the best of these two approaches.

What's your opinion on the matter? I would love to know

Academic Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Science, University of Southern Mississippi
  • Licenciado en Filosofía, Universidad Central de Venezuela
  • Working on a Master's degree in English as a Foreign Language, Universidad Central de Venezuela