One of my greatest regrets is that over the past forty years teaching here at Carroll I have failed to take advantage of opportunities to take students abroad. My own such personal experiences (Spain and Portugal for a few weeks while attending Howland High School; Guanajuato, Mexico for a 6 weeks while an undergraduate at Oberlin College; 6 months in Bergen, Norway while a graduate student at The Ohio State University) were formative and informative. Fortunately I’ve been blessed with students, friends, relatives, and colleagues whose home is abroad. Hopefully upon retiring Debbie and I will do some international traveling.
Where should we travel? Our passports are in hand; we used them traveling through Canada last summer on our way to the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. We have friends and relatives in Russia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. I am of Scottish heritage and becoming increasingly interested in genealogy.
Recently the Netherlands has been sending me signals that perhaps I should visit there. I’ve already checked it out on by following a Dutch news feed!
And there are fascinating engaged friends there!
And talented artists like Saskia SE de Rooy have even come to Carroll reminding me about the beauty in life. My portrait sculpture done by the talented Carroll student artist Ashley Goetz under the tutelage of Saskia will be among those displayed in April.
Perhaps I also would attempt to visit Diederick Stapel who has given me so much to think about.
Or look at the museum pieces of the artist Godfried Schalken that Google’s app said my selfie 67% matched.
Debbie ALMOST bought some wooden shoes when we were in Holland, Michigan last summer.
Maybe we should go get the genuine article from the Netherlands.
We had to hurry back to attend an important tea-party at North Lake, an important annual event. North Lake living is like living in Neverland. It helps me not grow up and keeps me laughing.
A care package from an educator friend, Inci Aslan, in Turkey who was the principal investigator of an Etwinning project I closely followed…
Thank you, Inci, and congratulations on your recent wedding….
A Facebook chat message from Lithuanian educator Irma Milevičiūtė who befriended me on Epals years ago and whetted my interest in global communication. Heartfelt thanks, Irma—though we have lost touch, what I have learned from you and with you has been enduring….
Here are my some of reflections on this topic a few years ago… The world is open. I’ve been thinking about how to make our campus and curriculum more global. Here are some incipient thoughts about how that might de done. I’d welcome your thoughts.
Capitalize on cultural universals such as music, cusine, sports, and literature.
Reading: Let’s encourage our faculty, staff, and students to read, discuss, and discover world literature. Though no substitute for reading, excellent recordings exist of introductions to world literature, world history, world religions, etc.What suggestions do you have that are simple and cost effective?
And here are even earlier reflections…..
I’m still reflecting on some interesting ideas that emerged in a “listening session” I attended today with two other faculty colleagues concerning a proposed change in our general education program for students at Carroll. I left quite confused, but that is not atypical for me. What is the appropriate foundation for general education in the 21rst century? Are we faculty appropriately educated for teaching in the 21rst century? What skill sets, traditions, and knowledge are as vital today as when this academic institution was founded? Can we change our general education program without intentionally changing our institutional mission? How do we avoid throwing out the baby with the bath water? Should part of a general education be mastery of another language? If so, how does one define mastery—knowing the right phrases to allow one to travel within another country? Or should one be fluent in another culture’s history, customs, idioms, national concerns, and language? Can this be achieved within the traditional four years of a college education and still allow students a traditional major? If we are interested in being more global, shouldn’t we append USA to all our institutional publications? Can internationalization be achieved through the 21rst century equivalence of international pen pals using Skype or VoiceThread? Through changing the “three r’s” to mastery of 20th century learning tools? Through BBC language acquisition in 12 weeks courses or by investing time in other such (free) online language learning resources? What does is mean to globalize or internationalize a campus? How can that best be achieved? Is the best way to do so to bring international students and faculty to campus? To send our students and faculty abroad? To create communication opportunities world-wide through Internet means? To expand faculty and students’ knowledge of history, cultures, international economics, and international relations? To conduct collaborative international research and learning projects? Should I join the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology? Which organizations do I drop out of to allow time and money for these new ones? What defines global citizenship? Global awareness? How can we continually reaffirm and rediscover our common sense of humanity?
and I went outside at 2:00 a.m. and awakened together at 5:00 a.m. I wish I could identify why!:)
Perhaps it is due to my having a large amount of reasonably uninterrupted time. Each interruption that occurred was a positive experience. Four students came by the office for some additional help before the exam. Four students walked away seemingly more knowledgeable and more confident. A gem of a student assistant came by to squeeze in an hour’s work,in her busy schedule, and we discussed the next steps of our book. She and the other three talented students are working so well together—- and with me–challenging and supporting each other. They continually delight, refresh, and invigorate me as we learn, laugh, and grow together.
My personal software and learning tools are for the moment working flawlessly across the many different platforms (Mac OS X 11 .3 and Windows 7) and browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox) that I use on a daily basis. My student research team alluded to above skillfully shares their work with me via Google Drive and I move and “sync my work across Google Drive, DropBox, EverNote, and my journaling software DayOne.
We’ve arranged for tomorrow two Skype sessions–one session with a dear friend in London (or are you in Bavaria or Kurgan at the moment???) and another in Hungary. I renewed my Skype accounts. Feel free to Skype me at professordsimpson but I need to know of your intent in advance. I still have a “day job.”
On days like this I love being a professor. I’ll miss this.
It’s past time for a more systematic global outreach by me and my students. Today I met briefly with some visitors from China. I wished them a Happy New Year of the Monkey. Then I began setting up some “Skype” dates with family and friends in London, Madagascar, Hungary, and Switzerland. I’d love to reconnect with Reidar (are you in Norway or Spain?), Inci (are you still teaching in Turkey?), Irma (we’ve lost touch since our conversations from beautiful Lithuania), Simone in Costa Rica, Anna in Kenya and Miguel Luis in La Mancha, Spain—his blog is marvelous. If you would put me in touch with your Antarctica bride’s maid friend, Emily, I would have reached out to all continents:).
Alison and Lizzy are focused on developing a student guide to Skype. Here are my latest marching orders to them:
Interesting Skype draft. Do you all have a Skype account? How does it compare with alternatives (e.g. FaceTime)? Have you ever recorded a Skype session? How many people have you Skyped with comcomitantly?
We should try a group session. Then a couple with contacts abroad.
Here is their draft in progress. How might it be improved?
Technology is continually improving and changing the way the world interacts with one another. Schools are starting to go from hard cover textbooks to textbooks that are completely online. Other resources that schools utilize are programs that allow students to continue practicing and understanding concepts through online homework and additional help online. Many schools, even at the elementary level, require students to have their own computer in the classroom. With this increase in the usage of technology, face-to-face interactions are suffering due to the ease of using email, cell phones, and social media sites to interact with one another.
Skype is a learning tool that utilizes the world of technology while also incorporating face-to-face interactions with other individuals across the world. In our scenario, Dr. Simpson has used Skype to interact with individuals from other countries for business and education purposes. Additionally, the student research team has interacted with Skype inside and outside of the classroom.
For example, Alison has used Skype in the classroom when teachers wanted to bring in guest speakers. Sometimes these speakers are unavailable to drive or fly to that specific location because they may live halfway across the world or do not have the resources to pay for the trip. By using Skype, guest speakers from Qatar, Africa, and different states were able to present and bring insightful information into the classroom.
From a business point of view, Skype can be used to hold group meetings. For example, if a group of individuals need to get together to interact about plans, presentation details, or other business related aspects, but cannot all be at the same place at the same time, Skype can provide the solution. Skype allows individuals to make group audio calls up to 25 individuals and video calls with up to 10 individuals from anywhere in the world. The video call option is limited though to 100 hours per month, 10 hours per day, and 4 hours per video chat.
Some of the platforms you can access Skype on are computers, cell phones, home phones, tablets, televisions, and video game systems. With having a free account from Skype, one can send messages to one another, simply make voice calls, or hold video chats with individuals from anywhere in the world. Also, one can use the option of screen sharing which allows one to view the other person’s screen. With the new chat feature on Skype, one is able to share files and photos. The files can also be shared while the video chatting feature is being used. With the free version of Skype, an individual can text mobile phones or call landline phones at reasonable rates. To pay for these additional rates, Skype allows one to pay through many different options that may be unique to each country.
To access more features, one can purchase Skype Business. The Skype Business rate starts at $2.00 a month per user. Some of the features of Skype Business that the free version is unable to access are that an individual can video chat with up to 250 people. Also, Skype Business allows you to schedule meetings outside of work in Outlook.
Through the technology of Skype, individuals are able to utilize Skype in the classroom, for personal use, and business.
GOTTA RUN TO GIVE MY FIRST EXAMS OF THE SEMESTER.
Anyone thoughts or experience with Skype would be much appreciated. Thank you.
I’m going to miss these two student friends/students/best teachers/fellow conspirators when they depart campus on May 11 as graduates. Thanks, Phoumany and Ryan for all the laughter and learning and for making my Carroll experiences more joyful.
Things we’ve done in Dr. Simpson’s Office Over the Past Few Years: (red items added by DumbleDave)
Catalogued over 1,000 books (Dr. Simpson most likely has read them all!)
Decorated the office for his birthday.
Decorated every other holiday.
Played Temple Run.
We wrote a book!
Played nose-goes when the phone rang.
Learned how to use fountain pens.
Created and Conducted Rogers Hospital Climate Survey.
I’ve been thinking a lot about language learning lately. To what degree is being limited only to one’s native language a barrier/handicap to international travel and to international/cross-cultural understanding? Less than I thought.) Is there value in attempting to master another language? (Absolutely but there are constraints of time and pragmatics.) How good are extant software translation programs? (The applications are getting better and better but don’t believe all that is promised unless you—and the person you are communicating to—have a good sense of humor). Obviously the answers to these questions are not as simple as my parenthetical replies imply. However, I’ve been thinking deeply about these issues this semester as I’ve widened the horizons of my students and of me through creating a pilot virtual cultural immersion course. My thinking has been especially stimulated by the fascinating work of Ms. Irma Milevičiūtė and her International PenPals Club project in Lithuania.
I’ve travelled abroad three times and clearly am overdue to travel abroad again. While attending Howland High School in Ohio I traveled with the Spanish Club to Portugal and southern Spain. It was a whirlwind, two-week “tourist-oriented tour” with very little interaction with native speakers (Qué lastima!). At Oberlin College I experimented with different majors of study (English, then Communications, then Spanish, ultimately psychology—ah, the joys of a liberal arts education). While an undergraduate there I lived for a summer in Mexico studying at the University of Guanajuato. All my classes taken there (e.g. “Spanish Golden Age Theater”, “History of Mexico”) were taught in Spanish by natives, and I lived in a boarding house where no one spoke English (though I had an American roommate and a number of American classmates from several other colleges and universities). During my third year of graduate studies at The Ohio State University where I was pursuing Masters and PhD degrees in Experimental Social Psychology I joined my graduate school adviser, Tom Ostrom, who was a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Bergen, Norway for 6 months of research and study. Though I took a language course there (Norwegian for Foreigners)—and proudly possess a certificate for attempting to master the language, all my daily interactions were with English-speaking Norwegian faculty and students. The 6 months of study and travel there resulted in friendships which remain today, a much deeper appreciation of another culture, and a humbling of what I what I knew.
Unfortunately as a youth I almost had my interest in learning another language destroyed by the results of a misinterpreted psychological test. I recall being devastated by the experience of being told that I had “failed” a foreign language aptitude test. The “failure” probably was one factor motivating me to attempt to learn foreign languages in High School and eventually, to studying psychology (to better understand why children succeed or fail and the effects of labels on performance). In high school I took two years of Latin (thank you, Mrs Bode—Gratias tibi ago!) culminating with obtaining the highest score in the State of Ohio on a standardized test. Though, alas, I was not nominated for Pope nor have I yet traveled via Time Machine— the discipline of learning Latin and about the Roman culture was enriching and rewarding. It no doubt facilitated my two years of study of Spanish culminating in my achieving the highest score in the State of Ohio in that language. In both cases, though, it was a combination of excellent teachers, a supportive academic environment, an opportunity to learn about the culture and its literature, music, art, theater, politics, history, customs, and its cuisine that was vital to my learning. No doubt other factors contributing to my success were supportive parents, friendly competition with my Howland High school peers and my Big Sister, Connie Sue!
Good luck Beatrice, Kristijonas, Meda and Davidas in the international English language Amberstar competition whose results are due any day now. Thank you Katerina (from Kurgan), Hersonia (from Mexico), Reidar (from Norway), and especially Irma (from Lithuania) for your many acts of kindness, good humor, and inexhaustible patience with this curious professor as he attempts to become more globally educated and aware. Research shows that bilingualism has so many advantages over above the pragmatic. I am indebted to you for lessons learned and I admire, respect and envy you.
This course is designed to provide an interactive cultural immersion experience through the extensive use of Web 2.0 technology learning tools. The course emphasizes the significance of a cultural understanding in a technological and culturally connected world. Global connections provided will increase students’ understanding of European culture through studying social norms, history, and the impact of European culture and language on American political decisions. Drawing upon local and global resources students will interact with new cultures and practice world-wide communication.
Phoumany, Catrina, and Amy
Ryan, Liz, and Maxine
When I first saw the e-mail sent from Carroll about developing a class using technology, my first reaction was receiving two credits along with a piece of technology. Soon after Dr. Simpson approving to be the teacher of this technology centered CCE immersion, the six of us started to brainstorm some ideas for the course. I clearly remember deciding Europe was the way to go because we tried to determine what would be the place most students from Carroll would like to visit? This was affirmed by Dr. Simpson showing us an article that most Americans still want to visit Europe more than other countries. This set in motion the course developing process and how we were going to go about giving a European immersion experience.
This pilot course has been a great blessing in which I have been able to learn so much more about our neighbors across the Atlantic, not only through research but also the interaction with the people who live there. I have been able to broaden my horizon on how the rest of the world lives their lives in comparison to how our American culture lives. This experience would not have been possible without not only technology, but also how to use technology to its full effectiveness. I learned so many new forms of technology tools through Dr. Simpson or Jane Hart’s Top 100 tools for technology. These tools have been extremely useful in creating and experiencing a European virtual immersion. Such tools have been translators and movie makers to help translating information in different languages as well as editing movies filmed on this iPad. I have also used tools that I was completely ignorant about before this class such as Haiku deck and how to use Google drive and Twitter to their full potential. The Ipad I received for creating the class has been a small learning experiencing within itself. I previously have had an IPhone 4 and 5, and have learned how to use Apple devices, except MacBooks those are still a work in progress. Although iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches are all very similar there are still some minor differences that I learned while using the iPad. These tips were learned through experience and fumbling along with reading a book about 100 iPad tricks which refreshed my memory on some of the great uses of the iPad.
Technology has become such an intertwined part of our culture that we sometimes forget how such tools are taken for granted. The ability for me to write this reflection on this iPad uses an operating system which is somewhat 7 years old on an app, Evernote, which allows information sharing through social media or e-mail. I await the new technology that will bring all cultures closer together in the near future, and hope to see where this course goes in the future. This semester truly has been a creative, fun, and humbling experience to how the world operates and how it is rapidly changing.
Through the course of this semester, I had the honor of creating a pilot CCE course with my fellow STEAM members. It was quite the journey. We had our ups and downs. We had times we laughed and times we were just plain frustrated. No matter what, we trucked through it all and did what we could. For a group that was fairly on the bigger end, I think we did a great job. I think, now, we are all ready to return to normal activities in Dr. Simpson’s office and are ready to wrap this up. Maybe an opportunity will pop up in the future for us in relation to this, but for now, here is what I learned this semester.
I think one of the key words of the semester was “technology”. We learned about various forms of technology and learned how to utilize them to our advantage. We discovered what worked and what did not. Through this all, I think we can all agree that the university truly wants to embrace technology and emerge it more on campus. But, the reality of it is that this school is not yet ready for the shift! We did not even have the appropriate adapter for the presentation. Several times a year, major Internet issues arise. Carroll still has a long way to go. Aside from this, I learned of new forms of presenting and other tools that I was not knowledgeable or really understood before. Because of this project, I definitely am a huge fan of Google Drive. It is one of the greatest things ever in forms of collaboration. Also, being more knowledgeable of Learnist and Haiku Deck, convinced me to possibly use these in the future.
The other big thing I learned is that creating a class is hard! In one sense we did not meet our expectations because I think we expected to have every single detailed figured out and everything would be great. In reality, it is not the case. These types of projects, we learned, are constantly a work in process. You are going to come across complications and areas that had a bit of improvement needed. For example, we would have fared better knowing more foreign contacts, but we settled with what we had. Whoever wishes to maybe take this on in the future would be better off than we were in this area. We had multiple discussions about how we could provide the framework for this class but whoever decided to use our idea, might not like half the things we prepared and would just alter it to what they want. So, moral of the story is, creating a class is hard! I suppose, one day I may be in the position of creating lesson plans and exams and such, but it requires a lot of work. Your expectations need to be reasonable. Also, being all full time students on top of it, we were busy balancing the rest of our lives this semester.
Overall, this was an enriching project and a tremendous learning experience about everything. I could not have asked for a better crew to share this with. I am incredibly proud of what we had accomplished this semester. I cannot wait to see what projects we have in store in my final year in Dr. Simpson’s Office. I think we all deserve a well- rested, enjoyable summer now!
Throughout the development of this course we have encountered many challenges or difficulties, discovered new tools, and learned how to collaborate and compromise collectively as a group. I think one of the key elements I did learn from this course (or creating it) was time management. Every week I needed to make sure I produce some work to add to the course and I had to continue doing research that could be useful for everyone in our group. I not only learned about time management while working on the project on my own, as a group we had to compromise and find a time that would work out best for everyone. Other than time management I got the chance to learn about a lot of new technology tools, some that I have heard of through looking at Jane Hart’s Top 100 Tools while others I had never heard of before. Tools such as Learnist, Haiku Deck, Ning, and Google Drive were very beneficial to this course. I think it was great to find key tools that would be the most effective to creating this course, but these tools can even be useful for me outside of this project. I have also learned more about the utility of the iPad and how much I can really do with it. Sure many people know that there are lots of applications that one can download, but it is also about spending the time to look into those applications. I found a lot of background information on Switzerland through applications that covered current news, history, and cultural norms. It was very helpful to learn that there are many different applications and iBooks available to give background information and history about something before I even got onto the Internet and did a Google Search. This just let me know that there are a number of ways to do research, besides the library and the Internet, right on the iPad.
While I was doing research on Switzerland I learned a lot of information about the history, currently news, and most importantly the Swiss culture. I personally do not know a lot about Europe at all, besides what I have learned from various history courses since I have been in school. It was interesting to focus more on the culture and be able to compare it to American culture. This course idea is to help get students immersed into another country’s culture and I feel that I learned a lot about the country, and other countries from other group members, by taking the time to research and by trying to connect with the country, their culture, and the people of that country.
Overall I have learned about many different technology tools that not only helped me while working to develop this course, but these are tools that I can use for personal use or on other school projects. I have learned much more about Europe, especially Switzerland. I also learned from the challenges we faced while developing this course and researching, such as conflicting ideas and determining which tools would be beneficial to use. From those challenges I learned to compromise with one another and to choose solutions that would be best for the overall group and project, because we can not use every tool or website we come across.
The opportunity to design a cultural immersion experience through the use of technology tools was a completely unique and rewarding experience. I formed new connections with two alumnae, Amy Williams and Jenrette Nowacznski as well as Dr. Paul Rempe, an emeritus Professor of History and learned a great deal from these individuals. I was exposed to a variety of technology tools, including Google Docs, Ning, Learnist, Haiku Deck, Wikispaces, and became familiar with the use of these tools and learned the practical application in a course format. I have developed an improved set of research skills as well as interviewing abilities. I was fortunate enough to be a part of this project from the beginning and create a unique course for students in the future. Our work went beyond that of a typical classroom and I was able to interact closely with technology, my team and my contacts. I have learned a great deal about British history, social norms, and other aspects of culture like food and clothing as well as social etiquette. This course challenged me to think both critically and creatively to overcome potential obstacles and encourage students in the future to have as comparable travel experience to those who have the means or time to travel abroad. I have learned how to work closely in a team and collaborate. My team and I learned to help each other, to give support to ideas, work out problems together and above all, respect the contributions of all to create a multifaceted perspective on our project. Through this project, I have gained many skills with the support of my team and Dr. Simpson.
I was fortunate enough to speak with very well-travelled and well-versed individuals. I gained a great deal of insight through my many conversations with Amy Williams. She added a realistic perspective to the variety of information I was bombarded with via travel guides and videos like Rick Steve’s Best of Europe, BBC news and history, social etiquette guides, and other information on regional differences, clothing and food. I learned the difference between pubs and clubs, the practice of tipping, the social strength of afternoon tea, the effect of American influence, and even how English weather affects the daily lives of the people. Jenrette Nowcznski’s contributions further supported my understanding of British culture and social norms including the role of transportation and British style. Technology made these communications significantly easier and while we experienced problems with campus wide Wi-Fi, and adapters for our iPads, among others, they could be easily remedied by campus administrative support. Both as a team and individually, we were exposed to and later mastered several technology tools including our collaborative work area and communication boards, Google Docs and our Ning. I personally enjoyed the challenge of finding a new presentation tool, Haiku Deck which limits the number of bullet points on a slide show presentation to 5 and a title and shrinks the size of the text to fit on one line of the slide. I created a Haiku deck to experiment with its effectiveness of showcasing several key points in British history and shared the information with Dr. Rempe who gave me some very helpful feedback. I enjoyed working with Learnist as a space to present the information I collected through the course of the semester. It was very helpful to find a tool that will automatically embed videos, show the live site as well as allow commentary from both the presenter and viewers. I have worked with other presentation tools like Voicethread in the past but was limited because I could not embed videos or links to the presentation effectively.
Throughout this project, we encountered potential problems due to physical distance between our students and potential contacts as well as the barriers of time with a full time student’s schedule. I have developed the fortitude to balance many projects and complete them. This course has taught me that perfection cannot always be reached but that it needn’t always be. I have also learned to constructively apply honest criticism to my work which has enabled me to become a much better student and vastly increased my understanding on a number of topics. A major part of this course was testing our ideas in the context of a course and I firmly believe that this course can significantly expand student’s cultural understanding and expose them to new experiences and new people as effectively as physically traveling to that country.
Is it possible to substitute a course that is looking to achieve immersion with one that doesn’t actually have an immersion component, but is virtual? Since taking on this pilot program, this question has continued to come up for me. I have continued to ask myself if the course that we have designed has realistic and achievable expectations without the immersion component. After much reflection, I have come to the conclusion that, I do believe there is nothing like being fully immersed in a country and a culture, but I do find this course to be a practical idea.
This course is practical and realistic because by design, it looks at all of the same things that one would learn and encounter when immersed in a culture. The course may not have an immersion factor, but it does include interaction with a native. Something to point out as well, is just because one is immersed in a culture does not ensure communication with natives. The student has to want to interact with the natives, and I’m sure not all students are entirely comfortable with their language skills to do so depending on the country that they are visiting.
Piloting this course allowed each of us to study a country of our choosing, which I feel was extremely beneficial because the more you are interested in something, the more time you are going to spend researching. For me, I have always wanted to go to Italy, so researching Italy was the perfect choice for me. Not only has this course taught me more about Italy, but also it has increased my desire to travel both to Italy and elsewhere abroad and gave me a chance to learn different technology tools.
The technology component for this course was extremely important. With all of the new technology advancements it is crucial to stay update with technology. The course development consisted of many different technology tools, including Ning, Google Drive, Haiku Deck, and Learnist. Prior to this course I had not even heard of Haiku Deck or Learnist. After completing the course, I would now use both in my academics. Haiku Deck is such a nice alternative to a PowerPoint, that I know I will use it for presentations in the future.
Overall, this course was very beneficial. I learned a lot, from technology tools to about Italy in general. In addition, my desire to travel has also increased. Putting what we learned aside, it was a great way to collaborate with the rest of the team before we lose one of our team members this fall.
First, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Maxine Venturelli and I am currently a sophomore at Carroll University and majoring in Elementary Education. This is my second year working for Dr. Simpson as a research assistant. This year when the cultural immersion pilot project was first proposed by Carroll University I was unaware until it came up in a discussion at work with the rest of Dr. Simpson’s research assistants. I realized that only two groups of students would have the opportunity to participate in this opportunity and me being the worrisome person that I am did not know if we would actually get one of these two spots. As a team we crafted a proposal and submitted it for consideration. It turns out that we were granted a chance to create our own pilot course. Along with the project, we got to choose a piece of technology that each of us would be able to use to enhance the course, so we decided on the iPad. And so our journey began.
Personally, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to craft a course. Being an Education major, I took this as an experience that I could learn from in the future. Since I am early in the Education Program, I had some tools at my disposable and some knowledge from previous courses. I am really interested in how to best teach students and engage them in the learning process. Since I am so passionate about education, I set up an idea in my head about how I would like the course to look; however I had to compromise with the rest of my peers in creating the course. I offered my ideas and debated the prevalence of some of my ideas. A realization that I came to is that this is not my course, but our course. I learned that even once I enter the teaching profession I will have to work with my colleagues. Throughout the process, my peers and I faced some drawbacks, such as the Wi-Fi connections and a lack of materials that would make the iPads work throughout the campus, but we worked together to make the best of the situation. We only were able to meet together once a week because of our busy schedules, but we made sure to keep each other informed. I think that a large part of this project was learning how to work as a group and produce a product in the end showcasing our work. We ran into difficulties, but the important part is that we used our problem-solving skills to work out the situation. I have learned many things that I can carry with me into my future career.
Collectively, we decided to focus on Europe and delve into the cultures of individual countries. Individually, I chose to research France. I have been interested in France since taking a French language course in 6th grade and continued my French language learning throughout high school. I really wanted to try to branch off into all aspects of French culture in order to give students a taste of what life may be like in France. With the help of my iPad I explored apps that would help expose students to the French language, French news, and French music among others. Also, I took advantage of the technology resources that were introduced to me through Dr. Simpson as well as some other devices that I was familiar with. To display my research I chose to use Prezi and Learnist because I believed that they really were able to capture my research information into one place. I used other resources too, such as videos from YouTube, and a plethora of websites to find my information, and even had the opportunity to interview some French exchange students. The gathering of information was enjoyable for me and I was able to broaden my knowledge of France as well as presentation tools.
I would like to take this time to say thank you to everyone who made this possible. I am so thankful to be given this opportunity and to work with some amazing individuals.
Over the course of the last year my research assistant students and I have been experimenting with a number of video hosts (among them Vimeo, YouTube, and ScreenCast) and numerous screenshot/screencast applications (e.g. Voila, Camtasia, Jing, and Screenflow) and playing with Skitch. Sometime soon, after the semester ends on May 12, I’ll turn my attention to a thoughtful comparison of these tools. For now, here are some examples of their use by me and my students as we explored learning tools that might be useful in our “Pioneering a Virtual European Immersion Course” Project. For your amusement if not for your edification!