Uncovering Future Interests
Back in September 2014, just before I began my Masters in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching at the University of Nottingham, I met up with a friend who is an I.T. whizz. She was due to help me migrate my Tumblr blog to WordPress, help with plug-ins and in general, help me beautify my site. As you can see – none of that techie stuff happened: Damn you, Menus, Categories and Tags! However, what did happen was a nice chat about what I was interested in and what kind of (life) role I would like to perform in the future.
Future Interests as a Mathematical Equation
As per the ppt above, and with a focus on my previous jobs and qualifications, we simply brainstormed words that reflected my skills and interests. Then, we grouped those words into categories and tried to combine them into one central activity. The mathematical equation goes something like this:
(Value for the Teacher + Open Dialogue + Methodology) / Technology = Teacher Training
The Plan of Action
It turns out I like talking about teaching and learning – a lot. I mean, I am not an expert, by an stretch of the imagination, but I do believe that an awareness of the fundamentals of learning, and concentrating on innovative pedagogy, can lead to powerful outcomes in the classroom. But what is the Best Practice? And how to spread the word? Well, everyone seems to have their own view on the best practices for foreign language instruction. And the internet today is a great way to democratise knowledge. So the conclusion I came to was that, perhaps, by initiating a discussion online, there may be some (free and easy) way to share, encourage and inspire.
Online Teacher Training
During the first semester of my Masters, I got to thinking about how to put all of my ideas into practice. Every week I was exposed to different forms of technology-enhanced language teaching, and from there the seed of video podcasting was planted. To the extent, I even began to write a paper on it – To Vodcast, Or Not to Vodcast? However, realising that the editing of a vodcast could become burdensome, I downgraded the vodcast idea, to a podcast plus optional video content. And just because I like to make things really difficult for myself, I thought it would be justly challenging to conduct the podcast in another language: Chinese. And thus, from plan to action, the podcast project Educollaborate, was born.