Friday, May 13, 2011

What is after Oregon Experience?

Coming Back With Exciting News

I stopped writing in my blog a long time ago. This doesn’t mean that I forgot all what I have learnt during Oregon Experience. Actually, what delayed me to write is the circumstances of my work. I have moved to a secondary school which is not technologically equipped to a large extent as my old school. You know it takes a lot of time to change people’s minds and beliefs about using technology. However, my brilliant students encouraged me to take risks and try new things with them.

My Wiki Project:

Among the web 2.0 tools that I have tried with my students is WIKIS. I have used It is a wonderful website through which you can create your own free wikis. It is a little bit flexible. You can change the template of your wiki, add pages, collaborate with more than 100 persons, and more exciting things. You have a space of 2 GB to add pages, images, videos, files, … etc. I think it is a very wonderful environment where students can try out things.

Target Students:

My target sample is 1st-year secondary students. They are between 16-17 years old. They are very good at using computers and the internet. Some of them have created fantastic videos and uploaded them on YouTube.

School Setting & Computer Lab:

As I said before my school is technologically poor. Yes, it has a computer lab with 10 sets, but without an internet connection. However, there is some sort of a hope in the Resources Room. It has a computer with an internet connection and a datashow. I have made use of these tools as possible as I can. Also, I have used my laptop with USB Modem as it is available all the time with me when my students need a help.

Goal of the Project:

The main goal of my project is to invite all tourists from all over the world to come again to Egypt after 25th Jan. revolution. Every student has selected a certain topic to write about in his/her page in the wiki.

Skills Developed in the Project:

1. 4 language skills: reading, writing, speaking & listening.
2. Higher thinking skills: analyzing, evaluating & creating.
3. Searching skills: using Google and YouTube to search for information, images and videos.
4. Communication skills through using chatting and sending e-mails.
5. Collaboration.

Method of Teaching:

It is a self-learning experience. I’m just a guide throughout the two weeks of the project. At the very beginning, I have met them in the Resources Room that is with just one computer and a datashow. I have prepared a PowerPoint presentation including the goal of the project, objectives, tasks required, and the product that is our wiki titled “WELCOME BACK EGYPT”. I have also designed some tools before the project. These tools help students to complete the project and learn according to their pace of learning. Among these tools are needs analysis survey, rubric, wiki guide, example to follow, quizzes, opinions’ sheet and recognition certificate to thank them for their great efforts.

We have used many tools to help each other throughout the project, e.g., face-to-face discussions during school day, chatting and sending e-mails. We have also used mobiles for urgent cases. Students help each other through commenting in the discussion section of their pages in the wiki. They also send e-mails to each other in the wiki itself as one of the Wikispaces’ features.

In short, it is a pure online learning experience in which students have used a lot of technological tools, e.g., wikis, e-mails, websites (Google, YouTube, ... etc), mobiles (either as a communication tool or recording their voices talking about their experiences during the project), and podcasting (It is another web 2.0 tool and I will talk about it in a separate post later).

My Opinion:

It is a really tiring job, but I feel very happy in all the stages of the project. It is enough for me to see how happy my students are while working in their pages. They like the idea of using the internet in their learning. They told all the students in the school about the skills they have gained in this project. Other students asked me to do the same with them. I promised them to create another wiki next year as we are about to finish this school year. You can see my students’ opinions about this project in the section of “Opinions’ Sheet”. This gives me a very strong push towards trying and taking risks.

Now, I will leave you with my students' wiki and wait for your comments! Click the following image to visit our wiki!

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