Well, I have taken the plunge and signed up to a Coursera online course called Elearning and Digital Cultures. I actually signed up back in November but the reality of it has only set in now that I have had a welcoming email, joined the edcmooc FB page, Google+ page and started tweeting with the edcmooc hashtag. Reading the posts on FB and G+ I have started to feel a little overwhelmed and hope that I am not going to be out of my depth.
It is a busy time of year here too – the start of a new school year and I have a lot to do to get ready for my classes as well as for the other areas for which I am responsible. Two school camps to get through this term so there is tons of paperwork for that although the time away, once we actually get there, is always great fun and definitely worth the hard work needed to get there.
One of my reasons for wanting to do this course is because I am the “IT Teacher Coach” at my school. It is a strange role and the story of my having it is complicated, but essentially I am available 7 hours over 6 days (we have a strange timetable!) to help my colleagues with using technology. I have no formal qualifications and am definitely not a tech geek ( I leave that to the IT support team – they do the fixing and trouble shooting!) but developed a passion for using computer technology with my classes back in the 1990s when I had challenging French classes which consisted mainly of boys. It was an attempt to find some way of reaching them and catching their attention so that I could sneak some French language into them without them really noticing!
My role has metamorphosed, but I still have the official title “IT Teacher Coach”, and I still spend a lot of my time helping teachers with basic “nuts and bolts” of how to do stuff on email, how to insert images in docs, how to do stuff on the SMARTboard, how to use Google Docs etc. However, I am finding that, as I and a few other teachers experiment with different ways of teaching and learning with our students using online activities, more and more of our colleagues are gaining in confidence and wanting to try things out too. So I have spent more time helping and them to do that.
This year our school theme is “Connected”, the whole focus of our Professional Development is on Blended Learning and I am one of the leaders for that. We are still finding our way, and I am sure it is going to be one that we stumble our way along but it is surely going to be an interesting journey and we will learn from our mistakes.
Hopefully this course will help me see the way a little more clearly, or maybe, as is often the case when there is so much information bombarding you, the waters will initially be even more muddied?! Nevertheless, I am excited to be on the expdition, nervous about taking the first few steps but eager to set off.