Collaboration and Self-learning
The connection between Digital Youth Portraits, The Hole in the Wall and The World is Flat!!!
To start with I would like to say that I liked the series of Digital youth portraits very much. They were really interesting and I found out many useful things for myself.All of the videos were interrelated and there were many common things in all videos and to my mind many of those things/factors could be taken into consideration while teaching foreign/second languages with new technologies.
I will just write down in bullet points what I think is more important for me as a TEFL professional.
1)All the students who were using technologies in their learning process learned using them on their own.This means that a slight guidance will be enough to get them started.Even the absence or the lack of technologies were not an obstacle for motivated students.(Olivia`s example)
2.) They were all playing some kind of games, either alone or with their peers. So games helped them to develop their social skills,problem solving,collaboration, creativity.This kind of collaboration is also useful as students who are more proficient in technologies were teaching/helping their peers,even teachers or mentors.
3) I like the idea of virtual platform/community,it also develops team working skills,
I liked very much the idea of making animated movies about different global.local issues and finding solutions to them via these virtual platforms by discussing,conferencing.
4) What I liked most was that the students themselves knew what they wanted, how to use those technologies for/according their needs, how to use what they searched or learned. how to use these skills out of class,in real life, in future.
When I started to think about Armenian schools and the role of technologies in teaching/learning process there, to tell the truth I even felt jealous of these kids,because they were more determined,they knew how to use all that stuff for they learning and developing. I think that maybe the problem is that Armenian students are not aware enough, or are not introduced appropriately that technologies can be used in classrooms for learning purposes also.
To my mind once used in classrooms as a teaching/learning tool all these devices,software can become students' best friends and students will get used to this working style and become socially,technically skilled and intelligent.
What I think is common in all three projects;Hole in the wall. The World is Flat, Digital Youth Portraits is the idea of collaboration and self-learning.The idea is that we learn something better if we are helping each other,we are collaborating,working together. This is the point that we should take into consideration whether in designing classroom activities or solving wider, global issues.