Content curation and mismatching socks

As anybody that knows me would tell you, I am a very disorganized person. I ten to leave all my documents (passports, ID, etc)  in a drawer (ok, but which one?), spare photocopies all piled up in a very old box which looks like about to explode at any time, bank notes and coins all over the place (pockets, on tables, inside books…). And my clothes… well, my partner has been trying for a few years now to help me divide all my garments in different drawers: shirts, underwear, jumpers and son on…

And you don´t want to look into the bag I carry to work. You can find anything, but nothing that you may really need: run-out pens and markers, old cinema tickets, some napkins, wires for a non-existent laptop, a bag of nuts, toothpaste and a brush.

The result of this is that I usually spend long hours searching for my passport and IDs when I need to book a flight; it takes me  far too long to find the right pair of socks every morning and by the second term of the academic year I have already lost or damaged all my Spanish textbook CDs I madly need in my classes…

Do you get the picture? Now, think of me going through Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, Pinterest, Scoop.it, Flipboard, Delicious, Youtube, Google +, Evernote, dropbox… What do you get? Exactly, a complete mess. No categories, no tags… I see something I like (a video for my classes, an online game, an interesting article or a nice picture that I can use it for my classes) and I just take it and put it somewhere (scoop.it, Evernote. delicious…) where I will never find it again…

So, I learnt there is something called “content curation”. Basically, you have to learn to keep all your things properly organized, clean and ironed and, this is key, easy-to-be -found-when-you-actually-need-them.

Etmoocs guys are trying to do with us what my partner has been trying to do unsuccessfully with me for the last four years: showing us how important it is to keep all relevant information organized and in the right place where we can find it . And teach us some technological tools we can use for that purpose.

I like Pinterest. I have been using it for a little while now and it is my favorite tool to collect interesting pictures. Really easy to use and keep, it is also great for sharing and learning from others.

You can see mine here:

And I am also using Scoop it, but the state of my scoop.it boards remind me of the drawer where I have all my mismatching socks and I prefer not to show it for the time been.

Actually, after one of the chats online this week, I have the intention of working more with scoop.it. I thought I was a bit of a “childish” site, not as serious as Diigo or Evernote, but it seems that it has many serious professional users… so, for the moment, I will stick with scoop.it and I´ll try to use it in combination with Pinterest in order to organize and my material.

Now, I leave it here. I still need to do my tax return and I can´t find my P60, National Insurance Number, bank statements…oh, dear!

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After a few days at etmooc

I have to confess that I am finding really difficult to cope with all the information at etmooc. I need time to read the posts, go through the links, watch videos, presentations, make comments, write my own posts and contribute with my own ideas to keep the stream going…Difficult to manage if you are a full-time teacher (and English is not your mother tongue!)

Today, I have had some time to reflect and make some comments on other people’s blogs and also on twitter, but I find it really difficult to start writing posts. It’s not just the lack of time, but also that everybody seems to be so well prepared and experienced that I am not sure I can say anything interesting.

One thought that have come to my mind these days is that we (I mean myself, mainly) need to change the way we approach learning. Most of the tools available today to teachers and students weren’t unimaginable 20 years ago, when I was still a student. It seems to me more and more obvious that the way we learnt stuff at Uni before the arrival of internet, blogs, FB and Twitter is not the right way any more.

Some time ago, a colleague of mine asked me if I could explain to him how to start using a blog, just the basics. As I readily showed him the initial page on WordPress and started to point out some of the main features, he took out his notepad and his pen and started to take notes of what I was saying, step by step. He didn’t even care to look at the computer screen, he just took notes. I felt stupid. I had learnt everything I knew about blogging on my own, just by doing it, visiting other blogs, reading what others who knew more than me were saying, making mistakes, trying out new things, reflecting on what, how and why to do something… My learning had been active, self-motivated and led by own interests. And now there he was, this colleague of mine, trying to learn all that from me (the teacher!), taking notes, pretending skip all the learning process I had suffered and enjoyed at the same time, as a student would have done 20 years ago.

With all the technological advances available to us nowadays, it is clear to me that way of learning is not working any more. The problem is, I am not sure I have yet found the right approach to how to learn and enjoy the process, without feeling overwhelmed, stressed by so many new things to learn, ideas to reflect on…

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First session at Blackboard Collaborate

One of the best thing, for me, was to experience being in contact with so many people around the world at the same time, in front of the same whiteboard and sharing ideas with each other. As a teacher,  I started to see possibilities for my own classes.

It is a really different kind of experience to what I was expecting from a course of this kind. Well, I am not sure what I was exactly expecting, but maybe a structured course with clear guidelines, specific aims and objectives, a proper syllabus, homework, tests, etc… I supposed I was expecting a “normal” distance course, just enhanced a bit with the use of some new technological “toys” (twitter, google +, etc). I think I was wrong.

In Etmooc you are supposed to set your own objectives, choose whether attend or not, decide what works for you and what doesn´t, pick up here and there, learn now or later… It sounds exciting, chaotic, new, refreshing, demanding, freer, scary… Have you been to a hotel where they provide free buffet with lovely food, eat as much as you like? Well, at the beginning I often say to myself I won´t be eating so much as the last time, but I always end up trying everything, eating too much and getting sick. I hope I can learn to manage my participation in Etmooc in a better way :)

And there doesn´t seems to be “teachers” either. We are supposed to learn from each other. It sounds interesting, but there are so many people involved that I wonder if we will be able to understand each other. We´ll see whether it works or not in the following weeks.

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Point of blogging?

Blog classThis is going to be my first real serious attempt at blogging. I am just following the instructions from the guys at ETMOOC. We were asked to keep a blog as a way to communicate between us and learn from each other. Let’s see how it works. At the moment, it feels a bit like being naked in public… and, also, I am not sure what I’ll be blogging about. I mean, I feel I have so much to learn from others and so little to say… Anyway, I am not giving up yet!

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Learning to learn

WEB 2. 0

messing around a bit

This is just an attempt to keep up pace with new developments in education and technology, especially in the area of learning and teaching languages. Not easy task, trying to make sense of all this mess…

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