The last week of the course

Both programs ending on the same day ! What a coincidence ! These are the last moments of the online course I was taking at the American English Institute entitled Building Teachers Skills Through The Interactive Web which lasted for ten weeks . At the same time , these are the last moments of the International Visitors Program on elementary and secondary education in USA which lasted for three weeks . Both have been very interesting and informative and both have come to an end on the same day ! I could drop none of them . All I wished was to have enough time for both of them . Fortunately , I managed to carry on with both ! Sincerely it wasn`t that easy .Sometimes , I hardly found time to do my assignments I had to submit on Wednesdays and Sundays . Nevertheless , I was determined not to drop out of the course no matter what it cost me and here I am joyfully celebrating virtually my achievement and more determined than ever before to continue my struggle for integrating technology in my classroom . This course recharged my batteries to boost my struggle to put into practice what I have learnt during the course and along the trip .

The digital Divide

I m currently on a visit to the USA as a participant in an International Visitor Leadership project entitled ` primary and Secondary Education ` the objectives of which are to provide an overview of primary and secondary education , politics , debates , advocacy , and regulation at the federal , state , local and grassroots levels , pedagogy , curriculum and everything involved in the American educational system.
One of the striking things I have noticed in our field visits to several schools is the advanced stages American schools have reached in integrating technology in teaching . Technological equipment is available in every classroom , computers , smart boards , video projectors ,software etc . Computer labs are well equipped and all the teachers I heve asked said they use technology in their classroom in one way or another .
I sadly think of my school where the only computer room isn`t available for students who badly need it to develop their skills and promote their learning , simply because the school principal is scared at the idea that if students get in the room ,they may damage one or more of the old computers (being damaged by time for the third year ) and his superiors would blame him for that . I thought to myself , the digital divide is not only that of technological materials and equipment , it is also that of the minds .

Web 2.0 Tools in Your Classroom

I`d like to share with you this beautiful and well organized presntation about web 2.0 tools in the classroom

Connectivism :The learning Theory of the Digital age

The revolution in the information and communication technologies brought about changes in views and concepts in a variety of human life aspects such as learning . The way people learn nowadays is changing dramatically thanks to the huge opportrunities of communication ,collaboration , sharing and networking which these new information technologies offer .Have a look at George Simens's presentation and video defending connectivism as the learning theory of the digital age:

Connectivism :The learning Theory of the Digital age

The revolution in the information and communication technologies brought about changes in views and concepts in a variety of human life aspects such as learning . The way people learn nowadays is changing dramatically thanks to the huge opportrunities of communication ,collaboration , sharing and networking which these new information technologies offer .Have a look at George Simens's presentation and video defending connectivism as the learning theory of the digital age:

Death by Powerpoint

ABCD Considerations in an ICT lesson plan

Planning a lesson in which new technologies are integrated needs more careful and skillful preparation than ordinary lessons. The teacher should take additional measures concerning his technological skills , those of his students , the hardware , the software , and the applications and the tools to be used in the lesson . Using the ABCD formula , an ICT lesson plan should consider the following points:

A = Audience :The teacher should be aware of the differences in mastering technological skills among students . Though they are all digital natives , some of them are more advanced than others in using the computer and the internet . In some countries such as Morocco , it's likely to come across digitally illiterate students in the classroom . A fact which must be considered in assigning tasks and making students work in teams and groups .

B- Behavior : In planning an ICT based lesson , the teacher should give clear instructions to students and be specific about the tasks the are asked to do .

C- Codition :The conditions of an ICT classroom should consider the following constituents :
  • The hardware : The teacher should check the availability of the tools to be used in the lesson such as the computers , the beamer , the interactive whiteboard , the network passwords and the compatibility of the running systems with the intended software to be used .
  • The software : The teacher should have an acceptable mastery of the software or the application to be used in the classroom . He should consider the copyright issue at the use of a digital resource . When the resource to be used is a website , website evaluation should precede introducing it to students . In the case of forums , students should be warned of the netiquette before they start posting publically .
  • The content of the digital resource should be pedagogically appropriate and graded to meet the objectives of the lesson .
D- Degree : The teacher should include in his lesson plan the way he intends to evaluate his students performance such as a well defined grid specifying the different levels of performance the suitable grades each will get .
A lesson plan which respects the ABCD forfula is likely to be successful as it takes into consideration the technological skills of the students , the preparation of the hardware and software , the digital content and the way of evaluation .

Delicious or not Delicious ?

The news which spread last December that Delicious was to be closed made Delicious fans panic and stampede for alternatives for their favorite social bookmarking service.Though Yahoo declared later that Delicious was to be sold not shut down , lots of Delicious users remained suspicious and continued to look for the best alternative to Delicious and the way to safeguard their bookmarks to it . The outstanding alternative to Delicious , at least in my view , is diigo
I was using Delicious as my default bookmarking service . But when I started using Diigo , I discovered how more advanced and more interactive it is . Here are some features Diigo has in addition to the basic features of social bookmarking it shares with Delicious :
Highlighting and annotation : In Diigo , you can highlight parts of the webpage you bookmark and send the provided annotation link to share it with others .
Sticky notes : What makes Diigo interactive is the feature to add sticky notes to your bookmarks and share them with others who may add their comment to the sticky notes .
Saving to groups : In addition to the possibility to save your bookmarks to your library , you can share them with the Diigo groups you belong to .
Bookmark images and notes : With Diigo, you can bookmark images and notes and save them to your image and notes rubrics in your library .
Sending to blogs : In addition to the possibility to send your bookmarks to your social networks such as Facebook , Twitter , linkedin , Diigo allows you to send them to your blogs and a different social bookmarking service such as Delicious .
For these dynamic features , I think Diigo is the most outstanding alternative to Delicious .


Mashpedia as a search engine !

To take part in the discussion on search engines going on on nicenet , I 'd like to present this search tool I found interesting . Mashpedia allows you to explore topics in real time , aggregating results from different social media content services such as twitter , facebook , blogs , videos , books , slides and others .
The results are presented in website interface which allows you to surf from one result to another . If you are interested in video only , you go to the video page and if you are looking for pictures only , the right page to see that of images .

I hope my classmates in webskills course would find it interesting

Google or not google ?

What makes google my favorite search engine is its ability to bring me a big amount of results in a lapse of time . However these results though rich and various , remain not well classified and I sometimes stumble upon undesirable things in them .When I use google to look for a document for instance , google is likely to bring me results which contain many things other than what I am looking for and I will need to filter these results so as to select the ones I need .This fact makes using specialized search engines very advisable . For this reason I made a compilation of the best 10 document search engines I was able to find online and shared it on my blog allsharing
The list contains the following document search engines :
I hope you would find them interesting

A Double Click

I still remember a day in 1998 when I went with a friend of mine to a cybercafé settled at the first floor of a building in my home-town .It was the end of the school year and my friend wanted to see the results of the teachers movement. We were told it had just been published on the internet by the ministry of the national education and we could find all necessary information there .We sat in front of a computer , started it and started arguing about the following step .As the desktop displayed , I pointed at the internet explorer and shouted :" It's here ! This is the internet ! .My friend who was a computer geek as myself suspeciously looked at me and said : " Are you sure ?" " Absolutely !" I answered . " I came here with Ismail the other day and I am sure he started from there ! " . My friend's doubts decreased but I knew he was uncertain . He moved the mouse with difficulty to the internet explorer icon and started clicking sometimes on the icon , other times just near it while our eyes were fixed at the screen . The problem was that nothing happened apart from the icon being highlighted from time to time . I seized the mouse and tried to show him how to click correctly . I clicked and clicked ,sometimes on the icon and some other times not so far from the icon as my friend . The problem was that nothing happened neither . We took turns clicking on the icon and arguing whether it was the right icon to open the internet . After a while we decided to call upon the cyber assistant for help .He was a young boy at his early twenties while we were in our late thirties . He came after a while and asked : " What 's the problem ? " We both answered , the internet explorer doesn't respond . He skillfully moved the mouse , double clicked on the icon and the explorer opened . The key was the double click !"Are you teachers ? " He asked . "Yes ,we are . In this town you can't mistake a teacher" I answered smilingly. "Now" , he said " just type down the address at the search bar and you will get what you want" and he soon left to another customer who was waiting for his help . Address ? search bar ? We really felt embarrassed to ask the cyberman about the meaning of those words .We exchanged looks of helplessness and We became aware of our digital illiteracy ! We were not proud of ourselves at all .We left the cyber café with a desire to retaliate ! That day was the beginning of my stuggle against digital illiteracy and here I m still stuggling ...

Week 1 : Just do it !

To tell you the truth , I have always avoided creating a blog to talk about myself or what I do !The blogs I had created were about some activities or materials for my students or resources to share with my colleagues . I sometimes claim that talking about myself would make me big headed . But the truth is that I am not skillful enough to do it well . As far as I remember , I 'have always been a terrible story teller and reporter even in my mother tongue !!!
Now with Webskills e-Teacher course where creating a reflecting blog is a part of the assignments , I have no choice but to take this adventure and to talk about what I do in the course every week .
What motivates me more is that I learned that blogging on my reflections will be very useful and beneficial to me as it will encourage me to look back through my practices in the course and scan them for my strengths which I will have to reinforce and my drawbacks which I will have to avoid . Please don't worry , I will do my best to do the task appropriately . Perhaps this course will turn me into a skillful blogger . Who knows ? :-)