Thursday, September 02, 2010

Informal Learning of a Teacher from Ghana

I received an email from this teacher (let's call her 'julyddan') in Ghana last August 28, 2010. She was interested in joining EVO and was asking if she could join the EVO team. Before sending her a response I informed the EVO coordinators about this and consulted them on how we should go about this- we have never received such an inquiry. While awaiting response from the team, julyddan was already sending me instant messages from Yahoo! Today, however, I decided to talk to her via Yahoo! IM and get this issue settled.

The flow of the text conversation with her was quite interesting because as it turned out, this was informal learning/mentoring in practice- ahhh the power of the Internet. Behold!

Note: orig worldmap was retrieved from this site,

Read the entire text chat and see what took place. She was already impressed with my old class wikis, but I told her there are other Webheads out there with great class blogs, wikis, and what have you. By the time you read this, julyddan is probably on her way to signing up to the Webheads YG! 

I had a hard time figuring out how exactly I could help her. The idea of mentoring always interests me, as that's what Webheads and EVO team do; but she came in with all that motivation to learn and list of things to do- I just didn't know where to start.

I hope I did the right thing today. Anyway, I did tell her that she could show me her class wiki when it's done. And yes, she can always send me an IM!


Read her message below:
Dear Aiden,

I have received a copy of the TESOL e-newsletter and have fallen in love with the EVO project. I am a post-graduate student awaiting the defence of my thesis and thence graduation with an MPhil English. As professional teacher with 11yrs teaching experience, my pre-occupation is researching into the most effective ways of teaching English and Literature especially through CALL. However, with regards to the use of CALL in Ghana, it is even difficult to find a single lecturer in my department who can mentor me. Hence my special request to the team is to be accepted as a protegee who can be coached and trained to introduce CALL in my country and my university in particular, University of Education, (name of state deleted).

As part of the training, I would be grateful if you could pair me or make me join a moderator group. Through they assigning tasks, and others to me I am sure I can learn and make an impact in my community.

By the next session my aim is to become a full fleshed moderator and be able to recruit many other language teachers from my country.

Hope to here favourably from you.

Thank you.
(name deleted)
----- Our chat on Thu, 9/2/10 5:07 PM -----

julyddan (4:13 PM): HI can I join an EVO team from Ghana? My interest is in integrating computers in language learning.

Aiden (4:15 PM): Hi there. received your message. Have you participated in any of the EVO sessions before?

julyddan (4:15 PM): no

Aiden (4:16 PM): The EVO sessions will be offered in January 2011. We are still in the process of receiving proposals.

Aiden (4:17 PM):, here's the link to past sessions,

julyddan (4:18 PM): Is it possible to join an existing team so i can be coached?

Aiden (4:18 PM): I suggest that you join Becoming a Webhead session as they show participants how to integrate technology in the classroom

Aiden (4:19 PM): There are no open sessions now; but you can join Webheads online community and be part of the learning community

Aiden (4:21 PM): I also suggest that you look at past BaW weekly activities- they introduce the basics from which tool to use to why you should it

Aiden (4:22 PM): you should also attend free webinars on Web 2.0

Aiden (4:23 PM):

julyddan (4:23 PM): ok I am checking on the links u have sent me

Aiden (4:24 PM): how old are your students and what class/es do you teach?

Aiden (4:25 PM): oh, and how did you find out about EVO?

julyddan (4:26 PM): I am 32. I have submitted my submitted a soft copy of my thesis for MPhil in English

julyddan (4:27 PM): Currently I am a tutor at the univ of Education, Winneba, distance learning section.

julyddan (4:29 PM): and i am looking for innovative ways of integrating IT in my teaching

julyddan (4:30 PM): I am also and IELTS exam proctor for British Council Ghana

Aiden (4:30 PM): how did you find out about EVO?

Aiden (4:31 PM): how old are your students and what class/es do you teach?

julyddan (4:32 PM): I joined the ELTeCS Europe, Caucus and Russia from the Briish Council Website when I was browsing for BC language teachers' opportunities

julyddan (4:33 PM): They are 18+. Diploma, Post Dip and 1st Degree

Aiden (4:35 PM): Is this a general English course?

julyddan (4:37 PM): I teach Comprehension and Composition at Post Dip, Com Skills and Intro to Lit at 1st degree

Aiden (4:38 PM): is this an online course or f2f?

Aiden (4:39 PM): do you use a wiki?

julyddan (4:39 PM): they are all f2f

Aiden (4:40 PM): do you have access to computers in the classroom?

julyddan (4:40 PM): but the dip courses are by distance and i wish to find ways of integrating IT so that my students can com and learn from home

julyddan (4:41 PM): not yet but if i can put a gud design together, my director is ready to provide them

Aiden (4:42 PM): do you use a course/leanring management system i.e. wiki, moodle, Yahoo! Group

julyddan (4:42 PM): I need to convince them with a gud proposal

julyddan (4:42 PM): no can u teach me how to?

julyddan (4:42 PM): this is why i want to be an evo member

julyddan (4:43 PM): nobody does these things in my university

Aiden (4:43 PM): Outline your proposal on a wiki and use your Yahoo! Group (or Google group) as learning mngt system (LMS)

Aiden (4:43 PM): EVO provide yearly teacher professional dev't sessions

Aiden (4:44 PM): what you need is to join a community of practice so you could just post your enquiry to the list

Aiden (4:44 PM): and peope will respond to you

julyddan (4:44 PM): so what is the first step?

Aiden (4:45 PM): for collaborative projects, you can also count on the webheads to help you

Aiden (4:45 PM): outline your plan on a wiki

Aiden (4:45 PM): sort of like a learning syllabus

Aiden (4:46 PM): i'll show you my class wikis

julyddan (4:46 PM): oh ok like my course outline right?

Aiden (4:46 PM): yes

julyddan (4:46 PM): great

julyddan (4:46 PM): i wild like to see it

Aiden (4:46 PM): in this way your students should have an e-copy of your syllabus

julyddan (4:46 PM): ok

Aiden (4:47 PM): these are old wikis because I took a break froom teaching last year bec. i'm finishing up my PhD

Aiden (4:47 PM): wait, let me get the UR:s

Aiden (4:48 PM):,

julyddan (4:48 PM): oh ok

julyddan (4:48 PM): hope u grad soon

Aiden (4:48 PM): look at the sidebar, scroll down and you'll see SY2008-2009

julyddan (4:49 PM): then you can guide me through one

julyddan (4:49 PM): I am checking on the link now

Aiden (4:49 PM): yOU'LL see all the subjects that I taught that school year

julyddan (4:49 PM): ok

Aiden (4:49 PM): each class has its own YG and Wiki

Aiden (4:50 PM): the YG serves as our LMS, while the Wiki as a site for syllabus, instructions, students work, etc.

julyddan (4:50 PM): hmmm

Aiden (4:51 PM): familiarize yourself with YG or google group and see how you can organize it in a way that course materials are available in folders, links bookmarks, etc.

Aiden (4:52 PM): this is an example of Freshman English class

Aiden (4:52 PM):

Aiden (4:53 PM): my advertising class,

Aiden (4:54 PM): research writing,

julyddan (4:55 PM): I am impressed

Aiden (4:55 PM): for writing, you can use googledocs

Aiden (4:56 PM): and you don't have yo publish your students work until they're ready

Aiden (4:56 PM): and you should always let them know why you're putting their work online

julyddan (4:57 PM): ok

Aiden (4:57 PM): Other webheads also have great class blogs, join webheads and you'll be surprised on how friendly and helpful people are

Aiden (4:57 PM): you can't find anything like the webheads

Aiden (4:58 PM): once you've got your class wiki up and running, let me know and i'll give it a visit

julyddan (4:59 PM): ok

Aiden (4:59 PM): great. glad to help you this time.

julyddan (5:00 PM): thank u very much

Aiden (5:07 PM): (smilie)

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