Monday, November 10, 2014

Authenticity speciality

I was recently approached by Webucator to write about the most important marketable skill that is required for graduates in search of their first job after studies, and it made me reflect on my own experiences in job interviews. I can remember attempting to predict what employers would want in an employee, which conjured up images of a cookie-cutter clone of the ‘perfect worker’. Perhaps this conceptualisation filters down from as far back as expectations of work from the Industrial Revolution (thanks, first-year Psychology); just as products moved along a prediactable assembly line, employees were expected to “fit in or ship out.”

I was recently on the opposite side of the table – part of an interviewing team gathered to meet potential facilitators who would take over my role next year as I embrace my Educational Psychology internship in 2015. A facilitator’s role is to work alongside the teacher in the classroom to assist a learner (usually in a one-to-one scenario) in whatever manner is appropriate to the learner’s specific need, and as such it is fairly important to ensure that the facilitator is a good match for the child, the teacher, as well as the classroom and school environment. Before the candidates arrived, we spoke about what ‘type’ of facilitator the group had in mind. My role in this meeting was to describe the facilitation scenario with the lovely little boy whom I had helped to support this year, and to share some of the strategies that I had used when facilitating. What really struck me was how our idea of a ‘type’ of candidate appeared to dissipate as we met the various potential facilitators. It became obvious that each one brought various skills and challenges to the table, and although it was the combination of these that influenced our opinion of their suitability for the position, it was the energy and sincerity with which the candidates expressed their skills and challenges that really stood out. It was the candidates who were able to genuinely express their passion for education and children in an authentic way that caught our attention – especially in the stories that they told of personal experiences. 

The very first candidate was a young woman who did not have as much experience in education as some of the other candidates, but she impressed with her authentic manner in which she conveyed her experiences; both the shining and learning opportunities. She had put together a really personal CV and cover letter, which showed that she had considered the requirements of the position as well as the environment in which she would be working. She made sure that her personality shone through, and it was this authenticity that really won us over. She didn’t attempt to conform to the ‘perfect candidate’ stereotype – she presented herself as an authentic version of herself.

In essence, after this experience I would say that the best marketable skill that a graduate could portray is the ability to convey oneself in an authentic manner. In this way, your employer is afforded a snapshot of how you would conduct yourself in your job, and is able to make a realistic decision of your suitability for the position. As such, my vote would go to the candidate who is authentic – not a real-life clone of the ‘perfect worker.’

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I ABSOLUTELY love this site! Such a simple, easy-to-use format for online class communication that can be controlled and recorded by the teacher. It is as simple as:

  1. Creating a name for your room
  2. Indicating for how long the room must stay open
  3. Open the room
  4. Insert your name
  5. Share the room name with your class! Once they are in the room, they can add their name and start commenting. 
Once the time is up, the room is locked. There is even a function for transcribing the information. I really wish I had thought to use this site for online focus groups for my thesis research! They say hindsight is 20/20 vision! have come up with an awesome list of 20 uses for TodaysMeet.

For what further functions do you think this site would be useful?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

What's the best device for interactive learning?

Hi everyone!

I feel that I've neglected my 'techy' passion for ages now. My thesis has clearly taken attention away researching new developments in educational technology. Luckily, my research brought me back full circle! I discovered a great article which helped delineate the laptop vs. tablet debate rather nicely. 

Here's the link: What's the best device for interactive learning?

This has been a question of mine for ages now: How do schools choose, amid the plethora of choices, the best device(s) to use in their classrooms? 

I liked David Mahaley's answer (Franklin Academy, North Carolina) in this article: "First you have to ask: What do you want the device to do for your children?" I see lots of teachers blindly adopting technology into the classroom, without asking this question. Sometimes it may not be appropriate to use technology at depends on the requirements of the task - what you, as teacher, would like for your learners to experience.

Enjoy the read! I'd love to hear your thoughts :)


Monday, June 23, 2014

More student blogs!

Hi everyone!

I haven't blogged for a while, but my new crop of student teachers have started to create their own blogs,so I thought it was high time that I looked at my blog again! Things have been so busy, but I realised that one must simply make time for those things that you enjoy! Hence, here I am!

I have designed a short course for Stellenbosch University called Digital Literacy Short Course, specifically targeting new teachers who are in the BEd faculty of Stellenbosch University. The course consists of 5 modules; Going Digital (which introduces new teachers to digital literacy and educational technology, as well as to consider how teaching and learning differs in the 21st century), Presentations (an introduction into various interactive, visual and audio presentation formats that teachers could use in their classrooms), Information Surfing (for both teachers' and learners' academic information pursuits, as well as for teachers to access the plethora of teaching resources available on the net), Going Google (a taster of what Google in Education can offer to teachers), as well as Application and Reflection (how one can use the tools learnt in the classroom, and for various levels of resource availability).

The course is scheduled to run twice this year. We have just run the first component of the June opportunity - a 20 hour workshop, to be followed by 40 hours of self-study and assessment submission to be completed by the students. The October opportunity will run slightly differently -     5 x Thursday morning contact sessions in the month of October, with 40 hours of self-study and assessments to complete in the time between the contact sessions. Both of these opportunities are pilot studies - should they be well-received, we hope to incorporate them into the BEd and PGCE courses.

Below are the June opportunity student blogs:

We even had a Marketing student join us - her blog can be found at Marketing Mania

I really applaud my students' efforts to venture into a completely new (and often scary!) adventure of blogging! So much of blogging is playing around and learning the various features and opportunities that the various blogging platforms afford. All of the best, ladies! I look forward to reading of your exciting discoveries!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Education 3.0

I love the concept of Education 3.0!

Education 1.0 - Substitution-Augmentation: Knowledge is passed form teacher to learners.Technology may be used to merely capture the information or present it for the teacher to mark *Receiving, Responding, Regurgitating*

Education 2.0 - Modification: Teacher- learners-peers interactivity begins *Communication, Contribution, Collaboration*

Education 3.0 - Redefinition: Content is freely available and shareable *Connectors, Creators, Constructivists*

Excellent ideas for getting learners to engage in using different technology and learning.

Thank you, eLearning Infographics!

Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

The Innovation of Education

I love this Infographic - a history lesson and guideline to becoming more technologically savvy all in one go!

Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Teacher Agency

It would seem that it is not only learners who feel the effects of learned helplessness and growth fixed mindsets - teachers, under the pressure of contemporary teaching, succumb to such phenomena too. Jackie Gerstein explores this phenomenon in her blog User Generated Education. 

More tech-savvy then their teachers?

What happens when your learners know more than you as teacher about the technology that you use to teach them? Terry Heick has some interesting ideas about the digital learner in his post What happens when students use technology better than teachers? featured in TeachThought.