Barbara Sawhill Comes to Middlebury!

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In a convergence of Barbaras (and a stroke of pure genius), Barbara Ganley (yours truly) invited Barbara Sawhill to Middlebury College to give a workshop on using Web 2.0 technologies in second-language teaching. So for once, instead of skyping or blogging, we sat in the same room, and it was quite a pleasure to listen to her talk about how blogs, wikis and skype have informed her teaching. I blogged the session and recorded the first half of the workshop (on a wee iTALK, hence the fuzzy quality), so I’ll get out of the way and let her do the talking via my notes and the audio files:

I. Introduction
Barbara opened the workshop with a writing prompt: “If you could change one thing about your language class, what would it be?”

“I am a teacher and a technologist–and I put those in that order,” she continued:And indeed, I know from having heard her talk before and from reading languagelabunleashed, that she grounds the technology deeply in the teaching; she tries out the tools in her own classrooms before introducing them to her faculty. (This is the wisdom of educational technologists having a foot squarely within the classroom, sharing the experience of the teachers they are trying to reach–teaching technologists or techie teachers? She can speak to teachers from the authentic successes and failures of her own classroom, and that makes all the difference in her understanding of the relationship between technology and teaching, and in her ability to reach faculty.)

She also pointed out that she uses tools that have been out there for 4-5 years and are quite stable–what’s new is using them in foreign language teaching, not in other ways. She wants others to try the tools out, tweak them, inprove them before she hands them to her students or to her faculty.

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