Wednesday, April 17, 2013

INTEF, Best Practices 2.0

INTEF, Instituto Nacional de Tecnologías Educativas y Formación del Profesorado, is the branch of the Ministry of Education of Spain responsible for encouraging and integrating the use of the ICT in the K12 programs.

INTEF offers a wealth of resources on its website. There are sections on resources for teachers, families and students as well as a very interesting online teacher training program. In addition, there is a repository of didactic units created by teachers that were entered into the annual competition organized by INTEF. The competition winners to the best teaching units publish them on this website.

I will speak about these sections in the future but today I am going to introduce the section that deals with examples of best practices using web 2.0 technology. The examples are organized by levels. For those who are not familiar with the Education System in Spain please notice that:
  • Educación Infantil, students are 3 to 6 years old.
  • Primaria is basically the same model as in Alberta, grades 1 to 6.
  • ESO, stands for enseñanza secundaria obligatoria,  (1 to 4) goes from grade 7 to 10.
  • Bachillerato (1-2) is the last two years of secondary education, grades 11 and 12.
  • EOI, stands for escuela oficial de idiomas and it is second language programs for adults. They follow a national curriculum and are aligned to the CFER.
  • Formación Profesional are vocational courses.
  • Programa de cualificación profesional inicial are courses for students who have not the required credits in high school.
  • Educación de Adultos is Education for adults who for whatever reason did not finish their secondary education.
We have a lot of examples of blogs and other web 2.0 tools and how teachers have used them as a pedagogical tool. I will highlight three resources amongst the many useful ones that exist on the site.

The first blog is Take the Pen, a blog created by Belén Monreal for her English class in the elementary school Parque Colegio Santa Ana in Valencia. The teacher explains in this video the reasons that moved her to start her blog. She also explains the different sections and the rationale behind the classes and the different parts. Two ideas stand out in her presentation:
  • One of the reasons to launch the blog was the lack of appropriate resources for her class and we have seen this so often in our bilingual programs.
  • The blog is not something isolated but something integrated with the rest of the subjects and a new approach to teaching in the school.

The second blog is used in a quite different way. It is used as the working tool of a class project for grades 7-9. Una ruta lingüística y solidaria a la tierra de los mayas by José Luis Lomas at Colegio Pedro Poveda uses the blog frame to showcase a web quest project. I found goals of this project particularly attractive:
  • Students have to become aware of the different varieties of Spanish through this project that will take them to Mexico.
  • And they will become familiar with the native languages spoken in Mexico.
  • They will need to use ICT to create their final materials
  • The project is done in partnership with a non profit organization and the main goal of it is to bring water to a small community in Mexico.
  • Students have to combine resources and knowledge from several subject areas to complete the assignment.

The results are outstanding and as important is the fact that the process requires students to apply skills and techniques and to use resources from several subject areas.

The third blog I would like to introduce is produced by two students on the subject of Spanish Language Arts. They are students in Bachillerato at INS Castellar and coordinated by the teacher Ester Falip Ibarz . The students had to read 3 literary works, a novel, a play and a short story. They are set in three different periods of Spanish History:  the years prior to the Spanish Civil War, the Civil War and the years after it. This explains the project title.

Besides the reading and analysis of the 3 works, students conducted interviews, visited exhibitions and compared the works with the feature films based on them. The result of the project is the blog, a time line project using Dipity and a digital book using Calaméo. The final product is great as it is the level of satisfaction for the students.

This website is a great source of information about best practices of web 2.0 that teachers are using in their daily work. The suggested blogs are just three examples but we can find many other inspiring experiences in the INTEF website. These blogs can give us lots of ideas if we want to start a blog or improve the one that we already have.