This week’s Glogster EDU Community Star Outreach interview is with Semonique Harry. As a relatively new Glogster EDU user, we wanted to get her ideas and opinions about us, and about in-classroom technology in general. Semonique is also our first Community Star from outside the U.S., so we were interested to learn more about her and how her school has implemented tools like Glogster EDU.
Check out our interview with Semonique:
My name is Semonique Harry and I am a teacher on the Island of St Vincent and the Grenadines. We are located in the Caribbean close to Barbados. I have been teaching some nine years, and have been using ICT for the last two years. I presently teach at a primary school. In the last school year I taught grade K-6 ICT integration. I use a variety of tools to further reinforce concepts taught in class. I began my journey in ICT as a way for my students, parents and I to communicate better and created a class site: www.msharrysclass.shutterfly.com . I realized quickly that it peaked their interest and participation all round. Soon after, my principal encouraged me to create class sites for seven different grade levels at my school. So, for the last school year, I have been managing the websites.
I am also the president of SVGCITE (St. Vincent and the Grenadines Committee for the Integration of Technology in Education), a committee made up of several like-minded teachers who believe that ICT is the future and should be used in progressive and appropriate ways to maximize learning and teaching. Our temporary website is www.svgcite.weebly.com.
As a relatively new user of Glogster EDU, what are your first impressions?
I came upon your site while doing online research for tools. I found Glogster EDU very interesting and appropriate for kids of all ages. I used the free trial version to introduce it to my students. Due to our financial budget, my school was unable to purchase a Premium subscription.
After I introduced Glogster EDU to participants at a workshop, everyone thought it took creativity to another level. Those who were tech savvy found it quite easy to manipulate, but the participants who were not competent with computers had some difficulty navigating the site.
With school budgets being so fixed, many thought it was an excellent way to cut costs because they wouldn’t have to spend money to buy charts and posters, and craft supplies, they could create Glogs even with the limited free version.
Some asked about accessing Glogs without internet, since quite often we have connectivity issues at our school and now, understanding the features, I was able to answer that question positively.
Before the school term ended some of my older kids (grades 4 and 5) were given some time to experiment and create Glogs with site. I presented them with a topic in Science and another in Creative Writing, and they created two poster Glogs. Their efforts were awarded with a huge applause when shared with others at school and home. I plan to use it this upcoming term with Comprehension and Creative Writing in Grade 5. Since many of my students are visual learners, I believe it will be the best strategy to introduce, reinforce and assess concepts.
Tell us more about the 2 week workshop in SVG you will be attending.
Annually in my country (in collaboration with the Canadian Teachers Federation), there are two week of sessions held every July for teachers from different teaching institutions. This year I was asked to facilitate the ICT integration workshop with Akane Nishimoto, a Canadian teacher. At the workshop, we will expose them to a variety of tools (mostly free) that they can use in their classes.
You mentioned in your Blog that you are a relatively new to ICT, and your students have shown you a lot. Have you been surprised by anything that they have shown you?
I am a newbie in the ICT world and am self-taught. On occasions I have been rescued by my students. Many of them are quite tech savvy, and spend hours on their computers trouble shooting despite their ages. I am a teacher who believes that students come to my classroom with knowledge and I am not afraid to ask for help if needed. This boosts their self-esteem and confidence. Those students are often paired up with not too tech savvy ones and is a great strategy that works. Peer Tutoring is an excellent strategy for every classroom.
What advice would you give to new teachers about implementing tools such as Glogster EDU in the classroom, and how to keep up-to-speed with current technology?
I would advise new teachers to first understand the tool and its capabilities and never be ashamed that the students may already have knowledge about it. A teacher’s job is to build and expand upon that knowledge and prepare them for the world of work.