Glogster EDU Community Star Outreach-Episode 8

This week, we are excited to bring you our interview with Dubravka Granulić from Croatia. She is one of our amazing Ambassadors who has been working hard to introduce technology into her practice and received an amazing response from her students as a result. She is pictured with Marcela, an Albanian student who is in Dubravka’s Croatian language class.

Tell us about yourself and how you got into teaching.

I have been working at an elementary school for 17 years-my specialty is Croatian language, but my students and I also enjoy the school drama club. In April of 2012, I was promoted by my teaching adviser, to the position of mentor because of my knowledge, and ability to bring that knowledge to my students.

Teaching is my passion. As a little girl, I felt best in front of the classroom presenting new material to my peers.  After graduating from the Pedagogical Academy, I became a soldier and served during the Civil War in Croatia in 1992. Later,  I realized that it would be very difficult to find a job in my profession, but I didn’t give up.

In 1998, at the age of 28, I decided to continue my education at the College of Teaching. I graduated there in 2000. Since then, I’ve been at the Primary School of Budaševo-Topolovac-Gušće.

Last year, I began research as a part of the project “Reading with You”, organized by the Education and Teacher Training Agency in Zagreb. It was then that I discovered Glogster EDU, and I worked to incorporate it into the development of reading skills.

I consider  being an Ambassador for Glogster EDU one of my greatest achievements, and even though it has only been six months, I realized that this is great way to excite and encourage learners to be more effective…all while having fun making Glogs.

How is the Croatian educational system working to implement technology in the classroom?

For about ten years, the Croatian education system has experienced distinct changes in terms of creating an information society. All institutions of education are connected to the Croatian Academic Research Network (CARNet). The network has gigabit infrastructure and all users have free Internet  access. Email addresses have been ensured for all students in Croatia and over 1200 schools have received a computer room equipped with 15 computers and a server. Several thousand teachers have received  the European Computer Driving License.

In 2005 a Learning Management System was established so distance learning could be enabled on the islands of Croatia; “smart boards” are being  installed in the classroom, and the application of  e-content is underway as well as additional didactic components.

The poor financial condition of the state budget doesn’t promise much for teachers, but we hope that the Croatian educational system will improve and will eventually harmonize with European standards of  technology in education.

What are some of the differences between the educational system in Croatia and the U.S.?
I think teachers in the United States have the opportunity to form, link and integrate educational content, while respecting a student’s abilities. I appreciate this kind of individualized instruction, and it seems that the experts in Croatia have finally realized it is the best way of learning.

The Education and Teacher Training Agency  in Croatia regularly organizes professional meetings, conferences and assets in which teachers learn about modern teaching methods. And even though training is mandatory for all teachers,  I admit that not all teachers are motivated, and many don’t have a clear idea about the future of our educational system.

I always find great ideas on educational websites for teachers from the United States, and, after translating and adapting, I apply them in my own teaching. This was how I first started working  with Glogster EDU in December of last year.

Besides the differences in curriculum and the organization of teaching, I think we have a lot in common: we are making efforts in the 21st century to provide quality education to students and teach them to be righteous and noble people one day.

What types of technology do you use?

As a language teacher, I like to integrate technology, and do so at least twice a week.  We have one teaching day dedicated to PowerPoint presentations on any given topic. Sometimes, instead of writing, I give them a task to make slides and incorporate other persuasive techniques like illustrations and slogans to demonstrate their mastery of persuasive writing.

Glogster EDU was a really great discovery for us, and we started creating Glogs right away. Pupils from the 8th grade were excited and started talking about it to everyone. Soon, I had so many requests to join the class that I pronounced it “a plague of Glogster EDU fans”! I  then organized joint lectures and workshops in the IT classroom. It was amazing to watch them working on new projects and learning. With Glogster EDU they are also able to share their Glogs and communicate with their peers and me.

At the end of the school year, I interviewed some of my students, and below are some statements about Glogster EDU:

Luka, 5th grade:  ”Glogster EDU is great! My mom said she would have liked to make a few Glogs herself!”
Tonka, 6th grade: “Glogster EDU is magical and fantastic! You can make a Glog about any subject with it!”
Karmen, 7th grade: “…So many opportunities! My Dad believes Glogster EDU is the future of learning, and I can finally be on computer the whole evening.”
Marija, 8th grade: “I never had so much fun learning until I started learning how to use Glogs.”

What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming school year?

I am looking forward to a fresh beginning and two new projects that I will be doing with students. They are both connected with Internet Technology in the classroom and demand the full attention of all members in my team.

The first project is called, “Life@BOOK@Art,” and it was created as a result of the collaboration of several European countries. We will integrate Artistic Subjects and Civil Education with a common goal – to live every day with a book in art. The second project is continued work on research I mentioned in my introduction: My Book – My Friend.

Personally, I will do anything to motivate students, but learning is a matter of personal choice. Every year I tell my students: ” All of you  have the same evaluation at the beginning of the school year. It is an A+. It depends on you whether or not you will you keep that assessment.”

Weekly Community Highlights

Check out the Ten Tech Commandments for Connected Learners…an interesting read!

Don’t forget to take part in our “Template Mission”, a way that YOU can get recognition for the great Glogs you create, as well as help out other EDUcators in the classroom.

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