After a short break, Community Star Outreach is back with an interview from one of our awesome Bulgarian Ambassadors, Rositsa Mineva who, along with a great team of other Bulgarian Ambassadors, has been working hard to spread the word about Glogster EDU in Bulgaria through conferences, training, and meetups with wonderful enthusiasm.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
First, I want to thank the Glogster EDU team for asking me to do this interview, and for the wonderful opportunities that the site has given to me as a teacher. Glogster EDU has helped me become more patient and loving, and has helped my relationships with kids and people in general. Thank you!
I have been a teacher for 23 years at the Fifth Primary School in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. First as a facilitator, then a primary school teacher and finally, teaching English in 2003, when early foreign language became compulsory in our syllabus. I became qualified to be an English teacher for young learners.
The main skills my students have to learn at this stage of their language learning are basic speaking, reading, listening comprehension, and writing. At this age they are not required to master transcription of a new vocabulary because that happens through repetition of new words, sentences, and text. Pupils need audio-visual aids as much as possible. They could get them in the real classroom during the lesson, but in my opinion, it is not enough. I was unsure of how to facilitate independent learning of my students but I thought that by supplying them with more audio-visual aids that they could easily use at home too would help.
I started searching for such a resource on the internet and found Glogster EDU as the most suitable web 2.0 tool for that purpose. (Bare in mind that when I found Glogster EDU in 2009 I had few computer skills, and had been a blogger for just three months) However, it wasn’t difficult for me to start. I was very impressed, and eager to learn more about all the enhancements it could give my educational work, and I applied Glogster EDU immediately.
Why do you think that 2.0 tools like Glogster EDU are becoming so popular in Bulgaria?
Starting to use Glogster EDU successfully in the classroom with my pupils led me to the idea of setting up a virtual classroom and making digital aids for children with Glogster EDU, like e-tests, textbooks, etc… It took me almost a year before I started sharing my practice in blogs, at conferences, and on TV. Many people (especially teachers in Bulgaria) learned about Glogster EDU and its applications in education from me. (No wonder Glogster EDU is so popular here!) We have a great community of primary school teachers online who care about and work towards innovations in Bulgarian education by sharing their experience. The fact that we know each other in real life makes us more united, sympathetic and confident. Our students are ageds 7 to 10, so we need to use visual aids as much as possible. Glogster EDU is the ideal web 2.0 tool for that, and is very easy to work with, which makes the kids’ activities on Glogster EDU fun and pleasurable.
You have helped to recruit a few other Ambassadors from Bulgaria. Are there any activities/events or online groups you use to promote Glogster EDU
I have been writing about Glogster EDU on my teachers’ blog from the very beginning. Some of my colleagues understood, and some were not interested because of the difficulties they had with understanding English and the Glogster EDU interface. But little by little, the number of those who were afraid of using English decreased. Then, this summer, some of my colleagues came to me after we (the new Glogster EDU Ambassadors and I) made a “Face-Glogster” group on Facebook and said: “Teach us!” Some of my other colleagues had applied for ambassador status, and got it. The new Bulgarian ambassadors are active teachers who have great experience in innovation, they are not only my friends, they are much more – we share the same ideas and views about the future of Bulgarian education.
We often meet each other at conferences like the recent one in Burgas (the Innovation in Education Conference), as well as at meetings of bloggers, trainings, courses overseas, and of course we always keep in touch online. I’m really proud of them and proud of myself for the success I’ve had in engaging them in this Glogster EDU adventure!
How do your students enjoy Glogster EDU? Have there been any obstacles in using the product so far?
All my students love it! Kids love using Glogster EDU, working and communicating with pen pals, homework, project work, different kinds of tasks set up with Glogster EDU– they are involved and engaged.
For the last two years we have used a common Glogster EDU account with some American classes https://penpals2012.wikispaces.com/home (Thanks, Deena Kelly!). We made Glogs, talked on Skype, did language activities that were full of colors and music, learned new things…it was fun! I am doing my best to make sure this is repeated this school year too.
We use Glogster EDU as the creative platform for many projects with the kids. You can find them on my classroom wiki.
What are you most looking forward to at the start of this new school year?
This year I am planning a training with my colleagues to show them how to use project – based learning with students on Glogster EDU. The training will take place in October, depending on our school activities. I know it won’t be easy, but sharing new, good practices can inspire others, and it is the only way for my colleagues to try it with their students.
The other event on my list is to invite the colleagues from my “Face-Glogster” group as well as my blog to a Glogster EDU training session (probably in April, when we have our spring holiday).
I am currently looking for a qualification course abroad on HRDC where I can exchange ideas with European colleagues about Glogster EDU and its applications in the classroom and beyond. Only peace and good health is needed – I wish that to all teachers and students around the globe. Never stop making your teaching and kids’ learning fun with Glogster EDU!
Weekly Community Highlights
Check out Edudemics “10 Fun Tools to Make your Own Infographics”
Click here to read Jo Schiffbauer’s Article: “First Steps in the Twitter World”, about how educators can utilize Twitter.
Finally, have a look at Raman Jobs’ blogpost “Cool Stuff I Learned on Social Media this Summer”