Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Damianos replied to my e-mail about the use of weblogs in his ambitious website for high school students with the following:

"...the site has been developed as a study into how ICT could be integrated in the curriculum. You see, as of late (at last!) the Greek Ministry for Education has refurbished the school curricula for primary and secondary education. As I was looking for a topic for my M.Ed. dissertation with the Hellenic Open University I have been developing this site. I tried to implement it in some way, but there were too many constraints from parents' suspicion, children's lack of time due to their hectic lives with extra-curricular activities, outside school like dancing, sports, martial arts and the rest, to timetabling and curriculum constraints; you see not all teachers are ready to integrate technology in their classes and in my case I work with... (someone) who is technophobic, or rather unable or worse indifferent to comprehend technology, so the whole project fell through."

"I tried to publish some texts written by the students myself, but there was not any very positive reaction by the kids. You see, they are rushed off their feet all day, so some additional or divergent activity is perceived as additional burden; and I suppose they are right the way things are nowadays. I'm afraid I don't have an substantial experience of blogs, or any action research material to offer. It's sad really, but that's how things are right now. I am hoping to take the position of school adviser, you know some kind of school inspector, for the area of EFL advisor in the schools of the Ionian Islands. If that happens I'll try to convince the teachers of English to introduce ICT in their classes and do some action research as well. In that case there will be a site with all the material gleaned from the whole project. I'll keep my fingers crossed."

My Comments: Damianos has experienced problems that are all too common in ELT. Fortunately, as people become more accustomed to using computers as part of their daily life, I'm sure that there will be greater acceptance of this kind of ambitios project.

It's interesting to see how teachers in the USA seem to have far less problems encouraging their students to use weblogs. etc as part of the curriculum (see some of the example sites listed below) - I guess that is because computers and the Internet have been more a part of their life for longer, and are probably in more schools than in other parts of the world. In some ways, it gives hope for the future to those of us who are interested in integrating ICT into our curriculum.

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