Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

September 22, 2011

Can educators in the 21st Century be content experts, but media illiterate and still be relevant?

#Edchat 09 – 20 – 2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Unfortunately I was unable to make this week’s edchat so I cannot speak from personal experience, but judging by this summary, it seems to have been another fantastic event! Thank you to Sarah Fudin @USCTeacher for this very insightful precis of a topic that must surely make us all stop and think. Sarah has also provided the two videos which add great weight to her thoughts on the discussion. You can find out more about Sarah in her bio at the end of the summary.  

 The Chat:

In general, I’d say that 21st Century educators first need to be content experts and second need to be media literate to be relevant to their students.  That being said, not all great educators are media literacy experts, but they should be cognisant enough that their lessons are relevant and up to speed.  We can’t expect students to use media correctly if as educators we’re not willing to jump in and learn, share and collaborate with our personal learning network.


These were the main points covered in the discussion:   

  • Content experts are a necessity, but there is no excuse to be media illiterate
  • Let students be your guidance if you need help with technology
  • “Media Literate” means willing to learn continuously about tech
  • Using new tools is necessary — new learners have new tools
  • Media savviness doesn’t necessarily mean great teacher
  • Content knowledge is a necessity to evaluate the quality of sources
  • Must remember that many teachers are in different places regarding their tech knowledge — differentiating support is necessary
  • How do Schools of Ed play into this?  What’s their responsibility?


These were a few tweets that caught my eye:   

  1. @cybraryman1: The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. #edchat
  2. @drdouggreen: teachers should be experts in their subject matter, but that doesn’t mean they should forget the tech #edchat
  3. @SamGliksman: How long will it even remain possible these days to become a content expert without connecting and using media? #edchat
  4. @tomwhitby: How we teach often reflects how we learn. New learners have new tools. Many teachers learned & teach with old tools. #edchat
  5. @J_Bednar: Being a content expert without media literacy is like being a cooking expert but only in raw cuisine. #edchat
  6. @cybraryman1: The key is that we all have to be lifelong learners, not afraid to make mistakes and to try new things (like tech to enhance lrng) #edchat
  7. @QZLPatriotHawk: We hv 2 remember that many tchers r @ different spots in their tech knowledge & need differentiated support #edchat
  8. @TenMarks: RT @CriticalSkills1: @cybraryman1 It’s not about a “tech in ed” course, it’s about showing how to use tech when it’s the right tool for the job #edchat
  9. @jheil65: Technology needs to be the medium of education, not an appendage! #edchat
  10. @murriza: I think it’s all about trial and error. You check out a new tool. Plan how to use it in your lessons and see if works #edchat
  11. @suzemuse: My college has some gr8 success with our Yammer network. 360 teachers & staff interacting & learning from each other. #edchat


To follow the complete discussion see here

 These were useful links shared:   

  1. Student Blogging Resources: http://mrspripp.blogspot.com/2011/09/student-blogging-resources-to-get-you.html
  2. Web 2.0 Tools for Math Educators: http://missnoor.visibli.com/share/rXY1Pn
  3. New Media Literacies (video): http://community.learningobjects.com/Users/Nancy.Rubin/Objects_of_Interest/2011/07/The_New_Media_Literacies#.Tni7cvL1uLs.twitter
  4. Modeling Tech use for Students: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/20-ways-model-technology-students-heather-wolpert-gawron?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EdutopiaNewContent+%28Edutopia%29
  5. On Teacher Development: http://www.edutopia.org/teacher-development-introduction
  6. Banned Website Awareness Day: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslissues/bwad/bwad.cfm?utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=AdLit.org


I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:    

Is it practical to have state standards for testing?  Should standards be nationalized? Should testing even exist?

Sarah Fudin is a Community Manager for the University of Southern California’s Master of Arts in Teaching program, which provides aspiring teachers the opportunity to earn an MAT degree and teaching credential online.  USC also partners with Teacher Certification Map to offer information on teacher salary by state.  Outside of work Sarah enjoys running, reading and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!

September 9, 2011

Learning English needs a lot of stamina!

Taking your English language skills to great heights requires strength!

  • Strength of character
  • Strength of mind
  • Strength of body

Learning ANY language is not for the faint-hearted, it takes time and dedication. There are ups, downs and plateaux, there’s despair and frustration and seemingly endless lists to learn!  As soon as you reach one peak you see others looming in the distance and you just know that you have to pick up your grammar book and dictionary, put your best foot forward, grit your teeth and plod on.

So why bother?

Why put yourself through all that work? You can muddle through with the English level you have already or you can use an interpreter or a translator, people who are clearly experts in this area and can do a better job than you can.

Or can they?

Notice the word – interpret – this gives room for paraphrase, for interpretation would this still be YOUR message? Interpreters are certainly experts in what is a very difficult job requiring lots of training but if you are presenting YOUR product or service, or conducting YOUR  meeting with a potential client or looking to move higher in YOUR career,  it is YOUR message that is important. Remember, people buy from and relate to YOU, not someone else trying to deliver you!

So is it worth the effort? Yes, of course it is – just as you would spend time on other aspects of your work and career your English has to be part of that mix. If you have a dream for your work and your future and English is a part of that dream then you have to be prepared to do whatever it takes to get the English you really want and this will take stamina and dedication!

How to get English that really shines!

1.  Decide on where you want to be with your English – imagine how it would be if you had really fantastic English skills, make this your ultimate goal.

2.  Decide how far you are away from that goal now and what you need to do to get there – you will probably need to do an assessment for this or find a teacher who can help you.

3.  Decide how much time you can dedicate to improving your skills daily, weekly etc.. and formulate a plan (see my post Setting SMART goals for your English).

4.  Be realistic, if you only have 1 hour a week then it might take some time – doing a bit each day may work better.

5.  Get as much exposure as possible, use the ‘dead’ time during your day to practice (travel time, waiting at the station, before a meeting, in the doctor’s surgery – my Gapfillers site is designed to do exactly that (Gapfillers Latest offers 10/15 minute exercises every day) or read the newspaper, listen to songs, the radio – whatever you are interested in.

6.  Find things that interest you – dedication and graft don’t have to be boring – there is so much English out there and available that you really should choose what is engaging for you.

Doing this alone will not be easy there will be times when you feel like giving up or when you just can’t be bothered or when you feel you can’t make any more progress. It is easier if you have some support from a group of learners with a similar goal or from a mentor or coach. This will spur you on and encourage you to keep moving forwards. A really good coach won’t let you give up even when you feel you want to.

Whether you use a language coach, join a study group or soldier on alone, remember that it is not going to be an easy ride but the rewards are great – keep focused on that mountain top – you can do it!

We have a range of Gapfillers programmes

Total immersion, short, residential courses are held at Fleetham Lodge in Yorkshire in the UK (from a weekend to a month)

Find out more about English language coaching with English Language Mastery

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