Thursday, 4 October 2007

New projects

One fifth of our new school year is already over, and we are in the middle of our first hectic exam week. What's more, I have spent the beginning of the school year wrapping up last year's Asia-Europe projects, and now I can finally sigh with relief when both of them have their websites online. Pheww!
This is the phase that I don't particularly enjoy about school projects. It's been battle after battle with our ICT department to first get online platforms (eg. Moodle) that give non-ICT-expert teachers, like myself, the independence to manage a project online. But still, when it comes to publishing the results at the end, there is nobody at school to help poor me compile even a simple website. You could say that I should learn to do it myself - perhaps so, it has crossed my mind, but where to find the time???? Or others wonder why I don't make my students do it. If you don't know the Finnish school system, you can't understand how an English teacher simply can't use limited classtime for students to create webpages. And our students are too busy anyway to do anything like this in their own time - I simply haven't got the means to offer them tempting enough perks! Certainly it all boils down to money - Finnish schools don't employ anyone to be the all-round ICT person to allow teachers to do things. Instead, as someone once blurted out, many of them act like the matrons of Finnish farms 100 years ago with a big bundle of keys clinging from their belt that allowed only them access to anything valuable.
My solution to this irritating situation has been to bother ICT-skilled friends and relatives, who have been ever so helpful! Thanks to them our Mastering Media film project info is now on our school website. It's simply one front page and then the results of the project as a downloadable PowerPoint presentation. If I had the skills I would have done something different, but this will have to do. At least all our foreign partners can easily download the PowerPoint if they need to present the project anywhere.
The other AEC-NET project I coordinated last year together with my Malaysian colleague Noni, was the Peace Project. For its website I was totally left to my own devices, and then compiled the pages on Wikispaces. Hard work it was. as the wiki didn't want to perform what I thought I'd told it to perform. What frustration!!! But I persevered! Naturally, I now realize that the whole project should have been done cooperatively on Wikispaces by all the participants. Wish I'd known about Wikispaces a year ago!!
Now I'm working on Asia-Europe project ideas for this year, and will probably try a new wiki approach. Wish me luck and any good tips and ideas are more than welcome!

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