Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reflections on my distance courses in Amazonas

The semester came to the end and I keep in my heart the sweetest memories of Amazonas, a hidden treasure in the southern part of Venezuela. I am so sorry for not having had the facilities to introduce Web tools to my students. It would have been wonderful to have an intercultural exchange as I had dreamt of, but it was not possible this time.

The 'nucleo' -as it is usualled called- has a computer lab for the students, but just a few computers work properly. They are not enough for the number of students we usually have per course. There isn't a lab technician either who can open the lab everyday and provide maintenance to the equipments. If that is not enough, there is no broad band available. We spend years trying to download a Web page. I wondered if my students could work from a cyber then, but we can rarely find one.

Some of my students had basic knowledge on how to use the email, but some of them didn't even have an email account, which was a real limitation to use Internet resources or Web tools. Knwon the context, I decided to create three Yahoo Groups, one for each course, instead of using the Moodle platform. I was happy because many students joined the groups, but I wondered why they almost never replied to my messages. I discovered later that there was always a student in each group who read the messages and kept his/her classmates informed. Uhmm, a good strategy for them indeed, but not for me. :-))

Here are some pictures taken during my first trip:

Second trip:

For my second visit, we used the lab. We had a computer with a video beam. Great!!!!!! I could show my blog to the students and had them to read short posts in English. I used my own posts to make some exercises and evaluate reading comprehension. It was a challenge for them, but they enjoyed it. They also saw themselves in my Flickr pictures and were very excited.

As some of you already know, I am photo fan, so I took advantage of every moment and catch what I consider interesting, attractive, beautiful or exciting. Look at these pics I took from the plane, during the workshops with my students, at Amazonas Hotel, and a beautiful 'amazonense' sunset.

Third trip:

For my third visit, I couldn't use the lab. Unfortunately, my visits to Puerto Ayacucho were too short. My time was limited and I had to focus on the basic content for assessments. I'd wish I had more time to offer them a complete training on Web tools. I'm sure they would have enjoyed it.

On my way to the airport, Professor Miroslava Azavache took me to a beautiful place called 'Raudales de Atures'. It is a gorgeous place every Venezuelan should visit. Here are some pictures:

Definitively, it was a great experience to be back in Amazonas and feel again that kindness and love Amazonense people give to us. Thank you very much! I will miss you.

Here are some pictures I took during my last trip. Enjoy them!

Teacher Evelyn

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