Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Contributions of Technology to my Professional Development.

As I reflect on my own beliefs about technology, I totally agree with the impact that web 2.0 tools have on language learning. First of all, I believe firmly in the idea of technology as the most critical component that contributes with reducing distance and time barriers in the educational arena. Nowadays, there is a flood of people who attend classes no matter where their teachers are, thanks to a computer or a mobile phone they are getting closer.
As an ICT Student I have learned in a more conscious way to handle, utilize and disregard some technological tools. At the very beginning, I used to visualize web 2.0 and 3.0 tools as simple tasks that I could include in my daily teaching. In this current ICT setting, the demands, duties and responsibilities of incorporating technology in an EFL classroom often requires more critical thinking skills that I have definitely developed through this ICT in TEFL Course.
It is fair to say that I have acquired so much knowledge about the theory behind every single used tool that I am so proud of speaking properly about what I am doing in my classes and why. Terms such as technogogy, long life learning, critical thinking, RSS, widgets, gadgets, blogs, wiki, podcast, minicast, hashtag, embed, among others, have undoubtedly changed the way I deal with tech vocabulary.
It seems the more I read and use ICT devices, the more I am involved and engaged in learning about them, teaching them to my students with the main purpose of enhancing and fostering a meaningful learning and teaching process, sharing all my knowledge with all of those colleagues that are interested in technology, and last but not least, using technology to educate and havge fun with my daughter. Finally, I have to say that this course has been a wonderful and outstanding experience that has enabled me to change my teaching perspective, motivated me and inspired me to be a better person, a conscious teacher and a new digital literate.


This paper views the promotion of linguistic, cultural and academic sharing through the use of innovative tools such as Google+ and Voicethread as a sense of expanding professional and educational boundaries. Applied to environments of real world firefighting, specifically UMC Volunteer Firefighters in Catia La Mar, Vargas State, as well as some Caribbean Firefighters, this project examines some cultural facets and English as a foreign language (EFL) competences by using Voicethread and Google +. In the former participants will become aware of their own culture, learn to respect cultural diversity and develop some cultural techniques and strategies to contextualize their experiences under the firefighting field. In this context, they will leave comments orally and in written form. In the latter, participants will be provided with a firefighting circle where they will share experiences and materials regarding their professions and will be immersed in oral discussions through Google Hangouts with the purpose of reducing distant and time barriers. Additionally, this paper uses the concepts of learner-centered approach, Intercultural Approach and some tenets stated by Brown (2004) regarding English skills assessment. As final remarks, it can be concluded that this project will contribute to Venezuelan and Caribbean Firefighting community while reshaping linguistic and cultural knowledge.

Descriptors: Culture, EFL, Firefighting, UMC, Voicethread, Google +.