It's been weeks since my return from Morocco, impressions have settled down a bit so it's time to pour some of them out of my head and onto the web. :-)
It was an amazing experience - 430 people from 53 countries of the world - the north, the south, the east, the west - the young, and the young at heart. In blue jeans, in national costumes. Waving flags, playing music, singing songs, dancing, sharing experience, connecting.
And there were Webheads too! :-) Isabel, Nour Eddine, Mbarek and Claudia. We set aside a few hours for lunch one day, they flew with the speed of light. Such nice people! Such great moments! Nour Eddine is an amazing organizer - thinking of 200 things at the same time, always helpful, always with a smile on his face...
The Moroccans hospitality and thoughtfullness made sure everybody felt at home in Ifrane. They were so considerate all the time. Nour Eddine and Mbarek and Othmane and Said and Latife and Youssef and Aziz and Mohamed and... all those Morocccan boys and girls who were always there for us. I'll never forget it. I've learned so much from them. Of life in the desert. Of online learning. Of enjoying teaching. Of islam. Of diversity. Of respect. Of tolerance. Of perseverance.
It was also cool to get to know Slovene iEARN team - Alenka and Darja and Nives and Dušan and Gregor. It's funny to get to know colleagues from a town an hour away from yours.... in Africa! And learn there about what they do back home... an hour away from mine... :-).
I was really impressed by Darja's presentation - she did so many cool things with her young learners - collaborations, exchanges, performances, videos, you name it!
And Dušan's part was fun too - he uses delayed video in his physical education classes to show kids the mistakes they do when playing basketball or volleyball or performing certain moves. Image is worth a thousand words and video saves repeating Dušan all those thousands of words again and again. Judging from what I've seen on those videos Dušan showed, kids seem to really like checking a recording of themselves working on a task.
Gregor's part was interesting because it was an overview of introduction of Moodle in Slovene primary and secondary schools. I was part of an early phase of this programme too some 4 years ago. Together with a bunch of other colleagues we were walked through the Moodle basics - the technical part. I was fascinated by Moodle from the start, still use it today - partly because I have to, it's school policy, and partly because I still like it ok - in combination with other web based services it makes a cosy cyberspace. Gregor's overview of introduction of Moodle was top down, so it was nice to gain some broader insight into this national project. Being a teacher and a Moodler I find it interesting to observe mixed first responses of my colleagues - many see value in Moodle and play with it - many seem to feel the need for more pedagogy - technology is cool, but it needs to serve the purpose. Another issue is time... seems to kind of fly faster in cyberspace, and this is a problem for a busy teacher. People grab things that help them save some time... not so much things that take more of their time. ... but through this moodle project teachers are getting familiar with this cms, support communities are developing, and online learning is emerging. All in all I think this Moodle thing has been a huge project making a difference not just on paper but also in Slovene schools.