Congratulations are in order for Peter Skeris who teaches in Mississauga, Ontario at one of the five GTA sites of PICS (Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services) http://www.polycultural.org/. Peter is the first graduate of LearnIT2teach Stage 4 training. He is also the first teacher to receive certification in Stage 4 from TESL Ontario under the Post TESL Certification Framework. To learn a little more about Peter’s experience of the training stages and the future he sees for the courseware, read on:
I.: Peter, tell us about your experiences with doing Stage 4 of LearnIT2Teach.
P.: Once I had done Stage 3 without too much effort, it was a logical conclusion for me to complete the course and get a better idea how interactive online activities are put together. Stage 4 took considerably more time to complete but it was rewarding in that it enabled me to construct e-activities of my own liking.
I.: Do you have any tips for prospective learners?
P.: For me the instructional videos worked best. I would open them in a window along my current assignment and toggle between them to double check the next step. I hope an FAQ file will be added with the questions and answers I got from my mentor as I was dealing with particular problems. Otherwise, I would stick to the steps included in Stage 4 that lead with minimum time input towards a completion of the requirements of the course. I kind of got carried away with embedding audio and video files in the quizzes, that were not required at this point, and that took quite a bit of time before I figured out how to synchronize various programs that had to work together in that task.
I.: What benefits do you see for yourself in having completed Stage 4?
P.: The immediate reward is the “aha” feeling of having been behind the scenes and having seen the inner workings of an interactive online task. The practical benefits for me came already after Stage 2 and 3, when I got the idea how to use a repertoire of e-activities developed for this project. They have been moved to the new repository, Tutela, and are available for anyone who has acquired the basic skills of presenting them to the students.
I.: How do you see the future of e-activities developed by the LearnIT2Teach team?
P.: I appreciate very much the work that has gone into developing these activities. Now I have a first hand experience of the whole process. I imagine that ever growing numbers of teachers in the PD who will have completed the course will want to contribute to the repository and in that way will facilitate their job in the future and enrich the learning experience of the students. That cooperative effect might make it worthwhile the initial effort that goes into mastering the Moodle program.
I.: Any additional thoughts about Moodle?
P.: Today I Googled the Moodle history and found out that its founder grew up in a remote Australian outback, where the closest school was one thousand kilometers away. He had to communicate by radio with it, to be able to follow the program. That experience got him into developing Moodle, a program to enable distance learning. Today more than 5 million users rely on it. For our institution, I see it being of great help for developing hybrid courses, whereby students interact between themselves and the teacher, in the class and beyond it. It could be of even greater use for all those who have limited access to classes either due to gainful employment, a family situation, or other limitations.