"Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world" Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, 5 February 2014


Hello T8T, hello to everyone who will read our blog!

This is Ana Sánchez, the Analyst during T8T first week, and this one is my first entry in the blog and it’s very exciting!  I have waited until the end to post it and I hope you’re not too worried about the analyst’s mission… 

Evaluation is something that sounds exam-like, but this is not the point of my job. At least I haven´t approach my task in this way!

This week I have been thinking a lot of my role, it seems to be not the coolest one. I have had to manage to assess our week work together and to evaluate team members, including myself. 

Aiming high is something we must do, I would like our job to be a quality one (and so do my team mates). But this is something that cannot be done without reflecting on things that aren’t working so far or without being aware of our virtues or strengths, in order to be able to reinforce these ones and to change those other ones.  To clarify all these points and to know what to take into consideration I have had a look to some pages about team work which links can be found in our beautiful GroupTree, and that belong to the universities of Carnegie Mellon, Waterloo and Kent (thanks for such useful materials!). The resources include some questionnaires for the self and teamwork assessment that have been past to the different members of the group.

After analyzing the results of the questionnaires, I can say that, in general, it´s been hard to reflect on our own strengths and it seems to me that we are a little bit scared of thinking of our weaknesses. In addition to this, it is hard to appropriately share this kind of knowledge about ourselves and about our team members. Something else that is important is that we don´t know each other as much, lots of us haven´t been working together before, and it´s only our first week as T8T members! I hope that we can get to know each other and we can take advantage of the great and different qualities we all have!

We all agree that we have to improve our teamwork organization, even though our facilitators did their job as they had to, they faced the more difficult bit of a group development: the beginnings! It was difficult to arrange the task because there were some general misunderstandings about the aim of the activity and in some bits our approach was wrong and we had to restart the task.  These moments were the worst ones for the group: the confusion about the instructions given by the different teachers in addition to our lack of training in the new working methods, ignorance about the content (TPACK framework), and the difficulty of having to apply some new technological software (I have to say that this blog it´s still a little bit scary for me, I´m afraid…). But all this has given us some kind of personal experience on the difficulties of applying TPACK model. We now think that, in some way, we have been experiencing it (of course, in a low level, but somehow we feel as we have been “living the TPACK model”). And that´s related to the best part of the task: to share what we had understood (after finishing the first frightening presentation) and to realize about the different ways of interpreting it and of performing it!  We really enjoyed the experience.

After this first week we have realized that we must work harder, that we have to make sure that we have understood the task and that we have to start contributing to it as soon as it is explain to us.  Because there are 8 of us, it´s difficult to work together, listen to each other and take into account each other opinions, but we have to continue what we have started, this kind of group brainstorming. I think that everyone was quite available for helping with the task, some members more than others because it was their personal strength; it´s something positive that we have to reinforce. On the other hand, we have to improve the balance between to carry with the team task, at the same time that we develop our personal one, our team roles! But it´s so difficult to be equitable when delivering (or assuming) the jobs, when we don´t really know how much time every task can takes us! 

As students of Primary Education Teaching, we consider that the reflection on the TPACK model is going to make us appreciate a little bit more hard content subjects and more pedagogical ones, coupled with that it reminds us how useful technologies can be for improving understanding and for communicating the knowledge. We have been reflecting on all the different subjects we had studied so far, and even if any of them can be presented as a balance between the three core domains of the TPACK model, them all are contributing to built a complete knowledge in our formation as teachers. Moreover, luckily for us, some subjects even try to help us to integrate these three core domains, and we are experiencing that it is NOT that easy. What do you prefer, I ask myself, to be a cool teacher using lots of new resources, making lessons fun and connected to your student´s daily life… or being a teacher who loves its subject, who has a comprehensive knowledge of it and try to make it accessible to students, even if it is not so keen on new technologies? And why do I have to choose? – can someone ask itself. Well, it is not that you have to, I rather prefer to have all the qualities, but to master just a subject content requires such a huge compromise, that I cannot avoid considering it; at the same time that I hope we all find the way to strike a balance!

As a final reflection, we think that the TPACK model can be connected with the emergence to the competences in the curriculum, the realization of that it is necessary to step further in the teaching-and-learning process: the teaching of the different contents, procedures, skills and attitudes must be integrated somehow considering the different context where the teaching-learning process develops.
We could continue reflecting on these themes, but we will wait until we enrich our knowledge! We ask for forgiveness for the mistakes we have made, specially the related to the content! And thanks for reading us!

Ana Mª Sánchez, The Analyst.

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