Lo que todo maestro debe practicar y jamás debe olvidar

El éxito en el proceso de enseñanza depende, primeramente, del buen desempeño del maestro. Para un estudiante, un buen maestro es su ejemplo a seguir, es aquel que contribuye con los aprendizajes significativos y sobre todo quién les da la oportunidad de cocrear a partir de lo aprendido. De acuerdo con mi experiencia como maestra de escuela, considero que una práctica efectiva del ejercicio de la educación depende de la implementación de ciertos factores:

 

Planificación

Como maestros debemos comenzar con una planificación adecuada ajustando el contenido que vamos a enseñar según sea el tiempo que tenemos para hacerlo. Cuando el maestro ha planificado su clase hay menos margen de error en la práctica y menos probabilidades de improvisaciones o situaciones que desvíen el objetivo de enseñanza – aprendizaje.

Dominio del contenido

Un maestro que no domina el contenido que va a enseñar es propenso a saboteo. Los estudiantes son nuestros principales jueces y por lo tanto demandan calidad y excelencia. Un estudiante espera que su maestro siempre tenga respuestas a todas sus preguntas y es muy fácil para ellos detectar cuando el maestro no se ha preparado bien. Los estudiantes siempre esperan que sus maestros se manejen como pez en el agua, en especial cuando se trata de temas nuevos para ellos. Es vital investigar y documentarse previamente.

Aplica estrategias divertidas

Este punto merece especial atención cuando se trata de las asignaturas o temas que no gustan tantos a nuestros estudiantes. Una clase divertida despierta el interés por aprender y espanta el sueño y la flojera. Si implementas el juego, las dinámicas de grupo, el uso de la tecnología de manera guiada puedes tener la seguridad de que tendrás estudiantes activos, queriendo intervenir para expresar sus ideas y absorbiendo el conocimiento como esponjitas. También es importante que varíes tus estrategias de enseñanza para evitar un ambiente monótono en tus clases.

Uso adecuado de los recursos

Es importante que los maestros utilicemos recursos para facilitar el proceso de enseñanza – aprendizaje. También es de mucha ayuda variar los recursos que usamos ya que la novedad y la expectativa siempre mantiene despierto el interés en los estudiantes por aprender. Un estudiante que recibe clases novedosas siempre va a querer participar en ellas. Toma en cuenta que a los estudiantes de hoy en día les encanta la tecnología. Implementa el uso de plataformas educativas como Genius Plaza y sus aplicaciones móviles que les permitirán aprender diferentes temas a través de su amplia variedad de libros electrónicos, ejercicios, juegos, etc. Recuerda que debemos tomar en cuenta la cantidad de estudiantes que tenemos en el aula y facilitar una cantidad de recursos que alcance para todos, bien sea individualmente o en grupos.

Acerca tus clases a su realidad

Por ejemplo, si eres un maestro que enseña a niños de una zona rural debes indagar sobre su entorno y ofrecer conocimiento que esté relacionado con su realidad. Recuerdo una de mis primeras experiencias en una zona rural en Venezuela. Tenía que enseñar el tema de los deportes y desarrollé mi clase utilizando un ejemplo sobre el béisbol con nombres de grandes peloteros venezolanos destacados a nivel internacional. Mis estudiantes no entendían quiénes eran esas personas. Estaban callados y extrañados. Al vivir en un sector donde no hay acceso al internet ni a la televisión por cable no tenían conocimiento de estas personalidades. Tuve que detenerme y permitirles a mis estudiantes suministrar ejemplos con nombres de los deportistas que sí conocían y crear juntos las nuevas oraciones.

Aprende de tus estudiantes

Muchas veces como maestros cometemos el error de olvidarnos que el aprendizaje debe ser recíproco. Nosotros, los maestros, somos agentes de enseñanza, pero también debemos permitirles a nuestros estudiantes ser multiplicadores de conocimiento. Debemos mostrar interés por querer aprender de ellos, permitirles hacerlo de la manera más espontánea recordando que cada individuo es diferente y tiene sus propias maneras de aprender y enseñar. Demostrarles a tus estudiantes tu interés por aprender de ellos les brinda seguridad, les hace sentirse orgullosos y capaces de aplicar el nuevo conocimiento fuera de la escuela.

Cuando eres maestro, debes proveer lo mejor de ti porque estás formando a los ciudadanos del mañana, esos que estarán desempeñándose en las distintas áreas profesionales que contribuyen al desarrollo de la sociedad. Enfócate en ofrecer calidad en tus estrategias de enseñanza y alégrate cuando compruebes eso que dicen de que “el alumno supera al maestro”.


Africa’s Revolutionary Educational Market

A History of Change

Africa: a continent with so many natural resources.  The natural richness of Africa makes it impossible to believe this massive continent is home to most of the poorest countries in the world.  Despite the economic and social disparities Africa faces, Africans carry the everlasting spirit of warriors.  These warriors have fought social and economic injustice, and their culture is rooted in the stories of African slave trade, Apartheid, and the decolonization of African countries.  During my visit at @InnovationAfric, Africa’s Ministerial Official Summit, it was apparent that the diaspora is still fighting the same injustices of the past.  

At the Innovation Africa Summit, decolonization is apparent in the faces of the people in power.  It was amazing to me that 99% of African ministers are of African descent.  But the fight did not stop when Africans were placed in power; the fight continues through the messages delivered at the summit’s panels.  There was one clear message that resonated with me after sitting in some of the panels: “Education has the power to change social and economic injustice.”  This message is the reason I studied education in college.  I was delighted to share this message with the African people, and I felt empowered to join them on the journey to change education in Africa.

 

 

Learning about Africa’s Challenges

As one of Genius Plaza’s representatives, I was on a mission to find out what part Genius Plaza can play in Africa’s educational revolution.  Unesco estimates between 30-70 million children are without access to education.  They also reported between 40 and 90% of schools – depending on their location in Africa – don’t have access to internet, technology, and resources (books, decolonized literature).  So the question that arose was, how does an educational technology company help countries with such challenges?

 

Genius Plaza’s Role in Changing Education

Below, I listed some ways educational technology companies can help Africa’s educational revolution.  The first area where Genius Plaza can help is in providing good quality, culturally relevant resources (eBooks, games, videos, exercises) to each unique country in Africa.  Genius Plaza has provided their users with a game-changing tool called “Re-teach.”  Teachers and students from around the world are empowered to create content unique to the user.  Re-teach can help in the decolonization process, because it gives people tools to tell their stories using their personal experiences, culture, and mother tongues.  

For example, Uganda’s representative, Okaka Opio Bokotum, also an Associate Professor at Lira University in Uganda, shared with us his country’s fight and struggle for decolonization.  During the summit, I noticed most African representatives have a common problem – truly teaching their students how to become bilingual.  In most African countries, students are taught in their mother tongue until the first grade.  In the second and third grade, students begin learning in the national languages (English, Portuguese, French), which vary from country to country.  It is a struggle to raise bilingual students because there aren’t many resources created in their mother tongues, making it difficult for teachers to show students the value of learning, using, and celebrating their native language.  Professor Okaka expressed this same concern.  He was delighted to learn how Genius Plaza’s Re-teach tool can be used to show students the value of their mother tongue.  With Genius Plaza, Uganda can begin creating resources (eBooks, videos, exercises, games) in fifty-two different languages. This is truly revolutionary – it can change how Africans see themselves, their cultures, and it can change how the rest of the world sees and what the rest of the world knows about Africa.  

Secondly, providing African schools with access to Genius Plaza platform and apps.  By developing an offline platform and apps, we can welcome students from around the world access to good quality resources, regardless of internet access.

Lastly, working closely and building relationships with governments and ministers to help provide funding for schools, internet, and technology for schools that still need it.

The time for change is now!  Africa is a market looking for revolutionary change to allow their future children to compete with the rest of the world.

Africa

 


Education-related News Updates and Resources September 8, 2017

One of the top education stories this week was about the administration’s decision regarding DACA.  Here you will find some information on what it currently means for Dreamers.  The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials is providing real-time bilingual (English and Spanish) information by calling a free hotline 844-411-DACA (3222).  There has been bipartisan support for Dreamers, including five former secretaries of education and extensive coverage on the issue, and this teacher-focused story. Our CEO issued a statement earlier this week.

This hurricane season is also driving the headlines, with ongoing coverage about Harvey’s impact.  We shared some free teaching resources on our blog yesterday.  We continued seeing stories regarding the impact of Harvey.  Some schools in South Florida closed Thursday and Friday, but stayed open in Central Florida.

We followed other stories related to EdTech, teaching methods, and education in general.  Our didactic teaching method ensures students become protagonists of their own learning; we found this story very interesting.

This week on our blog, we had our first guest blogger, Gianny Liranzo.  The post, which is in Spanish, posed the question, “Is intelligence what is most important to achieve success?” Read it here

One of our favorite stories this week was this one from The Orange County Register: “70 migrant farmworkers earn high school certificates in Cal State Fullerton program.”

What stories in this space are you following?


Teaching Resources About Hurricanes

Recently, we wrote about Hurricane Harvey, and as Florida and other parts of the country brace for Irma, some of our educators and students have begun working on resources to teach about hurricanes.

 

Jacki Schenk, who leads our science efforts, worked with our Learning Success Associate Lita Benson to create this video to discuss hurricanes.

 

We had some students create content like this video in English and Spanish, this vocabulary set, this hangman game and this eBook.

 

We found some helpful resources, including this from Save the Children, and this from the CDC in Spanish.  We also had shared this from the New York Times.

 

How do you engage and talk to students about current events and natural disasters?  We would love to hear.

 

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Recursos para Maestros Sobre Huracanes

Recientemente hemos escrito sobre Harvey, y cómo Florida y otras partes del país se preparan para Irma, algunos de nuestros educadores y estudiantes comenzaron a trabajar en recursos para enseñar sobre los huracanes.

 

Jacki Schenk, quien dirige nuestros esfuerzos científicos, trabajó con nuestra asociada de éxito del aprendizaje Lita Benson, para crear este video que habla de los huracanes.

 

Tuvimos algunos estudiantes creando contenido , como este video en inglés y español, este set de vocabulario y este libro electrónico.

 

También encontramos algunos recursos útiles, incluyendo este de Save the Children en inglés y este del Centro de Enfermedades Contagiosas (Communicable Disease Center, CDC por sus siglas en inglés). También ya hemos compartido esto desde el New York Times.

 

¿Cómo se involucran y hablan con los estudiantes sobre sucesos actuales y desastres naturales? Nos encantaría escuchar.

 


Genius Plaza Statement on DACA/La posición de Genius Plaza sobre DACA

The contributions of Dreamers to this country are not in question.  That is why today, we are speaking up for these young leaders, and expressing our dismay and disappointment over the announcement by the administration of the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program.  As stated in the open letter by tech leaders and entrepreneurs, “Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs.”

Genius Plaza is a social impact, education startup that is being built on the values of diversity and access. Many on our team – including myself – are immigrants who have been inspired by the dedication, perseverance, and passion of Dreamers.  Today we join others in calling on Congress to take immediate action and protect the close to 800,000 hard-working young leaders who are contributing to our country and economy by passing the DREAM Act.

Ana Roca Castro

Founder & CEO

Genius Plaza


Las contribuciones de los Soñadores a este país no están en cuestión. Es por eso que hoy estamos hablando a favor de estos jóvenes líderes y expresando nuestra consternación y decepción por el anuncio por parte de la administración del fin del programa Acción Diferida (DACA). Como se afirma en la carta abierta de los líderes tecnológicos y empresarios, “Los soñadores son vitales para el futuro de nuestras empresas y nuestra economía. Con ellos, crecemos y creamos empleos “.

Genius Plaza tiene valores de impacto social que se está basada en los valores de la diversidad y el acceso. Muchos en nuestro equipo, incluyendo a mí misma, son inmigrantes que se han inspirado en la dedicación, perseverancia y pasión de los Soñadores. Hoy nos unimos a otros para pedir al Congreso que tome medidas inmediatas y proteja a cerca de 800.000 jóvenes líderes que trabajan duro y que están contribuyendo a nuestro país y a la economía al aprobar la Ley DREAM.

 

Ana Roca Castro

Fundadora y Jefe Ejecutiva

Genius Plaza


Education-related News Updates and Resources September 1, 2017

Today’s news updates will focus on Hurricane Harvey as well as general education and EdTech news.

Hurricane Harvey

Yesterday in our blog we shared this Newsweek story about the impact of Hurricane Harvey. In fact, according to Education Week, more than one million students are impacted. The New York Times shared a great resource for teaching about Hurricane Harvey, which can be found here.

Hurricane Harvey

We also have been inspired by schools and others coming together to support Harvey victims. This story from Missouri and this Facebook group we previously mentioned talk about helping to  adopt classrooms and helping impacted teachers.

As we shared yesterday as well, some of our colleagues are supporting Save The Children. Learn more here.

EdTech News

Today we also want to share additional updates. Here is a link to a story focused on the top five EdTech trends.

EdTech News

Another topic we continue to hear about is student privacy. Read more here.

Thank you for reading our blog! This month our most-read blog post was the letter to kindergarten parents, followed by the post on reteaching. We invite you to read both if you have not.

 


#HurricaneHarvey Relief Efforts

Harvey Recovery

Today we want to dedicate our blog to focus on  #HurricaneHarvey relief efforts with a focus on education.  We have seen many heroes during this very difficult time and have been inspired to see how people –  from local businesses, NFL stars, celebrities, to teachers – are coming together.

Hurricane Harvey’s Relief Efforts for Education

As we look at these efforts, we can’t forget that school districts across Texas and Louisiana are managing major issues as students prepare to head back to school.  As this Newsweek article points out, schools are going to face many challenges, including delays.  These districts, including Houston ISD, Corpus Christi ISD, and many others had to act quickly, and are providing critical support in various ways, including keeping their communities informed.  One example of this is Houston ISD providing updates via their blog.  These districts are also providing updates via social media.  Houston ISD announced that all students will be able to receive three free meals per day this school year and Corpus Christi ISD shared guidelines on how PTAs can provide support.

Efforts to Help Schools

There are many efforts focused on education.  One that caught our attention is the “Hurricane Harvey Teachers in Need” Facebook group, in which teachers are coming together to adopt classrooms. We also are seeing organizations such as our partner ALAS raising funds in support of these communities.

Celebrating Everyday Heroes

We commend everyone coming together, including many of our employees who are supporting Save the Children

If you know of any other efforts to help schools or kids, please share in the comments section below. Also join us in thanking the first responders, individuals, teachers, administrators, groups, and businesses that are providing critical support.

 


Building diversity into your hiring process

I once worked with a manager who would only interview candidates who graduated from his prestigious alma-mater. He ended up with a team of brilliant, but similar-minded clones, who knew all the same processes and techniques, having studied under the same professors. This led to an increase in immediate productivity as everyone knew how to follow the current procedures, but when it came time to brainstorm new ideas: dead silence.

The team fell into a niche, and when new objectives arrived, and technologies changed, the team couldn’t break out of their comfort zone. They went from being a high performing team, to a dead weight in their department that struggled to adapt. The company lost hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars trying to reprogram and restructure the department.

Subjectivity in the hiring process can lead to an increase in uniformity among teams, which has been proven to decrease creativity and lead to lower long-term performance.

Focusing extra attention on bringing in a diverse workforce can lead to long-term financial performance, and yet we find that companies often struggle to reflect this in their hiring practices.

How can you change your hiring processes to embrace, and even seek-out teammates of different skillsets, thought processes, and backgrounds? Here are some tips from our team at Genius Plaza:

Structure the “culture fit” conversation: Positivity, eagerness for the job, alignment with the company mission, experience working in similar environments. Culture fit is crucial in the hiring process and each individual success. Use these and similar factors that are based on solid criteria for evaluating the candidate, instead of “does (s)he feel right for us” or “does the team like this person.”

Blind-review of applications: Have your HR or Recruiting team present candidate applications without names or locations attached, to ensure each candidate is reviewed objectively.

Embrace relocation: Don’t eliminate candidates who are not in the area, if they make clear they will relocate. It may add some additional time to their start date, but they are bringing a new perspective and ideas with them. With the average cost of replacing a low performer landing in the thousands of dollars, it can be worth it to pay a bit more up-front to bring someone from afar.

Diversity job boards: Utilize job boards that focus on hiring women, veterans, or diverse candidates, to turn your applicant flow into a more reflective pool of the population. Big-name job boards may land you hundreds of applicants, but every recruiter knows that one strong candidate is worth a hundred mediocre ones. Our CEO Ana Roca Castro likes to remind us that recruitment of diverse candidates sometimes may be tough, so you need to look harder.

Work with International Students: Working directly with colleges can help find fantastic international students for Internship and Co-Op positions, or during their authorized practical training period after graduation (for F-1 visa students).

At Genius Plaza diversity is one of our core values. We are proud of our record and recognize we need to continue to make diversity and inclusion a priority each and every day. For us it is part of our corporate culture, a competitive advantage that drives innovation and allows us to better serve educators and students.

 

-Scott Kattrein

Talent Manager at Genius Plaza


TCEA17: The Rising Wave of EdTech

This year we sponsored the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Conference in Austin Texas, and we could not be prouder. This five-day conference included professional development, presentations, workshops, and an Expo, where we at Genius Plaza demonstrated our culturally relevant, personalized learning teaching platform. We received a very warm welcome and met 300+ educators who were diligently seeking better ways to implement digital based learning in their classrooms. Most importantly, they inspired us! The enthusiasm for technology-based education was well represented with a range of educator specialties in attendance. Attendees learned how school technology leaders are innovating their classrooms from the more than 900 presentations. We spoke with:  
  • Technology Coordinators
  • District Administrators
  • Librarians
  • Media Specialist
  • Instructional and Curriculum Leaders
At our booth, no educator left without a tech tool or free resource trial! We believe that to democratize education, we must lead the way and provide the tools and resources for every classroom to succeed. Watch the clip below with highlights from this year’s conference: Technology has the power to innovate, and disrupt, every industry. We at Genius Plaza are firm believers that the next generation will take tech tools into a brand-new workforce. Schools are evolving  to reflect the 21st Century jobs our students will join and TCEA was a great event in which we met many who share our vision. Technology in the classroom is shifting from prior notions these tools are "distractions" or "extras." Genius Plaza is devoted to building educational resources that work for our community of educators, while elevating the teaching and learning experience. We invite you to join our community on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram,LinkedIn or fill out the form below to receive our free newsletter. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; }
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Culturally Relevant, Personalized Learning Matters

Culturally Relevant, Personalized Learning Matters:                         

  If you have been following us, you know that we are a group of social entrepreneurs who believe that education is the only sustainable equalizer. Three years ago we began a journey to ignite the genius of every learner by creating an education platform dedicated to democratizing education.  

Genius Plaza, formerly called PreK12 Plaza, provides teachers, parents, and students with engaging, practical, and research-based curricula. Our results-driven team is committed to providing access to quality education for all students as a gateway to opportunity, especially for the most underserved. Our platform brings parents back in the picture by empowering families to help their children learn.

Genius Plaza’s didactic method puts the student as the central figure of their learning:

  • Learn: students learn in class or at home using the Genius Plaza personalized learning approach and resources.
  • Reflect: every learning experience has an opportunity for reflection and review.
  • Re-teach: students become the protagonists of their learning journey when they are able to re-teach what they have learned using our co-creation tools.
  • Peer review: each student takes ownership
  • of the lesson by reviewing, improving, and enhancing each other’s work.

I am extremely proud that Genius Plaza is the first multicultural education platform created to serve all communities and built by a diverse group of educators, programmers, designers, and leaders with a shared mission.

 

We invite you to join us and give the gift of learning. Please share your feedback and create content as we continue to build a learning, global community by igniting the genius in every child.

Ana Roca Castro