“Dare to use media and technology. Communicate with your peers in education and their students and create alliances with other innovative teachers, nationally and internationally.” – Walter Marin, Colombia

Walter Marin knows just how much collaboration can mean to a successful classroom. He sees it every day when his students use Mouse Mischief or Kodu, and he sees the difference it has made in his role as the head of ICT education. “With the rise of media and technologies, it is necessary to determine the applications that are relevant and viable in the classroom,” says Marin. “Perhaps even more important is to work in collaboration.”

Marin also collaborates with his peers through many different weblogs, where he and his international colleagues exchange resources, materials and school productions. He also involves his students in these discussions. Students of different grades build virtual spaces supported by tools like Windows Live Movie Maker, AutoCollage, Audacity and Pivot, among others. But perhaps most important in Marin’s toolbox is Mouse Mischief. In fact, Marin has created a work and research group on Facebook specifically about collaborating with Kodu and Mouse Mischief (“Colaborando con Mouse Mischief”).

“With Mouse Mischief, I can arouse the curiosity of students by incorporating interactive technology into the curriculum,” says Marin. “You can implement collaborative learning with Mouse Mischief in team mode; in this way, all team members must work together to reach an agreement before selecting an answer.” Marin has found Mouse Mischief has improved classroom management and student participation overall. “Mouse Mischief helps all students, including those who often remain silent, who now participate without the fear of giving a wrong answer,” adds Marin. “This gives you better visibility of progress and understanding of the entire class, so you can tailor your lessons on the fly.

Marin won several local awards for his “Application of ICT as a teaching tool in the classroom” project, which allowed him to be invited to the International Meeting of Educational Innovation held in Panama City in October, 2011. He was then selected to represent Colombia at the 2011 Microsoft Partners in Leaning Innovative Teachers Forum in Washington, D.C., and also attended the 2012 Partners in Learning LATAM Education Global Forum.

Today, Marin shares his philosophy on new technologies and why collaboration is so important to his students, and to his teaching.

Can you describe how your professional achievements have advanced innovation in education?

I am always looking for more and better resources to innovate in the classroom. I constantly look to build partnerships with peers and education professionals, create collaborative work groups, and have the permanent support of the institution’s board. The most important thing is the desire to make things better than they are today. I do a lot of research by using cutting-edge technology.

What has changed as a result of your efforts?

The attitude of participants – meaning students – and the way that everything is produced in the classroom. I am always mindful of the use and appropriation of media and technologies. We also now have a better use of virtual resources and environments, communities, and, in general, greater productivity in the classroom. Microsoft has been immensely helpful; Mouse Mischief, AutoCollage and Kodu are among the many other resources offered by Microsoft Live. I have seen more autonomy in carrying out pedagogical tasks and commitments. It is important to take into consideration the partnerships, conferences and the support of Microsoft to teachers worldwide.

How can others facing similar challenges implement what you’ve learned through your work?

They can do it by working collaboratively around the world with innovative teachers.

How have you applied technology in innovative ways to support your work?

I applied technology by developing school projects in an interdisciplinary and collaborative way, always focused on the use of media and technologies according to what is appropriate and contextualized at the time. Our state motto, in this sense, is: “Healthy Internet… Be Healthy…”

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome to ensure students are receiving a quality education?

Connectivity.

What conditions must change in your country to better support education?

Training teachers in the appropriate use of media and technologies. We must address obsolete ideologies by introducing the advantages of technology, information and communications applied to education, and we must employ peer coaching in the use of technology and networks.

What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?

To take advantage of the existing cutting-edge technology, build partnerships with experts who use innovative methods in education, and create research groups regarding the use and appropriation of media and technologies in education. Another opportunity is to create inter-school work groups based on the problems of each region and promote the conservation of the environment, school environment, and conservational ethics and moral trends.

What advice would you give a new teacher (or to anyone wanting to make a difference in education)?

Dare to use media and technology. Communicate with your peers in education and their students and create alliances with other innovative teachers, nationally and internationally. Innovate at all times through the use of technology.

What educational “trend” do you think is helping students? Is there a trend that is getting in the way of learning?

I’d say communication through virtual communities, the use of multimedia resources and
the use of images and video – it’s all about the immediateness of information. The newest trend is virtual communities. The use of these communities in education will be our strength. We started this with Docs for Facebook.

If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why?

A computer for each student in every educational institution around the world. This would
facilitate the use of Mouse Mischief, Kodu, Photosynth, Autocollage, Photostory and the thousands and thousands of support software programs in Web 2.0, and also everything that will be achieved through cloud computing. Because each of these tools facilitate learning and have a certain charm in attracting students to their school activities, either in a collaborative way or in the one-on-one system.

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About Walter Agudelo Marin
Twitter: @waltermmv
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/waltermmv

  • Birthplace: Angelópolis, Antioquia
  • Current residence: Envigado, Antioquia, Colombia
  • Education: Specialist in education using Information and Communications Technology.
  • Website I check every day:
    http://videotecawalam.blogspot.com and http://profesorescmmv.ninehub.com (virtual learning environment)
  • Person who inspires me the most: My mother
  • Favorite childhood memory: My family country estate with farm animals.
  • Next travel destination (work or pleasure): For work, I will be in Bogota in July to attend the Educational IT Congress as speaker about the project “FROM THE PC TO THE CLOUD,” and in the near future I would like to travel to Prague to meet other teachers from around the world in the next PIL Global Forum.
  • When was the last time you laughed? Why? Every moment of my life, because I enjoy what I do every day.
  • Favorite book: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Favorite music: Classical music
  • Your favorite quote or motto: Slowly but surely.

OTHERS SITES

Web site for students and teachers

http://grou.ps/cmmv

Web site for Manuel Mejia Vallejo and teachers

http://grou.ps/profesoresmmv

Web site to connect national and international teachers

http://grou.ps/conectando

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