“We live in curious times. It’s called the Age of Information, but in another light it can be called the Age of Distraction. Nowadays students face a problem of diminished attention, since they have become multitaskers they have trouble concentrating. We have to help them find focus.” – Theresa Giakoumatou, Greece
These are difficult times in Greece as the country works its way back from a deep financial crisis and the societal changes it triggered. For ICT teacher and teacher trainer Theresa Giakoumatou, changes in education have been too much about politics and too little about the students. “In one sense, there have been too many recent changes in education,” she notes, “and in some ways not enough.”
For her part, Giakoumatou is working to ensure students are able to succeed, regardless of resource limitations. Beyond teaching, Giakoumatou has been a frequent blogger, and her website earned a Mobius award in the area of education. She has authored a number of works, including Teaching and the Web (Kedros Publishing House, 2001), and contributes regularly to educational journals on the introduction of new technologies in secondary education. Today, Giakoumatou shares her thoughts on today’s education challenges, and some hope for solutions.
Can you describe how your professional achievements have advanced innovation in education?
I had the privilege of setting up the educational portal of the Greek ministry of education. I have also contributed to teacher training.
What has changed as a result of your efforts?
Teachers are better informed about new applications and can easily find lesson plans.
How can others facing similar challenges implement what you’ve learned through your work?
Teachers can try out some of my ideas to implement ICT in their classroom.
How have you applied technology in innovative ways to support your work?
I have tried using educational gaming in teaching language and math skills.
What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome to ensure students are receiving a quality education?
My headmaster was initially reluctant to support innovation in my teaching methods.
What is your country doing right to support education?
Greece is struggling during this period for the basics. This year we had to teach without books for the first semester. A lot of schools have closed due to cuts. We need to make sure we have our schools well equipped and our teaching staff trained for the use of ICT. There is an in-service teacher training program running.
What conditions must change in your country to better support education?
The changes that have been imposed during the time I have been working in education have been mainly administrative and political; they have not been learner-centered, despite the rhetoric. So we definitely need an informed debate about the purpose of changes in education.
What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?
Leveraging technology to make education more relevant, more efficient, and more effective.
What advice would you give a new teacher (or to anyone wanting to make a difference in education)?
Do your best to motivate your students, surprise them but be prepared for anything.
What educational “trend” do you think is helping students? Is there a trend that is getting in the way of learning?
Blended learning. The goal of a blended approach is to join the best aspects of both face-to-face and online instruction. Classroom time can be used to engage students in advanced interactive experiences. Meanwhile, the online portion of the course can provide students with multimedia-rich content at any time of day.
We live in curious times. It’s called the Age of Information, but in another light it can be
called the Age of Distraction. Nowadays students face a problem of diminished attention, since they have become multitaskers they have trouble concentrating. We have to help them find focus.
If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why?
Access to the web and the ability to contribute. Then the world would be their oyster. The device is of no importance. Access is the key.
About Theresa Giakoumatou
Theresa Giakoumatou is currently an ICT teacher-trainer, focusing on the application of ICT in theoretical subjects. She has been a board member of five conferences on educational technology in Greece and has served as the director of the official educational web portal of the Hellenic Ministry of Education for two years.
During the academic year 2003-4 she has functioned as a co-ordinator of the “Spring of Europe” programme. She contributes regularly to educational journals on the introduction of new technologies in secondary education. She maintains a personal website, Netschoolbook, which caters for the training of teachers and earned a Mobius award in the area of education in 2003, as well as an educational blog TerraComputerata
Netschoolbook also represented Greece in the 1st International Conference on Information Technology in Geneve.
A blog for the implementation of ICT in teaching of History, Language and Literature.
- Birthplace:Athens, Greece
- Current residence:Athens, Greece
- Education: MA in ICT applications in education
- Website I check every day: edubblogger.com
- Person who inspires me most: Yannis Salonikides, a primary school teacher who has dedicated his life to integrating ICT in education.
- Favorite childhood memory: First day at school.
- Next travel destination (work or pleasure): An island in the Aegean sea.
- When was the last time you laughed? Why? Today while playing with my dog.
- Favorite book: Connected by Nicholas Christakis
- Favorite music: Alternative, Dead can Dance
- Your favorite quote or motto: “All that I know is that I know nothing.” – Socrates