“I think that other people can make important changes in their own lives and their students’ lives if they permit themselves to make some errors while they try to make the real revolution that education needs.” – Luciana Sylvestri, Argentina

I think that my personal and professional achievements help me to innovate in my classes because I’m teaching and learning, both at the same time, with my students,” says Luciana Sylvestri. As a Spanish and Literature teacher, Sylvestri has strived to find new and creative ways to help her students learn.  “We have organized a communicative school community. My students and I write the school newspaper or ‘magazine.’ We publish it once a month. There, we showcase our community and its interests. We show our projects, the skills of our members, and many interesting information.” The newspaper is actually an online forum, and the administrators are students. “It is the 2.0 platform that permits us to interact with each other and with others users,” she says. “This project is in its third year and this is my second group. I want to include more students in this experience because they can improve their IT and communicative skills in a collaborative context.”

Sylvestri also led another project where her students would write in a social literary network, called “Literativa.” Sylvestri would propose fictional writing exercises, and her
students would imagine different situations related to the literary text and then write their own new literary version of the classic literature.

“My goal with this project was to increase the students’ imagination through rewriting the stories by both known and anonymous authors,” notes Sylvestri. “These activities promoted reading in my students, because they would want to read their partners´
productions, too.

This year, the Ministry of Education of my country and Santillana Foundation gave me a prize for both projects.”

Here, Sylvestri shares her experience with technology and her vision on the future of the teaching profession.

What has changed as a result of your efforts?

Quantitatively, the statistics of our web 2.0 work shows the following success:

  • More than 60,000 newspaper readings.
  • 18 stories in “Literativa,” more than 200 passages, and more than 10,000 readings.
  • We have two forums: In the first (created in 2010), we have 156 registered members and 503 messages. In the second (created in 2012), we have 69 registered members and 593 messages.

Qualitatively, I see a big change in the way that the students and I communicate with each other and how we improved our collaborative, communicative and IT skills. On top of that, we are very happy and we enjoy when we work with each other.

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

I think that other people can make important changes in their own lives and their students’ lives if they permit themselves to make some errors while they try to make the real revolution that education needs. Work in collaboration to make a better world.
And they can gain access to successful experiences for inspiration in their own practices.

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

Actually, I just can’t work if I don’t use technology. I use it in all activities that I do with my
students; but I couldn’t do anything innovative without their help. We learn together. I learned technology thanks to them. They taught me how I have to teach in a new technological context.

What is your country doing well currently to support education?

Since 2011 in my country, the government has implemented the plan “Conectar
Igualidad
.” With this plan, the government gives three million laptops to high school students and teachers. At the moment, they have given half of them, and they have given Internet connections, too.

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

To improve education, teachers have to receive more training because they don’t fully exploit the resources at their disposal. Teachers have to work more collaboratively for
planning projects where the disciplines are not separated, but integrated.

What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?

Technology is an historical opportunity and the best way to innovate in
education, but we have to understand how the technology is changing the human relationship. The virtual gets involved with the real, and the two create a new way to represent and to transcend the world.

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

I would tell them that in today’s world, their mission is to improve the status quo, because our students are different than we were. We always have to have an attitude that is predisposed to learning and be open to learning again to help our students to improve themselves. For this we must provide them the necessary knowledge to be a citizen of the new century.

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

The educational community in general is saying, “stop” to the traditional educative paradigm. We have discovered that the traditional paradigm doesn’t bring answers to our needs. We must be changing our vision of the world.

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

I would give them an Internet connection. Many children have their own devices or their schools or the governments are providing devices for them. When I read the statistics, I see that one of the first goals, access to devices, is being achieved. Now we have to
work hard to connect these people to each other and the Internet is the best tool for achieving this second step. And the teachers have to promote better communication while we are collaborating and building collective knowledge with our students.

Celebrate the best of worldwide education!

The Global Forum is the flagship event – a veritable Olympics for teaching and learning – for Partners in Learning, a key element of Microsoft’s recently announced YouthSpark initiative, in which we’ve committed to reach more than 300 million young people over the next several years. Partners in Learning helps educators and school leaders connect, collaborate, create and share so students can realize their greatest potential. It celebrates the world’s most innovative educators and school leaders for bringing technology to life in the classroom and impacting millions of students.

 

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About Luciana Sylvestri
@GoldLuciana

  • Birthplace: Mendoza, Argentina.
  • Current residence: Mendoza, Argentina.
  • Education:  Graduate in Spanish language and literature.
  • Website I check every day: Every day I check the news in five or six newspapers online.
  • Person who inspires me most: There are many people who inspire me every day: my two daughters, my students, my partner Alejandro and my friend Graciela Bertancud.
  • Favorite childhood memory: I have a large family and I love remembering when all of us would spend summer vacations in our country house. We invited many friends, we played table tennis and we swam in the pool. It was so fun.
  • Next travel destination (work or pleasure): I’ll go where fate wants to take me.
  • When was the last time you laughed? Why? I laugh all the time with my daughters and my students. I laugh most with young people, because they are more fresh and spontaneous than most adults.
  • Favorite book: I am a compulsive reader; it is very difficult to select only one. I really enjoy reading literature; I always come back to Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, William Shakespeare, César Aira, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • Favorite music: I like classical music, rock and roll, reggae, jazz, and all kinds of music. I like to hear the sound of different instruments.
  • Your favorite quote or motto: First, I have to know and improve myself, and then I would help other people to improve themselves and grow up.
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