“Books have disappeared from the classrooms and 1:1 devices have taken their place, so the learning process has reached a different level.” – Amparo Aparisi, Spain
Amparo Aparisi may not always have wanted to be an educator – her first love was foreign languages – but she instinctively understood the qualities that made for a great teacher.
“I will always remember my teacher Miguel Teruel, in English Poetry,” she says. “He had the ability to engage students in projects that required making connections and developing critical thinking. He was not the typical one that came every day to torture us with a boring lecture. He was my idol and my inspiration as I felt free to let my creativity fly when studying and working. Some of his colleagues considered him to be the odd one out. Now I am sure they were completely wrong.”
Today, that sense of creative freedom infuses Aparisi’s approach to teaching. And like her colleagues in the cooperative Grupo Sorolla (including Daily Edventures alum Ovi Barcelo), she’s using technology to engage her students in project-based learning.
Aparisi’s school, like the other Grupo Sorolla schools, is in the process of implementing the Digital Tools project, a massive transformation effort.
“Books have disappeared from the classrooms,” she explains, “and 1:1 devices have taken their place, so the learning process has reached a different level. My students are becoming the true protagonists of the process and they are playing the role of content creators and not just passive content consumers. This is really motivating for them.”
Her latest project employs Sway to get her students excited about writing. Sway News, a digital newspaper, is owned by the students, who work collaboratively in groups to write and edit stories for the learning community.
Aparisi’s commitment to education doesn’t stop in the classroom. This new Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert also uses her people talents as a life coach, helping adults find and develop their strengths.
Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Amparo Aparisi.
What inspired you to become an educator?
To be honest, when I was studying at the university I did not have in mind the idea of becoming an educator. I decided to study Foreign Languages because I fell in love with languages at the age of ten, so I wanted to master the English language in order to become a translator. That was my dream and my goal at that time.
Once I had the university diploma in my hands, I had the chance to teach English in the local school for adults and had my first working experience related to education. I realized that not only I was quite good at teaching, but I also started to love it. That was the beginning of one of the greatest adventures in my life.
What was a defining moment in your career when you felt proudest to be an educator?
Well, this moment is happening now. I end almost every day excited by seeing the illumination in my students’ eyes and learning with and from them. I live moments in and outside the classroom that fill me with an incredible energy. The light in their faces when they realize what they are able to do sometimes makes me cry.
Why do you feel passionate about innovation and technology in the classroom?
The reason for me to feel passionate about innovation and technology is that the combination of both is allowing magic to happen in my classroom. The perfect example is Sway News. We started this project in order to transform writing. It used to be a boring and demotivating task for students. They had no choice about what to write and had to follow strict writing patterns. Despite all the efforts, this led to very poor-quality written works.
Whether it’s a day-to-day challenge or larger problem, what’s the biggest obstacle you or your country or region has had to overcome, or will have to overcome, to ensure a quality education for students?
I think in my country we have three major problems that quality education needs to face. First, we have the lack of a good educational law that really fosters learning and gives students the opportunity to receive the best possible education. Few in-depth changes have been made in education.
Then we have teachers, still resistant to change even when the change is knocking at their door. I feel really lucky to work with a group of great professionals coached by a very good technological innovation team, but I know this is not very common in my country. They are doing a great job helping every teacher to move forward and turn challenges into opportunities.
And we cannot forget parents, really worried that their kids do not learn without learning by heart, using paper textbooks and notebooks. Lots of communication and active listening is needed to make them understand that students need to be prepared for a future which has nothing to do with the present, and they need to be trained to be independent learners and critical thinkers.
In terms of education innovation, what are you most excited about for the future? What is your biggest hope for today’s students?
Some years ago I had a dream. As a secondary teacher I used to miss in my students the shine in the eyes that I saw in little children in preschool. Observing in the classrooms and seeing them enjoy and learn at the same time, I felt there was a kind of magic floating in the air, but I had no idea how to make this happen.
I wished I could bottle some of that magic in order to use it with teen students when their body language told me they were far from being interested in what we were doing in the classroom. I did not realize facing students with only content was not the best way to make them love learning.
Now, thanks to technology, innovation has broken limits, especially in our Sway Project.
About Amparo Aparisi
Secondary Teacher, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert
La Devesa Bilingual School
- Birthplace: Carlet, Valencia, Spain
- Educational background: Bachelor’s degree in English and German languages and Expert in Coaching, Emotional Intelligence, NLP and Applied Neuroscience
- Website I check every day: Twitter and MIE Facebook group
- Favorite childhood memory: Performing for my grandfather singing Whitney Houston songs.
- Favorite book: How the brain learns, David A. Souza
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Sway, Skype and OneNote
- What is the best advice you have ever received? “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” –Mahatma Gandhi