“I think we teachers must start making things change in our classrooms. And this desire and enthusiasm to enhance our students’ learning processes must be contagious.” – Melina Ignazzi, Argentina
Melina Ignazzi knows how to overcome obstacles – after all, she’s a technology teacher in a classroom without Internet access. She knows how to #HacktheClassroom, and was even a winner in our recent Class Hacks Challenge. But Ignazzi’s enthusiasm for both teaching and learning, along with her commitment to making a difference for her students, set her apart.
“The moment I feel proudest to be an educator is every single time my students tell me that I am the best EFL teacher they have ever had,” Ignazzi tells us. “Every time I hear these words my heart just jumps with joy. The same happens to me when they finally understand a concept or an idea that was difficult for them (and they go, ‘Ooooh!’). Those are the moments that make me love my job even more.”
One of her most recent projects, The Green Notebook, was presented at the E2 Educator Exchange in Budapest. The project connected her class to one in Indonesia to highlight environmental issues. Using OneNote, her students worked on the project at home, and she was thrilled with the outcome.
“The results were amazing,” Ignazzi says. “On the one hand, because my students, despite of the fact that they had to work without any teacher’s guidance, were engaged and worked really hard. And on the other hand, not only did they learn about the other country’s culture and environmental problems, but they were also trained in soft or 21st century skills — mainly communication, collaboration, citizenship, critical thinking, creativity and self-regulation.”
But her students weren’t the only ones who benefitted from the lesson.
“The most important thing I learned from The Green Notebook,” Ignazzi says, “is that the only resources you need to make a difference are the human ones. We did not have Internet at school, not even computers! Technology and material resources in general are one of the many things that state education lacks in my country. However, we succeeded in doing something different, and for the best.”
In today’s Daily Edventure, Melina Ignazzi shares her can-do philosophy and hopes for the future. Enjoy!
What inspired you to become an educator?
I was always good at explaining things. Since I was in primary school, I stood out at making my classmates understand things they didn’t, but that I did. And that felt great. Then, in high school, I usually got together in some classmate’s house or I even invited them home to explain different subjects to them.
When I was in 6th grade, I had this wonderful EFL teacher. I already loved teaching. But thanks to her, I also realized that I loved the English language. It just was so easy for me to learn it. So that was the moment when I decided, being only 11 years old, that I wanted to become an EFL teacher. Then, as years passed by, I also got into education in general. That was when I decided to get a degree in the field, which later turned into this passion I have for educational technology.
What was a defining moment in your career when you felt proudest to be an educator?
Maybe the first specific moment when there was an impact in my career was the first time that my work was recognized. This happened in 2013, when Microsoft-Intel Argentina awarded one of my projects.
And of course, there is was E2 in Budapest! The project I took there will be awarded soon by an international organization (known by the acronym “OEI”). All these recognitions are important, as they imply that you are on the right track as regards your teaching practices.
Why do you feel passionate about innovation and technology in the classroom?
I feel passionate about innovation and technology in the classroom because I believe that school as we know it today is becoming obsolete. Students are not learning everything they need in order to live either in our current society or in the one that is coming.
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 the biggest obstacle my country will have to overcome to ensure a quality education for students is one of access, not only in terms of connectivity, but also in terms of meaningful and innovative pedagogical curriculums. Technology is still seen as a threat, as a synonym for students getting distracted. Even fun is sometimes seen as an enemy!
A lot of training needs to be carried on. And of course, I would be happier if government policies were more supportive of this kind of project, both in terms of management and of budget.
In terms of education innovation, what are you most excited about for the future? What is your biggest hope for today’s students?
What excites me the most about the future is that little by little, the idea of a change in education is starting to be accepted and embraced around the world. My biggest hope for today’s students? Watching them grow in a better society, one in which every single one of them has the same rights as regards educational opportunities (and innovative ones).
About Melina Ignazzi
EFL Teacher, ICT in Education Specialist
Escuela Normal Superior Nº4 Estanislao Severo Zeballos
Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Educational background: Bachelor in Education – Educational Technology Specialist
- Website I check every day: Advocate Social Chorus
- Favorite childhood memory: Spending time with my grandmother. I named my daughter after her.
- Favorite book: I’m not much of a reader. But I do love Star Wars!
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: OneNote
- What is the best advice you have ever received? Don’t you ever stop learning. Material things can be taken away from you, but what you’ve learned, will never be.