Monday, January 4, 2016

EVO changed my professional life

Have you ever blindly followed a recommendation someone made? Last year, Christine Bauer-Ramazani (who I like to call my tech angel) recommended EVO. EVO stands for Electronic Village Online, a professional development opportunity launched by the CALL interest section of TESOL International. I was surprised to hear of a group of altruistic ELT professionals who would just share knowledge for the sake of doing so. I had to enroll! Even though there were like 15 sessions, they offered a particularly interesting one in Flipped Learning. I decided to take that one because of my growing interest in the subject. This far, enrolling in that course has been one of the best decisions I've made in my career.
I enrolled and realized there were 237+ participants from all around the globe. The moderators were unknown to me at the time, but then I realized they were all very experienced professionals in the field of Educational Technology and English Language Teaching.  I enjoyed every minute of the session, participated in the weekly webcast, posted my comments in the weekly forum discussions, did my assignments thoroughly. In general terms, I enjoyed the course very much. During week 5 of the course, they had a guest speaker, Robyn Brinks Lockwood, the author of Flip it! Strategies for the ESL classroom. She was amazing and as soon as the session finished, I went to amazon.com and bought the book! It's a must-read for anybody interested in Flipped Learning.
One of the best parts of it was that I was going to the TESOL conference in Toronto last year, so I knew I would be able to meet the people in the course face to face. I was really excited! After the course I was definitely convinced that flipped learning was going to be my point of focus from then on.
Then, I went to Toronto and met them all! Helaine Marshall, John Graney, Robyn Brinks Lockwood and what's more important I realized there are a lot of people for whom flipped learning was as important as it is for me. They made me feel as part of something big!
After the conference, I kept in touch with them all and joined the CALL listserv. I have been receiving information about events, readings, webcasts, etc. From them since the moment I joined.
I also met Kevin Coleman, another flipped learning session moderator in our own TESOL Colombia. I invited him to come and do a presentation on FL, he came down to Bogotá and gave a killer presentation interesting more and more people in the subject.
Then, in October, Kevin invited me to become a moderator for the Flipped Learning EVO session this year. ME! I couldn't believe him! But there I was, one more stepping stone towards my "burning desire" (as Napoleon Hill would call it)...oh, and that's a secret for now 😉
I then took the Moderator Training with Nina Liakos, Vance Stevens, Elizabeth (I don't remember her last name) and a lot of very experienced EVO moderators. I learned so much. And now, I'm co-moderating the session with an awesome team (Jeff, Kevin, Khalid and John: The rolling stones of flipping) a combination of experience, energy, patience and perseverance. What an awesome team!!! We have over 300 participants and so far the experience has been fantastic !
EVO has shown me a couple of great things:
1. There are "intense" professionals out there who are willing to go the extra mile to make education happen.
2. There is room for my ideas! Somewhere around the globe there are people who care about nd connect with my thinking and that's awesome!
3. We all have something to share! And we are all called to contribute to the improvement of ELT, EFL, and education in general the world over.
4. It's okay to be opinionated! You just need to find a platform to share your opinions with people who care.
5. There are no limitations to learning!
EVO has changed my professional life because it has become the platform I can use to share and learn!
What are you waiting for? Join us at http://evosessions.pbworks.com
Let EVO change you!
Oh and I will be forever grateful to Christine-Bauer Ramazani for introducing me to technology back in 2009! 😊

6 comments:

  1. I am very pleased to collaborate with you. Kevin was right when he suggested you to the team. I hope this session will pave the way for more opportunities to collaborate on other projects.

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    1. Thanks a lot Khalid!
      It is my pleasure to be collaborating with you.

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  2. Carolina, I couldn't be more pleased with these developments and your blossoming into a CALL/TESOL teacher that lives and breathes collaboration and professional development through technology. You took the initiative to follow through and that is half the success! You impressed me as my mentee in Bogota in 2009 and you have since impressed me as someone who gets it--technology must be incorporated into the learning and the lives of our learners, and we as teachers must model this, whether this be through flipping the classroom or using project-based learning or mobile devices. It's blended learning that has proven to be the most successful of the three types (f2f alone, online only, hybrid-f2f/online).
    More power to you as moderator, the other moderators, and the participants. If there is anything that I am proud of accomplishing in my career, it is the co-founding of EVO back in 2000 and coordinating it for four years. Although the thought had never occurred to me back then, it is truly the first MOOC in our field -- free to all teachers to continue their professional development from expert practitioners in the field.
    Thank you for continuing the work, Carolina, and making a difference in the teaching of others!

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    1. Hi Christine,
      Thanks a lot for your kind words. I was remembering things better and I think we met back in 2007...not 2009! Time flies! Thanks for co-founding EVO. You made a huge difference in ELT professionals' lives.

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  3. Caro. Your recommendation to join the EVO sessions is changing my life too! Thanks so much for being a great colleague and friend.

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    1. Thank You Marthica,
      It is great to find alike-minds in this crazy world!

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