I have been an EFL teacher for more than 25 years in Caracas, Venezuela. In the past 15, I have worked at Universidad Simon Bolivar where I teach courses in reading comprehension of science and technology to engineering and basic sciences students. I also teach Theory and Methods of Second Language Teaching and Learning at our graduate Applied Linguistics program.

I have been berta3.JPGparticipating in several EVO sessions since 2005 (Here are some of my sites 1, 2, 3, 4). I have learned a great deal about the use of different Web 2.0 tools but have had limited classroom applications since many of my students do not have easy access to Internet and the university does not have a lot of facilities. Very few of my freshman students are really interested in going beyond the classroom. Their main interest is passing Math and Physics during their first year of study, otherwise they are out of the university because of GPA or internal regulations. This is quite frustrating for me, besides the fact that we don´t teach 4 skills but just reading, 4 hours a week for 12 weeks in a core massive program of around 15 teachers, 700 students, 30 in each class section.

Last trimester there were very special conditions in the country where a national student movement was spontaneously created and its main aim was to make the population aware of the negative effects reforms to the constitution proposed by the President would bring. A referendum set in December to approve this reform made university students be more active than ever so they missed many activities at the time. I had set a blog at the beginning of the trimester and students were already used to checking the information there. It turned out that we did not have face to face sessions for the last two months of the term but I would post activities in the blog and they would come by my office in case they had doubts or if they wanted to use my office computer. They would answer each others´ doubts in the blog, not only about the course but also about external activities. It was a really amazing experience simply because the blog kept us connected, students decided to take their learning in their own hands and showed a tremendous amount of responsibility, maturity and commitment. BTW, the referendum took place and the proposal was overwhelmingly rejected by the majority of the voters, to such extent that our President had no other choice than accept his defeat (something many feared he was not going to do ... ever). The situation is still tense and the economic conditions of the country are critical, in spite of all the money coming from oil revenues.

The picture was taken at one of the happiest (but most stressful) moments in my life: the wedding of my daughter last December (exactly 6 days after the referendum). At midnight, there is a special moment called "the crazy hour" when colorful hats and soundmakers are provided and everybody comes to the floor to dance with the bride, groom, family and friends ;-)

Here is a Bubbleshare album with audio I made a couple of years ago, BTW. The topic was Venezuelan women today.
BubbleShare: Share photos - Cheap Printer Ink

This is something I made with Voicethread last year just to play around with this tool: