Thursday, April 19, 2012

Everybody's Doing It...

So now that I've waited a full two weeks after my Spring Break was over, do you want me to tell you about it?

...You're ambivalent? Eh, me too. I've read a lot of other auxiliares' posts about spring break, and I realized that it's maybe a little boring for readers to see millions of photos and hear minute descriptions of a vacation. (Sorry, fellow auxiliares, not trying to hate on you or anything!) But I also don't want to forget someday what I did. So here's what's going to go down: I'm going to post one photo for each day I was gone, and leave a one-sentence description of the photo/the day. Got it? That should be 7 photos, 7 sentences. Hopefully not too boring for anyone. Oh, and before I start--I went to Wales and England, so no one gets confused.

This is a very cute indoor shopping center in Cardiff, Wales that had cool vintage shops and the like.

This is the Millennium Centre near the port in Cardiff, Wales, which I sadly only knew about before this because of a show called Doctor Who.

This is Christ Church College, one of the colleges in a little university that maybe you've heard of called Oxford.

This is the dining hall of Christ Church college, which is what the Great Hall in the Harry Potter books was modeled on.

This is a very pebbly beach in Brighton, where it was far too cold to go swimming anyway.

This is the spot from which all time is measured, the prime meridian, in Greenwich.

This is the grave of Jane Austen, my favorite author, in Winchester, England. 

And that's all for now, folks! Hope those of you who had one enjoyed your spring breaks, I know I did!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Twilight Zone

Sometimes living in Spain feels like living in the Twilight Zone. Actually, more accurately, it feels like living about 25 years ago.

An example: The other day, there was a Big Important Meeting in the teacher's lounge during the morning break, which, having nowhere else to go, I played witness to. The subject of the meeting was that the school may possibly have the opportunity to have the government give them some computers for certain classrooms (that's right, there aren't computers in ANY of the classrooms), for the teachers of certain classes (again, no personal computers for the teachers...there are 4 communal ones in the teacher's lounge, and one printer. One. Such a pain.), a mounted projector in the classroom (they only have portable ones), and a computer for each student to use in class.

To me, this sounds wonderful. New computers? Technology in the classroom? You bet your bottom dollar I'd be all over that! It would be so great to be able to show the kids English videos on the computer during class, or have them look up English newspapers online, or whatever.

 But during the meeting, a LOT of the teachers had doubts, like "what if the computers don't work right?" and "what if they break?"

It got a little heated, and in the end when everybody voted (not me, I didn't get a vote since I'm not a real teacher), only 4 people were in favor of putting in the request to get all this new technology. 4 out of 20 teachers.

Nobody specifically said this, but I felt like maybe the problem was that some of the people (the older ones especially) were afraid of the fact that they would have to learn how to use computers if the school got them in the classrooms and gave them to the teachers. And, being afraid of change and set in their ways, they voted no.

Of course, everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but I feel like not even putting in the request for this stuff is really just going to hold the kids back. The future is digital, and in order to succeed, the kids are going to have to know how to make use of computers and the internet. Having them in school would be a great way to get started on that.

The reason I say that this makes me feel like I'm living 25 years ago is because in the US, making an argument against getting technology in the classroom would be virtually (ha, pun) impossible these days. In the US, everyone, even many older people, are savvy to the ways of the iPhone and the Macbook (or, you know, those other, lesser brands of internet-wielding devices). Even my mom has a smartphone now (hi mom!), and that's saying something.

I'm just trying to imagine going into my old high school in the US and arguing that having computers in every classroom would be a bad thing because they might break down, and the idea is ridiculous. I would get laughed out of town. That sort of argument might have been made in 1987, when computers were less widely-used, the internet barely existed, and this technology seemed scary and new. But now? No way.

To me, this lack of trust or interest in computers and the internet just seems like one more way that Spain has gotten way behind the times and needs to catch up to the speed that the rest of the world is at, or else spend the next 25 years continuing to be economically and developmentally stunted.

OK, that's all. I've said my piece now and I can try to stop being frustrated that there probably won't be new computers at school next year. *steps down from soapbox*

(One last thing, I'd like to mention that the entirety of this meeting about computers was held in rapid-fire Gallego, and I was able to follow basically ALL OF IT, even when they were arguing at 90 miles an hour! How awesome am I???)
Yessssss. Eu falo un pouquiño de galego!