This is a collection of my thoughts and opinions related (sometimes vaguely) to my core business, IT (specifically the Cloud), and teaching English online.
At this time, I’m not allowing comments on this page, but this may happen in the future. Should you have any comments, I am more than happy to receive them via email. If you want to contribute to the blog, email me your contribution, and I will post it – please note, normal decency rules will apply!

 

WHY REINVENT MYSELF?

The last couple of months I’ve often been asked why am I re-inventing myself, why IT, and why specifically the Cloud? The simple answer is my current situation necessitates it.

This does not, however, really answer the question, it merely states the fact behind the situation.

I’ve always been an early adopter of technology and have always believed that technology can and should improve our lives. I don’t know a single person today that is not taking advantage of modern technology, from mobile phones to streaming TV.

Unfortunately, with this plethora of technology, comes a high level of complexity and it sometimes seems that gadgets are getting new features just to make them more complex and more difficult to operate.

I think it should be the other way round, technology is supposed to make it easier, not more complex.

Now let’s look at IT and the “Cloud”. How many of you out there really understand what cloud computing is and how does Apple and Google safely store our precious photos in this “cloud”? How secure is it? Will I be able to get it back in five years?

I want to make this knowledge and understanding simpler. Why? Because I believe we can and should take a lot more advantage of cloud technology, all that is stopping us, is an inherent fear of things we don’t really understand.

This is why my re-inventing is towards Cloud Technologies – to understand it better so that I can make it easier for you to understand and use.

I chose to go the Amazon Web Services (AWS) certification route because, from what I could see, their certifications carry a lot of weight in the industry and is highly respected, and in demand. (Purely out of interest, I’m an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate and am working hard on my AWS SysOps Administrator – Associate certification.)
Published: 08 March 2021

 

THE VALUE OF A QUALIFICATION

I recently asked this question on the “The TEFL Academy Alumni Community” Facebook Group:

How is everyone feeling about the current surge in aspiring online TEFL teachers with "qualifications" obtained free or within a couple of days? I've even seen one ad claiming you can get TEFL certified in one day! I think this is seriously devaluing the many hours and hard work we put in to get our Level 5 certification. It is also flooding the market with unqualified teachers and in the long term, while they will disappear, I'm scared of the ripple effect it will have on legitimate teachers and the credibility of online teaching.

The replies were somewhat varied and mostly missed the point, but it was quite clear that TEFL qualifications don’t all carry the same weight – You get what you pay for!

This has lead me to think about another topic.
Published: 13 May 2020

 

LOCKDOWN PROVIDES LEGITIMACY TO ONLINE TEACHING

13 May 2020

To date I’ve found a certain resistance in South Africa to purely online training for basic education subjects, e.g. Languages, Mathematics, Science, etc. This type of learning is much more prevalent in Europe and Eastern countries, like China.

With the Covid-19 lockdown, a lot of teaching had to move to online platforms, and not without some problems!

For far too many teachers, moving out of the classroom to in front of a camera , was a very scary and new experience. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this was not always a successful transition, both on the side of the teacher and the learners.

These are areas that the education systems must address, and I would suggest, address very soon – lockdown may end, but online learning is here to stay.

I’m not advocating replacing teachers in classrooms, I don’t think this will ever happen and having that personal contact, especially at basic education level, is vital.

Online teaching comes into its own with specialist subjects, where one-on-one interaction is important and despite what you may think, is not limited to language teaching. Even subjects like Baroque Violin can be successfully taught online, not to mention my specialist areas, Business English for IT and Business English for Events & Exhibitions Professionals.

I would like to suggest that we re-think online teaching and approach it not only for quick “top-up” subjects, but for main stream specialist subjects as well.

Please let me know which other subjects you think can be taught online by dropping me an email.
Published: 13 May 2020