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The New Technologies: No Place to Hide?
by Prof. Edna Aphek
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H. prompted me to write the first message and send it to the forum. Reading my message at the forum she sent me an e mail message to my private e mail in which she said the following:

Edna: I read your message in the forum. I think that the questions you raised are very important. I hope these questions will prompt a dialogue.

All the four participants responded to both my messages (1 and 2)

Ha. A very active, unconventional teacher, always eager to try and experience new forms of teaching and very involved as far as computer usage is concerned, had the following to say:

Shalom Edna,

Since the number of participants in thisforum is very small, I feel I might sound weird - I simply love to participate in various forums, conducted as an integral part of courses.
Drawing on my experience I find that the learning and the discussions conducted in the forums, are both enriching and effective. One of the problems in the forums, though, is the fact that they are open to all "surfers" and other interested parties .Being aware of that makes it hard for me and I find myself "censoring" what I am writing...
Last year I took part in a course +a forum, where the teacher communicated with each and every participant via the telephone encouraging and "pushing" the participants towards greater participation in the forum.
The results were quite evident.

Lehitraot ( cu, Hebrew) Ha.

M. is a new participant, a counselor to be.
I hardly know M. who joined the forum at a later stage but became very active in it.
M. wrote the following:

Shalom Edna,
I think that there two reasons for this lack of participation in the forum:
1. lack of experience in participating in forums.
2. Fear that in comparison with others, mainly real professionals [i.e., someone like myself and the head counselor H.] I have very little to say.
It took me quite sometime to get used to the forum, but now I really enjoy reading the messages.
I wish replies could be simultaneous and synchronous, just as they are in a chat.
I think that accessing the forum in one of our face to face meeting could be most helpful as the participants will realize that it's not that frightening….

Y. who is a student of mine at the David Yellin College of Education, in addition to being one of the participants in the counselors course, had the following to say:

Shalom Edna,

I am in favor of holding a special training session dedicated to the use of the internet in general and the forum in particular.
Personally, I enjoy immensely reading the messages in the forum. I read each and every message, read every attachment and accessed suggested sites.
I am quite new to the internet. Only a week ago, my husband reminded me that until about a year ago, I had no idea whatsoever, of using the internet. In the course of this year, I discovered a new world, full of possibilities and opening up new avenues.
I would like us to hold a special meeting dedicated to the internet and its usage, in which we'll tell the computer - phobic counselors, about some of these [wonderful] things.

D. is a senior counselor, sort of an assistant to H. the head counselor.
This is how D. responded to my messages:

Hi all, there are a few reasons for the lack of participation in the forum.
I think we should give it ample time, wait, be patient and I am sure that more counselors
will join in.
In the training course itself we should dedicate more time to practicing- hands on experience.
Another thing I would like to mention here is that each counselor has her own pace of learning, and we should respect that.
Another issue is the issue of being exposed: what should I write?
How should I write?
It's really about being exposed to a new ball game, to a new genre of writing.
Once one has accessed this new communication space, the cyber one, one starts understanding its value and merits.
I have gained so much as far as knowledge, getting to know myself as a learner.
Yes, it's indeed a different learning environment and one should get acquainted with it, just as one learns how to drive.

H. summed up the responses of the trainees :

To all the course participants and Edna,

In spite of the easiness in accessing the forum, it's a fact that only a small number of the participants is participating in the forum: Ha, M. Y and D. raised a few points explaining the reasons for this lack of participation.
It seems to me that the problem of exposure is crucial and problematic, as M and Ha point out.
What I find encouraging, however, is that until a year ago, Y. didn't participate either in forums whereas now she is very active. I believe that practicing is very important, too.
In addition to the practicing issue, we have here the issue of learning at one's own pace and not in a classroom uniform setting. This is rather hard for us all.
I'll try to invite Edna to one of our next meetings to help us in practicing.
All in all, I am quite glad that we have started using this mode of learning and in comparison with the other forums, we are really ahead.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Edna and those who dared!

As soon as H. finished writing her message and sent it to the forum, she realized that she made a few mistakes in her message, so she wrote the following:

Well, as you may see," I was exposed" and made a few typo errors (mistakes in the Hebrew original) . Well, nothing happened.

She maintains that this is no big deal and that it doesn't matter, but in the next line she addresses me:

Is it possible to correct mistakes in an on line message?
A note to myself: even when writing in a forum one must proofread what one is writing!
In short - lucky me - to have made mistakes.

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