Strides Forward with Technology: Tribute to Elaine!!!

Yesterday was an amazing day of seeing over 30 English teachers actively engaged with learning how to use research databases at the computer lab.  Elaine and I had worked out a handout, with a step-by-step plan, which was excruciating to do as we anticipated terms or steps that might be confusing to the teachers.  We had not counted on a question like, “How do you scroll down?” but there were a few of those.  Elaine knows what it is like to be computer phobic so we were the right combination of a team to get our message across.  Our message: “The English teachers MUST learn how to successfully use research databases before the students do, otherwise the students will zoom past and catch on and leave their teachers behind.” 

How exciting to see the teachers e-mail articles to themselves such as the one on their instructions titled “New Linguistic Order” by Fishman (from their Source textbook, Unit 7) or to see them type in “English as a Foreign Language.” Also, depending on the specific databases that were utilized, such as “MasterFile Premier” or “Academic Search Premier” they would get varying results with getting 17 articles with the former or 101 with the latter added. 

Also, we had them experiment with typing in the first search field “Language” and the second keyword of whatever language they were interested in, such as “Russian” (90 articles) or Kazakh and Uzbek (only 3 each).  Our French instructor put in “French” and I’m not sure how many articles popped up for him.  With only 22 computers and over 30 teachers in the room, some had to double up with two teachers to one computer terminal.  For me to move up and down the congested rows with many chairs and engaged teachers was all part of the fun.  ALL of them wanted to learn and they were not embarrassed to ask for help.  We were shorthanded with those who could help those who had questions concerning each quirky little step to take next.  

Hopefully the English teachers will practice this skill on their own and do the EBSCOhost at home (if they have a computer connection there) and ProQuest and J-Stor at work.  Our university certainly has a lot of perks and if the English teachers become confident enough in doing this keyword searching of the electronic journals, they too should have their own writing classes go to the computer lab to encourage their students to use the research databases. I believe a good time was had by all.  At the end of the one hour session, our Director gave a beautiful Kazakh present to Elaine for all her hard work these past two months.  She will be missed by many teachers since she is one spunky, little lady who has worked hard as a teacher/learner for the last 47 years.  We can make an impact wherever we are placed if we are authentic and honest about our strengths and limitations.  Elaine has proven that pretension with a title, such as her Ph.D., does not help the institution but instead Elaine’s willingness to serve and be humble about what she doesn’t know goes very far.  Thank you Dr. Elaine!!!  Tears are being shed as I write this tribute to her.

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