Valentina from the OWP invited me to take part in this meme game. A meme (thanks for the definition, Bee) is term used to describe songs, catch phrases, clothes fashions, or other cultural information passed from person to person) that is passed over the internet by word of mouth (Wikipedia).

So, I’m supposed to reveal five things most people don’t know about me and then to pass the ball to five other bloggers by tagging them.  I’ll write this time, but this reminds me too much of those chain letters my friends used to pass around in third grade. You know, the ones where if you didn’t send the letter on to ten more people, you would meet some kind of horrible death!

1. Yoga.  I love ashtanga yoga, but I haven’t found anyplace to take classes here in El Salvador.  And I’m not good enough or motivated enough yet to practice on my own!

2. Travel.  Living in San Salvador, I’m only six hours away from Tegucigalpa, Honduras and Copán, a mere four hours from Guatemala City, a half hour from the Pacific, not much farther from Nicaragua.  Travelling in Central America is like going from Cincinnati to Chicago!  I love it!

3. Language.  I have this dream to go back to studying German, and then Portuguese…

4. Recent medical calamities.  I threw out my back while I was in Costa Rica this past week.  Hmmm, maybe this wouldn’t have happened if I’d been more diligent with my yoga practice!

5. Dancing.  Before I lived in Barranquilla, Colombia, I only liked dancing.  Now, I have a salsa/merengue/vallenato/cumbia itch that I can’t seem to get rid of.

I haven’t had much time to play with all the new tools for the openwebpublishing session, but there are some things that I’ve noticed so far. I commented on another participants blog that I still feel connected to Google because I use Gmail all the time, and up until now, have been blogging only with Blogger. However, Flock is capable of pulling together services outside of Google’s realm. I’ll have to admit that I haven’t really been using it yet, out of laziness and love for Firefox. I like WordPress now that I’m a little more used to it, but I want to be able to edit my template (you have to pay to save changes to CCS, right? or host the blog yourself). 43 Places/People/Things is fun, but I don’t know if I’d use it in a class or not. Like Nancy said, I’m not interested in meeting people on the Internet at all, but I’m sure my students might be. There’s many other tools that I’ve used, but I tend to stick to written and photo blogging. I like, no love, the idea of podcasts and videoblogging, but have a hard time keeping myself awake in front of the computer some evenings!

That said, there’s many advantages to creating open learning environments (responding to your comment, Patricia, the first version of which got erased or not posted) for students. Unfortunately, there is little lab access at my current workplace in El Salvador. For example, in the weekly adult program, a term lasts 18 days, 2 hours a day. A class might have 1 hour in the lab each term. And, websites with social tools integrated into them are almost always blocked (supposedly because the TOEFL iBT is offered in the same lab). I found this out the hard way this week. I’d designed a Yahoo!Groups to use with our teacher training course that just started. I took the students to the lab to show them how it worked, only to find out that Groups is blocked.  Most students don’t have Internet access at home, or the time-desire-cash to go to a cybercafe.

When I’ve used blogs as part of classes in other places, students were in general excited to be able to write for an audience other than just me.  Blogging, though, is not blogging if no one reads and comments on what you post.  Participaton is essential, which means that you have to read other people’s blogs and comment, to build up your own network of readers.  Looking back, I don’t think that I focused enough on this aspect of blogging with my students.

Good news for today: I head to Costa Rica very, very early Tuesday morning to present on the basics of blogging at the NCTE annual conference. I’m also looking forward to seeing the workings of the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano, after almost five months at the Centro Cultural Salvadoreño.  And, here in Central America, when a bus is first-class, they give you food, newspapers, blankets, even champagne sometimes!

Not-so-good news: I’m going to be very behind in my evo sessions after this week.  Also, I posted comments on several of the other participant’s blogs yesterday, but then only one out of five actually posted.  Wonder what happened…

ERIN KAY LOWRY
Condominios Puerto D’Orleans
Col. Flor Blanca, Antigua Calle El Progreso
#2231 Apto. B-5
San Salvador, El Salvador, C.A.

EDUCATION
Master of Education in Literacy
University of Cincinnati, College of Education; Cincinnati, OH
06/2005
Focus: Teaching English as a Second Language

Bachelor of Business Administration
University of Cincinnati, College of Business Administration; Cincinnati, OH
09/2003
Majors: Information Technology/Digital Business and Spanish
Certificates: Honors Scholar, International Co-op Program

TEACHING EXPERIENCE
English Language Fellow, Centro Cultural Salvadoreño; San Salvador & San Miguel, El Salvador
07/2005 – present
Revised curriculum for teacher training course.
Conducted observations of teachers and supervisors and designed peer observation program.
Designed and gave workshops for language teachers in various institutions.
Created and conducted weekly conversation clubs for students.
Taught language courses in the adult program.

Professor, Instituto de Idiomas, Universidad del Norte; Barranquilla, Atlántico, Colombia
07/2005 – 07/2006
Taught upper-intermediate level English to undergraduate students.
Designed and taught written communication course for international business students.
Conducted weekly conversation club for intermediate level students.
Taught advanced conversation to extension students.

Instructor, Fundación Educativa Instituto Experimental del Atlántico José Celestino Mutis, Barranquilla, Atlántico, Colombia
04/2006 – 06/2006
Taught conversational English 3 hours a week to 10th and 11th graders.

Teaching Assistant, Center for ESL, University of Cincinnati; Cincinnati, OH
09/2004 – 06/2005
Taught Speaking & Listening Skills (18-ESL-602) to international graduate students.
Designed and implemented 10-week curriculum.
Assessed and evaluated students’ performance throughout the quarter.

Instructor, Lower Price Hill Community School; Cincinnati, OH
09/2004 – 06/2005
Taught beginning Spanish as a foreign language to adult community members.
Prepared and implemented weekly lesson plans for Spanish and ESL students.
Tutored students in GED preparation (English & Spanish), ESL, adult basic education,and college writing.
Maintained school computer lab and website, designed school publications.

English Tutor, Private; Cincinnati, OH and Zihuatanejo, Mexico
04/2002 – 07/2005

Instructor, AmeriCorps / Urban Appalachian Council; Cincinnati, OH
09/2003 – 08/2004
Taught English as a second language to beginner, intermediate, and advanced level students in one-on-one settings.
Taught GED, basic literacy, and computer skills to adult students.
Developed appropriate curriculum for students of all levels.
Determined level, progress, and learning plan of ESL, GED, and basic literacy students.
Created Spanish class for interested community members.

Volunteer, Medical Ambassadors; Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico
04/2002 – 09/2002
Taught English, basic health, and the Bible in impoverished communities.

SCHOLARLY PRESENTATIONS
Lowry, E.K. & White, E. (2006 Oct). Bridging the Digital Divide: Bringing Blogging to the Classroom; Asociación Colombiana de Profesores de Inglés (ASOCOPI) 41st Annual Conference; Ibagué, Colombia.

Hunt, G.J. & Lowry, E.K. (2007 Jan). Moving Out of the Comfort Zone: Innovative Teaching through Self and Peer Evaluations; 42nd Annual National Conference for Teachers of English Costa Rica; San José, Costa Rica.

Lowry, E.K. (2007 Jan). Blogging across Boundaries: Connecting Students through Online Journaling; 42nd Annual National Conference for Teachers of English Costa Rica; San José, Costa Rica.

ACADEMIC HONORS AND AWARDS
Recipient, University Graduate Scholarship, University of Cincinnati, 2004
Recipient, University Graduate Scholarship, University of Cincinnati, Summer 2004
Recipient, Student Marshall for Digital Business, Department of Information Technology, 2003
Recipient, High Honors in Spanish, Department of Romance Languages, 2003
Recipient, Cincinnatus Scholarship, University of Cincinnati, 1998

ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Housing Tester, Housing Opportunities Made Equal; Cincinnati, OH
04/2004 – 06/2005
Viewed local housing as part of a program to eliminate discrimination against Hispanics.

Information Technology Co-op, Essig Research, Inc.; Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico
04/2002 – 09/2002
Provided PC, network, and programming support in Zihuatanejo branch office.

Co-op, Chiquita Brands International; Cincinnati, OH
2000 – 2001
PC/LAN Group, 06/2001 – 09/2001
Applications Development Group, 01/2001 – 06/2001
Purchasing and Materials Management Group, 06/2000 – 09/2000

UNIVERSITY SERVICE
Evaluator, Oral English Proficiency Test, University of Cincinnati; Cincinnati, OH, 2004.
Evaluator, Cincinnatus Scholarship Competition, University of Cincinnati; Cincinnati, OH, 2002 and 2003.

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
Family Representative, Ohio Kentucky Indiana Association for Bilingual Education, 2003 – 2005
Member, National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), 2003 – 2005
Member, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), 2004 – present
Member, Ohio TESOL, 2004 – 2006

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Received TESOL Professional Development Scholarship for the 2006 Convention, 12/2005.
Received Certificate in Community and School Interpreter Training, Ohio Department of Education, 08/2004
Attended Ohio Kentucky Indiana ESL Conference, Cincinnati, OH, 04/2003
Participated in TESOL Electronic Village Online Sessions in 2005 (Moodle) and 2006 (Blogging)

COMMUNITY SERVICE
Translated for Latino migrants and made referrals to social service agencies.
Interpreted for Cincinnati Police Latino Beeper Project.
Organized community outreach and health education for Hispanic population.
Volunteered with Santa Maria Community Services and various community committees.

COMPUTER SKILLS
Windows and Mac OS platforms
Freelance web developer (FrontPage, Dreamweaver, VBScript, HTML, DHTML)
Programmer (Visual Basic, C++, ASP.NET, SQL, some Java)
Desktop publishing (Adobe PageMaker, Photoshop, MS Publisher)
All aspects of computer lab maintenance and setup

My name is Erin Lowry and I’ve been teaching ESL/FL for a little over three years. Right now, I’m an English Language Fellow (http://elf.georgetown.edu/) in San Salvador, El Salvador at the binational center there. In my former life, I was an IT person and programmer, so I’m also looking for new ways to incorporate technology into my teaching and my students’
learning. I’ve used blogs with students in the past, and am hoping that I’ll be able to find the time to start using them again with some of my teacher training projects here. Oh, and one of my resolutions for this year is to stop being an EVO lurker and start participating more actively!

I’m currently working as an English Language Fellow in San Salvador, El Salvador. This blog will be used for my TESOL EVO 2007 sessions!