Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

What Did You Learn In 2007?


I’ve been reflecting on my year, and trying to think of the most important things I’ve learned during this time.

I’m going to come up with a short list, and share them in a post on January 1st — next Tuesday.

I’d be happy to share other people’s “learnings” in the same post.  Feel free to write one-to-three things you feel you’ve learned this year in the comments section of this post.  I’m not going to give a specific restriction on their length, but please try to keep them short.   Please submit them by midnight, December 31st. I’ll leave them in moderation until I include them in the January 1st post.  

Also, please include a short sentence you’d like me to use to describe you.

By the way, I learned this easy technique of soliciting and sharing readers input from Kevin Hodgson.  He uses it for his great “Day/Week In A Sentence.”  He’s taking next week off from posting people’s contributions from that feature.  I’m sure, though, if you leave a comment in this week’s post he’ll invite you to contribute when it starts up again in January.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Thanks Larry for the chance to reflect here you go.
    My 3 momentous events for 2007 are:
    The way Moodle was introduced and implemented in my district because of our staff! They have embraced this technology, maybe kicking and screaming, but the end result is that our school lives on the web as well as in the classroom.
    My opportunities to meet many folks from around the planet through blogging on and through WomenofWeb2.0

  2. I’ ve been thinking about this Larry…so here goes:

    1. I’ve spent this past year flexing my tech muscle with the web 2.0 and its social networking opportunities for collaborations with people like Kevin Hodgson who has been gracious in his sharing.

    2. As I move deeper and deeper into this web, I’ve learned to be patient with those who are not yet sold on its riches. Most of the people I work with look at me skeptically when I rave about its rewards.

    3. I am learning to keep exploring and building my own comfort with tech tools. I write every day on word count journal and religiously write movie reviews and reflections on my blog and even though I never know who reads them, I love the idea of writing to be read.

    4. And one project leads to the next and with Boil Down Your Day, I found you, Larry and your fantastic blog. I can’t wait to begin the 2008. We have more adventures to share.

  3. The most important thing I learned in 2007 is probably that some people on the planet are challenged by a disability syndrome called Nonverbal Learning Disorder, or NLD. No, it doesn’t mean that they are nonverbal. In fact, words are their strength. On the contrary: NLD means a disability in interpreting information visually, which includes understanding body language, gestures and facial expressions (which can account for up to 90 percent of the message) as well as severe difficulties with things like math, writing, reading graphically presented information, understanding maps, drawing, and many other activities of daily living. My daughter has NLD. Getting this diagnosis and learning about NLD has helped me to understand better the challenges that she faces every single day of her life. For more information, see

  4. I have learned so much from many people this year, but in a nutshell, I think one of the most important revelations was that even if you have never met a person face to face, you can share and grow with this person. It is people like you, Larry, that make this happen, so thank you ever so much for sharing and connecting.

    Closer to home I have found myself marveling at the power of a kind word or praise at another person’s attempts to accomplish something. It can make all the difference, whether the other person be young or old, adept or a complete beginner.

    Finally, to be very specific, in 2007 I learned how to make and successfully use a powerpoint presentation. This knowledge has strongly influenced the presentations I give regularly and prepared me for teacher training as well. By the way, this knowledge was acquired through the EVO 2007 sessions!

    Illya: EFL teacher, teacher trainer, coursebook author and blogger

  5. I’ve been learning all the time. The most important ones??? Difficult to say.
    A lot about blogs,power point,and many other tools
    How to manage Autocad for Architecture
    Using rubrics
    How to cook “matambre a la pizza”
    But there are a lot of things I’d like to learn. It’s just a matter of life!!!

  6. I am ending the year in complete awe of Web 2.0 tools – with Google at the top of my list (from Google Lit Trips to Night Skies and even 3rd party GSpace, the sky really is the limit) and with the hope that in the coming year, more students have access to these tools in ways that foster creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration (21st century skills).

  7. I am a Chemistry and Support for Learning teacher in Scotland with multiple sclerosis.
    In 2007 I have learnt a fantastic amount top 3 in the field of technology and teaching/learning have to be:

    1. That technology such as Second Life might allow me to continue teaching when Im physically no longer able to. I’ve met many pupils and staff for whom being in school everyday is a constant physical struggle. The freedom of movement offered in SL is immensely liberating for those of us who move with difficulty in RL. Not being able to go to school is socially isolating and meeting new people or friends in SL goes some way to helping with the feelings of isolation.

    2. It has definitely been the year of new operating systems for me. I was previously hard-core Microsoft enthusiast -with an MCSE to prove it! In 2007 I not only bought a Mac (wow what a learning curve that has been) but also bought my daughter an eeePC running Linux- now that is amazing! With the flexibility of web 2.0 who needs an expensive suite of applications?

    3. I learnt that I thrive on constant problem solving, idea generating, and the try it and see attitude that is often necessary when using technology in teaching. I also learnt that it is exactly this constant problem solving that makes some people feel unable or unwilling to use technology in teaching.

    What do I want to learn in 2008?
    How to build in SL and what SLoodle is all about.
    More about Linux. Im hooked I need to know more technical stuff.
    How to prevent the network sentinels from paralysing the use of IT in my school.

  8. I learned that social networking is an incredibly powerful platform as I plunged into Classroom 2.0 and created my own Ning networks and took part (and continue to take part) in others. (nice alliteration in there, eh?)
    The Web provides such amazing possibilities for collaboration and connection. Now, we need to continue to move our students in that direction and show administrators and parents the possibilities of breaking down the walls of our classrooms and opening up our schools to the world (is that on my list for 2008?).

    Kevin Hodgson
    sixth grade teacher, Norris Elementary School, Southampton, Massachusetts.
    technology liaison, Western Massachusetts Writing Project

  9. I learned that . . . .
    1. I am a better teacher when I’m not going to school at the same time!
    2. I learned that the more organized I am, the better I teach.
    3. I learned to let go and say no when and where appropriate.

    Now, if I can just keep those lessons fresh in my mind in 2008!

    Happy New Year!

  10. I am a middle school technology teacher.

    Three things that I learned in 2007:

    1) How to blog and subscribe to blogs via Bloglines for up to the minute tech news.

    2) Most students who can’t control themselves in Middle School missed key study techniques in their elementary years such as keeping and maintaining a student agenda with a calendar of assignments and due dates.

    3) It is never too late to teach any student of any age the importance of staying organized and techniques for keeping track of assignments.

  11. I’m a new business ed teacher currently teaching 4th and 6th grade keyboarding. Things I’ve learned this year:
    1) There is more information out there than I have time to read in my lifetime
    2) Edublogs is a wonderful way to start blogging
    3) There will ALWAYS be someone who knows more than I do

    Thanks for doing this list!

  12. Hi, Larry!
    Thanks for the invite to post about “What did you Learn in 2007”?
    I reinforced the feeling that my great enthusiasm for teaching EFL with and without Web 2.0 tools pays off and is extremely rewarding. It seems that my enthusiasm and dedication has a snowball effect in both students and teacher-friends-collaborators worldwide, who join in the fun of different learning (ad)ventures, contributing to students learning in a fun and eye-opening way.
    I also reinforced the idea that blended and online learning are the future “today”.
    And finally, I have to add that I’m very honored to have received the “eLearning Award 2007” in Brussels, Belgium, on Dec 6. My curricular blog, CALL Lessons 2005-2007 , won the Gold Prize in the category of “School of the Future”. I’m especially proud of that.
    What better reward and early Christmas present could my former students, colleagues worldwide and I have had this year for our constant and constructive learning, commitment and motivation?
    It really pays off to embrace lifelong learning and to work hard for our students!!!
    Best wishes in 2008!
    Teresa (Portugal)

  13. Larry – What I have learned is that you can teach an old dog new tricks. In October I was extremely unhappy with how my students were responding to the old “introduce, practice worksheets, discuss and test” method of teaching Vocab and writing. It was to say the least boring, I have tried several different methods of teaching over the last 6 years and still found myself coming back to this way of teaching. So I started doing some research on the web to see what was out there to help me out. I (with a lot of help from my tech coordinator – Craig) discovered Web2.0 and the multitude of applications that could help me to become a better teacher for my students. At first I was extremely overwhelmed, there is just so much to learn and absorb, I learned about Blogs, Wikis, YouTube, TeacherTube,, Classroom2.0 and so many other resources. I have come a long ways, but have a lot further to go, I have learned that I like blogging, not really crazy about Wikis and that my students are utilizing skills that they will use beyond my classroom. There is so much more I could write about, but in the interest of brevity, I will only say that the Web2.0 applications and the helpful bloggers out there have made me a much better teacher! Can’t wait for the things I will learn in 2008 – Zoho suite?

  14. I’m a sixth grade math and science teacher who would like to see constructivist learning in my classroom happening all the time if I had more of a choice.

    What I learned this year.
    1. The importance of my personal learning network along with my professional development using tools such as Skype, Twitter and Ning.

    2. I need to be less passive and actively participate in writing and commenting on other edtech writers’ ideas rather than spending so much time just reading in my RSS reader for a true read/write web2.0 experience.

  15. I learned how powerful a choice can be. I can give students a choice of what to do and they will typically choose the right thing. It has helped me manage classrooms that are not permanently my own.

    I learned to be more confident in my ability as a teacher.

    I have also learned to quickly build rapport with students and make another teachers classroom my own for the day.

    I am a teacher with nine years of experience teaching PreK who recently got my elementary licensure and is currently subbing.

  16. I learned—or re-learned—several things during 2007:

    1. “Life is a series of compromises to less than satisfactory situations” (a quote from a favorite teacher). So true! What we dream of / hope for / plan / expect may not happen, but instead of shutting down and wasting time on disappointment, it’s far better to modify our dreams / hopes / plans / expectations and continue to move forward.

    2. “As we get older, we feel the same as always inside our head, but the rest of us doesn’t always cooperate” (what someone told me when I was in high school). I’m amazed that I continue to believe, on some level, that I can still do things that were routinely possible five, ten, twenty years ago. All I have to do is try—and then I realize that while my mind is usually as active as it ever has been, my mobility and flexibility and general physical abilities are not: I’m slower and less capable of major multi-tasking, and I have far less stamina than I once did.

    3. Learning languages is both exhilarating and frustrating. Isn’t it wonderful (and isn’t it mind-blowing?) that it’s often possible to say something in one language but not in another? Isn’t it amazing (but also maddening) that many things can’t be directly translated from one language to another? Isn’t it wonderful (and isn’t it terrible?) that what is logical in syntax differs greatly from one language to another? Isn’t it interesting (and also mystifying) how some sounds are more or less universal yet others are very language-specific?

    4. As we get older, we gradually accumulate an enormous amount of trivia—some of which ends up being useful, some of which is only interesting.

    5. We’re lucky if we have even one true friend.

    6. Family ties are everything.

  17. The absolute best web 2.0 “thing” I learned this year was the wiki, which came to me in a life-changing video (see: ) While I don’t give the link to the wiki for my mother-in-law in this post, I’ll let you take a look at it via . Family members contribute to it almost daily still.

    As an educator, I’ve set up a few wikis for different purposes. You can see some of them at , , and . I’ve been working hard at turning on my colleagues to the notion of what a useful took the wiki is, and it’s been slow. It disappoints me that more educators are not as deeply fascinated with web 2.0 technologies, but I am pretty confident that they will all be using them eventually.

    This is a great reflective exercise Larry. Thanks!

  18. This year I have learned the power of the connected network for personal professional development. This has occurred as I’ve intentionally become a more active participant. Rather than simply reading blogs, increasingly I have chosen to join the conversation. This has not only been stimulating, it has helped to establish meaningful and fruitful connections. This has also happened as I’ve joined online professional social networks. Toward the end of the year, I chose to join the Twitter World. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the ways that conversations on Twitter inform and enrich my professional development. At times, I’m pointed in new directions by comments on Twitter. On other occasions, I’m affirmed in what I’m already doing. As a result of my connected network, I have never felt more “professionally developed”, nor has the process ever been more enjoyable for me.

  19. Larry,
    What a great idea asking us to share what we have learned.

    I’m a special ed. teacher at a high school in Mississauga, Ontario Canada and have worked with “at-risk” kids for many years. What have I learned or more precisely what have I had to relearn. I’ve relearned that my “at-risk” students can teach me a lot about being a better teacher if I’m willing to listen and take some risks. Just because it’s always be done one way doesn’t mean that it has to continue to be done that way and that I need to think big, start small and do it now.

  20. I’ve learned that I’m more patient with my children and my students when I get enough sleep.

    I’ve learned that the blogging can be a blessing and a curse.

    I’ve learned that a good group of friends cannot be replaced.

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