Hello everyone, my name is Tomek Ziemba and I’m an assistant professor at the National Institute of Technology, Oita College on the western Japanese island of Kyushu.
My prefecture is quite rural but also right beside Kumamoto which suffered huge losses and damage from the earthquakes and landslides that happened a few weeks ago. Oita also suffered damage and still experiences aftershocks (we’ve had over 1000 since “the big ones”) and schools have finally gone back in session as of yesterday. There is still lots of recovery to be done, but things are slowly but surely going back to normal.
I graduated from the Faculty of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa and since then have been teaching English in Japan for over a decade now. English is not my field of study but after having done it for so long, I am now conducting research on EFL education and other related fields through collaborative efforts with other professors at my College and around the world.
My reason for joining the MET program was to become familiar with the use of technology for educational purposes. The Institutes of Technology in Japan aim to foster future engineers through a 5 or 7-year system (high school and vocational school/undergrad degree in one). However one of my 6th year classes (21 year olds) the students still hand write their reports because they are not familiar with using Word to type in English (let alone in Japanese). Other professors still teach with chalk on blackboards, and using a projector for PowerPoint presentations is seen as super high tech by most of the older professors.
My reason for taking this course is to learn more about how to start up and run a learning technology venture. Through my work at my college I have had to take care of several exchange students who come with little to no knowledge of Japanese and struggle their entire time here. My goal is to create an online (?) Japanese language education course that I can use to pre-teach the students the language before coming, and hopefully expand it to anyone else who wants to learn the language before coming to study or even just sightsee here.
Unfortunately for school rules I can’t put up any pictures of myself or my students, but here is a video that they made for the national robotics competition in which they won the design award for their Lion Robot. They can program and design something like this from scratch but cannot log into a website or type anything on a computer still boggles my mind… https://youtu.be/T_IYRuKomB0
I look forward to learning about everyone else’s situations and environments and hopefully collaborating with others throughout the course and even beyond if possible!