AJANS UNIVERSITY – Merve REİSOĞLU
PHOTOS: Gigi GIANNELLA
Özge Karaoğlu Ergen did her double major at İstanbul University Faculty of Education(HAYEF) in the departmentS of ELT (English Language Teaching) and Psychological Counseling and Guidance. Her project “Bubble and Pebble” was prepared by Özge Karaoğlu Ergen and her young learner students. She deserved ‘New Writing Award’ from ESU among many projects. She is working at a private school in İstanbul as FLD K12 technology integration specialist. She is working on how to integrate English language into foreign language curriculum. At the same time, she is an English teacher and a teacher trainer in teaching with educational technologies for international organizations, schools and institutes worldwide. She is the main author of Minigon ELT Books, project coordinator and the content developer of The Smurfs ELT, the co-author of My First Digital Journey e-book and the content coordinator of Yes, I Speak English DVD series. She has been developing digital games, animations and mobile applications with her learners. She has also given the signals of her upcoming projects through our interview.
Teachers Affect Their Student’s Careers
“One should love his or her job, I am really pleased because I am doing a job that I really love. Sharing ideas with learners and colleagues is an amazing feeling for me. Teacher as an occupation cannot be done without loving it. When I was a child, I was so much affected by my teacher Tülay Aytaç who was an English teacher at a course I attended at middle school. Her way of teaching so much affected me. At the university, I was so much affected from Ass. Prof. Dilek İnal. Her teaching and questioning gave me enthusiasm during my career” said Karaoğlu.
Preparing Digital Materials in ELT
Karaoğlu is working together with young learners. In her school, there is a studio where her students make animations. She questioned why they were not doing these animations in English and gave a start to her project. She says: “Generally the stories are taken from the ELT books, however, this time we came up with an idea and said that let’s prepare some stories that are created by children benefitting from their imagination. Thus, learners would provide materials to their peers and these materials would be digital materials. We allowed students to draw characters by freeing them beneffitting from their own imagination. Afterwards, we created a story together and the story was dubbed by my young learner students. With the contributions of our animation teacher, we carried this story into a digital platform. One day, one of my students asked me ‘Why I am not playing this at home?’ That question triggered us to transfer these stories and exercises into applications. This application became the first application in the world that was produced by the learners. Learner’s questions won’t be underestimated because the enthusiasm of that project was given from a 6 years old young learner student of mine. This project was totally collaborative. It was the first in the world in its field. My colleagues, my students and my school supported me a lot during the process of this project.”
She emphasized the presentation of technology and the importance of how to present it in language teaching as a teacher by saying: “In order to provide different materials to students, technology is very significant. However, as a teacher we should also be aware of the teaching acquisitions. Technology should be used as a tool and it should not go further of the acquisitions. The most important thing is the support of the web tools to acquisitions that the teachers benefit from in the lessons.”
An English Teacher Granted For A Prize By Buckingham Palace
She was rewarded for her project “Bubble and Pebble” but she indicated that this prize was given her for her contributions in English teaching till this day. She feels honorable for being granted for this prize. She tells “Before this prize I looked atthe palace from the grab rails, whenever I went to London. It is interesting that the doors of the Buckingham Palace were opened for you. At there, getting that prize as the first Turkish person and being invited to Buckingham Palace as the only foreign national person makes me feel proud. Prince Philip gave me my prize and he said that he was so surprised that he heard I was coming from Turkey. Then, he asked me about where I learned speaking English. In reply, I said I learnt it in Turkey and his surprise increased. Afterwards, he congratulated me and gave me my prize. This will remain as an unforgettable memory in my life.”
She is going to prepare an animation with her students “Samantha’s Adventures”. With this project, they are going to associate new concepts with new stories. She also told that she’ll continue preparing materials for her digital materials.