Tapped In Member Perspectives: Meet Keiko Schneider

Keiko Schneider is an ex- and future- Japanese teacher currently working on a Teaching Online certificate from UCLA Extention. She hosts an online forum and manages a listserv called senseiOnline. She is also the Online Conference Chair at WAOE (World Assocation for Online Education).

Keiko's Perspective

My name is Keiko Schneider. Right now I run a small business called Saboten Web Design and am in charge of several educational web sites and some businesses. I also consult Japanese/Foreign language professionals with integration of technology. I taught Japanese at the University of New Mexico until May 1999, when the funding for the position ended. I recently completed my Teaching Online Certificate from UCLA Extension and hope to get back to teaching online. I also serve as an officer at World Association for Online Education (WAOE) and will be in charge of delivering its first online conference in 2001. I am a manager of senseiOnline listserv and I organize a monthly online forum called benkyoukai.

Although TAPPED IN has been around since 1997, I am a relatively new member of this community. I have been one since early September of 2000. Although it is a rather short time, I am already fascinated by the potential of TAPPED IN. I am grateful for the supporters of TAPPED IN: NSF, SRI International, Sun Microsystems, various partner organizations, staff and community leaders. The community effort of TAPPED IN makes it much more than just an Internet site to chat and hang out. It is an online educational community where educators and students come to meet, learn, and work together.

Sessions and networking

I have participated in After School Online discussions and discovered they have an educational focus and are well-organized. I "met" new colleagues and also engaged in real-time interaction with colleagues that I have only known online. This is a great place to network and participate in collaborative projects. I am a regular (or trying my best to be) at the Foreign Language Forum lead by Chuck Merrit of Palo Alto High School, the Tech in the Classroom discussion lead by Donna Hendry, and the Euro Language Teachers session led by Philip Benz. The Foreign Language and Euro Language sessions are closest to my heart as a foreign language instructor and it is nice to be able to discuss issues that language teachers share. The Tech in the Classroom sessions are not necessarily language instruction-oriented, but it has been useful to see K-12 materials and the focus has been unique.

How easy it is to get to know colleagues from other disciplines is just one of the things I appreciate about TAPPED IN. Even when I worked in a university setting as a lecturer, it was difficult to connect with faculty in other departments. I rarely met people who were more than a minute's walk away on the same campus in different buildings. In the informal educational environment of TAPPED IN, I have ventured out to participate in the Social Studies Forum, the Tech Tools in Issue-Oriented Science Classrooms series by SEPUP (Science Education for Public Understanding Program), as well as WebQuests with Bernie Dodge, and various WebCT sponsored sessions focusing on distance-learning. Learning from these colleagues, that I otherwise wouldn't have met, is eye-opening. This is a new learning experience where you don't know what you can expect to gain. For example, I found learning from science and technology specialists to be an important aspect for the Humanities disciplines such as foreign language instruction.

I think TAPPED IN is a wonderful place for professional development. I would like to hold class meetings to influence students' learning. I would like to continue participating in the After School Online discussions, and to continue networking with colleagues. I am hoping that I can host a monthly study forum with seseiOnline listserv. Also I hope WAOE and TAPPED IN can establish a working relationship. One possibility is to have an online meeting for officers since we are spread geographically all over the world. Once I get back to teaching online, I would like to use TAPPED IN to meet with my students, and I would like to keep using it for meeting with my colleagues and for collaborative work.

My Office

Important to me personally is my office. I have been using my office as an online meeting place. Since I travel a fair amount of time giving workshops and presenting at conferences, I frequently need to communicate with colleagues about projects and presentations. Meeting at TAPPED IN not only saves on our phone bills, but also helps us run an efficient meeting with the tools they provide. The Whiteboard and the Notes that we can look at together make us focus on the agenda rather than chatting about things randomly. I especially appreciate the transcript that is promptly sent to me after I log off. While having a meeting it is hard to take notes, but the transcript helps me to easily document my materials for later reference. I invited members of WAOE and senseiOnline to experience the TAPPED IN environment, and I am glad that my colleagues that I work with closely are signing up with TAPPED IN. For professionals in the Humanities disciplines, the virtual world of TAPPED IN is rather unfamiliar, even for some Internet savvy people. I have added graphics to my office to make things easier to find. Because of the graphical interface of TAPPED IN, it is easy for beginners to learn their way around the environment. As a web designer, I must say this web design is excellent. TAPPED IN's design is functional, easy to navigate, and the graphics are sleek. Last but not the least... the HelpDesk staff and volunteers that are logged into TAPPED IN Monday through Fridays are extremely valuable.

Lastly, I would like to elaborate on future developments I hope to see at TAPPED IN. Many Internet services still only accept standard ASCII letters in their text. This is a barrier to people who need to communicate in languages other than English. If TAPPED IN hopes to expand its vision globally, technical hurdle needs to be overcome. I understand this is not an easy job to incorporate in the current system of TAPPED IN. However I hope that TAPPED IN, which has done an excellent job so far, can eventually provide its services to multi-lingual communities.