What is IREX? Micro-talk Reflection


Creating my micro-talk about my IREX trip to Kyrgyzstan was like taking a trip down memory lane.  As soon as I saw IREX listed on the list of possible micro-talk topics, I knew I wanted to share this amazing organization with my classmates.  Before applying to the Teaching Excellence and Achievement (now known as Teachers for Global Classrooms) program, I had never heard of IREX.  When I arrived in Kyrgyzstan, I discovered that most teachers there were aware of IREX.  This organization runs many programs for teachers around the world through funding from the U.S. Department of State.  The TGC experience was one that I wanted my colleagues to know about since it had a profound effect on me.

I decided to use PowToon to create my presentation.  I had used it once before in a previous class and found it easy and fun to work with.  I decided to use photos from my trip to tell the story of the TGC program.  I knew that IREX had expanded the places it sends teachers to, so I contacted them for more information since the actual countries were not listed on their website.  I eventually heard back from them and posted their response to the Google Community.  Although PowToon is easy to use, any presentation is time consuming, especially when video, text, images and music are involved.  It took about six-seven hours total to create the five-minute presentation, but I enjoyed every part of it.  (Well, almost every part . . . there was one moment where I thought I had lost everything, but thank goodness for the auto-recovery feature on PowToon.)

After posting my micro-talk, my colleagues left several comments.  They enjoyed the PowToon format and the photos from my trip to Kyrgyzstan.  Many commented that they had never heard of IREX and would be sharing the information with fellow teachers.  One comment asked if I had ever shared my experiences with my students.  I responded by explaining that I do, and I try to share the entire grant-writing process with them, so they can understand what is involved and the reasons why organizations and governments design programs to bring teachers together from around the world.    

I am pleased that my micro-talk can be useful for other teachers.  I also enjoyed viewing my classmates’ micro-talks.  Each one had something new for me, even if it was about an organization I was already familiar with.  The presentations have inspired me to try new ideas in my classroom.  The micro-talks will be a valuable resource for me in the future.  

Comments (2):

  1. Miss Krenicki

    March 9, 2014 at 12:58

    Tim, I think that the personal connections with a particular topic makes the presentations authentic! I'm so glad you did this project as I'd applied to IREX in December and wondered what it was actually like for a participant.

    I'm also excited to learn about PowToon through your presentation, too. I attended a conference where a presenter first introduced Prezi to me, but I think PowToon will be even more interactive for students. Plus, the interface is closer to the PowerPoint template, so it is a little easier to navigate. I'm already trying one out…. thanks for sharing.

    Have you had your own students do projects like this? Do you think it would be beneficial for them?

  2. Tim

    March 9, 2014 at 15:19

    Laura, Glad to hear you are enjoying PowToon. I agree it is probably a better fit for middle school students than Prezi. I have not had any students use it yet, but they were all intrigued by the two presentations I made for them and wanted to know more. It will be one of the choices for them in an upcoming project. I did show it to a student I was tutoring in Providence and he was so excited by it he scrapped his PowerPoint and created a PowToon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *