Spring 1997
Vol 5 Issue 2


Learning + Technology = ?

Technology and Instruction -- Lessons Learned

Then and Now

Learning, Technology, and Art: A Conversation

Computer Instrumentation Provides Valid Laboratory Experiences for Chemistry and Physics Students

Technology and Learning

A "Flashlight" for Evaluating Technology

The Impact of Information Technology: Learning, Living, and Loving in the Future

Upcoming Events

The Forum

Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction
The Labyrinth... Sharing Information on Learning Technologies

Jon Lea Fimbres
Cairo, Egypt

Jon Lea Fimbres has joined her husband Bob Hetzl for a three-year stay in Egypt as Bob serves as superintendent of Cairo American College. She is eager to correspond via e-mail (jonfbobh@brany1.ei-eg.com) and a web site we set up at MCLI: http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/mobius/egypt/

A year ago this month, I was beginning a new semester at Paradise Valley Community College. I was professionally involved in something I had enjoyed doing for the last fifteen years - counseling and teaching at a community college in the U.S.A. Little did I know that in one year, I would be living on a different continent, in a country filled with many exotic learning opportunities. I am continually amazed at how much my life has changed in one short year. When I contrast then and now, I am glad I love new ideas, learning about other people and cultures and that I am not afraid of making or admitting mistakes. Being a beginner, again, is a humbling experience.

THEN, I commuted an hour on a busy Phoenix freeway to counsel and teach at PVCC on a sprawling desert campus on the outskirts of a city of 2 million. NOW, I commute fifteen minutes by Cairo Metro in the women's car traveling through an ancient city of 16+ million people to an office in an old English villa.

THEN, I lived in a country that separated church and state, where the majority of people worshipped in churches on Sunday and the work week began on Monday. NOW, I live in a country that blends religion and government, where each person is called to prayer five times a day and worships in a mosque on Friday and the work week begins on Sunday.

THEN, I taught or counseled mostly American students from 16-60 years old who were trying to improve their lives through higher education. NOW, I help mostly Egyptian and other Middle Eastern students learn about higher education opportunities in the U.S. in order to improve their lives and/or their country.

THEN, I spoke English with occasional Spanish. I was surrounded by people mostly like me, in dress, thought and values. NOW, I still speak mostly English with a growing vocabulary of Arabic. Even though I am now surrounded by people who may dress and think differently, I find that we have many things in common (love of family, compassion for others and sense of humor).

THEN, I used my computer to stay in contact with MCCCD colleagues and serve students with up-to-date information. I complained about the electronic junk-mail and the time it takes to learn all the new technologies. NOW, my computer IS my office and contact with the rest of the world. I look forward to every e-mail and new web-site. Time is still extraordinarily precious and scarce. Since the computer is my main source of current, professional information and my work associates are spread out over the U.S., Middle East, Asia and North Africa, my only choice is to continue to develop a high level of computer skills.

I find myself in a life situation where I am learning at all levels: linguistically, culturally, technologically, spiritually and intellectually. I am grateful for the solid foundation of knowledge I brought to Cairo and am aware on a daily basis how much MORE there is to learn. Whether it is learning to negotiate the Ramadan rush hour traffic or to operate a new CD-ROM for International Advising, I find patience, a sense of humor, openness, and practice, practice, practice keep me focused on what I have to do next.

THEN, I intellectualized about all of these ideas and learned about them in theory. NOW, I live them on a daily basis and experience the frustration, excitement and curiosity of learning something new with EVERY personal and professional encounter. I have learned that a combination of people and technological skills is required on a daily basis. Whether we live in Cairo or Phoenix, each of us, as we prepare for the new century with its global opportunities, must develop the capacity for life-long learning; nothing stays the same for long any more. What I learned THEN has been a foundation for NOW.

What I am learning NOW will determine my future.