María Gabriela´s Page

1. General Information

About my tastes
I´m 19 years old. I´m into manga and anime (japanese comics) and I really love video games. My favorites are RPGs, platform kind and my favorite from them all is Zelda, which helped me to understand English a lot. I have a boyfriend and he studies Electrical Engineering at the USB too. I also have a British friend called David who I chat with every time I can, but he is usually working and can´t chat a lot lately. My favorite color is purple and black, and I like sweets. I have a dog called Link, and I live with my parents in Terrazas del Ávila.

About my studies
I graduated from María Santísima High School in 2006, and presently I´m studying Electronic Engineering at the USB. I liked it because I wanted to work with video games or something similar in the future. But I think physics courses are getting harder and I might try to get transferred to Architecture since I like to draw very much and I feel that maybe that field would go along better with my personality. Still if can´t get that transfer, I´ll keep studying Electronic Engineering and will try to do what I want to do, that is to work with video games or a similar area. I wish I could go to Japan to complete a PhD or some other studies, even in other fields. That´s one of the reasons why I am studying Japanese right now. I don´t know how my thesis should be, at present I´m not really thinking about that. About my English knowledge, I took courses in María Santísima´s junior school until high school, but that was pretty basic, still it helped me out. I also watch movies in English, try to chat with people in English and play video games in English which helps.
I wish I can successfully graduate from the USB and start working in something that fulfills my expectations.

2. About Plagiarism

I was reading from this link the advice from a teacher to his students on how not to plagirize and it resulted funny to me when I read "Don’t hand in first-person accounts written by people who are radically different from who you are!" because I remember that in high school once a classmate was in a hurry and copied an essay she found on the internet exactly as how she found it, and then just printed it and gave it to the professor, I guess she didn´t even read because somewhere in the essay the person who made it gave his name and said he graduated from some university, of course she failed.

The definition of plagiarism that I´m going to expose was obtained from this site

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to "plagiarize" means

  1. to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
  2. to use (another's production) without crediting the source
  3. to commit literary theft
  4. to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.
In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.
So according to this information it implies a very important crime made by the author of the plagiarism, because he is stealing the ideas from someone else and using them without giving any credits.
I think that the only way to avoid plagiarism is to express your ideas and thoughts directly from your mind, or the notes you made from a personal research activity. Personally I try to read something, analyze it, and then I can try to make the whole essay, work, or assignment from my head, that way I would be typing my own ideas, and in case that I needed to make a reference I would make a proper quotation using the quotation marks (" ").
As I use to write everything from my head, and I don´t even like to make quotations, I never plagiarize, but when I was at High School I, for sure, did plagiarize many times because I didn´t know the difference from what I was doing and paraphrasing, I was sure I was paraphrasing but I wasn´t. Now that I read this information from the Wisconsin University´s site I know I plagiarized a lot trying to paraphrase, it would had been good to have that information in those times, but is good that now I know how to do a better paraphrasing.

3. Me as a writer and reader

I will start this assignment remembering
I liked literature and English at high school, but I have to admit that not all of my teachers were as good as I wanted them to be. I remember one of the best English teachers I had that made us a really difficult test of about 6 pages, my classmates hated him for that and he quit. An activity I found really gratifying was a theater play I made in my last year at the María Santísima High School, it was about “Uncle Rabbit and Uncle Tiger”, my friends and me made the traduction for a script we found, and I was uncle rabbit, it was a very good experience for me. In my school they taught me verbs, irregular verbs, grammar, vocabulary, and I really never learned exactly how they taught it, I mean I never learned the name or how is called what I was saying, right now I remember about simple past and simple present because we used them a lot, but really I just listen to a sentence in my mind and then I make a reflection, does it sounds good or not?, and that´s really what I did through my whole scholarship, most of the time I was right but sometimes I was wrong, and I continued to learn from my mistakes and I´m still learning.
Presently I know everything is about writing and speaking, because we mainly communicate writing and speaking, and English is the main language that most of people in most of the countries speak, so learning, and learning well to write English, open many doors that lead to new opportunities.
As I didn´t took the regular English courses at the USB I don´t really have further experience than the preliminary test I made to exempt this courses, but I have experience with Literature, I had a great teacher called Fernando Arribas who gave me classes on the first and the second trimester, he was focused on making us get better and give us our grades based on how we improved on different works and assignments, and I feel I learned a lot from him, my last Literature teacher was very good at literature and she taught me some very interesting things about the national painter Armando Reverón and other art works, but she was really focused on who she thought was really good, not in our improvements so I didn´t really enjoy her classes as much as I enjoyed Fernando´s classes.
As I find this course quite very interesting I´m hoping it will help me through the way of improving my writing and I also hope everyone can make the most from it, I think that is very important to know well how to write and how to read, because is the base for a well done communication.
About the process I go through when I write I have to say I don’t make pre-writing activities, not doodles, I always start to write the definitive text and that will be the definitive text, I read it once after I finish aloud and correct whatever I think should be corrected, I always prefer to write in my personal computer, on Microsoft Word, I can delete whatever I want as many times as I want, and I rather to write what I think, but if I need some references then it depends on what I´m writing, I use a dictionary or encyclopedias, whatever that might come in handy .
I consider myself a reader, I read a lot of different kinds of information, books, novels, newspaper, forums, etc, and I do it for different reasons, sometime for pleasure, others because I need the information to get something done. I think the readings I enjoy the most are the manga-cartoons, but I also enjoy fiction novels, and the best book I´ve ever read, I would say “The Da Vinci Code” but I enjoyed “The Lord the Ring” and “Harry Potter” maybe as much as “The Da Vinci Code”. I´m not used to read essays and I don´t have a particular favorite writer.
I took this course because it seemed interesting to me, as I wish to improve my writing and I´m almost sure I´ll do, to learn everything I can, and I hope for the others and also for the teacher to make the most from this experience.

4. Learning with the brain in mind

This was a very interesting slide show. I knew about the 4 lobes but I wasn´t sure of what were their functions. I found very interesting that the brain is more perceptive to all the information it finds more useful and I didn´t know that the brain is social.
About "Learning and memory" I didn´t know that "the more stimulation of cells, the more likely long-term memory is created". I found very useful the idea of organizing the information graphically, that´s something I´ll keep doing regularly. I also found useful that we should "have diffused activities after focused learning" and that it is proper to "have new content every 45 minutes".
I also knew about the physical needs of the brain, like sleeping, having balanced foods and water and also doing physical exercise, and the emotional needs of the brain like feeling safe, motivated, secure, self managed, and others. What is kind of new for me are the environmental needs like right temperature and what some kind of different environments (aromas, colors, etc) mean to the brain. I had an idea about them, and I know that different environments develop different feelings, and reactions, but I don´t always recognize each. I found especially useful the aromas information so I think I´m going to start to buy aromatic candles to help me concentrate.

5. Which side of your brain you use the most?

When I was doing this activity I noticed the dancer spinning in both directions (clockwise and anti-clockwise), which means I use both sides of my brain about the same.
And when I took the test about "Multiple Intelligences" at the link that the professor provided these were my results:

6. Me as a learner and teacher

Primary was pleasant but high school wasn´t that joyful because of my classmates and because of the sisters (it is a catholic school), they all were crazy, and now when I see a girl with the uniform of my high school I think "poor thing", still I liked many things from high school and my favorite subjects were philosophy, psychology, math, english, literature and biology. I had always been interested in philosophy and psychology but not as a study I would do to work in it, if not to know more about people´s mind and myself and my teacher is awesome. I wasn´t the best in math but I liked it still! most of the exercises were like games, excepting when I was doing the tests that they seemed monstrous! and english was definitely my most favorite because it was easy for me, not all the times but it was comprehensible and is something I really like. Literature was great, the teacher is excellent, I didn´t obtained the best grades but I feel I learned from it and it wasn´t in vain, I really liked the books we read at literature, and biology was great because I like very much nature and it was also comprehensible for me.
I was very happy when I was accepted here at the USB but it changed my life totally, now I am a happier person but my grades are not like in high school (I guess everyone at the USB think the same about their actual grades and high school grades), I´m not brilliant I´m quite normal, maybe as I don´t study as much as some of my peers I don´t get as good grades as them, but I´m making my own effort at my pace and I´m quite comfortable with it because I´m improving my studies with the pass of time. I study better alone, sometimes I study with some of my peers but I study the best with my boyfriend because he is always wanting to help me in my studies (even more than I), and he is a very good teacher in math. I don´t know why but is true that I find some teachers very understandable while others are really not very comprehensible, for example I like when a math or a physic teacher writes with a very good calligraphy on the blackboard, it makes it really understandable for me when they are tidy.
When I made the Multiple Intelligences test I found out that my most developed intelligences are logical, naturalistic, linguistic, intra personal and visual/spatial and I think is quite correct, I like music but I had never tried to play any instrument at all. I never thought of myself as a learner, not consciously, but I knew I was a learner since ever because we all are the whole time learning something. And I had never had personal strategies to study, I just study reading or practicing with exercises depending on the subject. As I was watching the slideshow on the brain I realized that sometimes I don´t give it the necessary rest or the right balanced foods and that might have some influence over my studies. I also realized that as the brain tends to understand better what it feels is more important or interesting then maybe I should try to find the interesting point when I´m studying so that way I´m going to understand the subject better.
As a teacher I had many times explained things to peers and to younger people. Right now I am more a learner than a teacher, because in the meanwhile is my boyfriend who teaches me math and some physic, and I teach him about some languages but it doesn´t always seems interesting to him so he usually don´t pay me attention. My mom is always asking me to help her with emails and electronic devices, right now she is the only one I can recall asking me for such help. I particularly enjoy explaining to other people how to make their ways through a video game, I also enjoy giving people, who is interested, techniques to make drawings. I thin that helping others does help us to be better learners. As we explain we remember what we are teaching and it helps us to capture it in our memory and it also makes our brain more active so it´s way easier to pay attention to others and to be more perceptive. Is hard to explain something to people as you are never sure if they are understanding, I think that trying to make yourself clear is hard and some people is better teaching than others, but as we all can communicate then we all can transmit information and teachings.

7. Script: Caracas

Our Capital Caracas is a beautiful valley that is surrounded by the Ávila Mountain which also separates it from the Caribbean Sea. It was formally founded by Diego de Losada in 1568 and it is our financial, administrative, commercial and cultural centre.
In Caracas there are many interesting places to visit such as the house where Simón Bolívar was born in 1783, the Museum of Fine Arts with art pieces from recognized Venezuelan artists such as Armando Reverón, Jesús Soto, Arturo Michelena, and others. Caracas also has shopping mall centers like the Sambil in Chacao, the Tolón Fashion Mall, the C.C.C.T., etc.
If you wish to be more in contact with nature, you could visit “Avila Mágica” taking the cable car that will lead you through the natural wonder of The Ávila Mountain and leave you in a place where you´ll be enjoying nature and at the same time you can eat typical or non so typical food and also try Ice Skating, among other activities. You could also visit El Parque Generalísimo Francisco de Miranda or just “El Parque del Este” which is a park where you can go and relax or practice sports, or just watch some of our different species of flora and fauna. The subway was inaugurated in 1983 and it is the oldest and most important public transportation system in Caracas.

8. Me as a computer and Web user

I do many activities outside of the computer. I play a lot of video games but in consoles. I´m not used to play games on my computer. I usually get into my computer for about 2 or maybe 3 hours, just the necessary to check my e-mail and to work in some assignments, so I´m not really familiarized with many internet elements. I don´t feel like a digital native even if daily I use some digital objects. I´m more like a digital immigrant as when computers started I didn´t have one for several years, and still I´m not able to use a computer in its totality.
I don´t despise any electronical or digital device, after all I´m studying Electronical Egineering so I really like all these artifacts but presently I don´t always use them. I´m more in contact with my consoles, with my cellphone and with basic programs of my computer. I also use my computer to edit pictures in Photoshop and to create logos or basic drawings in programs like Freehand or CorelDraw.
In this course I found an interesting site I had never visited before which is Voice Thread. I found very useful that you can have a slideshow and you can make written and oral comments to the pictures; that way you can improve your writing and pronunciation at the same time, and also you can watch other people's slideshows and comment on them. This makes it a very entertaining and enjoyable site.

9. Grammar Exercises

Passive voice, subject-verb agreement and present-past perfect

By doing these exercises I discovered I have lots of confusions with present and past perfects. In the first exercise I got 60%, I passed but I could have done better. I understood some of my problems. I don´t think I´ll stop having some problems with present-past perfects but I feel these exercises helped out. I´m doing quite well with passive voice and subject-verb agreement, but as I have told before, the hardest exercises were the past-present perfect ones. I´ll have to find more exercises and practice to correct the mistakes.

10. The best gift I´ve ever had

This might not be the best gift that a person can give to another, not even the best gift that I´ve ever had but when I read "what is the best gift you have received?" just that comes to my mind. It might sound dumb or materialist but it has another meaning for me. When I was 7 years old my parents gave me a Nintendo 64 because I wanted a console badly and with it they gave me a copy of the Super Mario 64 game and it was lovely, I liked it so much. I kept asking for more video games, but it was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time the game that made me fall totally in love with my console. I was 11 years old and I had never tried out something like that. It was a great adventure, the world was bigger than in Super Mario 64 and it was more intriguing. It had a history that I really wanted to understand, and as I have already said, it helped me out with my English because I really wanted to understand it in its totality so that´s why I started to search word by word in an Spanish-English dictionary.

I kept playing it with no rest, nothing was better than discovering a new path or item by myself, and as I didn´t have internet in those times, I had to make it all by myself, never reading those guides you find in the internet. That makes it a very gratifying experience because I solved every puzzle by myself.

Now I try to solve all the puzzles by myself, but sometimes I want to go to the next level so badly that I look for a guide if I get stuck. But usually I solve them by myself.

After finishing Zelda Ocarina of Time I received The Legend of Zelda: Majora´s Mask. The adventure was shorter but the story was great! It was amazing, different, until now I hadn´t found such a twisted story in any other game. People who have played Zelda before always prefer OoT because it was the first game they played, and because it was longer. I don´t have a favorite, I love both, and I think they can´t appreciate the great story on Majora´s Mask.

After that, I played a couple of other games and then the Nintendo 64 got outdated and the new console system was the Nintendo Gamecube. Of course I bought one, and received the hilarious Zelda Wind Waker. The graphics were better but more like a cartoon and not in a realistic way, which I don´t find dissapointing; it was different, and I feel it is the funniest Zelda game ever.

Later I received some other Zelda games for gameboy advance, and one called Zelda: The Four Swords. All of them were very good, maybe the last one shouldn´t have been just for GameCube but also for gameboy advance too; still all of them were really entertaining.
Now the GameCube is "the old thing" and Nintendo Wii is the new Nintendo System. My mother bought me a Wii on 2006 as a birthday present and with it a copy of the new The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which is best Zelda game ever. I found it short because I´m used to the Zelda system so I didn´t really get lost in the game and I played day and night for 5 days. Even if I think this the best Zelda game ever (because it has great graphics, and also a new and very detailed story), I won´t ever forget the first Zelda games I played and how good they were.

I played OoT and Majora´s about 12 times each, and I would play them again if I could. I haven´t played the other games that much, but I´ll keep playing. With such appealing adventures, I just have to wait for Nintendo to release another great Zelda game and increase my good experiences with Zelda series and consoles.

11. Essay Practice

I decided to give several hours of my time to improve the community where I live, which is Terrazas del Ávila, because all of us want to have a nicer place to live everyday, and I feel that in our community we have a serious transportation problem. So I decided to work in a new transportation company called Bus Ávila.

Many of the neighbors in my community complain about the bus system that goes to Petare because it is very unsafe. The taxis from Terrazas del Ávila are too expensive, and the best alternative are the taxis from La California but they come in very irregular periods of time to Terrazas del Ávila. Bus Àvila will be the solution to these problems.

Bus Ávila is a project that consist of a line of 4 cars that would be departing every 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the traffic, from Terrazas del Ávila to La California and vice versa. Every car has a capacity of 20 passengers and I have to remark that La California is a very good spot because it is near Terrazas del Ávila and it is close to a subway station.

The idea is to be punctual so that way the neighbors from Terrazas del Ávila would have a reliable means of transport, and wouldn´t have to wait for the taxis that come from La California for long periods of time. It is also meant to give security to the passengers and good quality service at an affordable price.

I would have to tell that this idea is going to benefit all of us, neighbors from Terrazas del Ávila, as a way to overcome our transportation problems, and also a way to have a pretty good service, that would be fast, economic, and secure. So while we can´t get our own car, we can trust the Bus Ávila service.

12. Procrastination

I had always procrastinated. Procrastination consists of the constant delaying of the assignments, homeworks or activities we should do to fulfill our academic grades or to do a good job. Difficult, unpleasant or annoying tasks make us postpone them, or some seem to be easier than what they really are and we keep delaying them.

Two trimesters ago I took an extra course (CCP114) where we were supposed to understand the problems we had when we studied, why we procrastinated, and how to start to correct them by identifying the causes and our distractions. I got a 5 and I learned a lot from that course. I know that I still procrastinate but now I do it less, which is good.

Following the information posted in the first article that the teacher placed for us to read for this assignment, I would say I´m mostly like an "anxious procrastinator" and sometimes I am a "reward procrastinator". When I postpone my academic studying, most of the time I´m sleeping, playing video games or watching television, or many times I´m talking through msn. Other times I start a bit of an assignment and almost immediately I feel tired and I want to take a rest, but those rests are longer than the time I spent on the assignment.

I admit that the biggest distractions I have, besides my bed, are my video games. That´s why right now I have unplugged my play station 3 and my wii so that way I won´t have that temptation; or I will have it but it is unplugged and saved in a place I might not want to get it out of and connect it. I also try to change the activities I´m doing so I won´t get too tired; for example, if I´m studying math, I will change to Japanese after 30 minutes and in the next half an hour I might change to Physics or to English, etc, and that way I won´t get too tired and I will be able to work in many subjects.

I also take a little rest where I watch TV or sleep for a while, but I try it to be short. Sometimes it is not short and I begin to procrastinate, but I try not to postpone what I need to do as much as I can.

Finally I will end saying that I have been doing better since I finished that course, because before I used to procrastinate a lot. Now I still do but not so much and I can see the good results. My best technique is doing many activities for short periods of time; this helps the brain to understand what I study better. Not to procrastinate is almost impossible, the best we can do against it is to reduce it in the biggest measure we can.

13. Make vs. Do

I wasn´t aware but I have a serious problem with the "make vs do". I´m not sure of which should I use often. I´ll have to make more exercises like this one. Is really good that now I know that I have to improve that, thanks a lot.

14. First Impressions

First Impressions are conceived as the first thought a person has about anything, and I think that first impressions may have different ways to be processed by us, like they could make us commit mistakes, and even correcting them we would keep making those mistakes, or we could have a first impression from a person, a product, etc, and then change it permanently. When I was watching the video my first thought was that the guy who ran towards the woman was going to steal her something, then I thought that he really wanted to steal the other man´s briefcase, but actually he wanted to save him from a terrible death. I had to watch the video twice to understand it better.
Is interesting to know about the reaction of people to what they are first taught, like to relate the word coffee with the word cup, because that could be one of the facts that make us commit some mistakes. For example if you are taught something wrong since the start, even if you correct it you might keep making the same mistake, and even commit it in a test! Someone once told me that the word apple was pronounced like if the first "a" sounded like "a" from the alphabet, later on I corrected myself but sometimes I keep making that mistake!
This is somehow different about first impressions we get about people. I remember that when I first met my boyfriend I thought: ugh! this guy is unbearable, because I thought that he really didn´t want to talk, and that he didn´t like me, but what happened is that he is very shy. My conception changed when I got the opportunity to know him better.
With this I conclude that the first impressions might make us commit big mistakes, or we could just change our opinions. It all is related to what our brain conceives as "important information", and sometimes that information is kept in our subconscious and we keep relating it to certain memories, sometimes we are able of changing that information. Is good to never trust in first impressions, because reality might be the whole opposite of what we first thought.

15. Tenses coherence

I found easy the first and the third activity, with some mistakes though. The second activity was hard for me though. I guess I can make coherent tenses but I don´t really know in which time I´m writing them, so that´s what I should improve.

16. Second Essay Practice

Topic: You have the opportunity to work in a foreign country after you graduate. Which country would you go to and why? Use specific reasons and details to explain your choice.

If I had the opportunity to work in a foreign country after I graduate I would definitely would go to Japan. I´m studying Electronic Engineering and is well known that Japan is a country that is very advanced in all the technology matters, and specially in the Electronic, and I also want to work with video games, plus I love the Japanese culture.

As I´m studying Electronic Engineering I think that the best foreign country I can go to live is Japan. Japan has the last technology additions released to the market before than any other country, and they also invent and/or improve most of the electronic devices that we use daily.

I really want to work with video games, and the most advanced country at video games is definitely Japan. They released the Nintendo, the Play Station and the Xbox systems. The most amazing games are made by Japanese industries, so I´m sure I would learn a lot from them in the video games topic.

I also think that Japanese culture is very interesting, and I really want to learn more about it. I like their past history of samurais and many of their customs. I´m learning Japanese right now and I wish I could practice it and improve it there.

To conclude I´ll say that if there were a foreign country that I would like to go to work it would be Japan, because I´m studying Electronic Engineering and is the most advanced country in electronic devices, video games and I like its culture. Japan is a paradise for electronics.

17. Last Essay Practice

Topic: How has this EFL writing course affected you as a writer, reader, university student, EFL student, life-long learner and/or future professional in a globalized world? Are there certain aspects of writing, learning or living you are more aware of, for example? Give specific reasons and details to support your answer.

This EFL writing course has affected me as a writer, reader, university student, EFL student and future profesional in a globalized world because is well known that the english is the international language in these times. Most of hiring companies requires that their employees know at least their language and also English. Is a benefict for me that I could make this course at the USB and improve my written English, as well as I made international projects and also I learned about many interesting things, like the brain, and first impressions.

The object of this course is to improve the student´s written English, and I think I certainly did, because most of the activities were through the web and written. Also the meetings with the teacher at her office helped me to localize some mistakes that I couldn´t find in my writing.

We also made some international projects, like the KWC exchange project, that I liked because is a way to practice English with people from another countries, and improve it while you are sharing a pleasant conversation. And we also learn about different cultures, and let others to know about our culture.

I also learned a lot of interesting matters while reading the articles that were dedicated to our assignments. It was very interesting to know about the brain needs, and also about what people feels as first impressions.

I´ll finish saying that it is pretty good that we have courses like this at the USB, because they contribute in our preparation for being profesionals. This course helps to improve the writing English through written assingments on the web and is given in a very enjoyable way, through activities like international projects and readings about important matters of life. The English language is very important nowadays, and this course was a great way to improve it.

My self evaluation grade is:

18. "Article or no article", "gerund or infinitive", "neither, nor, both, either"

I have to say that I think this had been the easiest activity yet, I got 10 in all the 3 activities so now I know these could be some of my strong points at English.

19. "Parallel structures" and "Singular-plural-possesives"

I made just this two exersises because I thought I had more problems with them. In fact I have a little problem in both but is not the big deal. Later I will try to make the others because they help a lot.