Posted on | May 21, 2013 | No Comments
This year, International House is celebrating its 60th anniversary and for its online conference Friday and Saturday this week there's a novel format: 60 speakers presenting 60 ideas in 10 minute slots throughout the two days.
All you need to take part is a headset with microphone and a decent internet connection.
You can attend whether you work for IH or not, times are 9.30-19.00 GMT, attendance is free.
Posted on | May 20, 2013 | 1 Comment
Thanks to Karen for this one, which I think is wonderful for sparking class discussion: fabulous with teens and probably also if you have classes of young adults of university age.
For class, I like to adhere to a strict, self-imposed "no photocopies" rule. Do we actually need a photocopied listening "exercise" with material this good?
Watch, and then get your learners to — individually — summarise what is being said. Then put them into pairs or threes to compare notes, before watching again and then producing a (collaborative) written summary of what is said in a maximum of 120 words, as a starting point for class discussion (which could be continued outside class on something like Edmodo).
As a follow-up, possibly with a short oral presentation by each group, have the learners propose radical alternatives for education… which could alternatively be done as a piece of formal writing if you're teaching for Cambridge exams.
Note that you can have "captions on" for subtitles in English if your learners find it hard to follow what is said.
Posted on | May 20, 2013 | No Comments
Video: introduction to two technology courses we do in the summer at IH Barcelona for secondary school teachers
I'm going to quote from Wikipedia on this one (not something I've ever had a problem with!):
Flip teaching (or flipped classroom) is a form of blended learning which encompasses any use of technology to leverage the learning in a classroom, so a teacher can spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing.
The gist of flipped learning, says Daniel Grafton, starts with the teacher recording and posting "video lectures in lieu of lecturing in class".
I'm not sure that the flipped model is one that actually applies at all in language learning (we aren't lecturing, are we?), which should surely be interaction- and language-driven rather than content-driven as other subjects might be and, in a language classroom, if anyone was doing any videoing you'd hope it would be the learners.
On two of the summer courses that we do at IH Barcelona, however, we suggest the following: that what really needs to be "flipped" in many language classrooms is who uses the technology.
If it's principally you that uses the technology (and "technology" means no more than the classroom computer and projector and perhaps YouTube), stop!
It's a small change, but it makes a huge difference!
More about flipping a classroom
- Infographic: The flipped classroom
- Larry Ferlazzo: The best posts on the "flipped classroom" idea | More
- TeachThought.com: 6 steps to a flipped classroom | More
Posted on | May 18, 2013 | No Comments
Heres' one of my personal favourites for using song, from the same source, though if I had to pick one idea for exploiting songs (and particularly YouTube video clips) I'd have to say using them as a starting point for writing collaborative stories — for example with Norah Jones or Bruce Springsteen.
Favourite Edmodo+song activity: when someone (preferably not the teacher) shares a song video and it generates a huge amount of unexpected discussion…
Posted on | May 5, 2013 | 2 Comments
Here's one of the activities I suggested in my talk Technology makes writing better at the Macmillan Teachers Day in Barcelona yesterday.
My point here was that if you want to get learners to write, and enjoy the process, you want to find stimulating topics — and you want something (like this video) that is going to spark discussion. From the discussion you get the ideas, in getting the ideas you can detect what language your learners don't have and in sending them away equipped with the ideas and the language to express the ideas, half the battle the learners have to express themselves has been won.
As a writing task, I suggested the following:
Write a persuasive blog entry for a general audience entitled "7 things you should be doing for the Third World".
That I'm aware of, no Cambridge exam has ever required anyone to write a blog entry but, as I also suggested in my session, if you want learners to take enjoyment in learning, and thus be motivated, and thus learn more, it's surely better to set a "non-exam" topic or question type than a boring one.
Having learners actually post to a class blog, and making writing a shared experience, rather than just privately handing your work to your teacher, also works wonders.
Sources of material
Among my favourite sources for stimulating material for discussion and discursive writing:
Posted on | May 3, 2013 | 2 Comments
Hi and welcome to my blog, especially if you are coming to my session at the Macmillan Teachers Day here in Barcelona tomorrow, May 4th.
In my session, "Technology makes writing better", I'm going to be suggesting that Web 2.0 tools such as Blogger, Edmodo, Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) and TodaysMeet make the sort of writing task we get on Cambridge exams like FCE, CAE and Proficiency better – in that, with the help of not too much technology the tasks can be made more collaborative and thus more fun, more productive in terms of language learning, and so much more 21st century.
Links from the session
- Blogger Getting Started guide
- Blogger videos
- Blogger Help
- Edmodo Help
- Edmodo Blog
- Google Drive Help
- TodaysMeet FAQs
After the session, I'll be posting an edited version of the presentation on Slideshare, and here on my blog…
Comments, feedback, suggestions, other ideas…? Do make them — either here or else on the TodaysMeet for the session.
Posted on | May 3, 2013 | No Comments
The Image Conference is taking place at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, UAB Casa Convelescencia, Barcelona on Saturday 8th June. The conference has been organised by the IATEFL Learning Technologies SIG and UAB Idiomes, and it is the first conference exclusively on the use of film, video, image and gaming in language teaching.
Speakers include renowned experts in the field such as Jamie Keddie, Ben Goldstein, Paul Braddock, Ceri Jones, John Hughes, Kyle Mawer and Lindsay Clandfield. There will be 2 plenary sessions, 5 keynote sessions and 10 workshops all designed around the theme of film, video, images and gaming in language teaching.
Posted on | April 28, 2013 | 2 Comments
Hi and welcome to my blog, especially if you came to my talk on using graded readers with technology at the Macmillan Teachers' Day in Seville yesterday.
Above you have a slightly edited version of my PointPoint, with the tasks I proposed and all of the links.
As I suggested, the tasks have been designed to be done — as far as possible — with just about any reader (graded or unabridged versions) and just about any age. A few (Glogster, for example) are probably best suited to teens, but things like making oral presentations are equally suited to teens or adults.
The use of technology can enhance the interest of a reading book (the latter probably not something most learners are in the habit of doing!) but there can also be a magic moment that can come when you use class readers: the technology isn't in use and your learners are actually talking earnestly about the story and its characters and their motives and so on, and the reading and the talking are actually driving language learning.
Technology can help get you to that moment…
Thanks for coming to the session, and if there are further questions, comments, etc., do either mail them to me, or leave them here and I'll get back to you.
Posted on | April 19, 2013 | No Comments
Here's one your young learners will be amused by and an idea that would make a fabulous video project for them (though their parents might not thank you for it!).
To get the most language out of it, you'd want probably teens with a intermediate level of English or above, as you're probably going to get language practice out of brainstorming and discussing ideas and in having someone be the director of the filming than you are in the actual filming itself.
You might want to keep each animal as a separate clip, with Vine (which gives you just 6 seconds) being one possible tool — assuming you have at least one iPhone or iPad available.
A colleague had learners who (not as a class project!) created a hilarious collection of YouTube videos (now regrettably removed!) of things that could be done with a crema catalana in a Chinese restaurant (!!!). Your learners could film how particular animals eat particular food products (MacDonalds' fries?).
Alternatively, in pre-YouTube days, I got a lot of mileage out of Horrible Recipes (it was Halloween). Filming those would also make a neat little film project, perhaps with suitable props and costumes.
For filming, mobile phones could be used (and possibly shared only there, on the phones) and you can also upload videos to YouTube privately.
Posted on | April 18, 2013 | No Comments
Also from last week's session in Zaragoza…
Here's one that my daughter Isabel brought back from Canada last summer and which I suggest as a fun activity to do with young learners, perhaps in the last 10 minutes of an "animal vocabulary" lesson. My example has amoeba, chicken, bird and eagle in it but you could have any animals and I'd play this on the first day that these are new words to my learners.
To play the game, you need space in which everyone can mingle (try outside in the playground if you don't have space in your room) and everyone begins saying "Amoeba! Amoeba!" over and over, and making a small swimming action with hands and arms. The amoebas then attempt to evolve to chickens… by playing rock, paper, scissors with a partner. Winners become chickens (and now have to repeat "Chicken! Chicken!" over and over, while making chicken wing movements with their arms), amoebas remain as amoebas (and carry on swimming and saying "Amoeba! Amoeba!").
To become a bird, you need first to become a chicken… and then mingle and find another chicken and beat him/her at rock, paper, scissors, after which you say "Bird! Bird!" and flap your wings.
The winner is the first person to beat another bird to become an eagle ("Eagle! Eagle!", accompanied by moving their arms like soaring wings).
What's the point of the activity?
Well, (a) it's a lot of fun; and (b) it's a great way of ensuring no one ever forgets the words amoeba, chicken, bird and eagle!
I'd suggest it for 9 and under but you'll find that teens love it too (though with older kids it would be hard to justify linguistically).
Where does technology come in?
My suggestion is that you could – with parental permission — film it (possibly on a smartphone or iPad, possibly something one of the learners could) and upload it to YouTube (where you might consider keeping it private, and just displaying it in class).
If you've got your learners to draw pictures of their animals and post those on a classblog or Edmodo group and can now also accompany that with your "Amoeba! Amoeba!" video, you and your learners have created and shared digital products, which is really what technology allows us to do nowadays.
See also Another version of the game (in which you become Diana Ross, not an eagle!)
Posted on | April 15, 2013 | No Comments
In my talk the Macmillan Teachers' Day in Zaragoza this last Saturday I mentioned the Web 2.0 tools listed below.
I suggested that I'm not so much a teacher as a cook (as well as being a doctor!) so that these are, if you like, the "utensils" I use.
The best dinner parties, however, are always those where the guests help cook (even if it's only fondue!) and a class is like that too: put the "utensils" in the hands of your learners and technology is so much more fun…
- Blogger | How to make it private | How to make your learners authors
- Edmodo | Edmodo Help
- KidBlog (a "kid-safe" alternative to Blogger)
- Kid-cast.com (a "kid-safe" alternative to SoundCloud)
- PowerPoint games
- Soundcloud | 101 Mobile podcasting
- Vine | See explanatory video
- Correcting errors: how do you correct work learners do with technology?
- No matter how old your learners are…
- Weather forecast on an interactive whiteboard
Further information, slides, etc., coming in the next few days.
Posted on | April 12, 2013 | No Comments
Hi and welcome to my blog, particularly if you're coming to my talk at the Macmillan Teachers' Day in Zaragoza this Saturday, intended for those of you teaching 2nd and 3rd cycle of Primary (ages 8-12).
Rules of hygiene
In the session, I'm going to suggest that I'm not so much a teacher as a cook — I cook and serve dishes (lessons) — and that I'm also a doctor, a health inspector in my own restaurant (classroom), and that's the place to begin.
These are my own "rules of hygiene", which I follow with young learners (and in fact those of all ages):
- Get permission Get written parental permission, in other words, before you start taking photos or posting things on the Internet
- Ensure privacy Create a private blog, or use something like Edmodo; and explain that it will be private to parents — they're much more likely to give you permission if you do
- Get some practice You want to get some practice before you take Web 2.0 tools like blogs and Edmodo into class, but it's just that — "some practice", to play around with the tools; you don't need to know all there is to know about them (which is probably impossible, and definitely not necessary)
- Make some, but only limited use of technology You aren't there to use technology, you're there to ensure your learners learn; if too much technology gets used, it starts to take over from the learning. In a language class, what do you want: clicking or talking?
- Do lots of things involving NO technology Carry on doing arts and crafts, drama, playing games and singing songs and telling stories without technology… though you'll also find that those things can also be done — sometimes — with digital tools
- Don't YOU use the technology In fact, you're not there to use technology at all: put it in the hands of your learners and (a) you'll find it goes wrong less often and they're (b) happy using it and — let's be honest — (c) not bored watching you pffafing around trying to get it to work
- Make it a shared experience Get your learners to share the digital things they create with each other, get them to comment on each other's work: it's much more fun, more motivating, more 21st century if they do, as that's what technology allows us to do nowadays.
Success with technology (and without)
How do I define "success" in a classroom, whether or not I'm using technology? I have a very simple formula, as you can see: if my learners are (1) learning lots and (2) enjoying it, then technology has been used succcessfully.