Will an Apple watch lead to more learning?

Just a couple of thoughts on this:

I'm a big fan of Edutopia (also their excellent Twitter feed), it's excellent for keeping yourself up-to-date with what's happening in technology and how advances there might be profitably used in education.

But this question, to which they have a sensible answer, is frankly daft (though possibly quite clever as link bait).

NO! It won't lead to more learning! NO technology ever leads to more learning!

It's only good use of technology by the learners — and good task design by the teacher — that leads to any learning at all, let alone more learning!

Incidentally, as well as being a big fan of Edutopia, I'm a self-confessed big hater of all things Apple, but perhaps it's best not to get into that…

PowerPoint and the printer are not ICT!

Venn diagram: Things I wish I could teach people

Here's one from a recent session on a CELTA course, drawn on the (non-interactive) whiteboard.

Using Powerpoint, the printer and the photocopier may give you the (false) impression that you're using technology in your classes, but that's in fact not really the case.

You could make a (very tenuous) case that PowerPoint is communicative but, really, none of those evil 3 Ps could really be classed as 21st century information and communications technology (ICT).

Instead of you using PowerPoint, if your learners were sharing and colloborating on creating Google Drive presentations, that would be the way to go.

A social, not a technological focus — always!

Just in case any of you are thinking of coming to my session today at IH Barcelona's annual ELT Conference;-) !

Something I always say to trainees on our pre-service CELTA courses: learning should primarily be a social, not a technological experience — and if we're in ELT, the focus really has to be on language, not technology.

I suggest tasks that use such tools as Edmodo not because they're technologically exciting (which they are) but because they provide opportunities to use language in communicative ways, and because doing tasks of that nature, sharing and commenting on each others' work, allows us to be social – and to thus use more language.

What makes a great teacher?

Need something uplifting for Monday? This one i found on Adam Simpson's All things ELT Scoop.it (more about Scoop.it), the kids being 12-13 year olds, if I've understood the Australian school system correctly.

Such things are fun for kids to create and record (either as a podcast or on a mobile phone) and super instructive, I think, for teachers to listen to.

I provided technical support for a similar project recently where the kids talked about what makes a good learner. There was a privacy issue (the school involved vetoed any videos being uploaded to YouTube) so instead the videos were shared on/via the kids' phones.

The recording had to be done outside class (the school has a ban on mobiles being used in schools) but that (ie. the former!) isn't necessarily a bad thing: classroom time was used for discussion and rehearsal, with the recording being done outside class.

YouTube lesson plans for language teachers

Here's another wonderful clip and accompanying lesson plan recently posted on Kieran Donaghy's excellent Film English, one of the sites I always recommend trainees on CELTA courses at IH Barcelona.

I can also recommend two other similar video and lesson plan sites, LessonStream and Allatc (the latter particularly for more advanced learners) but what I particularly like about FilmEnglish is the choice of the clips: they so intrinsically interesting, as the materials for lessons really always ought to be.

And a couple more video sites: if you must turn everything, including YouTube material into grammar exercises, then Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals might be your thing, as might ESL Video, for creating your own exercises.

YouTube (not to mention other sites like Vimeo and Videojug) offers language teachers an amazing variety of materials but rather than immediately thinking "How can I turn this clip into an exercise?", think "How can I turn this into a lesson?" — particularly if it involves doing something more creative with YouTube.

The key question to getting the most from YouTube is probably to consider how active or passive the learners are going to be. If the clip gets them merely to check true/false boxes, they're passive; if it gets them to talk, then they're active.