Springsteen: We learnt more from a 3-minute record…

A further idea suggested in my talk a week ago…

Because, among the first quotations I ever collected, there were a lot of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen lyrics, I couldn't not include at least one in my talk.

You can go to conferences, find great ideas for using technology on the internet (see for example, some of the Blogs I learn from, in the sidebar, right), but in the end, technology is very, very much a question of learning by doing. I've learnt, really learnt, far more in the hours I've spent actually using it than I have in the hours I've spent listening to people talk about it and would suggest the less you know about technology, the more important it is that you start "messing about" with it.

Keep it simple!

In a seminar, someone once asked me for advice on how and where to set up a "virtual reality house", in which her students would invent and take on imaginary characters and do everything they did in the entire year, every task, in that way; they would "be" those characters.

I suggested that (a) it would be brilliant if it worked; that (b) Second Life would be the obvious platform, much though I loathe it; that (c) Edmodo or a blog, though not "virtual reality", would probably give far fewer technical headaches; that (d), vitally, we should always keep things simple; that (e) probably the way to go would be to try out the idea, but not commit herself to doing so for the entire year, at least not until she had got feedback from the learners.

But I very much liked the idea and think learners would too, partly because it is so obviously creative.

Here's a simplified version…


Have your learners take a series of photos of [motorbikes, cars…] and match these to their owners, who they also have to create

Examples of photos taken by learners: what kind of people would ride/drive these…?


The photos should be shared and commented on (an Edmodo group is perfect for that, but Facebook and Google+ would work equally well, with far less privacy) before we start to invent the characters. If in the comments we brainstorm ideas on "who would ride/drive something like that?", we're starting to create ideas that can then be used to flesh out the characters.

Once we have enough photos, have pairs pick a single photo and work on the character, who should also be shared and commented on.

Your job is to provide the language necessary as well as the ideas; if you work hard face-to-face in providing the language, you'll have less "correction" to worry about in the end-product.

If the idea "works", try getting your learners to take another series of photos [coffees, cars, shoes…] and match these to the same series of owners and/or add new "owners".

Related post
Learning to use Edmodo (or any other technology)

Introduction | One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten

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