3 October 2017

An Autumn Game and Resources for Teachers


Having a stock of games to use in classes, whether analogue or digital, is common practice among language teachers and other subjects. Quiznetic is one more digital game that is simple to create for class revisions, with the teacher only needing to share the automatic code for a specific game.  So far it is free and when learners have used it several times in class, they too could sign up and create team games for each other, thus having them more involved in their learning process. 

It's also possible to share one's quizzes with colleagues though I think I would also like to have the option of embedding a quiz. Here is a short quiz with videos that I am including as a quick test to Quiznetic, while below is a short video on how to create a game. 


Two other interesting resources for educators which have caught my eye are Oxplore and Poetry by Heart .


Oxplore offers a variety of topics to be discussed and debated in class. Each topic offer a "yes" or "no" option which then leads to further questions, short quizzes, short readings and videos on the topic. 

It's an open resource and very simple to use or to dip into,  regardless whether a teacher is digitally skilled or not.  And, for many educators, a time saving resource. 





Poetry by Heart is a dynamic site which encourages learners to engage in poetry and to take part in competitions. 

What other resources will you be using this Autumn?


Other Suggestions





27 July 2017

Asking Questions, Challenging Learning - A Resource for Educators


What is learning if not questioning?

What is learning if not the provocation of questioning?

The Learning Challenge with James Nottingham from Challenging Learning on Vimeo.

The Learning Challenge  is a space where educators can find resources to reflect on their teaching approaches and mindsets. 

Resources include videos, downloadable lessons and more:


From reflections on Carol Dweck's Growth Mindset to Hattie's influence in learner feedback and teaching strategies, Challenging Learning is a great resource for educators. 

The best part?



Questioning.

Learning.

Believing in learning changes.







Further Suggestions:


How Educators Can Assist Learners in Developing a Growth Mindset

MindSet Kit - The Mindset Kit is a free set of online lessons and practices designed to help you teach and foster adaptive beliefs about learning.

Recognizing and Overcoming False Growth Mindset

Glossary of Hattie’s influences on student achievement

Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives

Images - Pexels

23 July 2017

Boosting Vocabulary


Words.

I want words.

Words to describe the spaces in between.

The spaces of light, the spaces of dreams.

Untouched, unspoken words.

I want worlds of words.

As a language teacher I want my leaners to have words. I want them to have the power of expression. So easy, yet always so challenging when learning a language.

Word Booster, a recent tool I learnt about with Nik Peachey ), is a helpful tool for busy teachers.

3 simple steps:

Select an online article,

Copy & paste link, (URL),

Click and download PDFs.

Below is an example which I did with a recent blog post by Philip Kerr on Evaluating Personalization:





This type of exercise may not be to everyone's liking; a language teacher may need to look carefully at the language selected and consider whether the focus and examples are of interest or not. 

However, for teacher trainees, this is a great tool to use in a workshop. They may try it out on each other in small groups and then decide how useful or not, such a digital tool may be for teachers. This requires the ability to select an appropriate online article (perhaps connected to a theme/topic they are covering on a training course), challenging another group of peers, and above all, being comfortable within the learning group to reflect on how they could use this vocabulary tool with their learners.

Words, words, words!

How have you been teaching/exploring vocabulary lately?

Words from Enle Li on Vimeo.




When Teachers Still Say "I Don't Know about Computers"


Mid 2017 and I still hear educators publicly state how they don't know much about "computers" and so will not be able to carry out X or Y teaching task. 

Excuse me? 

Given the choice, would these same teachers go to a doctor who practiced medicine as it was practiced in another past century? Given the choice, would these same teachers live in a house which didn't have the basic facilities of running tap water and electricity??? Do they not even know the
difference between a computer and digital literacy skills???







For those not know where to start learning, The Global Digital Citizen Foundation 
is one of the many, many places to begin learning about different issues in education today.

There is such a wealth of ways that digital technology may support and encourage learning, that it is, quite frankly, unacceptable that teachers still excuse their lack of interest in today's world by saying "oh, I am not very good at computers". More than ignorance, it is a disservice to our learners. 

However, it is also necessary that teachers don't mistake the use of PowerPoint and Kahoot as evidence that they are integrating digital education in their classroom practices.  These are tools; and as all other tools, there needs to be constant reflection as to the learning outcomes and pedagogical purposes which support learning. Additionally, merely including digital media (in any form) is also not the only answer in education. Educators should become familiar with the learning tools available to all today and their pedagogical implications, while also fostering a more critical approach to pedagogy. 



So where does one begin learning?

With others.

Through collaborative networks and communities.

By reading, by participating, by engaging with others.

By taking risks of failure, risks of ridicule, risks of learning.

By active learning.


Learning does not happen in an empty vacuum; learning is not something that is done to you. It requires participation and being active. As George Couros so well expressed, "isolation is now a choice educators make" .

Perhaps if educators were more willing to update their teaching and learning skills,  they would find themselves complaining less about their learners, and actually be more likely to be pleasantly surprised at the creative thinking and production their learners are capable of.


via GIPHY




Further Suggestions:





1 July 2017

Need Inspiration?


Summer.... and quotations abound across SM.

InspiroBot  comes to alleviate the (possible) boredom of long, lazy days.

Click on "generate", sit back and be prepared to smile.

How many ways could you use this with your learners?









Further Suggestions:


Soundbites for the Classroom

Stories for Autumn

Do You Have Visual Swag?

Posters, Images and Metaphors


Wing It from Peter den Hartogh on Vimeo.


Free Professional Development for Teachers


If you had a life threatening illness, would you go to a medical doctor trained in 1817?

If you were not feeling well, would you go to a medical doctor who graduated in the 1960's and never read a medical journal after finally graduating and doing their medical training?

If your answer is a resounding NO!, then why do learners have to tolerate educators who are not prepared, not updated, not interested in teaching in 2017?

Professional development for educators does not come cheap. Nevertheless, there are always ways to keep learning - even for educators. Besides the obvious offer of MOOCs, attending conferences and so forth, there are also professional development courses which are open and accessible to anyone who is interested. 

Capella University is offering several free online professional development courses for teachers. 

Choices are open.

What's stopping you?
Alike short film from Pepe School Land on Vimeo.

Choices are there for all. 

Further Suggestion:

23 Things for Digital Knowledge


Teacher Development and Resources

Elements of Leadership in Education

24 June 2017

Storytelling for Teacher Training from Finland


Stories. The weave that binds communities together - communities which may be structured learning communities or others. 

Stories. The tracing of a flow of identity and how one's identity changes, develops, evolves and expands. 

Stories. The narrative which spellbinds, the narrative of inquiry, the narrative of self. Of selves. Of sense-making. 

As educators, we have today a wide range of approaches to introduce storytelling in our classrooms, whether analogue or digital

From JAMK University in Finland, comes a set of cards for teacher training which may be used for story telling.

As traditional playing cards, this set has 4 suits and 3 jokers. With 52 cards, each card is based on the four areas of competence of teacher education, as defined by JAMK University : 

The set of cards comes with suggestions of how to use them with teacher trainees - different games where educational concepts and values intertwine with playfulness. 

One way to involve trainees in their teaching narratives is to ask them to sit in a circle,  pick a card
at random and after a short period of time of reflection, they tell the rest of the group a short story based on the concept and their teaching experience.

Simple storytelling through a focus on reflection, learning and collaboration - for the rest of the circle listens, and without knowing, is involved in listening to their peers' stories, relating the same concept to their experiences and learning, thinking of different ways to solve problems educators face in our day to day lives, as well as how best to introduce change in their own personal /professional narratives. 

How do you have teacher trainees share stories?

How do your narratives facilitate learning?








Further Suggestions:

STORYTELLING AS “GAME-CHANGING TECHNOLOGY”

Why You Need To Use Storytelling For Learning

Ursula K. Le Guin on Redeeming the Imagination from the Commodification of Creativity and How Storytelling Teaches Us to Assemble Ourselves