60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom | Online Universities

Twitter

Twitter is a great educational tool. It can be used as a professional development tool for teachers and as a classroom collaborative tool as well. Here is a great list of potential uses. The article was published in Online Universities and here is the link: 60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom | Online Universities.

You Have to Check ‘Check This’

I have recently came across to a wonderful Web 2.0 Tool that can motivate your students to write wider texts in English. This tool is Check This and what is really great about this tool is that you can make a simple website without even registering. Moreover, you can make your page more interesting by adding images (from your computer but also by catching them onyoutube line), video from youtube and vimeo, contact form and others. The user can also choose the theme of the website or add his/her own picture as a background to the website.

Great Features:

  • Excellent for use with all ages of students (registration is not required in order to start creating your website)
  • User can choose if the website will be public and visible to all or accessible just to the people
  • The user does not create a simple – plain page but can add pictures, videos, audio etc.
  • The user (in our case students) can share their work by email to the teacher or  share it with a co-student (peer-review)

It is a great tool that can be used for practicing:

Writing – Ask students to create their own websites (essays, letters, applications, reviews, express their feelings about sth etc)

Reading – Create your own website and share the link with your students to read it (you can add some reading comprehension questions)

Listening – Add a video of your choice from youtube and create an activity on this listening.

I would love to hear your opinion and possible lesson ideas.

 

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@Brad5patterson’s Blog challenge: How and why you learned a foreign language

I was checking twitter when I saw one of the always great post from Brad Patterson. He was asking about How and Why we learned a language. He is asking a lot of questions lately, isn’t he? 🙂 Here is my love and hate relationship with French language:

Being a child of immigrant Albanian parents here in Greece, my parents never had the chance to afford to pay for any foreign language lessons besides English language which was something that you had to do. The first touch with French came in junior high school where they were a part of the curriculum. My first impressions? Well, it was definetely not  a  love at first sight. I hated it because I could not anything pronounce properly and no one around had the patience to show the right way because most of the students already knew French from private lessons. So, I gave up trying and the teacher gave up on me.

Two years later, we had another teacher. She was really different from other foreign language teachers. She used to talk to us for hours about France, about Paris, french people, their habbits and even in L1. She used to bring her laptop and show us pics from her vacations in Paris, in Cannes or in Lyon. From a student who was really weak in French, I managed in one semester to become one of the best. She once told me that I have a real talent to foreign languages.  What did she do to me? Of course she cultivated passion inside me. She gave me an inner motivation to learn this amazing language. This was the only year I learned some French. It was the last year of junior high and at the following year the teacher was again exactly like my first experience with French. She expected B2 level from her students and she worked only with the good ones. I was about A1 level.   From romance to hate again!

Last year, I had the luck to visit Paris on summer for vacations and then on autumn for TESOL France Conference. And especially on my second visit, I knew it was time to give our relationship with French another chance! Maybe I gave up to easy. I loved Paris and I actually saw some elements that my favourite teacher used to tell us.   As soon as I arrived to Athens, I arranged with a teacher to start immeadietly. At first, everything was easy and simple, then as things became more complicated started to be really difficult. (learning a language from scratch, not a piece of cake!). But know everything is amazing. My mind finally understood the French language system and I can learn much more quicker and efficiently. And I can say confidently,  je t’ aime francais pour toujours.

 

Elinda et derriere le tour l' Eiffel 😉

My reflections as a teacher:

  • Learning a language is really difficult. We should really understand that and get frustrated if our students did not understood at our first explanation the conditionals. It needs patience, repetition and lots of practice.
  • There is an energy that a teacher passes to the student. When someone is actually learning? When s/he actually wants to. As teachers we have to find the way to make the students love the language. We have to cultivate an inner passion and motivation. They should think that I am in this classroom because my parents, or my professor wants it. I am here because I want to learn.
  • You cannot understand your students better, unless you are in their position. All language teachers should try learn a new foreign language. It will make you understand things from your teaching that you could never understand.
  • As a teacher, you cannot work only with a group of students that have more advance linguistc level than the others. Mutual indifference may be sometimes  the easy solution but it would be very difficult for me to know that a child hated and never wanted to learn English because I did not dedicated some minutes per lesson to help him/her out with the problems which may have risen.

So what about you? How and why How and why you learned a foreign language? Brad is challenging you to tell. Here is his original post.

 

#ELTChat Blog Challenge: Read it Later

They say better late that never, so I finally found some time to respond to this so practical challenge. On 18th January ELT Chat  was on the  the advantages and disadvantages of social networking for language teachers.

The blog challenge was about keeping #ELT bookmarks in an organized fashion and   was inspired by Tara Benwell:

@tarabenwell: Okay, so next PLN blog challenge topic: Best  Method for Organizing #ELT Bookmarks! Choose 1 and demo #eltchat

Here is my response:

The way I bookmark my favourite web pages is by using Read it Later for my Chrome browser, iPad and iPhone. You can save videos, articles or pretty much anything you find interesting to your Read It Later queue. So wherever I am, I can just click or tap on Read It Later button and save the web page in a common place for the three of my devices.

So here are some snapshots from my google bookmark toolbar, from the my iPad and iPhone.

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Stay tuned, because soon James Taylor will release a great #ELTChat podcast episode  in which among others you can hear me and Tara chatting about this challenge. You can find January’s  #ELTChat podcast as well as this month’s podcast hopefully this week at #ELTChat blog.

Some Great Educational Wikis Worth Visiting

Wikis can be powerful teaching tools as well as tools for teachers’ proffessional development. Here is a list of some worth visiting wikis.

One of the main goals of the project is to ‘flatten’ or lower the classroom walls so that instead of each class working isolated and alone, 2 or more classes are joined virtually to become one large classroom. This is done through the Internet using Web 2.0 tools such as Wikispaces and Ning.

This Wiki is a place for MHMS teachers to share information & professional development products for creative instruction.There’s no need for you to join it to enjoy it’s wiki-awesomeness!

It’s maintained by Gwyneth A. Jones – The Daring Librarian and is Creative Commons Share Alike.

“In fact, one of the saddest but most common conditions in elementary school computer labs (when they exist in the developing world), is the children are being trained to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  I consider that criminal, because children should be making things, communicating, exploring, sharing,not running office automation tools.”

—Nicholas Negroponte, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab

This Wiki will house information related to the iPad in Education sponsored by the Department of Educational Technology in theSchool District of Palm Beach County.

This Teaching with Thinking and Technology wiki is designed to document ideas and collect resources for teachers and students who are interested in using the web effectively and smartly.
My aim is to assist in developing a curriculum that meets the academic, social and personal needs of our students.
The major focus of this site is investigating how Web 2.0 applications can be used to promote thinking, sharing, collaborating and communicating between teachers and students.
The sites listed here are but a few of what is on the web. It will hopefully begin a journey of discovery for you.

This site has been compiled by Lenva Shearing.
If you are using a cool web 2.0 tool in your classroom that is not included here, please email me and I will add it (email link in navigation bar)

Winners Education is a greek school wiki that shows how they adapted and how they use Web 2.0 at their school. Here are some words about the story of this wiki from the creator of the wiki Effie Kyrikakis:

For the last few months I’ve been exploring the fantastic possibilities of web 2.0.
It has been wonderful at times: When I managed to find great tools for use in class, when I linked with groups of wonderful,
like-minded, supportive – and much more advanced- teachers from around the globe, when our students’ eyes flash with excitement at the prospect of getting to talk with students from schools at places they have only heard of …

At other times the discovery journey is just frustrating: Everything is new and takes time to explore. Sleepless nights are on the menu more often than not! Challenges present at every curve: For some reason youtube won’t upload my videos one day, the blog doesn’t look the way I’d like it to, I can’t upload my voki and what on earth is a wiki?

Well, my Austrian friend Katherine, a wonderful, energetic teacher who has set up a skype group to connect schools from around the world has something to say about that: “Problems are here to be solved”! WinnersEducation is now a member of this network and we’re ardent supporters of Katherine’s dictum. We’ll just insist and face the challenges!

Plus, this whole adventure has reminded me what it feels like to learn from the other side- that of the learner.
This precious insight cannot but make teaching better, don’t you agree?

Help me build this list. If you know a wiki that worths sharing please comment below and I will add it to this list. 

Create Online Personalized Newspapers

Here are some applications that will help ypu create your online personilzed newspapers that will help you gather and share interesting news. I personally use the first one but the two others are equally good.

Scoop.it!  is an online application which allows you create a topic, add some key words and then the application finds related posts from facebook, twitter, blogs etc. You can then curate the posts to your digital newspaper and share it to social media.

Paper.li works the same way as Scoop.it. You name your newspaper and you add key words and sources from where the news will be found. You can then share your newspaper online.

Trap!t captures what you want from the internet. You add your key words and interests and the application ”traps” your post that might interest you. You can log in from your Twitter or facebook acoount or you can simply sign up with an email.

Technology in education: Is it just a waste of time?

 
Photo attributed to Jim Wilson, New York Times. Students using an interactive whiteboard, part of an ambitious technology plan in the Kyrene School District in Arizona.

The last  8 months I have been blogging about the use of technology in education and especially as a way to assist English Language Learning. I have not only been blogging but using it actively with my students. I mainly teach one to one lessons and my students are young. I had also the honor to present various workshops about the use of technology with students in my university (University of Athens), Paris (Tesol France) and online.

During this time period, I have heard my many objections about  the use of the internet in and outside the classroom for educational use that made me think again and again. Are we wasting precious lesson time using a Web 2.0 application in classroom? Is it just a waste of time asking students to keep a class blog, watch a youtube video, create a slideshow?

Here are some of the objections I have heard:

  • I have used once technology. I showed to my students ”Mrs Doubtfire”. It was such a waste of time. While we were watching the film I was thinking that the students were not learning anything. I preferred to use this time to practice grammar with my students.
  • Technology is very difficult for me to handle.In a school were I was teaching the classrooms were equipped with interactive white boards and projectors. I was loosing precious lesson time.

Today, I have heard a view that really made me think a lot and resulted in my blogging about this:

I have announced to one of my friends and colleague that I will be presenting at Tesol Greece Conference a workshop named ‘Web 2.0 World in the English Language Classroom”. He said to me without the intention to insult me that he is not attending my workshop because he finds the use of tech useless for the Greek reality. He pointed out that in Greek public schools the most classrooms do not  have heat and many of them even a blackboard. He could not imagine to put in action all these thinks I was talking about.

While he was expressing his opinions which are totally understandable, I was thinking how economic factors can discourage teachers from getting inspired and try to do the best for their students. My colleague and many other educators are not at all open to new ideas because their school lacks of proper facilities. But is this the answer to the problem?  Should we give up? A teacher should be the one who inspires the students and help them learn and get motivated to learn.

What is my point of view? We live in a society where the internet is a major part of it. Facebook, for example, has more than 800 million active users and more that 350 million user carry facebook wherever they go through their mobile devices. All my students, colleagues and friends have added me as a friend to facebook. I do not think that I know anyone without an account at any social network. What does this mean? Our students spend a lot of time online. They go home and they do not stop typing (and producing language online). Why not as teachers keep up with the times and adjust some technology in our teaching? If our classroom is not equipped with computers or internet access, our houses are. We can ask  our students to do something meaningful at the internet at home and send it to us via mail. We can practice writing through blogs, wikis, digital storytelling applications –  reading through reading breaking news online, interesting articles – listening through online videos, talks. You can motivate learning and keep students engaged to the lesson. I have seen so many students get motivated just because their teacher asked them to find some extra info online for a project.

I am not suggesting that  technology is the panacea in education. It should be used with intention and considering the students’ e-safety. However, we can not overlook its invaluable benefits.  Teachers should get informed about its advantages and how can be used in education. What is your opinion? Is it just a waste of lesson time or do you think that helps our students? I am really interested in listening  your views.

My top 11 blog posts from ’11

Magic in Education! is a blog that was created for the needs of a presentation on technology in the classsroom. Me and my collegue Makis Aggatheris were assigned to create a 3 hour workshop on New Technologies in Teaching. While we were preparing the workshop I came with an idea of having a blog where the participants can visit and see the links that I suggest them to visit. When the workshop was over, I decided to maintain the blog and keep publishing my ideas on technology in classroom. It is now 8 months amd it has been already visited from visitors from all over the world.

Here you can see my top 11 blog posts (according to the blog’s statistics) from ’11:

11. Make your own comics, Witty Comics

10. Penzu, your own personal journal and online diary

9Using Blogs in Education

8Wallwisher, Words that Stick!

7. Social Networks in Education

6How we created an interactive whiteboard with low cost!!

5. Web 2.0 apps

4. Prezi.com – Creating ashtonishing presentations

3.  How to create your own superhero comic

 2. 30+1  Ways You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom

and….

1. Glogster.com: Poster your self! (Text, Images, Music and Video)

A Christmas Lesson Plan: Write a Letter to Santa Clause

Dear Santa.... (Photo taken from operationsanta.com)

The 25th of December is approaching and I was thinking of giving a proper ”goodbye” lesson for the Christmas holiday to my students. Thanks God my experiment was successful and I received a lot of hugs from my 10 year old students) at the end of the lesson. What did I ask them?

”Write a letter to Santa Clause! Present yourself, Tell him about your likes and dislikes and tell him what you want him to bring  you for Christmas”

Short Lesson Plan:

Objectives:

  • Writing. Learn to self-present
  • Grammar. Practice Present Simple using I like/I don’t like.
  • Vocabulary. Revise Christmas vocabulary

Aids:

  • Printed Santa Clause Letters. I had mine from last year but here is one that I found on the internet or you can easily make yours on a word processor:
  • Love and excitement!

Christmas Letter. Credited to blog.christmaslettertips.com

You can find more word and publisher templates here.

Warm-up activities:

  • Chat about Christmas and Christmas traditions. Ask them what kids do in Christmas eg carols, gifts etc.
  • Announce that you expect them to write a letter to Santa Clause.

Before Writing:

  • Teacher explains the writing activity.How start, paragraph and end the letter. Make sure that you ask them exactly that you expect from them.

While Writing:

  • Help the students with any unknown vocabulary or any other inquiry.

After Writing

  • Ask them to read their letters aloud (some peer review subtly conducted)

The whole procedure lasts about 30 minutes. My students were excited throughout the activity and they could not wait to go home and to place the letters under the Christmas tree.

I am thinking to take it a step further and reply to their letters. I have not decided yet. I wish every one MERRY CHRISTMAS! xoxoxoxo

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Reflections from #TeachMeet International

Last Saturday 17/12/11, an event very different from others took place online. TeachMeet International shared energy and lots of inspiration. TeachMeet was organised and moderated by Arjana Blazic (a wonderful educator from Croatia), Brat Verswijvel (an educator from Belgium) also Sonja Lusic Rodosevic (Arjana’s collegue).

Why was Teach Meet so special?

What was unique about this TeachMeeting was the fact that every speaker had just three minutes to describe a project that have conducted with his/her students. What is more, the most commendable aspect was the really international nature of this event. We were all flying together to Croatia, Wales, Switzerland, Argentina, Japan, South Africa, Russia, Indonesia, Spain, India and Romania. It was really an intecontinental event.

During this event, I had the chance to listen at great micro presentations, meet and chat with:

  • Vicky Loras (@vickyloras) from Switzerland  – she talked about  Multiculturalism in Education.
  • Ann Loseva (@annloseva) from Moscow –  she talked about her genuine idea with ELTworkplaces as a way to go with Posterous
  • Guido (@europeantje) from Belgium – he talked about student blogging with… you guessed it: Posterous!
  • Vladimira Michalkova (@vladkaslniecko) from Slovakia – she talked about bookmariking students’s dreams
  • Yitzha Sarwono (@yitzha_sarwono) from Indonesia – she showed as how she applied  dogme  teaching in Montessori kindergarten classroom
  • Chiew Pang (@aClilToClimb) from Spain – gave  us a lot of tips and ideas for  Wordle in the classroom
  • Cherry Mathew Philipose (@cherrymp)  from India – he talked to us about Community Listening
  • Chuck Sandy (@chucksandy) from Japan – he taught  us how to step back as teachers and let the students learn

and many others! You can see the whole list here.

TeachMeet International Speakers

I am so happy to be a part of such a strong PLN which shares, interacts, helps, collaborates. THANK YOU everyone for everything that you do. You really inspire me and make do my best for me and my students.

Missed it? Dont worry here is the recording. Just write your name and sign in to microsoft meeting.

I can’t wait for the next TeachMeet event. Arjana, Brat and Sonja thank you for letting me being a part of it.

Till then let’s enjoy TeachMeet the movie created by Bart:

 

You can find my presentation here: