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Technology in Education- What does that mean? -The End of Teaching As We Know It

Technology in Education- What does that mean? -The End of Teaching As We Know It March 8, 2012October 4, 2013 Beth Crumpler

[slideshare id=11797364&doc=theendofteaching-alvarogonzalez-alorda-120229061133-phpapp02]

Teaching, Technology, Uncategorized

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ABC’s and essays. Teaching mixed level TEFL classes!

ABC’s and essays. Teaching mixed level TEFL classes!

Classes with mixed level students are something that every TEFL teacher will come across sooner or later. So, how can you make sure that both types of students learn in your class without anyone getting bored, insecure or left behind?

Here at i-to-i we’ve trained over 120,000 ESL teachers and have a trick or two up our sleeve when it comes to mixed level classes:

1)      Make two versions of the same task. Let’s say that your topic is adjectives and the weather.

Advanced Task: Split the advanced students into 2 teams. Tell each team to write and act out a group presentation using 15 weather adjectives.

Beginner Task: Give students a worksheet with common English adjectives. Get them to make sentences about the weather with a partner.

*You’ll need to monitor the beginner class more carefully as their limited English could make it more difficult for them to concentrate.

2)      Have an extra activity prepared. If your class abilities differ slightly, but they can still do the same work, make sure you have something extra planned for early finishers!

3)      Don’t rely on the strongest students. As an ESL teacher, it can sometimes be (very) tempting to ask questions to the most advanced students. After all, they can give you the most detailed answers and are most likely to get the question right. Instead of doing this, give the whole class a chance by alternating between easy and challenging questions.

4)      Give beginner students more time to warm up. Many successful TEFL teachers use an interesting opening question to get the students talking at the start of class. If you’re going to do this in a mixed level class make sure you give the beginner students a minute or two to process the question before asking for an answer. This will give them time to think of the words they need and to fit them together into a sentence.

5)      Move on. If your students don’t know the answer, take the heat off. There is nothing more embarrassing to a beginner student than not knowing the answer and having the whole class staring at you in anticipation! Instead, try this method:

Teacher: Sun Mi, What colour is the boy’s hat?

Sun Mi: Blank Stare (give student a few seconds-they may just be thinking)

Teacher: Okay, Ji Su, What hat is the boy wearing?

Ji Su: The boy is wearing a baseball cap.

Teacher: So what hat is the boy wearing Sun Mi?

*You’ve now given Sun Mi the sentence formula with which to answer and given her a much better chance. Even more importantly you have helped her speak out without embarrassment!

Check out i-to-i for more teaching tips and advice on getting TEFL qualified !

Written by Katherine Hackett.  Katherine works for i-to-i TEFL who have trained 120,000 teachers to teach abroad. i-to-i also have a jobs board with 350 live TEFL jobs all over the world. 

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Blogging From the Kindle Fire Using the New WordPress Application

[slideshow]

Update:  After writing this post on my Kindle Fire, I did have to go to WordPress.com on my laptop to recheck grammar and spelling.  I also used my laptop to upload pictures of the WordPress Application on my Kindle Fire.  All other content from this post I drafted on my Kindle Fire.

WordPress’ Kindle Fire application has just been just released.  I have decided to write a post on my Kindle Fire using the App to see how well it works while blogging. The Kindle Fire Android App is the same Android App as the new WordPress for Android 2.0 App. My roundup…here goes!

Using the Touchscreen Keypad
Blogging and typing on a computer whether it be desktop or laptop is easier than typing on the touch screen pad of the Kindle Fire.  The touch screen in the WordPress Application works just like the one in the Aneroid Smartphone system…they are basically one in the same.  Blogging from the Kindle Fire is easier than typing and blogging on an Android mobile smart phone since the keypad is bigger for the touch and response of fingers in action.  The autocorrect function when you are typing in the Android system is nice. Since the Kindle Fire is touchscreen, as is an Android phone, making typing errors is higher than with blogging from a computer with a keyboard.  Using the touchscreen slows down the speed of completing a blog post.  While typing this on my Kindle Fire I made many typing errors due to the touchscreen.  I was able to speed this up a little with the autocorrect feature and correction options. I’m a fast traditional typer and the slow response of a touch screen keypad is somewhat frustrating.  Although I might endure some frustrations with touchscreen keypads, I still love the technology.

Some Typing Features
Underlining content in a post such as here is easier than underlining using a desktop or laptop computer.  All I did to underline here was the quick press of my finger on the underline Icon.  To turn off the underlining feature I just pressed the button quickly with my finger.  The method of using this typing feature is much quicker and easier than blogging in WordPress from a traditional computer, which requires the use of the mouse or Alt key.  Using bold text, striking through text and using italics uses this same principle of being easier to do blogging on the Kindle Fire touchscreen.

The WordPress Kindle Fire App has a More Icon to press and use.  I am going to press it here to see what it does.

I’m not sure what that did!  I’ll figure it out later!

Adding Links
wordpress– This link to wordpress.com is added to see how linking on the Kindle Fire App works.  Adding a link on the Kindle Fire’s WordPress App is just as easy as  adding one from the WordPress Android phone application.  Adding a link on the Kindle Fire Application is easier than adding one from a desktop or laptop using WordPress.  Using WordPress on a computer and adding a link requires typing the text in the HTML setting and then highlighting on the text and clicking on the link Icon.  On the Kindle Fire App all I did was click my finger on the link Icon.  I then typed in the link website address and the name I would like the link called, as is always done no matter which device you are blogging from.  Here is a quick easy link to my blog adaptivelearnin.

Adding a video and photo just takes the press of the finger.  This is easier than the tedious process of uploading multimedia, or  linking to content on WordPress using a traditional computer.

This picture was a Doodle done by my 1-year-old from the Picasso Kindle Fire application that I saved on my Kindle Fire.  I just pressed the photo Icon, visual options appeared, I quickly scrolled through them, and  clicked on this picture which uploaded it. Very Easy!

This is a quick overview of blogging from WordPress’ Kindle Fire App.  Overall blogging from a desktop or laptop computer is quicker with typing.  The WordPress Kindle Fire App works like the Android phone App but is easier to use.  In comparison of blogging from the Kindle Fire WordPress Application to blogging from these other methods, using typing features, correcting misspelled words, and adding links and multimedia is easier and faster.  I still enjoy blogging best from my laptop, but my laptop is bulky and not always with me on the go.  Blogging from a Kindle Fire has the upper hand when blogging on the go in a place that has wi-fi, from bed or other place that is easier than using a laptop. Or, writing a blog where you plan to use many links, video or pictures since attaching those using the Kindle Fire is much easier.

That’s the roundup of my first attempt with blogging from the new WordPress Kindle Fire App.  If you own a Kindle Fire, what do you think?

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Education Quick & Short Animations via Goanimate that I Love

Image via CrunchBase

Several days ago I discovered Goanimate.com.  I’m sure many of you have heard of it.  It is a cartoon animation platform, where you can sign up and create short quick animations.  Goanimate is extremely easy to use. They have a free service as well as paid serves. I am currently using the free service and it works well for me. I will blog on this more later this week, but I want to share several of the fun education and learning animations I have found on their website.  I can’t embed the videos directly to WordPress, but can list the links for you.

Mr. Bach in Music Class by Jane Rivera http://goanimate4schools.com//api/animation/player

Water Cycle by James Maxwell http://goanimate4schools.com//api/animation/player

PROBABILITY by Helen Murray http://goanimate4schools.com//api/animation/player

Design Principles and GoAnimate by Steve Moore http://goanimate4schools.com//api/animation/player

The 13 Colonies by David Nichols  http://goanimate4schools.com//api/animation/player

Let’s Go Animate Ourselves! by John Seymour http://goanimate4schools.com//api/animation/player

This is a funny one I created real quick in less than 5 minutes 21st Century Learning by adaptivelearnin http://goanimate.com/player/embed/01tDyK8mKWAA

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The Significance of Gaming in Education

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Education is forever changing. As students are exposed to new technologies and trends, they adapt their learning styles accordingly, and educators must modify their instructional techniques in order to keep up. One of the technological developments affecting education in the last several decades is the video game. Gaming has not only changed the way students learn, but it has also taught them valuable skills on its own. No chicken or the egg dilemma, higher education has evolved as a direct response to those applicable talents learned through gaming.

Gaming’s Effect on Student Learning

  • Gamers expect predictable structure. Most video games involve clear goals with immediate rewards, and students who play these games often expect to follow the same process when completing other tasks. To accommodate this learning style, educators can present their students with concise objectives, instructions for meeting them and a reward for success.
  • Gamers are competitive. Because video games track the status of each player and allow players to compare their progress, students expect to know where they rank in educational settings as well.
  • Gamers learn socially. Many of today’s most popular games, such as those played on Wii or online, are designed for multiple players. Players may work together toward a common goal, or they may compete against one another. In either case, the game is social. As a result, gamers often seek social interaction in education as well.

Lessons from Gaming

Gaming teaches students survival skills that they use in school and throughout their lives. Below are some of the most notable lessons students learn from playing video games.

  • Problem solving. Most video games require players to solve some kind of problem in order to progress, whether it is a literal puzzle or a multifaceted social issue. As students continue to play these games, they learn the importance of critical thinking and logic.
  • Practical skills. Many popular video games, such as Minecraft, are played online. To participate in the game, students must know how to connect to the right server and hold a live chat with other players. These skills can be very useful later in life. For example, gamers who go to college may use their knowledge to communicate with classmates online.
  • Teamwork. Games often involve multiple players working toward a common objective. As the players progress, they learn to listen to one another and work as a team. These collaborative skills can be very helpful in school, as well as in most careers.
  • Perseverance. Some of the most popular games take hundreds of hours to complete. Furthermore, when gamers fail a task or level, they often return to their last checkpoint. This teaches players to be patient and keep trying until they succeed.
  • Goal-orientation. All educators understand the importance of setting goals. Because most video games are structured with a series of goals, students who play video games learn to define objectives and work toward them.

Though it may seem counterintuitive, gaming has actually improved the way students learn. They are more social, more dedicated and more interested in their progress than they were before gaming became popular. When educators tailor their curriculum to meet these needs, students are engaged in the learning process and instruction becomes more effective.

About the author: Zach Buckley is a freelance writer based in the Midwest. He enjoys exploring developing trends in education, technology and culture.  When he isn’t reading or writing blogs, he enjoys sampling good music and good food. Follow him on Twitter! @Zach_buckley

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Social Media the New Professional Development

Image via Wikipedia

I have learned more by using social media for professional purposes, professional development, than I have learned from most of my professional development trainings from the past years combined. Why? Should this be a concern?  Should this make us rethink how we offer professional development, and drive our attention and awareness of old-fashioned and out of date professional development techniques and offerings to more modern practices? Are employers out of touch with the 21st Century worker’s needs and modes of learning? What does this mean? What should professional development in the 21st Century look like? Is time at work on Twitter or other social media sites seen as waste or seen as professional development…if the employee is using social media for professional purposes?

Employees know what will help them best with life-long learning and with tweaking their skills. The employer doesn’t always know what’s best for the professional development of the employee. Sorry to burst your bubble with this comment. I’m not saying all employers are out of touch with their employees, however many are.

So, why have I learned more in just a few months of doing social media for professional purposes than in five years or so of taking traditional professional development trainings and offerings? Below I have listed the reasons why I think the professional development system is out of touch with the times. I will also address why I think social media is the new professional development and what that could mean.

Why are employers out of touch?

  1. Professional development offerings are offered in brick and mortar locations.
  2. Professional development offerings are designed for employees of brick and mortar employment.
  3. Although brick and mortar employment locations are dominant, these locations have tweaked their operations for the 21st Century.  Professional development offerings however have often not been tweaked to teach employees how to embrace new technologies and ideals.
  4. Many employers have not fully understood how to market and design professional development offerings to embrace new technologies and ideas.
  5. Social media is viewed as bad, and a disruption to the employees work.  The employee is assumed to be using social media for personal purposes on “work” equipment and therefore unproductive.  Social media is the evil that has no place in the “workplace”.
  6. Employees who use their personal Smartphones are viewed as doing personal business at work.

Why have I learned more from social media for professional purposes than I have from traditional professional development offerings?

  1. Twitter has been key to my professional development growth.  I can’t emphasize this enough…if you are not on Twitter for professional purposes, you need to join Twitter.  Take it step by step, learn how to use it and grow.  I have learned enormously from professional connections on Twitter.
  2. I have learned and networked with people who I otherwise would not learn from and network with.  Essentially I have learned enormously from these people and have learned skills and knowledge I otherwise would not have the opportunity to learn. I have networked with people in other fields and occupations.  How often would I network with people in other departments or other fields, other than music or ESL?  The likelihood is small.
  3. Even greater, I have learned from valuable people from all over the world.  I would not have these opportunities for professional development and learning without social media.  Different cultures and experiences bring renewed and refreshed insights to learn from.
  4. I was fairly good with technology before using social media, however by using it for professional reasons I have learned much more about technology.  I have learned more from social media than I ever did from the two computers for teachers courses and other professional development technology offerings I have taken.  Interesting huh?  The reasons I have learned more about technology using social media is because while using social media I am practicing technology skills, and most people who I connect with for learning on social media are technology savvy people.
  5. Social media has allowed me to tweak my professional development towards areas I think are most useful for my career and profession.  I have learned what I think is best for my professional growth and skills, not what someone else has thought is best for me.
  6. Social media has allowed me to learn anywhere and at anytime that is convenient for me.  This is huge, as I am basically able to learn professional development at times and locations I otherwise would not have the opportunity to do so.  I have been able to learn even when sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for appointments using my Smartphone.
  7. Smartphones are not just a phone that I carry with myself to do personal business for my personal life.  Smartphones are essentially portable learning devices just like a laptop, or iPad is.  I use my Smartphone for social media for professional purposes to network and learn “on the go.”  With my Smartphone I have access to a wealth of information that is key and vital to my professional performance and abilities.
  8. By learning and using social media skills, I am able to understand and relate to youth who are just entering the workforce. Keeping up with new skills and trends is important as more and more tech savvy youth enter the workforce.

Employers really need to wake up and change their outdated professional development systems. Course offerings should entail offerings that embrace social media:

  • teaching the skill
  • using the skill
  • teaching the options for social networking sites
  • teaching how to network using the skill
  • teaching how to tweak learning outcomes toward professional goals and interests
  •  teaching how it can be used during the workday
  • teaching new employer policies that actively embrace the technology recognizing its value
  • counting the professional learning an employee does on their own time using social media towards re-certification points, etc.
  • empowering the use of it in multifaceted avenues

(All opinions are my own and are not those of my employer or previous employers.)

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Response to Intervention in Reading for English Language Learners

Response to Intervention in Reading for English Language Learners.

This is a wonderful article on RTI (Response to Intervention) through a tiered approach with ELL’s.  Surf through the website too. It’s very informative.

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Five Minute Friday: Character Traits a Friend Should Have

It’s Five Minute Friday time!  Remember you too can join in this “writing flash mob” and/or do it with your students.  It’s a simple and quick free writing exercise.  Read my post introducing Five Minute Friday for details on how to participate.  Also, check out how to incorporate Five Minute Friday with creating interactive posters for the “Writing Process”.

Set aside five minutes of free writing time to join me on writing about “Friend”, today’s topic.  Remember I’m applying my Five Minute Friday posts toward education and work, but you can write about anything about “Friend” that sparks your interest.

Start…

Character is important and has become a focal-point of education in schools.  This is a topic that is a bit difficult to write about from an education standpoint in paragraph style for a Five Minute Friday free writing activity.  Instead of approaching the remainder of this Five Minute Friday response in paragraph style, I am going to generate a list of one word responses related to character traits that a good quality friend should have.  Some of my closest friends are from high school and college.  I will list character traits I have witnessed over the years that a good friend should have. 

Character traits of good quality friends:

  • trustworthy
  • honest
  • sincere
  • loyal
  • diligent
  • humorous
  • kind
  • compassionate
  • empathetic 
  • calm
  • confident
  • server
  • leader
  • gentle
  • generous
  • silly
  • confidant 
  • cordial
  • loving
  • friendly
  • tame
  • wise
  • witty 
  • available
  • giver
  • receiver
  • expressionistic 
  • mannered 
  • notable 
  • joyous
  • content
  • positive
  • respectful

Time is up!  Trying to think of one word responses in a short five minutes is harder than I thought it would be, but nonetheless I have generated some good words of valuable good quality friends.  Cherish these types of friends because they are precious and life-long.  Happy Friday!  

Stop! 

Note: During Five Minute Friday, you are not supposed to stop to make any edits.  Free writing without stopping is the purpose.  Notice there are errors in my Five Minute Friday writing above.  These errors will not be edited because editing them would defeat the purpose of Five Minute Friday.  Part of the reason I’m featuring Five Minute Friday on adaptivelearnin is to teach students how to write without anxiety.  I want them to see the errors to show them that errors are okay to make during free writing.  I want this to be an educational experience for them.  Feel free to use this or my other FMF posts as examples in lessons if you wish.  Happy Friday!

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Give Students a Voice Through Blogging

Writing is one of the key skills that students, particularly those in high school, need to put effort into developing. Rather than assigning boring reports or essays, one of the best ways to help students write is to give them a chance to write about the things they are genuinely interested in. As students head back into the classroom this fall, launch a student blogging project to get them writing about some of their awesome summer experiences.

How to Launch a Student Blogging Assignment

  1. Decide on a format, particularly whether you’ll have a class blog with multiple authors or have each student create his own blog. A class blog is ideal if you don’t plan to have all the students write regularly. Instead, you can cycle through students and have each one write about once per month. On the other hand, letting students create individual blogs gives them more ownership and encourages them to write more frequently.
  2. Create guidelines for what type of content students should write about. One idea is to have them write mostly in response to class-related material. Another is to write about their activities outside of school. This might include hobbies, high school community service experiences, sports or other activities. The benefit of giving them more freedom is that they’re more likely to be engaged in what they write.
  3. Let students know your expectations on the quality of writing. In particular, remind them to proofread their blogs, run spell check and avoid using chat abbreviations. This will help them hone their writing skills as they blog. In addition, let them know if they need to submit posts to you before they are allowed to publish them online.
  4. Encourage students to read one another’s blog posts and comment on things they are interested in. Set guidelines on what types of comments are acceptable to ensure the comments remain positive, civil, and substantial.

Benefits of Student Blogging

Keep the benefits of blogging in mind as you design your assignment and touch base with students throughout the project:

  • Students get to share their ideas in a way they can be proud of. Blogging is great for this because the posts are read not only by classmates, but also by anyone else who stumbles upon them online.
  • Blogging promotes the development of good writing skills, so helping students take ownership of the project can help them write well.
  • Blogging provides students with an outlet for things they may not get to share in the classroom, so giving looser guidelines on topics can bring about more interesting blog posts.

Launching a blog assignment to start the school year is a great way to channel some of the residual excitement students have about their summer activities and turn that into an educational lesson. Students love sharing their ideas and experiences, and blogging lets them learn about and practice writing as well. Students may even continue blogging after the assignment is done, which is proof of a job well done on the instructor’s part.

Zach Buckley is a freelance writer based in the Midwest.  Having graduated from high school in the year 2000, he belongs to the millennial generation.  Zach holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science and a master’s degree in communication.  He enjoys exploring developing trends in education, technology and culture.  When he isn’t reading or writing blogs, he enjoys sampling good music and good food. Follow him on Twitter! @Zach_buckley

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Five Minute Friday- “Ordinary” Education

My classroom in Frieze (Photo credit: churl)

Last week, I introduced the NEW Five Minute Friday series I will be completing on adaptivelearnin.  Check out the link above to my post from last Friday to see what it is and how it works.

I’m doing Five Minute Friday on adaptivelearnin to promote free writing.  I’m doing it so that you can see how fast and easy it is to do with students.  Student writers often struggle with writing anxiety.  Through weekly ongoing work with Five Minute Friday you will teach your students and children how to loosen their writing anxiety, and teach them how to write their free thoughts without worry.  This will make them better writers.  It will also teach language learners how to get past the anxiety of being perfect in producing language. Instead, Five Minute Friday will help them focus on producing their language and thoughts without worry of errors which is a typical hindrance for them.

I’m also participating in Five Minute Friday, because as educators we all can benefit from creative writing.  We all have something to tell.  Five Minute Friday is a way of connecting with each other in sharing each other’s visions, each other’s experiences, each other ideas, and so on.

Please participate with me in Five Minute Friday.  The best reasons for doing this on your blog and with your students is that it is easy, it is quick and it is a powerful educational tool for teaching creative free writing.

This week’s topic for Five Minute Friday is “Ordinary”.  The goal is to write five minutes without stopping, without interruption, without distractions around me, and without editing or worrying about errors.  All Five Minute Friday posts on adaptivelearnin will be written through an education lens because that is the mission of this blog.

So, here’s what you do for Five Minute Friday…on your blog and with your students….

Ordinary…READY…SET….GO!

  • teachers who are okay with the status quo and don’t want to go the extra mile in reaching ALL students
  • instruction that is not full of energy, full of stamina, full of laughter, full of vision, full of motivation, and full of movement
  • instruction that does not push the boundaries with incorporating new technologies and adaptive means in reaching student students through their learning styles and needs
  • classrooms that are not full of life, color, student art, fascinating visuals, motivational visuals, Word Walls, and technology
  • classroom tasks that are old school and not done through student-centered means and pair/small group activities
  • education that is mundane and does not inspire students curiosity with a thirst to learn more
  • teacher and parent interaction that is usual and old school on saying what students are doing wrong and how to improve, instead new school interaction which is contacting parents too to praise their children on what things their did awesomely

STOP!

That’s it!  That’s how easy and fast it is.  I have to admit that I feel that since I’m new at this I’m a bit slow in my thought process in getting my words down quickly… and I’m an educator!  This just proves that we all, even educators, can learn and grow from participating in Five Minute Friday.  I bet once I do this weekly, after time I will get must faster at brainstorming ideas. You don’t have to apply Five Minute Friday towards education-related thoughts like I have.  I’m just doing that because I’m writing on adaptivelearnin.  You and your students can write anything you want to about “Ordinary”.  That’s the beauty and freedom of Five Minute Friday.

I hope you join me!  Please let me know if you do.  Happy Friday!