New year, new resolution: to take any opportunity I can to improve my professional development. No sooner said than done! Seven days ago I joined Electronic Village Online Sessions 2012 which are free virtual courses. For five weeks teachers will connect to others teachers from all over the world, will discuss different topics related to the ELT world, collaborate and dare to work out new ideas and activities which can spice up their teaching practice.
One of the sessions I have enrolled in is Digital Tools with a Purpose in the Classroom. Throughout the first week we had to complete several tasks:
- TASK 1: Join the group online meeting place: Edmodo and Wiki.
These two learning environments were absolutely new to me, but I have not had many problems so far since they are really intuitive. It just took me some time to explore them and know where I had to publish comments or share my portfolio, this blog.
Edmodo is a virtual learning environment which includes several tools to share documents, pictures, videos, audios, links and others to foster participation, colaboration. As it is private and there are no age restrictions, we can use it with students from any educative level.
- TASK 2: Exchange introductions and become familiar with the group environments.
- TASK 3: Explore different online tools:
This time we were asked to introduce ourselves using different tools, interact and provide feedback to other participants. There is so much creativity in the group! I was really impressed by some teachers who expressed themselves through poems, songs and really nice presentations using a great variety of tools such as Glogster, Voicethread (two of my favourite tools), Dvolver and Sliderocket, among others.
For this task I preferred to use Stupeflix, an online video editing service similar to Animoto. However, instead of just 30 seconds, it allowed me to create a bit longer presentation for free. In addition to this, Stupeflix is very easy to use and straightforward. You only need to sign up, upload the pictures you would like to include in your video, add text, choose or upload your own music and share it. This is the video I produced using this tool:
Another tool I decided to explore was http://flavors.me, a free service with an appealing interface. What I like about this tools is that it allows you to gather all your social activity in one place.
- TASK 4: Create and/or share our digital portfolios. As you can see I have decided to use my blog as my digital portfolio since it is where I have been writing about topics related to ELT, sharing links and teaching ideas for three years now.
I love this useful and detailed matrix you have shared with us! Generally speaking, I would say I'm in the adoption / active level. As I mainly teach one-to-one and small groups with different learning abilities, it is not always easy to integrate technology in the way I would like to do it - collaboratively. Some of my students use technology outside the classroom just to revise some language aspects previously seen in class. Others love using web 2.0 tools like Glogster, Blabberize or Xtranormal for writing and speaking tasks.
In the near future, I would like to work in a secondary school where I have the opportunity to move ahead and use technology to enhance collaboration and participate in projects together with other schools.
Achieving the transformation stage is another of my goals, I would like my students to work more independently and provide them learning activities which help all of them to succeed. However, we should not forget that technology is just a means for students to achieve their learning objectives and not an end in itself.In the near future, I would like to work in a secondary school where I have the opportunity to move ahead and use technology to enhance collaboration and participate in projects together with other schools.Achieving the transformation stage is another of my goals, I would like my students to work more independently and provide them learning activities which help all of them to succeed. However, we should not forget that technology is just a means for students to achieve their learning objectives and not an end in itself.
- Discuss our own ideas on how we can use those tools with our students. I am afraid I will not have enough time to complete this task on time. Nevertheless, I would like to share with my colleages some ideas I wrote some time ago about using Glogster in the English class: Do you glog? Reinventing posters with Glogster Edu. It includes:
- Posters created by my students.
- A poster I created as an example to write a biography and create a poem based on Rudyard Kipling's poem If.
- Ideas from other teachers.
Waiting for your comments and suggestions!