Wednesday, April 08, 2015

mLearning - Using iPads with Kids - Apps and Activities

Though it is clear nowadays that learning can be engaging and dynamic with the use of technology in the classroom, some teachers still resist using iPads with kids. Many of them still believe students might break the iPads, or feel afraid of losing control over the class.

Take a small step by finding a simple, but fun activity. Establish some classroom management rules before handing in the iPads, and make sure you have a clear set of expectations in mind. Don´t be too demanding on yourself. Noise and movement are good. Enjoy monitoring your students as they create and practice English.

Here are some apps to get you in the groove. Enjoy the ride with your digital classes with kids. They will surprise you!

Friday, April 03, 2015

TESOL 2015 - Two Tools for the Flipped Classroom and Beyond

A convention is always an exciting experience for those who love teaching and learning. In fact, these two walk hand in hand and can take place any time and anywhere and, fortunately, are not restricted to conventions. I guess conventions are so exciting because it is like being in a huge learning ball in which you dance with so many partners. You just have access to lots of interesting people and ideas at a single venue. You pick yourself wishing it will never end despite being jet lagged and suffering with the weather. Other times, you wish you could stretch time and space to go to every session that catches your attention in the program book, that you could chat with the dozens of teachers you meet in hallways, escalators, in sessions, and in so many other places. You also  would like to go to every after hours hang out in breweries and restaurants, not just to drink or eat, but to learn more about teaching and learning and also to discover the humanity you share with those brilliant minds.
As you might have guessed, TESOL 2015 International Convention & English Language Expo was wonderful and I did not have time to see everything I wish I could. However, I have a few things I want to share with you. The Flipped Classroom was one of the hot topics of this convention. Flipping is a form of blended learning in which students learn content online at home and homework is done in class with teachers and students discussing and solving questions (Wikipedia). Flipping is not a new pedagogical concept or idea. Maybe what it is making a possibility so widely explored right now is the technological development that we have reached. If a couple of years ago, flipping was reduced to instructional videos that were supposed to be passively watched by students, currently there are tools that add interactivity to these learning objects. In Toronto I could see two tools that would add an interactive twist to a flipped video  allowing students to check understanding and give instructors feedback.
In the lines bellow I will describe tow of these  tools to you with some examples of my own. Hope you like them and get inspired to create some of your own.


Educanon is a tool that allows you to import videos from several channels on the web. You can get videos from Vimeo, YouTube, Teacher Tube, and many more. Besides that, you can also use your own. To do this, you will just have to upload it to one of these services and then use it to build your lesson. Once you choose a video, eduCanon allows you to crop it if you wish. Once you have the video at the size you want, you can add questions to it. When you are done, you can share it with your students or colleagues via e-mail or you can embed it to your website or blog as I did here. For this post, I generated an embed code that did not need registration. If you want to try it out, just provide the requested information. Hope you enjoy it. 


Very similar to the previous one, EDpuzzle  also allows you to add videos from many sources. However, it gives educators some more possibilities. You can add voice over to videos or power point presentations. The free version also allows you to add open ended questions. In the Toronto TESOL Convention, a teacher showed us how he used EDpuzzle to have his students create video quizzes at home using open ended questions and bring them to class to engage students in conversation. I have just created a similar activity using TED ED to give a glimpse of what you can do using the tool. Hope you enjoy it.

Not just thinking about flipping and its potential use in your teaching context, I thought these tools might be useful to engage your students in your traditional class set up. I really liked the fact that they allow teachers to personalize content by uploading their own videos or power point presentations or by choosing videos that their students can relate to.

If you happen to be interested in learning more about the Flipped Classroom, feel free to check my Pinterest board