Showing posts with label 21stcenturyskills. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 21stcenturyskills. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Simple Prep iPad Activity: Creating iMovies in Class

“… ten years ago, not one student in a hundred, nay, one in a thousand, could have produced videos like this. It’s a whole new skill, a vital and important skill, and one utterly necessary not simply from the perspective of creating but also of comprehending video communication today.” (Stephen Downes)

Task design has a lot to do with choosing activities that will tap right into our student’s needs and interests. Teachers have known this simple fact for ages, but learners keep changing, evolving and developing, so teachers also change. I believe it`s safe to say that our learners nowadays love watching short movies on YouTube and vines, and if teachers are able to turn passive watching into a productive and creative learning process, students are likely to engage and experience deep learning.  iPads are truly an awesome step forward in technology because students can make movies easily and share their work with a broader audience.

So, if you like having a lively productive class in front of you that requires little preparation on your behalf, you might want to check some of the ideas below.

Make a commercial selling a product

Make a silent movie

Make  a personal narrative 

Tell a story - Use one of the texts in the book to make lexis come alive. My students drew target vocabulary and created a short video retelling the life lesson in the book in their own words.

Getting to know - make a short video with animoto or magisto (few clicks required) about yourself and let students make guesses about who you are. Ask students to make videos to introduce themselves too.

Have students create language tasks to practice language
1. Students can create a dialogue, but record only the answers so that the rest of the class has to write the questions.

2. Students make two short videos and the others have to spot the differences.
In the first video there is a students, and in the second there are two....
In the first video the boys are dancing, and in the second the boys are writing...

3.  Show and tell - share students work and practice language by playing a game - students have to recall from memory.

4. Ask students to make a video to teach the others how to make something. In this example, my son was teaching the other students how to draw a parrot fish as a follow up activity to a lesson about animal features.

5. Promote real communication among students by asking them to record questions to other students, teachers, or someone abroad.

Are you eager to try using imovie app with your students and see it for yourself? If you need some help to get started, watch this short tutorial and have fun in class!

Dani Lyra

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Nowadays, there are many tools to help a teacher justify his/her choices in class. Bloom’s Taxonomy is a useful tool that helps us reflect upon our classroom practices and learn any content area. The revised version is really speaking to a lot of educators who use it, and it seems to be useful because it links a variety of technologies  that address different levels of educational objectives. A wise start is to look at the activities I am already implementing and see what objectives they touch on. With that in mind, I can aim at the right direction and deepen my learning to higher brain processesMost of the tasks I have used in class so far fall into the bottom of the Taxonomy (remember and understand). Although these tasks  help students practice basic skills, there are other options I need to address to make sure I use the iPads to reach the higher levels of the Taxonomy.  I designed a chart to help me visualize all the apps I have available and how they can be used for each category. The following image might help me apply The revised Bloom`s Taxonomy in my practice because they give me some basic ideas on very broad objectives for each category.

Using AppsAt the bottom of Bloom`s Taxonomy


Apps that fit into the ‘remembering’ concept include those that improve a student’s ability to recall facts or words, list, retrieve, find, name, recognize, identify, locate, and define terms or concepts.


WordFoto is an easy and fun app for the language classroom. Students take pictures and write words and sentences that will appear all over the image. The app is light and students do not need more than 5 minutes to get the work done. The app only accepts up to 10 words.
Teachers are usually very creative and we all can surely find many fun ways to explore the pictures, but here are three ideas.
1 - Relay race - students make lines facing the board. The last student in line has an image and has to whisper the sentences to the student in front of him. Students keep whispering till first student in line hears it and writes the sentence down on the board. 
2. Put all the images on a presentation and have a silent dictation.
3. Show all the pictures and take them away. Play some music and let students write down all the sentences they can remember. Stop the music and check students` work. 


Flashcards are no longer tied to paper. Now with the help of flashcard makers we can give our students the chance of recalling vocabulary items easily. We can prepare the flashcards with the app and make sets, or we can import sets from a site called - Quizlet. We can ask students to take the quiz as warmers to games, writing or speaking tasks. 


We can use the camera native app for a number of activities, but I like the simplicity of memory games. I was teaching "going to", and there was a picture in the book that students had to describe all the about to actions people in the picture were doing. I asked students to pose for a picture to have a similar task and motivate them to practice the target structure and have fun. They love working with their own pictures! Screen Chomp is basically a doodling app with markers.

I was teaching adverbs of frequency and frequency words to talk about routine. To transition from sentence level to discourse level, I used an activity suggested on Cleide Nascimento`s blog - Draw My Attention to contextualize the topic, and asked students to reorder the activities according to their daily routines and narrate the slides. I `ll use their work as resource for follow up activities.


With Screen Chomp students can record audios or videos or upload a file, and then use the drawings tools to jolt down ideas, label, point out, etc. I have used it as a way to brainstorm ideas as a pre-writing activity.

Educreations is a useful tool that can be used in many different ways. I used it to practice vocabulary items in a simple way. I asked students to draw clothing items with the app and then used their work to practice the words.

Coming soon, moving up towards higher thinking skills 

Monday, April 29, 2013

TESOL 2013 - My Reflections Upon M-Learning

How long has it been since you heard the term “m-learning “ for the first time? Well, in my case it was in 2010. Not long ago, right? As a matter of fact,  that might be true for you, too! But how much of your time have you actually dedicated to learning more about m-learning and how it is affecting the way we teach today?I am a huge educational technology enthusiast and I would like to share some of my reflections and discoveries upon this theme based on  events I have attended and books and articles I have read recently.

 I`ve been to several different conferences before and it  is still not very common to find many sessions on m-learning. During this year`s TESOL Conference, for instance, I tried to attend as many m-learning sessions as possible but the options were very limited. There were  fewer than 10 (including the session delivered by Lilian Marchesoni and me) and most addressed similar content, such as using QR codes and other widely known apps like Educreations, Popplet and Show Me.  These numbers are ridiculous if you consider that there were over a thousand speakers at the event!

So, was I frustrated? Definitely not! The use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices in the classroom is a very recent trend in education and not many professionals are familiar with it. However, the number of teachers who seek innovation in their teaching practices through mobile technology grows each year as such gadgets become more popular and accessible. It is a growing movement which seems to have no turning back  and it means wee need to be better prepared to deal with the current technology.

Learning through mobility (while you are in movement) is actually not a very new and innovative concept. For many decades, people  carried books, magazines and paper notebooks with them.  Learners , thus, could always choose where and when to learn if they had access to those “portable devices” . Today, however, such “devices” have evolved to very sophisticated gadgets,  giving “mobile” a whole new meaning and status.

So, how can we take full advantage of such rich and and unique resources and make the teaching and learning experience as effective as possible?  Unfortunately, the answer for that question is not 100% known yet. Because it is a very recent phenomenon, there aren`t many scientific studies or published books linked to this field . We are actually living the blossoming of mobile computing and transformations in the teaching practice are taking shape as we speak.

But is m-learning just a fad or should we teachers embark upon this venture? Well, how many times have you already had to tell your students to turn their cellphones off while teaching something very important on the board? I am sure you will not be able to answer this question! We cannot ignore the presence of such devices in the classroom anymore! Dede(2005) states that we are witnessing the rise of generation Y and that the new technologies offered clearly match a new profile.  This new generation of learners belong to a group labeled as “digital natives” (Prensky, 2001), that is, people who were born after 1982 and grew up in the Internet era, surrounded by many of the tech gadgets we know and use today.For them,  the traditional education centered in the teacher and developed in  a linear way does not make sense. They are used to acting instead of watching or taking things passively. Instead of simply absorbing knowledge, this generation is used to producing it individually and in groups and sharing it in social networks.  No wonder why Orkut, Facebook and Twitter have become so popular. Moreover, materials produced by this generation do not rely on text and written materials only, but rather on images, sounds and animations, in other words, the use of multiple medias.  In sum, The Y generation is empowered by the massive use of technology and that is why the use of mobile devices should be considered aserious issue and an important element in the teaching and learning process of today`s generation.

M-learning has become such an important educational issue that UNESCO (United Nations Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organization) launched a document called “ Policy Guidelines for Mobile Learning” in February which listed down 13 unique benefits of mobile learning. According to UNESCO, mobile learning:

·      expands the reach and equity of education
·      facilitates personalized learning
·      provides immediate feedback and assessment
·      enables anytime, anywhere learning
·      ensures the productive use of time spent in classrooms
·      builds new communities of learners
·      supports situated learning
·      enhances seamless learning
·      bridges formal and informal learning
·      minimizes educational disruption in conflict and disaster areas
·      assists learners´ disabilities
·      improves communication and administration
·      maximizes cost-efficiency

This document not only adresses the use of mobile devices in the classroom but also the unique opportunities it can bring to distance and ubiquitous learning experiences. By the way, as a matter of fact, after attending several seminars, workshops,and webinars and reading a few books, I learned that m-learning is not limited to what we might know as “using  smartphones and tablets in the classroom” but it also comprises the use of devices to enable distance learning (online education).

So, should we then start using mobile devices on a daily basis? Not really.The use of technology itself does not imply innovation in education.  Indeed, the indiscriminate use of technology in the classroom might lead to ineffective  learning outcomes.  We need to leave the initial “enchantment” behind and focus on the true potential of technology. M-learning practices might have a focus on  its technological nature rather than the pedagogical one and that is exactly what should not happen.  Mobile devices were not specifically designed for educational purposes, so their use should be carefully planned.It is still very common to see teachers using mobile devices in practices that simply reproduce what is in the book. Honestly speaking, there is no point in taking advantage of technology if it will not improve the quality of learning.  So when is the use of mobile devices appropriate? Brazilian EFL teacher and EdTech guru, Carla Arena, likes to bring up a question which, in my opinion, is perfect to solve this dilemma :” Can you do the same thing and have the same outcome if you don`t resort to technology?  If the answer is yes, then you should think twice and consider not using it.”

According to WIN (Worldwide Independent Network of Market Research), the use of mobile devices is growing at a staggering rate all over the world.  On average,  people spend  74 minutes a day using smartphones and  71 minutes using tablets. It is thus,  paramount that we, educators, researchers and teachers observe how users handle these protable devices, how they access information, how they communicate, interact, produce and share knowledge and information. These are elements that can signal how technology can contribute to major changes in the way we think, solve problems, live and teach.In the March 2013 issue of Você S/A, a Brazilian magazine, there is a very interesting article on how technology is quickly affecting human behavior. In the article,  Kelly McGonigal, a professor at Stanford Univerity, claims that recent studies have shown that the human brain has adapted to the digital era in the sense that we starve for information just as we feel the need to eat food in order to survive.That certainly explains why people feel the need to be “connected” 24/7. Don`t you think this is another issue that we teachers also need to look at closely if we want to deal with technology in our teaching practices?

So, when going to the next seminar or conference, how about picking some sessions which address the use of  smartphones and tablets in the classroom?  Attending the sessions on m-learning at TESOL 2013 definitely contributed to my better understanding of this complex universe in which m-learning is inserted and has definitely been helping me make better decisions regarding the general use of technology in my teaching practices. By the way, have you heard of the new terms “digital visitor” and “digital resident”? I have recently learned that there is a new current which prefers to use such terms instead of “digital natives” and “digital immigrants”? When it comes to technology-related issues, concepts, trends and practices might change as quickly as technology itself. I guess we all need to get used to this new dynamics if we want to be a teacher in the 21st century!



DEDE, C. Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles. Available at: http://net.educase/ir/library/pdf/eqm0511.pdf. Accessed: April 18,2013.

Jornal Destak. Uso de smartphones no Brasil duplica. Available at: April 23, 2013.

MARINO, C.; NEVES; N.; ROSSI, L. Viramos Escravos da Tecnologia? Ela pode melhorar sua produtividade ou disparar sua ansiedade. Como usar as ferramentas da tecnologia a seu favor no trabalho. Revista Você S/A, São Paulo, issue 178. March, 2013. (pages 27-37)
PRENSKY, M. Digital natives,digital immigrants, 2001. Available at:,%20digital%20immigrants%20-%20part1.pdf. Acessed: April 20, 2013.

SACCOL, A.; SCHLEMMER, E. ; BARBOSA, J. M-learning e u-learning: novas perspectivas das aprendizagens móvel e ubíqua. São Paulo: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2011.

UNESCO. Policy guidelines for mobile learning. Paris. February, 2013. Available at <> Access: March 2, 2013.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

IATEFL 2013 - Liverpool - The Future is Now!

IATEFT 2013 – Liverpool

The Future is Now – What Tomorrow’s Schools Will Look Like

     International conferences are a great opportunity to learn new things, debate controversial ideas, and check if you are doing a good job at your school. The IATEFL annual conference is especially exciting because you have teachers from all over the world sharing information on teaching English as a foreign language. So there I was, ready to take part in this international exchange of ideas.
     Being a tech-savvy teacher who blogs and reasonably up-to-date on technological advances, I was quite curious by the title of this presentation by Peter Davidson (Zayed University, United Arab Emirates) on Thursday, April 11th 2013. “The Future is now – What Tomorrow’s schools will look like.” Could this be a breakthrough? Could he have discovered the future of teaching? After all, he was asking questions such as, “What will classrooms look like in the 21st century?”, “Will there be classrooms?”, “Will there be schools?”, “Will there be teachers?”. Looking for answers and for new ideas, in I went.
    Peter Davidson started talking about the factors shaping education at the moment, some of which are economics, globalization, research, and technology. Going on to the topic of curriculum and tools, He mentioned blended learning, online learning (MOOC), laptops, tablets, and phones. After cruising through web tools, he got the audience to discuss the role of the teacher in the future. Will we be facilitators, enablers, guides, mentors, gurus, or just bystanders?
    Finally, the session went onto the future of education. Whether education will be challenging, frustrating, chaotic, fun and exciting, Peter Davidson concluded that teachers need to not only be aware of the changing face of education, but they need to embrace this change and help to shape it. This change needs to lead to more effective learning. According to him, and I fully agree, teachers and educators need to shape the future of education – not Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
    The important question here is, “Did I learn anything new by watching this presentation?” The answer is no. However, what I would like to emphasize is how rewarding it is to know that Casa Thomas Jefferson is one of the frontrunners embracing this change. We, as teachers, have been using web tools for several years. Online and blended learning are already part of our reality. Computers and tablets in class are our daily routine. Even living in a developing country facing a never-ending economic crisis, we are not bystanders. Into the future we boldly stride.

André Netto

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Going Mobile


Nowadays, it's much easier to find interesting ideas online that can cause a great impact on our teaching practice. One of these days, I came across a blog called Mapping Media to the Curriculum which starts with a very simple question: what do you want to create today? The author talks about different apps that students can use to produce digital content. I explored some of the ideas and decided to experiment with Mobile Learning (mLearning). Learning a language has to be a dynamic and automonous process.  However, I had some questions on the back of my mind:

Does Mlearning add value to my lessons?
What are the benefits?
Can I use it with all group levels effectively?
Do I have to work harder?

I got together with  Jose Antonio and we presented a workshop called - One Ipad-Only Class - to tell our peers about our experiences, tips and ideas regarding mlearning. Here you can read about what we said.

We talked about the main characteristics of each age group, and we showed activities that are easy to carry out to maximize learning that respect the aforementioned general traits.

We started talking about adult learners. What are the main characteristics? What should a task designer have in mind when planning a task?

The adult learner


  • Long attention span.
  • Ability to deal with tasks that are not intrinsically motivating.
  • To maximize learning plan tasks that appeal to multiple senses and lower affective filters.

We then suggested some  activities that we used with our groups. It's important to mention that all the APPS used worked offline and are free. Click on the links below for details.
Order of adjectives
Subordinating conjunctions

The teenage learner

  • Child- like playfulness
  • Adult-like ability to hypothesize and think critically
  • Facts surrounding ego, self -esteem and  self- image are at pinnacle.
  • Teachers should affirm talents and strengths and encourage collaboration
Suggested activities

The young learner

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

  • Concrete operation
  • Centeredness in functional purposes of the language
  • Can understand patterns and examples

Suggested activities

José Antonio and I counted with the contribution of Denise De Felice, who added a prespective on how the brain works and how/why the proposed activities might be effective to boost learning.

When I reflect upon my experience, I come to the conclusion that Mlearning can be very powerful if we hold truth to our teaching principles, respect our students and find the correct practices that mirror our beliefs. I have gone mobile. Have you?