Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts

Friday, May 30, 2014

Simple Prep iPad Activity: Creating Stories in Class

Stories help us organize and remember information and tie content together. I've already talked about the power of online storytelling and the myriad online resources available to experience such fantastic educational tool (click here to check this post).


With the advance of technology and the integration of iPads in the classroom, teachers are now able explore the power of storytelling in different ways. Some apps have been developed where students can imagine, create, and share what they make. Thus, students will be the ones creating content, putting their ideas together to tell a story using creative and engaging platforms.

Two of my favorite apps for creating stories are Scribble my Story and Creative Pad. These apps can be incorporated into your lesson plan with very simple previous preparation.

With Scribble my Story students can create their own story by picking a blank book, adding their own voice and illustrating in different ways.  There’s also the option of changing the background color, adding stickers and stamps. As a follow-up activity, students can read their stories to each other, or teachers can project students' stories and ask comprehension questions about them.

Creative Pad presents a more comprehensive platform. There are several different themes students can choose from, with different settings for every theme available.  Students can add characters, all sort of objects, animals, musical instruments, nature elements, etc. In order to create the story, students can add dialog boxes and also write captions in each of the slides. In the end, the story can be sent via email in a pdf version. I guess parents would love to receive their kids’ production. What do you think?

How would you include storytelling production in your class?





Tuesday, September 03, 2013

APPtivity of the Day - Using Dictionaries in the Classroom


Sometimes we think that we can only schedule to use the iPads when we feel confident enough, have practiced many times how to open, close, use the features in certain apps. We practice so much that we give up as insecurity increases exponentially when we give a thought about the students we have, the little time we have in our schedules, added to the responsibility of those devices in nervous hands.

WORRY NOT!

Ruben Puentedura´s model for tech incorporation can be a relief for teachers in the sense that it is OK to start with substitution practices that enhance the learning experience towards a more informed and bold move towards transformative uses of tech in the classroom.


So, instead of the distress of considering tech possibilities and never having the fearlessness to try it, start with a fun and very simple activity and then move on to more challenging activities. 

Did you know that in our CTJ iPads we have fantastic dictionaries you can use with your groups?
Here are some:

The first one on the list (LDOCE 5) is an expensive paid app which is worth every penny for the quality of its digital version - Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 5th Edition. 


You can´t imagine how much fun my teen students have had with this app. We searched for some words they were studying, I asked them to check the pronunciation of American x British English and to see if there was any relevant difference. They could see the words in use, including collocations and idiomatic expressions. 
The activity was nothing new, but the teens spent some minutes having fun with the language and exploring the possibilities of use. We then played a game in which I´d say the word, they needed to check the meaning and come up with an example different from the dictionary´s. 
Later in the semester, when they had to write paragraphs, they asked me if they could look up for synonyms in the dictionary! 

Now, if it worked with a rambunctious group of teens, imagine exploring the wonders of the dictionary use with our adult groups! You could explore high frequency words (identified in red in the app); you could have a treasure hunt, pronunciation work, definition game. The world of possibilities using digital dictionaries in class is simply limitless...In addition to making your lessons more engaging, your students will start noticing the possibilities of the devices they use in their daily lives to learn English. 

So, the first part of your tech integration ladder is done: substitution activities using a dictionary app. 
Ready for the challenge?
What kinds of activities with dictionaries do you envision with your groups?
Let us know when you plan a lesson using the dictionary apps and what the outcomes were. 


Tip: Dictionary.com is a very good free app that your students can download to their smartphones and tablets.


Friday, May 03, 2013

Reminiscing on IATEFL 2013




An international teachers' conference makes room for quite a hectic audience. There are English teachers
coming from all corners of the world, all in search of professional growth, new academic ideas and technologies and the acknowledgement of being on the right track regarding teaching and teaching methodologies.

Although there are not many new proposals regarding TEFL for the current tendencies, there is still a lot we
can learn about the teaching of English. In fact, there is always something to learn or recall. One of the lectures I attended and enjoyed very much was Edmund Dudley's "High-achieving Secondary Students". Mr. Dudley is a teacher and teacher trainer working in Hungary. His main concern is to teach the student as a whole. In this process, he focuses on the environment of the class so that it can "nest" students positively and help them overcome any obstacles they may have in the process of learning English. However, he has stated such obstacles may actually not even refer to difficulties in assessing language. It has been the object of Mr. Dudley's studies and involvements the fact that there may be lack of motivation for learning even among those students considered high-achievers. Among the many aspects of teaching pointed by Mr. Dudley, he has suggested that our attitude towards the learning situation be able to bring out the challenge, the relevance, the value and the novelty of lessons. In his presentation, each of these topics was associated with an array of examples and ideas on how to promote creative learning.

Another presentation which was highly motivating for me was Gavin Dudeney's piece on technology. Still a
bit of a challenge to me, technology is more present in our lives on a daily basis than we even realize. Just
as we turn lights on and off, start the car, use the dishwasher, the air-conditioner or heater, or simply change
channels on TV, for example, in quite casually habitual, if not automatic daily attitudes, we also make use
of technology in a much more routine-like manner than we can acknowledge. Most people start their days
making use of the cell phone, smart phones, connections to social networks, or the accessibility to intranet
at work or the Internet for more personal endeavors, to name a few only. Our day is filled with opportunities
for using technology, being the classroom the one place which offers the most fruitful chances for efficacious,
audaciously creative teaching and learning.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

mLearning and Digital Images

Picture this scene: You ask your students to open their books to work on a grammar exercise. You decide to walk around to check how they are doing the exercise, but you, unfortunately, realize some students are actually using their mobile devices to check updates on Facebook and Twitter or sending an SMS to a friend. 

Would you call that fiction? Definitely not! I am quite sure this has already happened to you if you teach tennagers! So, how do you deal with it? Should you ban mobile devices from your classroom? Every time new technologies land in the classroom, students do naturally react with excitement to them. After a while they get used and tend to calm down. As an educator, I believe that we should never ignore the "world" students live in, but rather find ways to bring it to the learning environment. The number of students who own mobile devices has skyrocketed in recent years and the prediction is that every single person will have a digital camera, a cellphone or a tablet in the near future. In some cases, some might already have them all! So, how about thinking of ways to use these devices creatively in order to effectively teach and practice different grammar points and even improve levels of interaction and communication? Here is one idea I have recently developed for the typical ESL/EFL setting. This activity can be used to practice vocabulary related to clothing and the present continuous as well!

Activity: What's the Occasion?


Level: beginning/intermediate 
Vocabulary: clothing
Grammar topic: Present Continuous
Language skill: speaking 
Device needed: any device with a built-in digital camera
Number of devices needed: one per student 
Internet connection: offline

This is a class project that requires in-class and outside-class work. 

Part 1: On the first day, give each student a slip with a particular situation written in it (EX: GOING TO SCHOOL/CHURCH/WORK/THE BEACH/THE CHURCH/THE MALL/THE GYM/A WEDDING/A JOB INTERVIEW/ A ROMANTIC DINNER/ A FAMILY PICNIC/A NIGHTCLUB/ETC...). 

Remind them that they should not reveal which situation they were given. Then, explain that they should go home, pick up in their closet the outfit they would wear for that occasion and take pictures of all items (clothes/shoes/accessories) and a picture of themselves wearing the outfit for that occasion. 

Part 2: On the second day, ask students to sit in small groups. Explain that they should show the pictures they have taken (and orally say the name of all clothing items) and other group members should guess where their classmates are going dressed like that. As a follow-up, ask students to show the picture in which they are wearing their outfit and have other classmates describe using the Present Continuous (ex: you are wearing a pink dress, high heels, a watch and a necklace). You can also have them vote on the student who was best dressed for the assigned occasion. 

Alternative suggestion: In part 1, ask students to send you via e-mail their picture wearing the outfit. Then, in part 2, you can show the pictures of all students in a slide presentation and elicit from them the sentences in the Present Continuous (follow-up part).

I hope you liked it and let me know if you ever have the chance to test it with your students. I am a mobile learning junkie and I display all my ideas in my blog http://mthatlearning.blogspot.com. If you want to learn more about mobile learning, be my guest!


Monday, May 31, 2010

5 Questions for Planning Successful Web-Based Activities

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This interesting post about Tech Integration raises important pedagogical issues when we are considering integrating web-based activities into our lesson. One important feature of this tech integration is exactly our reflection upon the kind of pedagogical approach we are taking. It´s not technology for the sake of technology, but it is technology with pedagogically-sound, meaningful contexts.

Would you add other questions to the list?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How-To - CTJConnected

The Ed Tech Monitors have set the main goals for this semester:

  • Give tech support to teachers and encourage even more of us to become content creators
  • Give tech support to teachers who are in the process of turning themselves into Educational Technology users
Never have we had such a great response from this wonderful crowd of educators in relation to the technological field. It has been some years now that we´ve had a team working for CTJ, but the time has come. Now, everybody sees the importance of adding this digital element into their lesson plans. It´s not a matter of being a "cool" teacher or even a "digital" one, but it´s about relevance, content, and connecting our students to the world. It´s about showing how relevant English is in a connected world.

So, here´s our deal. We start this blog to be our open channel, a place where we connect, ask and share. The Ed Tech Team and any of our teachers can be bloggers here to give a tip, to share a cool resource, or to tell us about a nice lesson plan.

Well, we start with a tutorial on how to use our CTJConnected wiki. Enjoy! And we´re waiting for your feedback.

Be a little patient to load the video.