Category Archives: Microblogging

The uniqueness of the IATEFL experience

Sharing a short article I wrote for Voices after attending IATEFL for the first time.

As a teacher trainer from Buenos Aires, I devote a lot of time to ongoing personal and professional development. In the new era of collaboration and sharing, I have joined several social networks to enhance my learning opportunities. As a result, I was able to fulfill my purpose of connecting with like-minded teachers in a culturally sensitive way. Beyond getting great ideas for teaching and staying excited about my profession, I find that I am not alone in wanting to innovate, learn and grow. This required me to leave my comfort zone and become a life-long learner exploring ways to integrate digital tools to enhance teaching and learning.

Knowing that the future of education is not teaching but learning, teacher development is essential for our students’ success in order to keep up-to-date on the lastest trends in ELT. It is necessary to learn new methods, techniques and strategies so we can be better equipped to face 21st century challenges.

This year I was awarded the IATEFL BESIG facilitator scholarship to attend IATEFL in Glasgow. To be part of such a prestigious team as BESIG is truly a privilege. As a scholarship winner, there were several moments to celebrate this award. IATEFL invited all the scholarship winners to attend a tea party and there was a scholarship stand in the exhibition hall showing posters of all the scholarship winners.

Being a member of several social networks such as Twitter and Facebook has allowed me to understand that learning is a social process and it requires people to collaborate, share ideas, seek answers and build new insights throughout the process. Social media has become a valuable and free educational tool for my professional development. In recent years, I have been learning and sharing on-line experiences integrating technology with several teachers worldwide. This has been a key ingredient for me to constantly meet like-minded teachers.

My first day at IATEFL was at the BESIG PCE. Attending so many interesting sessions was really inspiring and overwhelming at the same time. At IATEFL I kept bumping into teachers I´ve been networking with for the last 2 or 3 years and from the beginning I felt instantly comfortable and at ease. There were no kilometers separating us. We all mingled immediately as a group to build relationships and connections worldwide.

How could a teacher that lived so many kilometers away from Glasgow feel at home in such an enormous conference? Bonds had already been established with many amazing people. There were more than 800 teachers attending this conference and I immediately felt I had known many of them for several years. The effect of social networking has been the most rewarding experience I´ve ever had as a teacher.

If I had to define my whole experience attending IATEFL, I would say that it has helped me reinforce my world-wide connections and has shown me how alike we all really are.

Games for young learners

This is the second time I deliver a presentation for TeachMeet Int’l hosted by Arjana Blazic and Bart Verswijvel.

TeachMeet features free “micro” presentations from teachers around the world. It is an unplugged an informal gathering of teachers who show and share incredible ideas and activities for your classroom. Today there were 33 teachers from 20 countries willing to learn from each other. For more information about this event please check
http://teachmeetinternational.wikispaces.com/

My presentation was about how to use Moshi Monsters with young learners. I´ve been using this virtual game with them for a long time and the results are amazing.

Here is a screenshot of my 3 minute presentation.

 

Feel free to explore my slides and start integrating virtual games in your classroom.

Becoming a constant learner


 


It is high time to start showing all the different tools I learn daily. I´ve created an online calendar where I will write a very short description on every new Web 2.0 tool I learn. By the end of the year this will be a very big collection of tools.

If you click on the image below you will be taken to the online calendar.

Have fun exploring!

Cool websites to teach writing

Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

As a language teacher I really find it difficult to motivate my students to start writing in class. The Internet is a resource that complements the dynamics of my class. It is easy to access, up-to-date and immediate source of authentic materials. Since I started introducing technology and using a wiki with Middle school my classes have definitely changed. Please check below the cool sites we have been using this year.

  • Writing Fun A MUST for teachers.  This website motivated my students to enhance their writing skills.
  • The Writing Site Check this website with a great variety of tech integration ideas.
  • iWrite Provides several examples for students to learn how to write effectively.
  • Writing Exemplars I make my students search for writing samples created by other students worldwide.

Why do we blog?

As a teacher trainer this is the most common question I have to answer

Why do you blog?

My blog:

  • allows me to express myself freely
  • is a place where I think, plan and reflect
  • is a place to collaborate and share with others
  • is a tool I use to play with technology
  • is a place where I dialogue with visitors
  • shares my online discoveries
  • has become a very important tool for my professional development

With the advent of the World Wide Web I am able to ask this question to my wonderful PLN. Below you will find the answers from my Twitter followers.

Why do Webheads blog?

Please take a look at the mixbook http://www.mixbook.com/photo-books/education/why-do-we-blog-4609597 I created with the answers I gathered from this vibrant and inspiring group


Why do other teachers blog? Let´s read what they have to say.

Why do we blog? Sandrill Trek

Why do I blog? Jennifer Wagner

Do you blog? Teacher Tech

After reading so many interesting posts on why teachers blog I would like to know Why do you blog?

A dream came true

This is the kind of post I would like all teachers to share. Finally I have a computer in the classroom!!!!

As from March I am working as the ICT English Coordinator at a Bilingual school in the Province of Buenos Aires. After so many years integrating technology as an after school activity this year I have the whole computer lab!!! I must coordinate the effective use of ICT across the whole curriculum and encourage aspects of cross-curricular planning in the English department.

This was a  job that I had been waiting for a long time!!!

I created a wiki that is still under construction because I started this new position last week.

The wiki is our online classroom book where students will not only learn about computers but also how to use different Web 2.0 tools to learn English. I am also planning a cross-curricular online project on Digital Storytelling.

All the knowledge acquired throughout these years has been possible thanks to the most vibrant and inspiring online community “Webheads in Action”. I would also like to thank all my PLN for guiding me, and making me what I am today.

Using Twitter Part II

Twitter offers endless possibilities. How can we use it in our classroom to engage our students? Below you will find some clear examples on how to use this powerful tool.

Twitpic allows you to share pictures on Twitter. How can we use this in our classrooms? I`ve just found a wonderful article by Prudue University giving several examples on how we can use Twitpic in an elementary setting and in a secondary setting.

Tweetgrid allows you to follow up to 9 students at the same time. Everytime a new tweet is created, the grid is automatically updated.

QuoteURL for twitter can be used to quote students best ideas in one single page with a permanent URL.

To collaborate on projects

We can use several set up group applications if we are planning to work together on project. Below are some Twitter applications that will help facilitate the communication among the people participating in the project.

Tweetworks You can create a private group for your conversation.

Twitter lists Makes it easy to follow your students tweets.

Twitter groups Create a close group to follow your students tweets.

Use Twittories to participate in creating a story where each person can add 140 characters to contribute to the story as a whole.

How to use Twitter in the classroom

The biggest advantage of using Twitter is to be able to connect with inspiring teachers worldwide. If this is your first time using Twitter I would suggest to start by reading this simple Twitter Handbook for Teachers.

Due to the all the possibilities Twitter offers it has become a wonderful tool to explore and integrate in our classrooms. Take a look a the Top 100 Tools for the Twittering Teacher and you will certainly feel overwhelmed!! Bear in mind that as teachers we need to determine when new technologies are appropriate to build a twenty-first century teaching and learning scenario. We need to remember Mark Pegrum words ” Educators need a clear sense of the social, sociopolitical and ecological embeddedness of technology in order to incorporate it effectively into their teaching”

Many teachers are using Twitter in their classrooms. Below you will find thought-provoking links to help you integrate Twitter effectively.

50 Ways to Use Twitter in the College Classroom

Using Twitter in the Classroom

Twitter in the classroom: 10 useful resources

12 Expert Twitter Tips for the Classroom

How would you use Twitter with your students? Unfortunately I am not allowed to use the original version of Twitter at school therefore I have to use Twiducate a social networking site for school.


Using Text messaging in the ESL classrrom

After reading Chapter 1 of Mark Pegrum’s book From Blogs to Bombs I thought it was a good idea to test my digital native students to see if they were able to understand the txtspk in the book.
To my surprise most of them found this activity quite challenging. Out of 25 students not only one was able to understand the whole text.
They couldn`t believe that this was an essay a student sent to their teacher. We had a very interesting debate on text messaging. Next year before doing this activity I will make them read a webpage on Text Messaging and Chat abbreviation.

I would like to test you this time. Have you ever read Romeo and Juliet in Text messaging? Let´s see how much you understand.

Romeo and Juliet – Text Messaging Version by cartoonist Roz Chast, first published in the New Yorker

Act 1

Login: Romeo : R u awake? Want 2 chat?
Juliet: O Rom. Where4 art thou?
Romeo: Outside yr window.
Juliet: Stalker!
Romeo: Had 2 come. feeling jiggy.
Juliet: B careful. My family h8 u.
Romeo: Tell me about it. What about u?
Juliet: ‘m up for marriage f u are.. Is tht a bit fwd?
Romeo: No. Yes. No. Oh, dsnt mat-r, 2moro @ 9?
Juliet: Luv U xxxx
Romeo: CU then xxxx

Act 2

Friar: Do u?
Juliet: I do
Romeo: I do

Act 3

Juliet: Come bck 2 bed. It’s the nightingale not the lark.
Romeo: OK
Juliet: !!! I ws wrong !!!. It’s the lark. U gotta go. Or die.
Romeo: Damn. I shouldn’t hv wasted Tybalt & gt banished.
Juliet: When CU again?
Romeo: Soon. Promise. Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu.
Juliet: Miss u big time.

Act 4

Nurse: Yr mum says u have 2 marry Paris!!
Juliet: No way. Yuk yuk yuk. n-e-way, am mard 2 Rom.

Act 5

Friar: Really? O no. U wl have 2 take potion that makes u look ded.
Juliet: Gr8

Act 6

Romeo: J-why r u not returning my texts?
Romeo: RUOK? Am abroad but phone still works.
Romeo: TEXT ME!
Batty: Bad news. J dead. Sorry l8

Act 7

Romeo: J-wish u wr able 2 read this…am now poisoning & and climbing in yr grave. LUV U Ju xxxx

Act 8

Juliet: R-got yr text! Am alive! Ws faking it! Whr RU? Oh…
Friar: Vry bad situation.
Juliet: Nightmare. LUVU2. Always. Dagger. Ow!!! Logout

How would you use text messaging in your classroom? Would you use this activity? Would you allow your students to submit this kind of text?

I use technology without a computer in the classroom

This year I have been doing a thorough research on how to teach digital natives. At one of the school where I am currently working they  allowed me to integrate technology. I have been struggling for years to show the potential we have as teachers to use different kind of technology in the classroom. Amazingly I teach technology without a computer in the classroom and as there is no wi-fi I can´t bring my laptop.

The group was very special as most of them were really keen on integrating technology but to my surprise they were not ready to face the challenges of becoming a 21st century student. They had to learn netiquette rules as well as the several online tools we constantly used.

I created two online spaces. One for Senior 1 www.englishhub.ning.com and one for Middle 3 www.englishwithtechnology.com

They took a survey after using our Ning for two months. The results were very positive and it was very good to have a different channel of communication. Some complained that they didn´t want the Ning to be compulsory.

Take a look at a video I created by one of my students

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