Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Methodology Pills for Induced Reflection No. 16 Skills Assignment

This is the latest of my public videos created with Powtoon. As with Pill No. 15 Focus on the Learner, this Pill is about the Language Skills Assignment CELTA candidates have to complete while on the course. Again, I wanted to try and provide trainees with a quick and concise visual coverage of the assignment as I believe that exposure to the same content in different formats and media can help increase retention and trigger reflection and renewed understanding. Hasn't it happened to you that sometimes you are listening to the same talk or lecture or watching the same film for the umpteenth time and you realise that you hadn't noticed x detail, or hadn't thought about that was said and then you find yourself thinking or reflecting about it all? Well, I do hope this short video has a similar effect!

Methodology Pills for Induced Reflection No. 15 Focus on the Learner

It's been a very hectic period and so it's been almost a month since the last time I blogged. Well, I'm now enjoying my Christmas holiday and so it means more time to do the things you like, in my case, catch up with blogging and creating those materials I'd been thinking of but had not had the time for! 

This brings me to this post on my Methodology Pill No. 15 Focus on the Learner. I really wanted to create a quick video which would help trainees on my CELTA courses think and reflect and check the different parts of the assignment in a short, visual way. I have also created a podcast which addresses the assignment, we have a session at the end of which the assignment is set and also they are reminded of it throughout the course at different stages, but I believe that being exposed to the same material in different formats can help increase retention and also touch different learning preferences. I'm very visual and so I personally find these videos help me, more than anyone else, continue to think and reflect on the contents of the assignment itself. I hope it is useful even if you're not on a CELTA course. I think the main ideas can help you remember to reflect on our own students as we (including mysefl first and foremost!) sometimes forget about them when we get tangled up in a heavy work load and teaching commitments.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Methodology Pills for Induced Reflection No. 14 Lesson Planning Check List

It's been three months since my last post and it's been this long because unfortunately, one of my siblings fought against cancer and lost! This led to our family coming closer and since we are all over the world, it's also meant traveling a little. Anyways, on a much happier note here is a post on a short video I created on Nov 3 on Lesson Planning.  This check list suggests taking into consideration all the different resources which I have created so far e.g. the different Methodology Pills available in my YouTube channel and my Lesson Frameworks eBook which I can send you if you email me asking for it.

Bye for now and I hope you find this video useful!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Methodology Pills for Induced Reflection No.13 Productive Skills - SPEAKING

Right, here's the last one to complete the productive skills suite. As can be seen from the summary at the end it actually follows a PPP framework which we have said before was more appropriate for language based lessons. Now, you may be asking yourself why and here's a plausible answer. Speaking is a language skill and as such if you think about the what you would cover in a purely speaking lesson then, then you start realising that the sub skills we want to help ss develop are usually embedded inside functional language and so being language systems it seem appropriate to approach it through a PPP framework. Obviously this also means that it can be approached from a guided discovery angle as the sub-skills work you want to do when dealing with speaking (connected speech, appropriacy, specific areas of pronunciation, target audience, etc) is more easily done when embedded in a text, spoken or written. Ok, so here we go - enjoy!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Methodology Pills for Induced Reflection No. 12 - Productive Skills (Writing)

Right! So, here's another methodology pill on Productive Skills - WRITING- this time. It's been an incredibly busy time but it seems I get a lot more done when under pressure! This framework is obviously a suggested framework for a writing skills lesson so if you've been helping your students develop their writing skills in English doing something totally different, there's nothing to worry about. You may want to try this approach and see how it goes. Remember: Variety is the spice of life and so if you realise your teaching has become a bit of a routine why not liven it up? Of course, I speak from experience so no judging anyone here.

The whole idea behind these video clips using PowToon is that of simply providing trainees, teachers and anyone interested with a quick way of checking they're following a cohesive and coherent framework in their writing lessons.  This framework is in line with the input session on writing I do on our CELTA courses. Ok, I think that's it! Enjoy!


Friday, August 16, 2013

Metholodogy Pills No.11 - Receptive Skills Framework

It's been a while since my last post, but I'm back. I've been really busy working on two full time back to back CELTA courses, working on my PhD project and examining and so this has kept me away from blogging!  I've managed to put together a new Methodology Pill on Receptive Skills (Reading/Listening) Frameworks and so I hope it's useful. The main idea here is that of providing trainees with a visual way to the different stages a reading/listening skills lesson usually/may have. This video along with the PDFs in My Lesson Frameworks eBook provide a coherent set of support materials. It's important to note again that this video was created with 40min lessons in mind and that although for assessment purposes trainees are usually required to do only skimming and scanning tasks (because of the time constraint) more work on other sub-skills can be done in longer lessons.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

TheConsultants-e's 10th Year Anniversary - a time to celebrate and enjoy their freebies

As you can see from the introductory description in the top block of this blog, I started blogging and implementing ICT into my teaching and training in a more formal and informed manner thanks to TheConsultants-e. It was 2008 when I embarked on a new wonderful, exciting and rewarding experience - their Certificate in Teaching Languages with Technology CertICT course fully validated by Trinity College London - not knowing this course would have had such a powerful impact on my personal and professional teaching and learning life!  

Nicky Hockly and Gaving Dudeney are the master minds and reknown gurus who run this online professional training company offering state-of-the-art courses and training in ICT implementation. But the story does not end here, this year they're celebrating their 10th anniversary and have got lots of pressies and freebies in store for you. This month of June they're giving away a scholarship for one of their fully accredited courses (the CertICt or the CertBET) so if you're interested do apply now - you may be the very lucky winner! Follow this link to find out more about all the wonderful freebies available.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Bookmarking, Tagging and PEARLTREES!

Bookmarking is an important part of our professional development as it helps us keep our links to important/interesting resources organised. The usual way we do it is by simply clicking on the bookmark button on our browser and that's it! Most people simply bookmark it and so it's saved to their Favourites. I used to do this all the time and one day I realised I had hundreds of links which I had bookmarked as 'favourite' but which were all in a potluck soup! Then, I was introduced to TAGGING and so I spent a day tagging my bookmarks. Now, there are different ways of bookmarking and the one you choose will be the one you fell more comfortable with. There are quite a few bookmark management tools around and 5 of these can be found in an interesting post in Jason Fitzpatrick's blog - Lifehacker here. I'll look at the ones I have used and which can talk about more confidently. These are: 

Diigo which is very versatile and allows you to add Diigolet to your Favourites Bar at the top of your browser...


... and so whenever you find a site you want to keep track of, you can do lots of things to the link other than just bookmark it. You can highlight, bookmark, add a sticky note, read later or share it, so there are quite a few good options. I particularly like the highlighting and sticky note options as often when reading I find parts that are especially interesting.

There's also Delicious which allows you to manage your bookmarks similarly but it doesn't have the extra features shown above. And the one that has really caught my attention lately because it is rather visual is Pearltrees.

Here's my Pearltree for you peek around and if you create an account feel free to pick any of my pearls - that's the idea, it's free, it's open and anyone can share and pick your pearls just as you can with anyone around. There's a premium option if you want to make them private and customise your page. I like mine being public!

Pearltrees is very easy to use too. If you install the Pearler - as shown below - in your brower bar all you have to do is click on it and then choose where you want your new bookmark to go.

This takes seconds! And what I find best of all is that you can create your pearls (folders) on the go. I'm a very visual learner and find that a Pearltree like this one caters best for my way of seeing things. I find it easier now to look through my bookmarks than before when going through my tags. We're all different of course so I'm not saying this is how it should be done, but my experience of it!   
I've also recently moved to Firefox, so I'm now off to explore how you can save and sync your bookmarks with them. I just saw the intro video and I like the fact that you can sync them across computers. You can also do this with other bookmarking tools, but I like how easy it seems with Firefox. I'll report on this later on. In any case, I think I'll stick to Pearltrees because it also allows you to add comments to your 'pearls' and share them. I think it'd be perfect if there was a mix between Diigo and pearltrees and you could highlight and add sticky notes to your pearls! Here's hoping :-)

TED Talks - Rita PIerson and her 'Every kid needs a champion!' talk

I just wanted to add this TED talk to my blog because I think it's inspiring! We all can make a difference.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Presentation and Movies for Education with POWTOON

I just came across Powtoon and I think it's really cool. I started by signing up for a free account and in 30min I came up with this 2.26min movie which I'll be sharing with the trainee teachers I have back at work. We've been talking about engagement in our sessions and so I thought creating a quick summary of the points discussed using this newly found tool was not only practical but a good opportunity to do it in a real way.


Now, I have just signed up for a year subscription because as an educator you also get a big discount. I'm going to be using Powtoon a lot as I believe in the benefits of a flipped classroom approach and have been supporting my trainees this way for over 2 years now. I particularly like Powtoon because although many could argue is just embellished PowerPoint, it isn't. It's definitely more catchy, but you can make it into a movie or a presentation and so one of the greatest benefits is that it can be used as short videos for content, to revise whatever you did in a session, to present new content so that in the classroom you focus on practiced - flipped classroom approach, etc. Why don't you try it your self and then leave a comment here? It'd be interesting to start a discussion about the Pros and Cons.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Explain Everything for iPad vs Snag it

It's been a few weeks since my last post on Audioboo and I have to say it's not been easy with a full time job, tutoring from home on 2 online courses and doing all the other bits and bobs I always get involved! It's all under control and it seems like I work and perform better when under pressure! 

Anyways, this blog entry is about Explain Everything, the Apple equivalent of Techsmith's Jing (Jing Pro has retired!) and the updated verion of Snagit . I recently inherited an iPad and so I decided to start using it as much as possible in as many ways as possible in equivalent manner to my desktop, tablet, notebook and laptop! Now, one of the aids I enjoy creating to support my teaching and my own learning too is screencasts. 

I started using Jing and immediately fell in love with it, but soon realised I needed another tool which would allow for more versatility and which offered more features. Jing Pro is great but has now retired and I still wanted more so I explored the free trial version of Snagit and we're now madly in love! :-) Also engineered by TechSmith and knowing the quality of Jing, I didn't hesitate one single minute before buying it. The more I use it and the more I like it to be honest. Now, going back to my inherited iPad (one! :-) I've started trying to find Apple equivalents to different software and so I found out from a colleague a couple of months ago that Explain Everything does pretty much the same. I've created a couple of screencasts for my students and and trainees and I think it's also a valid tool. I must confess that I'm still exploring it and that I think it's a little slower than Snagit, but that may definitely be because of my new 'old' iPad so I must be honest and give it the benefit of the doubt. In short, I still find Snagit a lot easier to use, but this may also be due to the fact that I've been using it longer. For the time being, I'll continue to use both and see if my opinions change somehow. I'll report back in a few weeks on my explorations!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

AudioBoo - Me Like It!

OK, since this post is about AudioBooo and the idea is that of using audio, then please listen to ‘AudioBoo - me like it!’ on Audioboo to find out what I think :-)


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Scoop.it or Blog.it?

As usual, it's been almost a month since my last post, but as you know I only add entries whenver I find something useful or a tool which I have tried or come across that I think I need to actually record it somehow. Sooo, here we go. I saw a nice video about Scoop.it and it made me think about what would be best - blogging or Scoopit-ing :-)? Well, I agree with the points made in the short video hotlinked in the previous line, but at the same time I also like blogging. I think you should try it out and then see which one suits you best. A really good tool to curate content and provide your ss/trainees/followers with clear samples of media available on your topic so all good stuff. Blogging on the other hand, I think it's a little slower as you usually blog about one or a few more tools at the same time, especially if you're comparing them. Anyways, some food for thought so here we go! Make your choice!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Voki - quick voice msgs for your learners

Hello Everybody,

I'm re-visiting a very nice tool which can be used in the classroom in a number of ways to share voice messages by adding an extra personal and creative touch through an avatar of your own creation. I've just started the first CertICT course of 2013 and as an Assistant Tutor on this one, I'm adding this one here as an example to introduce week 2 of the course. 

Of course there are lots of ways to help your learners work on and develop their linguistic skills.  They can record the intended msg by either typing it up, uploading their own voice recording, etc. And for you as a teacher it would also be a nice way of giving feedback just to mention one possibility!
Here's a link to the site and as an educator you have special deals and features too! Voki


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Snagit? Yes, you must have it!

Hello and Happy New Year!

I want to start my blogging in 2013 with an awesome application which is not free BUT if you're in education you can get a huge discount and believe me, it's worth buying it. I'm in TESOL  (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and teacher training and as an educator I love integrating technology into my teaching to enhance motivation, engagement and add variety to the lessons. I also like to prepare my own materials and in doing so I've been using Jing (also by Techsmith) for years. It's an excellent free tool to manipulate images and short videos. I've also used EzVid which is totally free but it's a little limiting as you need to record your screen and then add the audio so you can't record a screencast in one go, at least I couldn't - and beileve me I tried and watched the tutorials on Youtube. There are other similar free image editors on the web and they're ok, but if you really need the extra features to add that extra professional touch to them, then you need to buy one.

Anyways, I've been creating more and more Podcasts, Vodcasts and Screencasts lately and so I decided to go ahead and try Snagit since I already know Jing which is produced by them too. I'm still in my trial period (30 days) but I'll buy it as soon as it expires as there are lots of things you can do with it to manipulate images, text and video. The new version Snagit 11 is also great and there are plenty of resources and tutorials available so they've made it easy for you.  I also like the fact that they suppport education and that their tools can really make a difference in today's classroom.  Anyways, here's the link to the site and enjoy! Snagit