13 June 2015

Changing Mindsets to Learning

Change does trickle down into classrooms, no matter, despite, regardless. 

Change takes time, yes, and no, it's not a case of throwing out the baby along with the bath water. 

And though there are (and will be still) many challenges which include teacher training for the contemporary social settings of today, and yes again, the challenges faced by lack of digital devices and speedy wifi connection, there is one major stumbling block. 


Important Work Skills for 2020
Source: Top10OnlineColleges.org

Skills such as cross-cultural competency may not be new for many, but they are new for countries which are finally opening up to the rest of the world and for those who venture out of their comfort zones to interact and work with others from other cultures. Nor are they skills which come easily. 

There are some others which I would like to highlight (based on this infographic and where you can find more from Top 10OnlineColleges.org):

Sense making - being able to determine the deeper meaning and significance of what is expressed. 

Being able to understand vast amounts of data

New Media Literacy - not only understand but also participate in the expression of new media literacies. 

The ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines. 

Learning mindsets need to change - for both learners and educators. 

And the best part?

All it takes is to believe in change, take a step and to get started. 

9 June 2015

Collaborating with Words, Images and Poetry

Words tumble out, words of stories, words with mistakes, words with worlds to explore. 

Whether one likes it or not, sharing words, images, stories of one's daily life has become part of our social lives today. Though there may be precautions to take before introducing certain tools/platforms in a classroom (depending on context), there is also space to introduce sharing tools for students to learn and express themselves. This is particularly true in the foreign language classroom. 

Here are some collaborative suggestions to try out with learners. 

Sharealike  creates slideshows, which are great for storytelling and presentations. 

Sharalike - Photo organizer and SlideShow maker from Sharalike on Vimeo.

Haikujam is a collaborative app for writing poetry, more specifically, for collaborative haiku writing. 

When students are hitting that zone out point, why not get them active and collaborating instead?

HaikuJAM 2.0 from HaikuJAM on Vimeo.

My last suggestion for today is Twine, open source , compatible with Windows and Mac, and offers both a Wiki and Forum to help get started.

I'd like to thank David Gilmore for teaching me about Twine - a great educator who is really worth following on Twitter.

Collaborating? Twitter, is and continues to be a great space to learn and collaborate!

4 June 2015

Summer Explorations for 2015


Summer - finally!

Over the next coming weeks, for those with a summer break, there will be time to rest, relax and also perhaps catch up with some new ideas for new academic year. Here are some suggestions you may like to look into.

3 June 2015

Future Careers

As many of my students take exams, I wonder how they will have the confidence they need for their future studies and careers. At the age of 18, I myself could not really foresee the future nor what I really wanted to do or spend the rest of my life doing. At 18, time is so endless. At 18, I had other more interesting things on my mind - not how I wanted to work for the rest of my life. 

Today, the concept of a job for life is quickly vanishing, and so too, is having only one skill or job option. Becoming a digital nomad may not necessarily be an option everyone aspires to. Nevertheless, being digitally literate and having some possible guidance to what one can do in the future, is a gift educators can give in the classroom. 

One possible idea is to present students with an infographic such as the one below and develop an activity which meets the language needs/interests of the students:

After discussions, either in small groups or whole group, students could then create their own infographic to share. 

offers some free personality quizzes which are always funs to take, and it teaching English as a Foreign Language, the topic opens way to lots of vocabulary. 

Besides, students always enjoy talking about themselves. 

Don't you?

Education is not only for our todays but for all our tomorrows.

Further Suggestions:

The Future Belongs to Learners

The Career Dream

7 Digital Nomads explain how they live, work and travel anywhere in the world

Jobs - A selection of articles on work today - Digital Delights - Digital Tribes

Image - Magic Moment 

Infographic taken from: Daily Infographic

22 May 2015

Summer Explorations for Educators With Open Resources

At the end of the academic year, it is quite possible that the last thing teachers want to hear about is more professional development. Yet summer is a great time to catch up on tools/apps that one has heard about but hasn't had the time to try out as well as discover new educational sites. 

 OpenEd is a huge resource for K12 teachers,
and once you have signed up, completed the regular formalities of identity, you can discover endless support for lessons, as well as use OpenEd for student assignments. Some content is free, while others are up for a fee. 

Ednak (Intersection of Education and Tech) is another site worth taking some time to explore. New tools, apps, and platforms are coming out all the time, making it necessary to have free time to look into what is readily available for students and teachers. Besides, it's great to line up some fresh ideas over the summer for the next term/semester. 

What suggestions do you have for summer exploration?


20 May 2015

Steller Storytelling

Perhaps few may understand how sands live in a state of flow, how they are swept up into magestic mountains, how they glide and slide into one's imagination. Dunes, such as the one above, are part of my world. 

When it comes to storytelling, it's the opportunity to tell one's story, to engage in stories that are familiar and non-threatening, that students enjoy. It's all very well to bring stories from around the world into the classroom. In the foreign language classroom, there has been a tendency to do that for many, many years. However, as much as honouring stories from other corners of the world is of interest and educational value, it is one's own stories that captivate one's attention. For as interesting as stories from China, for example, may be, students who don't live in China or in Asia or in a sphere of Chinese influence, will quite likely be more engaged in stories which they can relate to from their own environment and personal world. 

Steller is a free App for the iPhone which lets you create stories with images, videos and text. Perfect for digital storytelling - and for giving learners the opportunity to actually use their mobiles for producing classroom tasks. If a students doesn't have an iPhone, they can easily be grouped into pairs or small groups, each member being responsible for a particular task of the story (e.g. finding the desired image, storyboarding, using the target lexis and so on).

Steller: Everyone has a story tell. from Steller on Vimeo.

Another feature which I particularly like, is how simple it is to embed a story within a blog or website, share on social media as well as the possibility to add comments - which for a class, helps in cementing their own learning collaborative networking space. 

Stories define us. 

Stories strengthen us. 

Stories become us. 

How do your students tell stories on their mobiles?

Further Suggestion:

* Steps to Great Digital Storytelling