17 February 2018

Reflecting Learning on Teacher Training Courses

Learning is challenging as it pushes one out of their regular comfort zone. Yet learning is also joyful as one accomplishes the previously unknown through trial and error. 

Teachers are constantly learning from a myriad of sources. And with learning, there comes reflective learning and identity building. Below are some possible questions to guide teacher trainees towards active reflection when they are about to complete a training course. 

What other reflection questions would you add when completing a training course?

9 February 2018

Training Resources for Educators

There are a number of ways educators can continue doing professional development, even without exorbitant fees for training courses. Besides, blogs, newsletters and the myriad of MOOCs available,  teachers can dip into these two spaces for professional development and skill training. 

Google for Education  is free and even if you don't work with Google's G Suite, there are many ideas of how to use Google Apps. 

For anyone using Apple devices, then there is Apple Teacher Education , which is free 

and offers another way of developing professional skills for the classroom.

Lastly, if you are in a context where discussing bias is part of your syllabus, or whether you have any interest in touching upon the issue of bias,
there is Unbound

The tool kit explains how it offers:

 "Having Brave Conversations About Bias

The toolkit contains a high-level overview of the facilitated conversation, with individual PowerPoint presentations and materials containing detailed notes, resources, and activities that will help you move through each part of the conversation. Educators are encouraged to modify these presentations so they work for your school community."

What other resources do you suggest for free professional development?

6 February 2018

Curating and Sharing

Ever fell down the internet rabbit hole only to find yourself stumbling link after link into more interesting territories?

The problem is that often there simply isn't enough time for all the links, websites, articles one can read at a time. Keeping track of them in a curation, for example, may be useful. As some visitors to this blog may know, I myself use Scoop.it regularly. More than curating for others, it  is a resource that I turn to whenever necessary. This does not mean that sharing with others is unimportant.

Among the different tools I have used for curation, elink.io
is one that is quite useful for educators. You can share links and visuals with colleagues, learners and anyone you would like to share information with. These links can be shared as a newsletter, a webpage  or embedded in a blog. The one below is an example made from pages of this blog:

elink.io is free and really easy to use - and as a teacher, I think that there are so many benefits in sharing a selection of web links to learners and colleagues with an attractive format and visuals, which always add interest and helps to boost one's memory.  Instead of a bibliography list, why not try a simple digital webpage with elink.io for example? Learners too can create their own webpage when working in groups, submitting all their work and research in a digital format which can be shared among the whole class. Possibilities extend as far as one's needs and contexts when considering curation and sharing.

How are you sharing learning links this year?

Further Suggestions:

Curation - Why, Because and Then

Curation Re-visited

Curating Tribes

5 February 2018

My Badge, MyMantle

Digital badges are a great way to curate one's skills and achievements as well as to recognize learners' success. They are easy to share and with time, create an asset to one's digital portfolio which can be shared professionally. 

MyMantle is a digital space which awards digital badges. What I liked about MyMantle is how close to curation it is, allowing the user to add work samples, badges and portrays of skills. 

With approaches and values in education changing, (slowly changing), awarding learners is also changing. Education is not happening only at traditional edu-institutions but in so many other ways as well. Learning is becoming increasingly less structured, more open, with individuals following their interests to learn something new, a new skill or topic on their own. 

How to showcase this effort? How to showcase this learning process with others? Digital badges are a simple and great way to acknowledge learning a new skill and to share it with others. 

Have you been using digital badges with your learners
or for your own professional development?

Further Suggestions:

Assessment with Digital Badges

Appreciation - With a Badge

What’s inside an Open Badge

Digital Badges for Educational Achievement

The Teacher’s Guide To Badges In Education

Images: Pexels

2 February 2018

Let's Write!

One of the most challenging activities for many learners (and not only language learners) is the skill of writing. Of course, good models for writing are helpful but it is really once learners begin writing, that the fun begins.

Eddtor is one of my favourite writing tools right now. Free and easy to use, it counts words and and how long it takes to read a document.

It's writing space is clean and quiet, and yes, it does have a spell checker as well.  It's fairly simpler than Word, but that is the beauty of Eddtor - a clean, quiet space with the basics so that the writer focuses on writing.

And with the advantage that you can log on from anywhere, at anytime.

What other writing tools do you recommend for 2018?

Further Suggestions:

Writing Skills and Patterns

Authenticity Through Collaboration

22 Online Tools That Will Help Learners With Improving Writing Skills

Images - Pexels

21 December 2017

Visual Libraries - Free Images

Every now and then I come across sites which are really useful for dipping into for visuals and can be shared with colleagues and students alike. Below are some suggestions. 

Picography  - fairly straight-forward to use; you can scroll through images or use the tool bar to search for a topic or theme. 

Gratisography  gives you the option to either browse
or search through images or to subscribe.

Snappy Goat will bring up a selection of related images after you type in the theme/topic in the tool bar.  A similar source is Free Images  with images and clipart. 

With a more interesting variety, at least for me, are these that follow below:

RawPixel  - has a mix of images which are free and in the public domain, while others are for sale. You do, however, need to sign up and have an account to access the free images for download. You can also save your favourite images in your account. 

A similar source is Unsplash where you create an account,  and organise your favourite images according to themes/topics
of your choice. You can also share your collections with others.

PicWizard is yet another image library where you can sign up for an account, browse, search as well as give up a thumbs-up (or down) for images. You can see how many others have viewed that particular image and how often it has been downloaded. And you can also keep track of your own personal favourites in this visual library. 

For more sites on visuals and design, have a look here where you can find much, much more on images.

What other sources do you use for free images?

Further Suggestions:

Digital Delights - Images & Design

Memeois - A Meme App

Visuals for Storytelling

Editing Images and Image Sourcing

10 Intriguing Photographs to Teach Close Reading and Visual Thinking Skills

Adding Magic to Images

Free Images for the Classroom

Create your own Jigsaw

15 December 2017

Videos with Tubequizard

A lovely tool for lessons and self study purposes is TubeQuizard. TubeQuizard is great to use with ELT/ESL learners - and teachers can find quizzes according to level, type, category and variety. 

There is a search tool , and more for teachers.

Below is a short video explaining how to use TubeQuizard to create quizzes for learners:

TubeQuizard can be used with a wide range of learners and levels. One particular set of quizzes which I have shared with teacher trainees is on Sir Ken Robinson's well known talk "Do Schools Kill Creativity?" . Even if you don't particularly want to take time in class to go through the exercises offered on TubeQuizard, for some learners it meets their wish to do grammar and vocabulary exercises - and on a media that they are comfortable with using. 

Further Suggestions:

Here you can find other articles and interviews on and with Sir Ken Robinson