Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Storytelling& Technology in ELT!

scene_15bbA warm hello to all readers of this blog! 

Hopefully, you’ve had some rejuvenating holidays and are ready to fling yourselves into teaching!

If you wish to teach English through the lens of technology and storytelling this school year, consider trying our free educational ‪App called ‘Dylan& Lydia at the Fortune Teller’s’!

It’s available for all ios& Android devices and it’s ideal for A2-B1 level!

Before starting, download the digital storybook here:

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ios: http://bit.ly/1pzv6O8

Android: http://bit.ly/1jzu9RL

 

This popular double- path digital storybook may be used separately or as a wonderful supplement to any coursebook or materials, your students are already using in the English class!

The Plot of the Storybook in Brief:

On a day trip to London the endearing 9-year-old twins, Dylan and Lydia, meet Madame Sonya, a famous fortune teller who slyly tries to trick them into her evil plans. The twins have the chance to experience magical moments in ‘Fantasy Land’ or spend an adventurous day with notorious pirates on a real pirate ship! Both adventures teach them important life lessons about the value of true friendship and trust.

For extra photocopiable ELT activities, drawings, games and DIY crafts, browse through some sample pages from the teachers’ handbook I’ve created here:

Dylan& Lydia Sample Pages HANDBOOK

If you plan to use ‘Dylan& Lydia’ at your school to enhance the teaching& learning experience through the use of technology, send an e-mail to martidouchristina@gmail.com, to request the whole handbook of 110 pages filled with a great variety of materials for every 10 screenshots of the fairytale.   

I’d love to hear your and your students’ feedback! Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any relevant queries or support you may need while using the App in class. Meanwhile, take a quick look at some users’ reviews of the digital storybook:
collage-reviews

I hope our stories will add a touch of magic to your lessons, motivate your students and make language acquisition a fun, hands- on experience!

Wishes for a happy& creative school year!

Christina 

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The Edtech Experts’ Corner: 10 Qs with Dimitris Primalis

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I’m really happy to kick off a new page on my blog called ‘The Edtech Experts’ Corner.’ Outstanding colleagues who have warmly embraced the use of technology in the EFL classroom will be answering 10 short Qs about educational technology. More specifically, they’ll be sharing practical teaching ideas, tried and tested tools as well as tips that can help us teachers stay informed in the fast changing world of learning technologies and teaching methodologies.

Today I’d like to present Dimitris Primalis, a colleague whom I respect and admire for his hard work and the innovative ways he uses new technologies in class. 

So here are Dimitris’ answers to my 10 Questions:

1.Technology has changed my teaching practise… in the sense that it has opened a window on the real world in an artificial classroom.

2. I use technology because…it motivates learners and accommodates different learning styles. It also allows me access to a plethora of material I can use in class.

3. A tool I would definitely recommend is…Microsoft Office Mix. Why? Because it allows screen capture (record what I am doing on my computer screen into a video that I can then share with my students).

4. 2 ways I use it… in a flipped classroom context are: A) I give students personalized feedback on the projects they have handed in or texts they have written. I email them the video and then they can watch it at their own time, as many times as they wish. B) I can easily record short presentations using video, sound and the PowerPoint slides as a blackboard. Students can access it through the school’s Learning Management System again and again.

5. Has technology made your life easier as a teacher?

In the past I had to carry cassettes, video tapes and the necessary equipment (cassette player, VCRs and TV) to the classroom whenever I wanted to give an alternative to students who were fed up with books. Now I can access all my digital access material, teaching resources provided by publishers or authentic material at the click of a mouse. This allows me to be flexible in class and respond to students’ needs on the spot.

6. A great website for learning English is…the British Council website for young learners: learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org  It is full of creative and motivating activities for young learners in a safe environment without ads.

7. My favourite educational ios App is…Puppet Pals.

Why? Because it helps students develop their creativity by creating a virtual puppet show. In the process of making it, they practice script writing skills, communication skills and collaboration as they often work in pairs or in groups. The fact that they use virtual puppets lowers inhibition – just like when wearing a mask- and even shy learners, who would not dare speak in front of the class, practice their speaking skills. Learners often improvise using language in a witty way. The end product is exported into a video and can be easily shared with the rest of the class.

8. How do your students usually react to learning English with technology?

They love it!!! Their generation is being brought up in a high tech environment and they feel confident to use it. If used wisely, technology can act as a gateway to learning because students feel familiar with it and they are far more likely to respond positively to homework that involves using technology – even to a limited extent – rather than to the traditional homework using pen and paper.

9. My tip for beginners with technology is…to take it easy and choose apps or tools that serve the educational needs they have set for their students. It is very easy for a teacher to get carried away and use technology only for the sake of using it.

10. Which website/blog/ FB page e.t.c do you follow for your further professional development?

I find most of the articles posted on Edutopia very interesting, I follow Sylvia Guinan on Facebook. She always writes or shares very practical articles. I also find Sophia Mavridi’s blog insightful. I need to add that very soon the IATEFL Learning Technologies SIG is about to launch a brand new website. Being a member of the website editorial team, I can assure you that some very interesting posts, blogs and articles are coming soon.

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Short Bio

Dimitris Primalis is an EFL teacher, author and Cambridge English Language Assessment oral examiner. He has been teaching for more than 20 years and applies his knowledge and experience to introducing innovation and change into the daily teaching practice. He believes that motivation, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication can be the driving forces in TEFL.  His views and work are shared in his columns in the ELT News, the BELTA Bulletin and his blog, A different side of EFL” . He has presented his work in many conferences in Greece and abroad. Dimitris was awarded the 2013 IATEFL Learning Technologies SIG scholarship and was selected as an Expert Innovative Educator by Microsoft (2014-15). He is working at Doukas, a private primary school in Athens, Greece.

 

Follow Dimitris on Twitter: @dprimalis

Connect with Dimitris on Linkedin here: https://gr.linkedin.com/pub/dimitrios-primalis/34/592/697

Go Techy this School Year: 6 Easy Tools& Useful tips!

Fotor090503554A beautiful summer has flown away and another school year has just kicked off!  For most teachers, this is a very busy yet exciting period of time since we get the chance to make a brand new start, set new teaching goals and bring fresh ideas into our classrooms!

If you are a novice in the use of technology and you wish to ‘go techy’ this school year, below you’ll find a selection of 6 basic, very simple educational tools and websites you can explore and use with your students.

JING is definitely number one on my list. It’s a fabulous tool that captures what you see or records whatever you are doing on your computer screen. Once you’re done with your screen capture or video, simply upload it to screencast.com and share it through IM, email, social media and more. You can create up to 5- minute- videos to:

– Provide feedback on your students’ writing assignments in a more elaborate and contextualized way.

– Give instructions alternatively.

– Add voice to your Power Point presentations.

 In fact, any speaking activity can take place with Jing! Ask your students to send you a Jing video about:

-Their likes and dislikes (a favourite website, song, actor, their most hated movie character etc.)

– An object, an animal, a photograph they love, explaining why it’s important to them.

I personally love using Jing with my FCE students! They can compare and contrast pictures while recording themselves. This way they get a lot of practice and reflect on their performance! This is the link to one of my FCE student’s video: http://bit.ly/14SixDZ

On the Techsmith website, you’ll find many free training videos that will take you step-by-step through the use of Jing. Trust me once you try it, you’ll love it 🙂

EDMODO is a great social networking platform for educators. At first glance, Edmodo will remind you of Facebook. However, it’s more private, educationally- orientated and definitely safer! It allows you to set up class groups quickly, share your materials, assign homework, and create puzzles, polls and quizzes! So, go ahead and host your own online classroom where learners can log in and collaborate after school too!

AVATARS When you go online with your students, their safety is of utmost importance! If your students are under 18, they should use avatar images in their profiles instead of real pictures. Avatar- creation is a fun activity that also provides learners with hands- on practise in identity- building.Have a look at the cool avatars of myself that I created using 3 awesome websites (marvel.com, southparkstudios.com & reasonablyclever.com). Which one do you like best ;-)?

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KEYBR is a nice website you can use to train your students- especially the younger ones- to type accurately and faster.

TAGXEDOABCYa: Both are wonderful word cloud generators! Tagxedo is more sophisticated and will appeal to your older students while ABCYa is ideal for younger learners. Pick the one that suits your students’ age group and needs best and let them be creative 🙂 If you want to learn more about Tagxedo, click here.

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SKYPE We have all used or at least heard of Skype! It’s a free, easy tool which opens up your classroom to the rest of the world! Your language learners can benefit from talking to experts as well as cooperate and share ideas with other classrooms. This way, foreign language learning becomes much more targeted and realistic! Here are 10 creative ways you can use Skype in education http://www.edudemic.com/10-ways-to-start-using-skype-in-the-classroom/

 **Things to consider when using technology:

-Always have a back-up plan because many unpredictable things may occur in technology-based lessons!

– Make a contract with your students including strict, clearly-set rules about the appropriate use of technology in your classroom. The consequences of their violation should be clear too! Then, have both parents and students sign it to ensure a smoother school year!

-Don’t be ashamed of not knowing! Make your computer- geek students your assistants! They often know lots of useful tricks and they are eager to help the teacher out when technology ‘emergencies’ come up!

– Raise students’ awareness on how to stay safe online! This is an excellent video you can use to teach them about online safety: http://premierskills.britishcouncil.org/en/learn-english/staying-safe-online

Technology is a powerful teaching aid that can give a new dimension to our lessons if used wisely, for the right reasons. Don’t be afraid to embrace it, even if you face difficulties in the beginning because this is part of the ‘game’. In the long run, you’ll realize that stretching out of your comfort zone now and then is really enjoyable and rewarding! 

All the best& good luck!

Christina

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Collage made using photos taken from http://flickr.com/eltpics by @CliveSir, @sandymillin, @foster_timothy,@aClilToClimb and AnaMariaMenezes used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial license, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

Art& Technology in ELT: An incompatible marriage or not?

Are you an art lover? Would you like to familiarize your students with the artwork of famous painters while learning English? This was the logic behind the development of the two lesson outlines you can find and download for free in the box.net widget on the right sidebar of this blog.

The first lesson plan was based upon Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Bedroom in Arles’ and it’s aimed at advanced students. The technology-oriented suggested activities include the use of http://www.blabberize.comhttp://www.pimpampum.net/bubblr/ and You Tube. The second outline called ‘Just Dance’ was designed with the valuable help of a dear friend and colleague, Rania Chiotini, who is a state primary school teacher in Greece. As you’ll see, we have combined art, music and technology in our attempt to exploit the educational value of three lovely paintings by Toulouse Lautrec, Edgar Degas and Pierre- Auguste Renoir. The incorporation of technology gives them a ‘fresh’ feel, engages young learners and empowers their creativity!

The lesson outlines provide clear, step-by-step instructions. We look forward to your comments! Would you be tempted to try something like this in your language classroom? Do you think your students would enjoy this ‘marriage’ of art to technology :-)?

All the best,

Christina