The Powerful Aspect of Being a Connected Educator

What are the most powerful aspects of being a connected educator?

There is one specific dimension to being a connected educator that I love, which is the way it resembles travelling. I have experienced similar benefits connecting in chats and sharing knowledge with my PLN to the ones I have had visiting other countries, the only difference being the part of my life that was influenced.

Travelling has always broadened my perspective about life. And much as I love my hometown and its local characteristics, I have often felt it necessary and revitalizing to travel now and then so as to energize and feel more capable of tackling my everday ups and downs.

Being a connected educator has had a similar effect in my teaching practice.

All that is familiar and local is precious, no doubt of that- and I must say that I get plenty inspiration in my community without the need to explore what is done elsewhere. But when I have the chance to connect and share ideas with people from all over the world I gained ideas and inspiration. Connecting has widened my perspective on certain issues and made  me reflect on my everyday practice. Only good things can happen when you lift your eyes to see beyond what you have right in front of you.

Thanks to people who have shared their experiences online, I have been able to anticipate problems when implementing some activities. I have learned alternatives to some traditional tasks I perform in class …that have actually worked! I think I have become more resourceful and I feel more confident about embracing new challenges, and experimenting.

I feel extremely lucky to have so much input from teachers around the globe.

Mystery Trailers

This post is an alternative to Sound and Vision, which is based on music videos. The idea and procedure is exactly the same. Instead of music, it’s movie trailers.

It involves comprehension, transmitting what they hear or see and making speculations and deductions. It is a problem solving activity where learners have to collaborate and share the different information they have in order to complete the a grid. In a face to face class this has usually been a very time-consuming activity because it required learners coming in and out of class so that the information gap effect was guaranteed. But online it is faster and more dynamic because learners can access the different media (the trailers) in separate breakout rooms.

So, this is definitely an all-time favourite lesson of mine that has largely improved online.

Mystery trailers

  • Individual, pair and group work B2/C1
  • Verbs of the senses, and language for speculating and deduction.
  • Five movie trailers
  1. As an introduction, in small breakout rooms get learners share what makes them go to see a film and what they know about film trailers. The article Coming soon … how to make the perfect movie trailer has a lot of ideas that can be elicited to help learners with what to focus on.
  1. Explain the activity in detail, and divide the class into two groups: listeners and watchers.
  2. First, the listeners stay in the main room while you set up the break out rooms for the rest, who can discuss the questions on the topic.
  3. The listeners will listen to 5 movie trailers. No image. They have to write down what they hear.
  4. Next turn, the watchers are invited into the main room to watch the trailers without sound, and write down what they see.
  5. Students are paired up in breakout rooms to share the information they have and complete the grid.

TIPS

As with Sound and Vision, I would make sure all the media and instructions in the live session are easily accesible and available for the learners in order to facilitate the sequence of events. While it would be ok to play the videos from a playlist and screen-share, I would try to integrate the media in one single document, as it is less confusing for everyone. I used genially, but a simple page with the links would do.

I would carefully pre select the parts of the trailers that you are going to show. I usually play something between 30”-60”.

Film and music in online lessons

We have just gone fully online and, inspired by so many colleagues who are sharing wonderful ideas to help each other in this adaptation stage, I thought of sharing some of my own about ways to spice up your online sessions with lessons based on film and entertainment.

These are all lessons and activities that I usually do in my face to face or blended learning class, and have always worked really well. But with some small variations I have adapted them to fully online and synchronous learning contexts, and I feel the outcome has been even more satisfying.

Why? In my opinion, one of the many advantages of online lessons is that while students are working together and basically doing the same things we would do in class, they are working with their own device. This means they have the opportunity to be listening to different media, producing and sharing their work very easily on collaborative platforms and engaging in many new and exciting ways.

Here are a few lessons and old posts with ideas mainly for synchronous online lessons. All of them combine individual and group work in breakout rooms. I hope you find them useful. Please feel free to comment and share your own experience, I’d love to hear!

An oldie: Sound and vision

Problem solving activity based on music videos.
Individual and pair work.

One from the archive that comes in very handy these days: Tools for the learner-centered classroom:

A collection of my favourite apps for learning and still very powerful in fully online contexts.
The presentation tools, in my opinion, gain more relevance in online lessons as they might facilitate contente delivery.

Mystery trailers

A problem solving activity based on movie trailers.
Individual and pair work.

Guess games and ideas

Simple ideas for students to create content for others to comment. Oral or written production for synchronous or asynchronous interaction.

Another film based lesson: Short film awards

Mediation and discussion skills

Photo by Rahul Pandit on Pexels.com

Film Talk

We’re moving online again and I thought of sharing some lessons and ideas that might give place to some exciting and significant learning experiences that have to do with film. These are all lessons that I used to carry out in a face to face class, but are actually turning out to be an even better experience in an online live session.

In this post I’m introducing an activity which involves comprehension, mediation and reaching an agreement. It’s called Short Film Awards.

Short Film Awards

  • Group & individual work
  • B2+
  • Historic present (or storytelling), and useful language for informing, and discussing.
  • It might be useful to have a short film playlist ready.
  1. During the live session, watch a film together to model the activity. Tell students to take notes of the events and relevant actions taking place in order to retell the story afterwards.

There are thousands of great films, but I like The Plan.

  1. Retell the plot together.
    • Webex tip: With shorter films, students in turns can write a sentence each in the chatbox, so they build the story together step by step and it is very helpful to check understanding.
  2. Organize the students into groups of 4.
  3. Provide a link to a playlist for each member of the group to choose a different film. Or they can look for one themselves (but this might take some time).
  1. After they’ve watched the films, they work together in their breakout rooms and tell each other the stories they watched. They are expected to describe the main events and give their personal opinion at the end. Once they’ve informed, they will try to reach an agreement about the films. Only one title is possible.
  2. After they have reached an agreement, why not ask them to submit the title of a film they would recommend using answer garden, for instance, to facilitate the conversation going on in the main room.

Tips

If you use somebody else’s playlist, make sure you know the type of content your students will see.

I used to carry out this lesson in a regular face to face class, and the homework was to watch the film at home. In an online session it is so much easier, because the individual work can easily be integrated in the lesson. But I would make sure the films are no longer than 5 minutes.

There are many ways to watch short films online. Having your own You Tube playlist is a really good starting point, but don’t miss sites like Short of the Week

When I deliver content and lessons I make sure the whole learning sequence is easy to follow for the students, especially when there are many tasks involved, so I might create an interactive presentation accesible on the site during the session.

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Podcasts for learning

Since last year’s lockdown I have been doing podcasts with students and using them in many ways.

I started podcasting and using them for learning in 2013, but stopped because I felt it was more time-consuming than beneficial. But I realized last year how amazingly useful they are in the context of remote or blended learning. So I felt like sharing some ideas of how I use podcasts in class.

Very soon Ill post a podcast with more information about how I have used audio with some tips to overcome the challenges.

Do you have experiences with podcasting? It would be great to know and learn from each other 🙂

Blooming, still.

In the face of adversity

Ironically, it was amid adversity and challenge that some unexpected good things happened last year during the lockdown months. Sometimes they were very difficult to spot because our attention had shifted mostly to making sure all the tech was working, that they could see, that they could hear, etc…But in hindsight, I think we all learned very valuable lessons. And for the students who were able to keep up with the class, it was an opportunity to learn differently. I would go even further, and say better.

Learner autonomy was put to the test

The students who wanted to improve their skills and go on learning despite the circumstances had to really stop and choose what was working with them to learn on their own: Some discovered the power of recording themselves and getting feedback from it, or actually using all the amazing online material that course books have. Some took up very useful habits that we typically talk about in class, but hardly ever stick to, like creating their own glossary, learning sets or sound banks.

This really isn’t about learner autonomy, it’s only a quick “just thinking” post about what I think has been an opportunity during the lockdown months: our capacity to learn and to bloom despite the difficulties, and that the energy to do so comes from within.

O rol do e-portfolios na aprendizaxe de linguas

Xa case rematamos a formación en Nile con Russell Stannard, e hoxe quería adicar a reflexión final do día ao rol dos e-portfolios que seguramente para min vai ser unha das grandes mensaxes que levo para poñer en práctica e compartir sobre pedagoxías de ensino mixto.

Ao longo da semana Russell, que leva máis de 10 anos traballando cos e-portfolios como ferramenta de avaliación en contextos de aula semipresencial e aula invertida, nos propuxo unha serie de tarefas diversas co fin de que reflexionásemos sobre a relación que tiñan unhas con outras e as ferramentas que usabamos e o papel de cada un no noso propio proceso de ensino-aprendizaxe.

Pois se ben nun principio eu tiña certas dúbidas sobre a efectividade do e-portfolios por medo a que expusexen aos alumnos a aínda mías tecnoloxía na aula, o certo é que me parecen que case uha necesidade, e tras poder experimentalo no rol de alumna ao longo de toda a semana vexo que non só é un producto ou tarefa que pode contribuir favorablemente á aprendizaxe, senón que permite esta cohesión tan importante da que falabamos entre a aula física e a plataforma.

Neste vídeo vos deixo algunhas reflexións miñas ao respecto dos e-portfolios.

Algunha vantaxe máis:

  1. Permite traballar na plataforma cómodamente e crear contido (individual ou en grupos)
  2. Permite ver o progreso, pois os contidos creados polos alumnos están arquivados e organizados no seu portfolio.
  3. Permite subir moita variedade de contido: audio, video, texto, etc. Prácticamente calquera producción do alumno se pode subir ao portfolio, sobre todo agora que cada vez se interactúa e produce máis na plataforma.
  4. Permite a avaliación formativa e traballar moitas destrezas e competencias, mesmo as dixitais.
  5. Os alumnos traballan cara un fin, a creación dun producto.


Aquí vos deixo un video de Russell Stannard amosando e explicando paso a paso como crear un eporrtfolio e as ventaxas principais no proceso de ensino-aprendizaxe.

O poder do video

Moito estou desexando compartir con vós na EOI da Coruña todo o que aprendimos hoxe en NILE, dentro do proxecto Sblendid, sobre creación de video de captura de pantalla!

Para min a creación de video non é algo totalmente novo, pero non foi ata o confinamento que realmente me vin obrigada, como moitos, a procurar plataformas que fixesen doado para min crear video case de forma rutinaria. E agora que son profesora nun curso semipresencial lle vexo moitísima máis utilidade, pero teño que recoñecer que non emprego video nin de forma sistemática nin con con demasiada preparación.

Hoxe profundizamos en tecnoloxía de gravación de pantalla (Screencast-o-matic), e puiden convencerme da necesidade de que teña un papel importante na aula, e espero que vos animedes vós tamén a probar. Penso que é un tipo de tecnoloxía que xenera moitos temores e pegas iniciais, pero paga a pena.

Dar feedback

A forma tradicional de dar feedback ao alumnado pode supoñer certas limitacións se tes que trasladar a aprendizaxe a entornos virtuais. Grazas ás captura de pantalla podes enfocar un texto engadindo as túas observacións oralmente. Realmente o feedback oral ten unha versatilidade da que carecemos por escrito: podes matizar moito máis, mesmo coa voz e a forma na que enfocas o feedback, podes poñer tamén máis exmplos. En definitiva, penso que resulta máis humanizada, e realmente aportas maís con menor esforzo, unha vez estás afeito á tecnoloxía e tes a rutina.

Crear videos explicativos

A captura de pantalla é moi cómoda para facer explicacións de todo tipo sobre un texto, imaxe, etc. A gravación engade ademais un cursor que che permite indicar a parte da pantalla da que estás falando. Creo que é unha solución moi válida para crear videos sinxelos sobre cuestións nas que percibas que os alumnos necesitan máis axuda.

Nunha clase online, híbrida ou semipresencial, este tipo de video ten o valor ademais de:

  • Facer video titoriais sobre o uso da plataforma, algo importantísimo para que os alumnos se movan con seguridade e saiban onde está todo.
  • Crear videos sinxelos para axudar con algún aspecto nas que percibas que están tendo problema e que o analicen con calma no entorno virtual, que o comenten, etc.
  • Crear videos sinxelos a partir de situacións e interaccións na plataforma, para trasladalo logo á aula e ao revés.

O alumnado crea contido

Se cadra, ao meu entender, un dos grandes beneficios de creación de video de captura de pantalla é que é factible que sexan os propios alumnos os que pasen a crear os seus propios videos. Unha vez empezas a pensar de das conta de que permite un sinfín de ideas para que os alumnos poidan realizar tarefas significativas e atractivas dentro da plataforma, e que logo se poden pasar á aula.

  • Facer unha presentación ou describir unha engadindo a súa voz.
  • Facer reflexións sobre unha serie de preguntas.
  • Engadir as súas reflexións ou comentarios orais sobre un texto escrito creado por outro (compañeira ou profe, etc)

Por certo, non deixades de visitar a fantástica páxina de contidos das nosas compañeiras do proxecto da EOI da Pontevedra! Podedes tamén subir aí as vosas impresións e ideas sobre o emprego de tecnoloxías como Screencast-o-matic para realizar gravacións de pantalla.

Crystal clear

Hoxe reflectimos, entre outras cousas, sobre algunhas características que ten que ter o noso contido cando trasladamos as aulas online. Sairon moitas ideas, pero teño que confesar que me chamou a atención que algunhas delas empezan pola letra “c” en inglés. E nisto está basado o meu pequeno resumo de hoxe.

O certo é que farían un bo checklist. Que outros factores botas en falta ou habería que engadir?

Cohesión

Que a actividade da aula e a da platafoma estea ligada é un elemento clave. Coa pouca experiencia que teño no ensino semipresencial vexo que é certo: crea unha uniformidade e implica ao alumno moito máis.

Consistencia

Se a entrega de contidos e tarefas que o alumno ten que realizar na plataforma é regular e segue unha mesma pauta de secuencia e deseño, isto vai facilitar enormemente a súa navegación polo curso. Supoño que lle permitirá ser capaz de anticipar con máis facilidade as distintas etapas e niveles de esixencia.

É un tema complicado cando estás xenerando contido con pouca marxe de tempo ou mesmo se estás adaptando constantemente ás necesidades dos alumnos, pero seguramente vale a pena prever unha estratexia para facilitar o traballo para o docente, e o mesmo tempo, non sacrificar a necesidade de que os contidos online teñan unha organización clara.

Claridade

No entorno virtual o alumno ten que ter claro o que se espera que realice. As instruccións teñen que estar redactadas de forma clara e concisa. Os exemplos e demostracións nunca van estar de máis. E tamén é aconsellable que coñeza de forma sinxela como se van avaliar as súas tarefas. Ligado a isto, habería que engadir tamén que non haxa información non esencial.

Elección

Se o que buscamos é unha aprendizaxe baseada no alumno, non parece idóneo que todos os estudiantes realicen sempre exactamente as mesmas tarefas. Por que non propoñer foros a escoller, que teñan certa elección á hora de decidir como crear certos contidos, etc? Ademais de personalizar máis a aprendizaxe, as súas contribucións enriquecen enormemente as posibilidades de crear contextos para comentar, dar ideas e feedback, aportar distintas experiencias e mediar.

Colaboración

Crear espazos e actividades de colaboración nos dous contextos sempre vai ser unha boa aposta: resolución de problemas, presentacións e proxectos conxuntos enriquecen a experiencia enormemente. Un reto para min é aprender a facilitar esta colaboración entre os estudiantes.

Consideracións básicas no ensino mixto

A xornada de hoxe estivo repleta de ideas e reflexións moi interesantes. Isto é un resumo (moi resumido) dalgúns aspectos importantísimos a ter en conta á hora de implementar o ensino mixto. O que eu máis salientaría é a necesidade de transferencia á aula do que ocorre na plataforma. Parece imprescindible para que a experiencia sexa máis completa e o aprendiz se manteña implicado/a na súa aprendizaxe.

Paréceme que, aínda que sexa máis doado dicilo que facelo, nese sentido imos atinando: Na plataforma o alumno está exposto a tarefas de comprensión e contido que logo poderá aplicar na aula e na producción de tarefas máis complexas. Os foros permiten analizar, mediar e compartir ideas que logo se poden comentar na aula. E online os alumnos tamén colaboran e crean contido que logo se pode transferir á aula.