December 24, 2013

19 BYOD language activities wrapped for Christmas

Sharing some activities I've collected for  android and IOS devices.


 Wishing everyone a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

December 23, 2013

11 random facts at Christmas time

It's Christmas time, and it's time to celebrate life and friendships.

I was tagged by Cristina Monteiro Silva for the "11 Random facts" Blog post challenge.
Thanks, Cristina, for the tag and the opportunity for us to learn more about you in your blog post.

So, how does it work?

1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger(s).
2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
4. List 11 bloggers.
5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

#2 Sharing some random facts about me.


 #3 These are the questions Cristina has asked me to answer:

1. What was the best moment in your life?
I've had many good moments in life but the more I live the more I think the best moment in my life is NOW.

2. Do you expect much of people?
I've been told I'm quite naive when it comes to trusting people. I always expect the best of everyone.

3. How many true friends do you have?
I have very few true friends but many people I truly love.

4. What do you do when you need to have YOUR moment?
I choose a book to read and sit by myself.

5. What is the film of your life?
"The color of paradise" could be one of the films of my life.

6. When was the last time you slept 10h?
I don't usually sleep a lot but last week I woke up at 10 in the morning so I guess I ended up sleeping for more than 10 hours, kkkkkkk.

7. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I drink a glass of water.

8. Which historical character would you like to meet if you had that chance?
I'd love to listen to the Dalai Lama.

9. An embarrassing moment in your life was…
When I greeted someone with a hug and then I noticed I had mistaken the person for someone else.

10. When did you last burst out laughing and couldn’t stop?
I can't remember but I laugh A LOT. 

11. City or countryside?
City. I love living in the city, the noise, the movement, the people.

#4 The list of eleven Bloggers I tag for the challenge:

1. Roseli Serra
2. Camila Sousa Sakai
3. Andressa Cardoso
4. Emma Heath
5. Vicky Saumell
6. Jennifer Verschoor
7. Sílvia Heshiki
8. Naiara Valente
9. Daniela Pesconi-Arthur
10. Susana Canelo
11. David Kapuler

#5 My questions for them:

1. Where did you live as a child?
2. What was your favorite toy?
3. As a child, what did you want to be in the future?
4. Tell us something you're afraid of.
5. Tell us something you're good at.
6. Tell us something you're bad at.
7. Tell us about a place you'd love to visit one day and who with.
8. What do you normally procrastinate?
9. If you could a place to live, where would it be?
10. What would you like to get for Christmas?
11. What would you like to learn in 2014?

December 3, 2013

MOVENOTE app: add more to your presentations

This afternoon, I learned about a website and app which allows us to upload a presentation either from our computer or from google drive and record our voice and image using our webcam.

My first trial was with my ipad. The ipad app is FREE, however, you can only use photos you have on your device or a photo you take with the ipad to include to your presentation. Other than that, the app is very simple to use and  the quality of the recording seems to be really good.

My second trial was with using the WEBSITE
I uploaded a presentation I had  on my computer and recorded myself as a test.
The slides are inspired by the article

How can we use the site and app with students?

- with the app, students can tell their own stories based on a picture.
- students can record a picture description.
- with the website, the teacher can record flipped videos by using slides or pdf files.
- students can record presentations of projects they develop.

The MOVENOTE app is available for FREE for both IOS devices and ANDROIDS.
One more app for the list BYOD apps for ELT

December 1, 2013

Interwrite Workspace TUTORIALS (em Português)

Some weeks ago I was invited to help some professors from UFU (Universidade Federal de Uberlândia) to start using the interactive whiteboards the department had bought.

The board they had purchased was DUALBOARD which works with the INTERWRITE WORKSPACE software.

Although I had never used this software, as I'm very well acquainted with the usage of another brand of interactive whiteboards (Promethean), I imagined after a few tutorials I would be able to learn how it worked.

I found a few tutorials in English online at but none in Portuguese for the teachers to watch whenever they needed it.

So, here they are: a few video tutorials (in Portuguese) if you have Interwrite Workspace installed where you teach.

November 28, 2013

A Revising Circle: vocabulary activity

Looking for a simple idea to help your students revise VOCABULARY?

This week, we had to revise for the final tests.
I was trying to think about a simple activity for my Upper Intermediate students and I remembered something I'd tried with my Intermediate students in the past.

What would I need?

- For 8 students = 4 slips of paper (or as many slips of paper you feel are necessary).
- Five words students need to revise written down on each slip of paper.

In class, I organized the desks in a circle and had 4 pairs of students: 1a + 1b , 2a + 2b, 3a + 3b, 4a + 4b.

1. I gave a slip of paper to each STUDENT A who had to describe the words on the slip of paper for STUDENT B to guess the word. I kept monitoring in case students needed help remembering what words meant. (Ex: 1a describes for 1b to guess)

2. When I noticed most students had guessed the 5 words, I asked STUDENT A to pass the slip of paper to STUDENT B who now would have to describe the same words to the next student to their left. (Ex: 1b now describes for 2a to guess)

3. The slips of paper kept on passing to each student, the student with the slip describing and  the other student listening and trying to guess the words.

Why do I like this activity?

- it's incredibly easy to organize.
- you can revise any kind of vocabulary.
- students are involved all the time.
- students keep alternating partners as they talk to the people to their right and then to their left.

November 1, 2013

10 Tools / Apps to flip your class

Interested in flipping your class?

If so, you'll probably need  some tools to make the videos you intend to share with your students.

Same list in a different format:

October 25, 2013

BYOD in Brazil - Apptivities for ELT

This is a blog post which follows a presentation given by me at the IMAGE CONFERENCE in Brasília today.

While thinking about the topic I had chosen to discuss, I decided to build my talk around an infographic with all the information I'd collected, along with links. 

- First, I used PIKTOCHART to create the embeddable infographic.
- Then, to make it interactive, I added the resources to it using THINGLINK. So if you hover the mouse over the image, when clicking the little dots, you'll be taken to different resources.

I initially talked about different aspects we have to consider when adopting either a BYOD or a 1:1 approach. Then, I presented some apps and activities involving the use of IMAGES and VIDEOS.

For THE LINKS I shared during the talk, pass the mouse over the infographic and look for some "magic dots".

October 21, 2013

Forming questions with VINE

This week, my Basic 1 students were learning how to ask questions in English. Each group, decided on a question they thought was interesting to ask, wrote words on slips of paper and we recorded a VINE. Can you please help us by answering one or all the questions in the reply area?

I've also posted the videos separately so that people can choose what question to answer

Thank you to everyone who has already contributed.

October 17, 2013

Tell us more about Brazil

Weeks ago, I was contacted by Larry Ferlazzo about having our students collaborate somehow as his students have been studying about Brazil. We exchanged a few messages trying to decide how this collaboration would take place and this is the result.

First, Larry's students recorded videos asking questions about Brazil.

Wow, there were many questions to be answered!
I asked my students if they accepted to collaborate with them and assigned a video to each student. The student would watch the video at home, select 3 questions to answer and write a draft on a piece of paper. 

In class, I had a quick look at the texts, helped them with the pronunciation of some words while they practised reading their texts to their classmates. To make the recordings, I took a digital camera, my smartphone and an ipad to class, divided the students into 3 groups and asked them to record themselves. Although some of the video recordings have a lot of noise in the background, I believe they did a great job. They talked about  our typical food, carnival, our schools and much more.

September 21, 2013

Learning about PBL: A blended course

Changing our way of teaching is not an easy task.
How can we help teachers learn, discuss and try out new approaches in English Language Teaching?

With this objective, we've started a  blended (part face2face + part online) methodology course at the school where I work when we'll be studying about 3 different approaches: PBL, the Flipped Classroom and Mobile Learning.

The course started at the beginning of September. Each week, we have presential meetings as well as online readings and tasks to carry out.

Following a PBL model, we started our course with a "driving question" :
How can we use PBL in our classes at Cultura Inglesa? 
this question was later refined to "How can we create a project which could be used with our students?"

Our final goal would be to think of a feasible project which could be implemented in our classes considering our reality.

But, how could we reach the final goal? What would be our NEEDS TO KNOW?
We needed to know more about characteristics of a PBL lesson, see some examples, talk to teachers using PBL.

Our group came up with the following steps:
- read different articles about PBL.
- watch different videos about it.
- interview a teacher who uses PBL for teaching English.
- try to imagine our own projects.

As a teacher to interview, I suggested a dear friend, Vicky Saumell, from Argentina, who has successfully implemented a Project-oriented approach at the school where she works.

The interview happened assynchronously, first we brainstormed some questions at our EDMODO group, then I sent Vicky the screenshot of our thread and  hoped Vicky would have the time to record a  video-response for us.

Here, I take the opportunity to thank Vicky again for kindly taking her time to share her experience with us.
For those interested in examples of projects for ELT, check  one of Vicky's presentations on slideshare


It has been a great opportunity for me not only to study with a group of teachers who are my colleagues but also to try to be a more collaborative teacher.

Our next module is about "The Flipped Classroom".

September 14, 2013

Enriching Study Guides with Thinglink

How can I make Study Guides more visually appealing?

Many times I feel my students don't really know how to organize themselves to study. I often hear them say they only studied by reading the lessons in the book.

These are different ways I've tried to help students get ready for their English exams:

1. A Study Guide with links to resources shared in our EDMODO GROUP

2. I've created a wordcloud with topics and used THINGLINK to add online resources.

3. I've used the app VISUALIZE to create a visual poster and added links by using THINGLINK

September 8, 2013

Tiny steps: flipping part of my class

There are several things I like about the FLIPPED CLASSROOM model:

- First, you save a lot of time for really practising the language if students have access to the theoretical part of the explanation beforehand (at home).
- Second, if a student is absent, he can always catch up.
- Third, if a student needs more explanation he can watch it as many times as he feels is necessary for his comprehension.
- Fourth, before tests, students can always watch the videos again to help refresh their memories. 

This is how I've been TRYING to flip part of my class.

I'm aware there are various ways people have been flipping their classes but it's always important to think of each reality. I work at a Language Institute in Brazil and have to follow a course book for my classes. A moment which I've been finding useful to flip is the grammar explanation part of the lesson during which I would probably deal with the grammar focus. There are various videos available online, however, I sometimes prefer the ones I make myself as I try to make them more personal and as short as possible.

My most successful "flips", in my opinion, have been recording screencasts of myself explaining the grammar focus with examples. In addition, I assign a quiz to my students using Edmodo after a few classes of practice.

The instructions
The Quiz

I normally create a multiple choice quiz with 10 questions. They have 5 mins to answer the quiz which is corrected by Edmodo automatically.

The following class after the quiz, we go over each question and answers as I have access to the question most students had problems with.

This week, I wanted to try something different so I started to look for different tools I could use to make flip videos. The result of my search is a board I've created at

My board: Tools for Flipping Classes

Then, it was time to try some of them out.

Oh, the first step was to create the video screencast I wanted to use. Therefore, I used the EDUCREATIONS app on my ipad.

The first flipping tool I tried was Nik Peachey has created a very helpful post about it

My trial:

Then, I decided to try

I had watched one  of Tamas Szakal's metta videos and just loved it. Unfortunately, I had no idea I would find it so hard to figure out how it works. I tried to find a tutorial, but to no avail,  I had to rely on my trials and errors to manage to make this first trial video.

September 4, 2013

QR Code guessing game

I prepared a qrcode game activity for my Upper Intermediate students last week which I'd like to share with you. Our last lesson had the theme "Hidden Messages". We discussed several ways people used to hide messages in the past and nowadays, including the use of QR codes.

The lesson grammar topic was language to express different levels of certainty. As a warmer for the following class, I decided to create an activity which involved sentences using the language learned recently, and QR codes.


-  First, I had asked students to download a QR code scanner to their mobiles at home so after checking how many students had remembered to do that (only 3), I divided the class into 3 groups.
- They had to read the sentences and try to guess the ending of the sentences and write them on paper.
- Then, they would use a cell phone to scan the code and see if they had guessed the idea of the original sentence. They would get 1 point for each correct guess.
The activity worked well. Students were involved trying to guess the sentences and I saw some enthusiasm during the time they scanned the codes for the right answer. Now, could I have done the same thing simply giving them the answers on a separate sheet of paper? Of course, I could, but using the QR CODES to hide the rest of the sentence made a lot of sense because of the topic of the lesson and it also avoided some cheating.

What would I have done differently? 

- Maybe I would have asked different groups to check each other answers.
- Or I would have asked students to create their own sentences one class and done the same activity with the codes but this time with their sentences.

The idea of guessing the ending of sentence can be done with any kind of content, I guess.

August 31, 2013

30 Goals Challenge Interview

This last week, I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by dear Shelly Terrell for the 30 GOALS CHALLENGE round of interviews with participants.

Like Shelly said in her blog Teacher Reboot Camp

Each week ( I think), Shelly interviews one of the participants (past and current) of the 30 Goals Challenge about various topics and close to the end of the interview, the interviewee recommends the next person to be interviewed. I was tagged by my friend Roseli Serra, another admirable educator from Recife Brazil. Our interview was about Edtech, mobile learning and life in general.

Conquering Fears- Edtech and Life: Interview with @anamariacult #30GoalsEDU

 I'd like to thank Shelly one more time for taking her time to talk to educators around the globe and for helping us, interviewees, feel so at ease.

She also included a slideshow I created last year when we met in Brazil.

 Meeting Shelly on PhotoPeach

August 26, 2013

Sharing Journals with classmates

By eltpics

This past week, I started attending a very interesting class given by my M.A. tutor and a teacher from Canada. We're going to study about Teacher Development and Narrative Inquiry.

One of the evaluation tools suggested by the teacher was writing narratives as journals. We all discussed in class that it would be a little bit overwhelming for the teachers to answer all the journals written so we suggested having different "reading partners" each month. For example: each week, I have a partner with whom I'll be sharing my narratives with. We'll be reading each other writings and give feedback to each other. Then, the following month, we can have new partners. I'm really anxious to start this experience as I believe we can learn a lot by reading each other's reflections. 

Then I thought, where and how am I going to write my narratives?

With Penzu, you can write your journal entries on a notebook page which resembles the traditional paper journals. You can keep your writing private or share it with others either via e-mail or by getting a public link to be shared only with the ones you wish to share it with.

To learn more about it, watch the TUTORIAL below.

The tutorial I've chosen to add here is great. However, it doesn't show how to grab the public link to share with those you want to, which I think is the easiest option.


Anyone wishing to use PENZU with students can suggest the FREE ACCOUNT which is pretty good. But if you wish to use it frequently, it might be interesting to invest in a PRO ACCOUNT which is only $19 for a year membership. As a PRO member you get the chance to customize your journal by choosing from a very rich variety of background templates and pad styles.

My first narrative for the first class we had last week (written in Portuguese).

August 24, 2013

BYOD apps for ELT

Would you help us build a list of cross-platform apps (IOS and Android)?

by Ana Maria Menezes

Roseli Serra and I have started collecting apps which can be used by our students with their own devices.

All the apps added to this list can be found for BOTH SYSTEMS ( IOS and Android), therefore, ideal for BYOD classes.

To contribute to the list, click the pink button ADD TO LIST and paste the URL of the app.

August 23, 2013

Revising for tests with Thinglink

I love tools which are a surprise to me. Thinglink is one of these tools. When I first saw it, I imagined just a few ways to use it in class. However, the more time goes by, teachers have been doing amazing things with the tool.

An example is the one brought below created by Daniela Tomatis, an EFL teacher in Italy who I admire a lot, and her students.

They've created a REVISION BOARD adding links to audio recordings, videos and online exercises to a drawing.

I asked Daniela a bit more about it:

She says,
"The drawing was made by a very creative girl, Clara (Daniela Becchio's daughter) !
We gave her some instructions, basically that we wanted something like a bookcase.
Then, we linked the different parts of the picture to a digital source.

We wanted to give students:

- a complete digital version of the curriculum.
- a possibility to revise for the exam autonomously ( that's why we provided both the written and the oral version of the stories, for example)
- suggestions on how to practice grammar and vocabulary.- examples of student-created content ( "my grammar book""personal coursebook")
- a possibility to check their material, in case they missed some lessons during the school year.

Our aim was also to help them with pronunciation, to support parents and also to facilitate success for dyslexic students."

August 22, 2013

Collecting Animations for the classroom

I love using animations in class. I believe there's a lot we can do with these short, really cute videos easily found on youtube. 

I was having a look at JUX.COM and impressed at how beautiful and different  blog posts can be. As I am a highly visual person, the wide screen images and the way the texts are displayed really attracted my attention.

As I see it, it's one of the most creative blogging platforms there is. The only drawback  I noticed is the impossibility of sharing embeddable applications and the option for a mobile app for blogging on the go. From what I understood, it's possible to publish quotes, articles, videos, photos and slideshows. 

Here I was, thinking of how I could use this beauty for the classroom when I came across a blog post saying would close down 31 August 2013 and a message in Jux saying the platform is still running. I truly hope they have changed their minds.

Ok, so what does have to do with the animations I talked about at the beginning of this post?

Well, as my first trial using the site, I created a playlist with animations I've selected to use in class.

How else could we use JUX? Provided it doesn't close down.

- Teachers can use it to showcase student's work such as drawings, videos, poems they've written, stories they've created.
- Students can tell their own stories using images, texts and video. A multi-modal digital story.
- Anyone could use it as a digital portfolio to showcase their work.

If you're interested in using these animations with your own students and would like some ideas, check out this blog post from a while ago YOUTUBE ACTIVITIES IN A FLASH

Would you have any other animations you've used with your students to add to my collection?
I'd love to hear from you.

August 9, 2013

Learning about Schools around the world

I've just started a unit with a group of EFL teenage students about Education.

In order to help them learn about how different school can be in other countries (or not), I'd love to have students from different countries participate in our VOICETHREAD.

Do you have teenage students? Do you have teenagers at home who could give us a hand?

To add a video-response and participate in our project, click COMMENT and record a video message, please.

These are some questions students can answer:

- What kind of secondary school do you go to? (private / state school)
- Do you like it?
- How many students are there in your class?
- How many hours a day do you stay at school?
- What kind of subjects do you like best?
- Can you choose what subjects to take?
- Do you have to wear a uniform?
- Can you describe the sitting arrangement in your classroom? ( in a U shape, in lines, in groups)
- And the classes? Does the teacher do most of the talking or do you work mostly in groups?
- Do students stay in the same room the whole school period or do they move to different rooms according to the subject?
- Is discipline very strict?

If you have teenage students and wish to join our project, you can record the whole class using your own voicethread account and have different students come to the webcam and answer the questions (an in-class activity) or you can set it as homework and students record themselves individually. What do you think? We would love to hear from you.

August 7, 2013

Android APPS for ELT


This week, in one of the EDMODO groups I'm a member of, a teacher asked suggestions of Android apps for English Language Teaching.

I know many people blog about IPHONE/ IPAD apps and it's not that simple to select good apps for a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) approach.

Here in Brazil, specially with well-off teenagers iphones are very popular. However, what about all these other devices our students carry in their bags, not to say on their hands all the time? Once schools invest in providing free wifi to students, there's a lot we can do with the devices that belong to them. 

As a teacher, I've decided to invest in an ipad and an android cell phone in order to be well acquainted with both systems. 

The best source of suggested Android apps, in my opinion, is Richard Byrne's blog  .

Nevertheless, I've started a collaborative list of ANDROID APPS FOR ELT.

Android apps for ELT
View more lists from Ana Menezes

Would you help me enrich this list?  TO CONTRIBUTE, just click ADD TO LIST and paste the URL from the android app you suggest.

July 22, 2013

7 SNACK tools for the classroom

This is not a promotional post. However, it is a description of tools you can use with students which are VERY PRACTICAL for creating online content.

The tools I'm about to describe are all SNACKTOOLS from one single website.

FIRST, let's start looking at the different widgets you can create for free.
1. PHOTOSNACK - create slideshows with pics from facebook, flickr, photobucket or from your computer. 

How do I use slideshows with students?

- showcase students' work by creating slideshows and embedding it in a class blog or send to parents via e-mail.
- present vocabulary to students by adding captions to each picture.
- ask students to create slideshows with vocabulary they have learned doing their own research on a topic.
- for digital storytelling - students can create slideshows telling a story.

2. PODSNACK - create playlists with MP3 recordings you make or with youtube videos.

 How do I use podcasts or video playlists with students?

- ask students to record dialogues using their cell phones and send the mp3 files to you. Aggregate all recordings to one playlist and share with parents or publish it in a class blog.
- create an audio Webquest where students have to find different information by listening to different podcasts.
- for the flipped classroom - aggregate video lessons per unit in a playlist and share it with students.
- video-record students role playing dialogues and organize them into the same playlist.
- as a listening dictation - use the website to record students reading sentences they have created and send playlist as a listening dictation for homework.

3. TUBESNACK - very similar to podsnack. For video playlists.

4. POLLSNACK - create polls, surveys and personality quizzes.

How do I use Polls and Surveys with students?

- use surveys at the beginning of the semester to get to know students better.
- use polls to give students the chance to choose an activity for the following class.
- create surveys about topics students have been discussing.
- ask students to create their own polls and surveys and present the results to class.

5. FLIPSNACK - transform word and PDF files into e-books / flipbooks. .

How do I use e-books with students?

- collect student's drawings and written work on a word/pdf file. Use FLIPSNACK to transform it into an e-book to share it with parents.
- for storytelling: have groups of students collaboratively create a story during the school year. Then students add images or photos to their story (word / pdf file). At the end of the term, each group publishes their story as a flipbook.

6. SLIDESNACK - add voice to your ppt presentations and then share (you can export to Youtube). Slidesnack doesn't record on Google Chrome, try Firefox instead.

How can I use this tool with students?

- if you create tutorials using ppt, add your voice to them by creating a slidecast.
- for storytelling: sts can write a story, then create a ppt with images to illustrate the story, then they can record themselves narrating their own stories.
- students can record about themselves as an introduction to an online course.
- students can record themselves reporting after having developed a project.
- students can record themselves talking about what they have learned that year.

7. NOTIFYSNACK - create notification bars for your website or class blog.

How can I use this tool with students?

- create alerts for class blogs before important dates and tests.
- add greeting alerts to school blogs on important dates.
- invite students to contribute to the class blog by suggesting beautiful sentences to be added each week.

July 18, 2013

Printing from mobile devices WIRELESSLY

Imagine you can print a document or photo you have on your cell phone, ipad or laptop using a printer you have in another part of the house or somewhere else. Moreover, you can use your classic printer which is the one  connected to your desktop and internet connection.

 Well, WE CAN DO THAT without spending any extra dime. I know this might not be SURPRISE to you but I was jumping up and down with joy a few minutes ago when I saw my document being printed wirelessly. I thought I would have to buy one of those new cloud printers for that.

To learn how to do that, I watched two videos. The first one was from the Google Cloud Print page:

The second one was a very helpful TUTORIAL

You can also print from  cell phones and ipads. This is a tutorial for printing from ANDROID DEVICES .

When trying to do that from my android phone, I downloaded the CLOUD PRINT app, opened it, clicked  the print button on the top right, selected GOOGLE DRIVE and a document, picked a printer and voilá.

OH, IMPORTANT (kind of obvious) INFO: your printer has to be on and online to be able to do its job. kkkk

Apart from printing wirelessly, with google cloud print you can also share your printer with others. Let's imagine you have a guest at home who would like to print from his cell, or you're in a bus but want to have a document printed waiting for you at the office for an urgent meeting. Isn't that brilliant!

When I was a child, I used to dream of future technologies such as a telephone with a camera but this idea of printing from my own classic printer wirelessly really caught me by surprise.


- Printing from the cloud makes everything simpler now. Imagine how easily your students can print their work for display in the classroom.

- Or if students are writing a story together online and want to print it at school, they can.

July 16, 2013

How to embed PINTEREST boards to blog posts

Yes, you CAN EMBED a pinterest board.

In my previous post, I shared an idea I had from a fantastic PINTEREST BOARD called "History - tools of the trade". As you can see, I took a screenshot of the board, pasted it to the blog post and linked it to the pinterest board.

What's the advantage of embedding applications?
Well, one, your reader does not have to leave your blog to explore what you're sharing. They can choose what to click from your blog.

So how can we do this?
I didn't find it so easy, but here is a tutorial I've created to help anyone wishing to do that.

The link to the WIDGET BUILDER page is .

This is a board I chose to embed in this post. It's A SUPER HERO board full of interesting ideas for class activities.

July 13, 2013

How to use a PINTEREST board to spark up conversation

It's amazing the kind of stuff people curate in PINTEREST boards.

This week I came across a board called HISTORY - TOOLS OF THE TRADE which inspired the idea I'm sharing in this post.

As you can see from the image, the board is a collection of old stuff we used years ago. It's quite funny in fact to remember what they were used for.

The idea I had for an activity is the following:

- As I teach teenagers, the idea would be for them to discover different objects people used in the past (from the pinterest board) , read about it, ask their relatives if they had one or even if they still have one. Learn about it.
- In a following class, students could present to the whole class or small groups the chosen object (either using the image from pinterest or showing the real object if they have it), talk about what they have learned from their research and conversations with relatives.
- They could even create a joint post for a blog where each student would write about their findings.

Language: USED TO,  names of objects, verbs in the past.
Skills: reading, speaking, listening, writing. ALL.

July 12, 2013

Ipad apps for GREEN SCREEN videos

In case you don't know. WHAT'S GREEN SCREEN?

 According to EHOW,

I've always wanted to try out creating green screen videos with my students but didn't know how to start. 
With the IPAD it's quite easy.

The easiest app in my opinion is FX Studio. Although you have to pay U$2.99 for the app, it's quite easy to create your green screen movie.

This was my first trial with FX Studio:

 What I liked about it:

- it's very easy to use and there are various backgrounds and effects you can choose from.

What I didn't like so much:

- As far as I know, there's no way I could use my own images in the background. :(

The second app I tried today was VideoFX Live.

I couldn't find a youtube tutorial but at least I had access to this written tutorial which helped me a bit.

After some trials and errors, I discovered that first you have to click NEW FX, choose the effect USER PHOTO, click PICK PHOTO to choose a photo from your own ipad and then click RECORD to make your video. 

I feel a bit embarassed to share this simple trial but here it is.

 What I liked about it:

- the app is FREE but by paying U$ 0.99 I was able to use my own background photo.
- there are MANY background images, animations and effects to choose from.

What I didn't like so much:

- I couldn't find a tutorial easily.
- It took me some time to find how to go about the green screen effect.
Now , HOW COULD I USE THESE APPS with my own students?

I searched for some ideas and these are a few links which I really liked:

- Green Screen classroom Projects

- Project: students choose as a background a place they would like to visit. Then they would have to use 3 props to talk more about themselves. An example video:

- Project: students create a Civil War film.

- The Nome Storytelling Project (Superb idea)

Oh, something important I forgot to mention, although these kinds of videos are called GREEN SCREEN with both of the apps I mentioned you DON'T NEED a green screen at all. All you need is a blank white wall to make the recordings.

July 11, 2013

E-portfolios and Webfolios: the same thing?

First of all, what are e-portfolios? And are e-portfolios and webfolios the same?

As I am a highly visual learner, I've selected two very interesting videos on the topic.

"It's an easily accessible online area where you store all you think is important to your career development."

"They serve as a student's professional digital footprint showcasing a combination of student's work in different formats over a period of time."

 A key word mentioned in this last video is REFLECTION. I'm a great fan of e-portfolios myself  as it can help learners reflect about their  own learning and it's EVIDENCE of what students have learned.

In my opinion, the use of e-portfolios is one of the best ways to evaluate student's progress as well.

In order to help me understand more about e-portfolios, I've also read some articles about their use in education.

An article I really enjoyed reading was
"Portfolios to Webfolios and Beyond: Levels of Maturation" written in 2004 by Douglas Love, Paul Gathercoal and Gerry McKean. In the article, the authors describe different levels of maturation when adopting e-portfolios as an educational tool. The image bellow taken from the article is the taxonomy developed by them.

They also make a distinction between e-portfolios and webfolios.

Another visual resource which I found very useful was the infographic below taken from the blog post . The blog post mentions the original article which inspired the infographic in which a dichotomy is  brought forth:  e-portfolios for LEARNING X e-portfolios for ASSESSMENT.

Diagramme: @lee74 (some rights reserved)
I've been teaching online since 2009 and I've used different tools to have my students create digital portfolios. First, I had my students use BLOGGER for their blog-portfolios. Then, for many years I opted for the POSTEROUS platform which was very easy to use as you could post by sending e-mails. However, unfortunately, Posterous has closed down and if you haven't exported it to another platform, bad luck, the blogs are gone. This year, a few weeks before I started a new online course, I had to rush to find another alternative to Posterous and I ended up choosing TUMBLR, for its ease in publishing different media and its popularity. A drawback I found was that you can't easily leave and receive comments in TUMBLR so that would limit the type of communication I wanted.
I myself made use of a platform to create my own learning portfolio for one of the subjects I took at UFU, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, while doing my M.A. in Linguistic Studies. We were free to choose what format of portfolio we created, either paper of digital and my choice was a wiki at WIKISPACES. My first doubt at the beginning of the semester was what to include in my digital portfolio for that specific subject at university. I decided to keep adding everything which I thought would be EVIDENCE of what I had been learning. 
Next semester, I'm moderating a new group for the CULTURA EDTECH online course and my choice for the webfolios is WEEBLY. It's super easy to create your Weebly blog / portfolio. I liked the way you can drag and drop elements into the editing dashboard and create your blog posts. Apart from being able to publish at the website, you can also download the weebly app and post on the go.
But these are not the only platforms we can use to create digital portfolios, there are many others. 
These are some of the blog posts I've curated on tools to create portfolios:
If you still wish to learn more about the topic, another great resource is this PREZI presentation