28 September 2010

Let's Glog!

Today, we may create posters in hard copies and stick them up on the walls of our classrooms, or, we can turn to Glogster, and create digital posters. Below I enclose 2 short videos which may help you design your Glog.







You can now print your Glog, or better still, embed it in your blog and class wiki.

Let's Glog!

26 September 2010

Learning Strategies - Mind Maps

As a student,  I spent many hours studying in  the library. Today, students are able to study in many more places - not only the in library, but also at learning centres which provide different types of support for students - and more significantly,  anywhere they wish to. All students need today is an internet connection to be able to access information and to carry out the many assignments which they do on their own or in teams.



Students work and learn through their Blogs, their Wikis, through Google Docs and many other tools which the internet offers them.

Nevertheless, students today have the same questions as I did when I was a student: how to learn? How do I find time to learn so many new things? How do I organise my ideas and thoughts?




 One way to help us learn is by using mind maps.  Here you can see an example of a mind map. You can use mind maps in many ways - to learn vocabulary, to help you revise your notes, and to brainstorm your ideas for an essay.






Over these past weeks, my students have been involved in different kinds of learning activities. Many of my students have said that learning today is easier because there is technology to help them. Today, being a learner is not enough; today we all need to be efficient digital learners, learning how to incorporate technology in our learning and how best to incorporate digital learning in their own learning processes.

If you would like to try mindmapping with digital tools, here are some suggestions which will be of use to you:

Mindomo

WiseMapping




Mind42.com




You can also have a look at Zoho, Edraw Soft,  bubbl.us and MAPMYself.






One of my favourites is Text2Mindmap, which is clean and simple and really great for different kinds of tasks. For example, you can use it for summarising a book or story or planning a presentation.



So, whether you prefer mindmapping on your own or with a group of friends, you can see that there are digital choices.




What about you? Do you think that learning with digital technology is helping you learn more easily today? Do you think that creating mind maps with technology can help you organise your thoughts, your notes and studies?















22 September 2010

Joining the Blogosphere

Students are busy creating and designing their first blogs and to all, let me congratulate you on your efforts and creativity!


personalized greetings



  I look forward to reading all your entries!

19 September 2010

Innovation and Inspiration

Yesterday, the Higher Colleges of Technology celebrated its 23 years of educational excellency in the U.A.E. Guest speakers and HCT staff members discussed key issues in education and how best to engage students today. Creativity and collaboration, innovation and inspiration. Key words which all teachers hope to share and foster with students.

Today we use digital technology in our classrooms and students work online, creating and sharing their work and ideas. Dreams become reality with the use of digital tools that we can easily access.  However, it is a collaborative process. Teachers encourage innovative approaches to learning and students bring their inspiration to class. 

Classrooms today are so very different from the past. Classrooms today are spaces where learners take control of their learning process and creativity. Classrooms today are spaces where learners innovate and develop their voices as students and citizens of a globalized world. 

I hope this video clip may inspire you to collaborate, innovate and create!

8 September 2010

Festivals

The holy month of Ramadan is coming to an end and Eid is about to begin. From fasting to feasting, families throughout the UAE will be celebrating and I find myself reflecting on the wonderful role of traditional celebrations around the world. 

One great tool to share celebrations and festivals is by using VoiceThread. You can share videos, slide shows and collaborate in conversations. I would like to share one special festival which takes place in my country. 



Welcome to my ELT SkyBox!

This will be my second year teaching in Ras Al Khaimah and as the new academic year begins, I am filled with enthusiasm and curiosity about my new students.  Although I have not yet met them, I wonder what hopes and dreams they will bring to college and how I can best enable them to reach out and achieve their goals. 

As a teacher, I am constantly learning as well and for me, learning is often a spiral experience. 

Sometimes I take a step forward in my learning and there are times, when I am on the verge of confusion until the light suddenly switches back on in my mind and all is clear. It is only natural that with the beginning of a new academic year, how best to learn, how best to keep motivated while learning and learning how to become an independent learner, are thoughts which I find myself returning to. 

A serious challenge to many students at higher education in the UAE is the use of English for their academic studies and future professional lives. Whenever I have learnt a new language, words words words are all I want! There are already several well known on-line dictionaries (Macmillan, Cambridge, Oxford and Longman) which are always helpful for everyone. 

Another on-line tool which helps with learning new words is Visuwords. It's more than an online dictionary or thesaurus as it offers graphical connections between words. Below I include a screen shot reflecting the word learning:


I find this tool quite useful as it also provides a colour code to parts of speech, making it easy to understand how to use a word in a sentence. 

In this blog I hope to offer ideas and tools for my students to help them improve their English language skills as well as to become more confident as independent learners - not only for their college subjects, but also as life-long learners. Learning does not end at the college gate and in our 21st century, change has never been as quick paced as it is today. 

So, how is  change and learning related to teaching and a new academic year? Let me explain by asking you to watch the clip below:




I may not know all my students' dreams and goals yet, but I would like to share with you some of mine for this new academic year:


Wordle: My Goals






















Wordle  makes wonderful word clouds which highlight ideas, goals and dreams.


Lastly, my Voki has an invitation for you - let's collaborate and make this academic year a most remarkable and fun year for all!



Get a Voki now!