23 November 2013

Managing Bibliographies

Whether it is writing for academic purposes or for one's own note-taking/learning, how does one keep track of all the articles and publications one comes across? Evernote is a great tool for keeping notes , while both  iAnnotate  and GoodReader are  useful to work with files, but one still needs to make bibliographies. Here are some suggestions which offer students help. 


(Update: Apologies for blank Popplet! They don't seem to be embedding lately)

As for taking notes and annotations, PaperShip is free and synchronises with both Mendeley and Zotero.

PaperShip - Manage, Annotate, and Share your Papers On-The-Go from team shazino on Vimeo.

iAnnotate 3.0 from Branchfire on Vimeo.

Keeping track of bibliographies and using good annotation tools are relevant skills when it comes to writing and the abundance of information that emerges with each web search on a specific topic. 

What other tools do you use to create bibliographies and manage annotations?

22 November 2013

Animating Stories

From telling personal stories to narrating instructions (e.g. how to cook a meal) or historic events, there are plenty of tools to choose from. 

Narrable is an  App with which you can upload an image and record a brief message (a bit like Fotobabble) . However, it is Muvizu which has really captured my imagination for storytelling. 

Muvizu is animation software which creates 3D characters and is free to download. There is a wiki where you can find hints and tips when using Muvizu, including a tutorial page

For MAC users, there is also a video explaining how to use Muvizu:

Creating animated stories makes a great project for students, letting them re-mix what they have been learning in different subjects while adding their personal touch.

12 November 2013

Linking the Classroom Tribe

At the beginning of any course, teachers will be busy selecting ice-breakers for their new classes and finding ways to present expectations, ensuring that evaluation procedures are clear and essentially, setting up a new culture (i.e. classroom culture). 

This is usually a fun time, a "honey-moon" period, where everyone is getting to know others in their class. Yet, sometimes, there will be groups which take more encouragement to form a cohesive learning group. With increasing diversity in schools reflecting our social worlds beyond the school-gate, consolidating a cooperative classroom culture may take time to succeed. 

One approach may be to create a search engine just for a class or group. As an example, I include a search engine I made with my own name, but will certainly be making one for each of my classes!

Fun doesn't have to be only for the first week of learning  ;-)

Besides, learners need to know that their teachers care about them and their classroom experiences as much as they do about their grades.

A Tangled Tale from corrie francis parks on Vimeo.

9 November 2013

Clipping the Art

Though there are sites where you can use images from (e.g. Flickr ELT PICS and others which you can find here), using clip art for worksheets or websites is still a great idea.  Clip art can be used to create badges (e.g. if you use a LMS through which you can award badges to learners) and to brighten up any kind of worksheet (analogue or digital). 

WP Clipart has over 50, 000 images organised in folders, making it simple to search for an image within a theme. 

Clipartlord is another site which offers clip art for a wide range of themes. 

The Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching includes in its resource page, a site where clip art can be shared. 

School Clip Art, is still another source for clip art, dedicated to education. 

Graphics Factory may be more suited to use when using for instance, a blog, or even a wiki, creating animated GIFs for education. (many make great interactive badges as well) If you use Windows, you may want to have a look here

Three other resources include:

 Edu Pic Graphical Resource,

Free Clip Art for Kids, Teachers

Humanline and ClipArt ETC.

You may also find further suggestions here:

Posters, Images and Metaphors

Blow Me Away with Images

Do you have any other Clip Art resources you would like to add?

8 November 2013

Running through Rubrics

It's that time of the semester, busy with exams and different forms of assessment. For teachers, this intense period can sometimes become quite stressful - how does one assess that which does not fit into a number?

Students learn so much in classrooms; how does one attribute a number to social skills for example? How does one attribute a mark to leaving a classroom tidy? One approach is to award students badges through a LMS. Edmodo, for example, has a great way to award badges to students, whether it is a badge for a good presentation, team work effort or simply for someone adding that extra bit of sunshine to a lesson. Teachers using Edmodo may use badges which are already shared, or make their own for their own classes and assessments. 

Often, however, teachers need to follow rubrics, whether from their own department or seek guidelines which have been shared online. This post is a short focus on where to find marking rubrics.

Teacher Planet has a wide range of rubrics for different subjects, while teAchnology 
 offers another set of rubrics for teachers to choose from.

A wonderful site for teachers is ReadWriteThink, where, among so many other rich teaching resources (especially great interactive tasks which may also lend themselves for assessments) , one can also find assessment rubrics.

An example is Webbing Tools, which is used for hypertextual thinking and writing. You only need to browse and will certainly find an activity which can be integrated/adapted for assessment. 

For All Rubrics - App for iPad

iRubric - An Assessment and Sharing tool

Credly - Customize Badges

DIY - Share, Earn Badges

Essay Tagger  - Evaluating Writing

Rubrics (Center for Teaching & Learning)

Update - 23.November.2015

Rubrics for Assignments in Online Courses

With thanks to Grainne Conole for sharing and teaching so many on daily basis.

2 November 2013

Evaluating Websites is a Digital Literacy Too

No matter how one wishes to understand the use of webtools and apps, digital literacies are here, are necessary and will not be vanishing from our contemporary world so soon. One may regard digital tools as mere tools, with the emphasis on what learning outcomes emerge from the use of these tools. One may also take a broader view and understand digital literacies as not only the use of digital tools as a means to accomplish a learning goal, but also how  digital literacies are more than a checklist of practical, tech know-how. 

Learning how to research, use search engines and evaluating websites is also part of digital literacies. In this post, I'd like to suggest some resources to help both teachers and students when evaluating websites.


(Update: Apologies for another popplet which did not embed as it should have!)

Further references:

Because it is Time 

Criteria for Evaluating Web Tools and Apps - Nik Peachey

Digital Literacies 2 : The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus - Nicky Hockly

Evaluating Web Based Tools for ELT - Nik Peachey

How do You Search? Let Me Count the Ways

Shifting the Debate on Tech

1 November 2013

A Wealth of Videos for Classrooms

With a world of Apps and excellent interactive websites, I sometimes feel that videos are left behind in the choices for classroom activities. However, there are great collections and websites offering videos which are appropriate and engaging for lessons.

Curious is a video community which has videos for lessons as well as being a means for teachers to share their video lessons.

gives you the option to crop a video, add your voice and embed quizzes, making videos more interactive and tailored to your specific context. 

Asap Science is a rich collection of quirky science videos which are published on a weekly basis. 

The Kid Should See This , CNN Student News, Rocketlist, and CK12 are other sources for videos which can be used in classrooms or for a flipped classroom approach.

On the left hand-side of this blog, you can also find a Video Log with video sites which are great for lessons.

What other video sites do you enjoy using?

Further Suggestions

23 Great Sources for Free Educational Videos Online

40 Sources for Curated Educational Videos

Amara - Caption, translate, subtitle and transcribe video

Did the Internet Kill the Video Star?

Digital Backpack for Teachers 

Soo Metta - Flip Web Content into Video Lessons

Top 10 Free Video Recording Tools for Elearning