30 September 2014

Documentaries for Learning


Using short video clips and movies, is undoubtedly a great way to entice students' attention to learning. Though Vimeo and YouTube offer many short and long clips to choose from, there are other sources as well. 

Two sites which have recently caught my attention are Newseum and Docurama.

Newseum offers free resources including interactive activities, videos and lesson plans which are geared mostly for history and journalism but can be tailored to a teacher's lesson.  It also includes a page which helps teachers check the content and standard of English. 

Docurama offers a wide selection of documentaries - as the title of the site suggests.  It has recently come out with an app
as well, making it even easier to use if you teach with iPads.

And now, if you pardon me, I'm off to watch some movies!

What other sources can you suggest/share for movies and videos that can be used in classrooms?

25 September 2014

Reading Between the Lines

~Matt LightJam {Mattia Merlo} via photopin cc

In the midst of social change, between challenges and transformations, frustrations and successes, it seems that it is  educators who must bear the responsibility of all that goes wrong in education. Never mind that teachers are often the ones who spend their time seeking new ways to engage their learners of new generational habits. Never mind that teachers spend their free time doing professional training and updating their professional skills. And no, don't even mention how a teacher's job is ever done, for the load of marking, grading, filling forms, prepping lesson, designing new materials, and an increased responsibility of administration duties can all be completed in a regular working day, leaving plenty of free time to pursue hobbies and looking after one's family.... 

As for those who know everything about education and how to "fix" it, my question is simple - when was the last time you were actually teaching? How did you really engage students and capture their imagination for learning? When was the last time you received a pay rise? When was the last time you earned respect for being an educator?

When I ask those simple questions, I receive no answer. The only ones who are able to understand and reply are teachers themselves. Teachers who are in classrooms every day, enticing learners, bridging facts, figures, stimulating the desire to learn and succeed, making a syllabus come alive with meaning. Classroom teachers are the ones who challenge themselves to  make a syllabus more interesting than the instant gratification of Instagram, more necessary than the flood of messages and texts which demand immediate attention from the part of the student. 
Valentina_A via photopin cc

An education is so much more than the ability to click on a like button and send a smiley.

An education is so much more than being able to use a calculator or search engine.

And educator's job is so much more than delivering a syllabus.
1Q78 via photopin cc

If we are to make any positive, constructive, peaceful progress in this fragile world of ours,
it is through education.

And by the way....if you are reading this today, you too have a teacher to thank.

** RCB ** via photopin cc

Today's suggestion is The Teaching Channel  - an example of a site where teachers can dip into for inspiration. With videos on current educational topics and concerns, it offers ideas and a platform of discussion for educators.

17 September 2014

Autumn Resources for Teachers

Though I still have summer days in my part of the world, the beginning of an  academic year always remind me of Autumn and the pleasures of new discoveries.  Here are some which are great resources for teachers to explore and use throughout the year. 

If you teach English, then Dreamreader is a site to keep visiting as it is a free online site which provides reading practice for students. Articles are arranged by degree of difficulty (beginner to advanced) and there are lessons which include a vocabulary worksheet and audio. 

Glean offers video resources for the sciences, from Algebra to Chemistry, 

Resources for Teachers, -  a wide range of resources to help educators teach about Digital Citizenship.

If you would like a resource for the iPad, then simply turn to Common Sense Education, which has published a set of eight interactive iBooks on Digital Citizenship.  

PowerMyLearning offers a wide range of games, videos and interactive activities for K12 and is really worth having a look at. 

You can find  a wealth of resources on film, audio, books and images, from works of art to doodles. 

Which resources will you be exploring this Autumn?

Videos for Learning and Revising

For many, a new academic year has begun, and with it, new challenges, especially in regard to how best capture learners' attention in the classroom and when revising.  Language teachers have relied on using videos in lessons for many years now, and as practices change, so too does the terminology in education. Flipping the classroom is one of these cases. (see Nik Peachey on his views of flipping the classroom)

Of course, there is more to just setting a video for viewing outside the classroom. Below is   The 6-Step Guide to Flipping your Classroom:

As a language teacher, one of the aspects I most like, is being able to give learners time to learn at their own pace and having resources which they can review when they need to. By using video tools which allow me to create a focus on what learners need to learn and understand, I am also offering them a degree of learner autonomy. 
Students can work on their own, with a partner in class and later review the same video.  eduCanonEDpuzzle and Zaption are similar tools,  each having its own features which may appeal to different teachers and their needs and contexts. Here is an example made with eduCanon for a low level English class. 

Which is your favourite tool to create videos with exercises for students?

Further Suggestions:

A Wealth of Videos for Classrooms

Flip Your Students' Learning 

How to Flip an Online Course

How (And Why) to Flip Your Classroom

The 10 Best Web Tools for Flipped Classrooms

What is a Flipped Classroom?