29 November 2017

News and Media Literacy


If digital literacy hasn't been a burning issue to focus on in classrooms, it certainly has become one now. In particular, the skill to reflect critically on news and media.  Here are some resources for educators to use in classrooms. 

Games for Change  offers a wide selection of games, ranging from human rights to fitness. For this post though, it is Fake It to Make It,
that called my attention. Why? With "fake news" being dealt with on a regular daily basis, Fake It To Make It  is an appealing simulation to raise awareness of how misinformation can so easily be taken for reality. 

"Fake It To Make It is a simulation-style game where players take on the role of someone creating and distributing fake news for profit. Players learn how misinformation is created, spread, and emotionally targeted, and leave better prepared to be skeptical of misinformation that they encounter in the future."

Another great resource to deal with this topic, is Nik Peachey's Writing & Discussion Activities to Promote Awareness of Fake News.

Earlier this year Doug Belshaw also put together a Fake News and Digital Literacies: some resources, which is of interest to educators and higher level students.

And can you really tell what is fake news or not?

Factitious is a free game which tests your news sense - go on! Test yourself then share with your learners and observe how well - or not - they know how to tell the difference between fake and real news.

Common Sense Education  also has some great resources for raising awareness about news such as a backgrounder on misinformation and a long suggestion of resources on Media, News and Information Literacy for students   .  You can also consider using or adapting suggested Lesson plans  . Facts-vs-Opinion" is an example of a shared lesson plans. 

What other resources for news and media literacy have you found of interest?

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-with-teal-and-yellow-left-eye-685526/

Further Suggestions:

Making Media Literacy Central to Digital Citizenship

Teaching Current Events in the Age of Social Media

Post-truth teaching: coming to a lecture theatre near you?
Open University report looks at key trends in teaching and learning - Published 7th December 2017

Supporting Sustainable Development


Every year there is World Environment Day   (as well as other celebrations which you can find here and here ); and every year, in so many different curricula, learning about the environment is part of the syllabus. 

But can our learners really save the environment? Can our learners really make a change?

In my experience, yes. Undoubtedly. 

Environmental issues stare at us all everyday - whether it is public litter, poverty in our societies or making decisions about day-to-day shopping. Discussing these issues, in particular issues which directly affect our learners' everyday lives, helps  raise their awareness to other global issues, which may or not directly affect them. 

Among other resources available, (e.g. videos ), Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations, has compiled a simple list of how every individual is able to make small contributions towards sustainable development. These may be shared among leaners - for further discussion/ for them to add their own ideas and create their own guides. 

Overall Sustainable Development Goals is a great resource for teachers and learners. 

After all, learning is not only passing an exam or filling in a gap correctly (if ever that could really reflect learning). 

Learning is being involved, open to curiosity and finding solutions.  

Learning is an activity.

Learning is doing. 

Further Suggestions:

A Breeze of Summer Green

Achievable Change in 2013

Climate Change for Young Learners

Inquiry as Learning - An Environmental Example

Using Computer Games to Raise Global Issues - by Nik Peachey

Let Me Tell You a Story - A Writing Tool for Storytelling

Come, let me tell you a story. 

A story about a magical place, where, within hours, you can leave cold greys and darkness behind. A place which will lead you to cities of light, red shimmering deserts, warm turquoise seas. 

Come! Let me tell you a story. 

And as I tell my tale or two, you too may add yours, with your characters, your dreams and decisions. Together we shall create our own stories. Together we can end boredom and create twists, bends and all the upheavals we wish to within our stories. 

StoriumEdu seems to promise the opportunity for learners to write stories collaboratively, where teachers set writing goals, learners are given a character and together, write their stories within a game-like environment. 

It will be accessible for desktops/laptops as well as tablets and smartphones. 

Although still in Beta, this is a writing tool that I am really looking forward to trying out! 

For what is learning but a collection of stories?

Stories of success, stories of failures, stories of discoveries, stories of life. 

What other writing tools have caught your teaching imagination lately?

8 November 2017

Sharing Learning and Professional Development with Videos

If you happen to live where Autumn has set in, this post is especially for you. As conferences become increasingly expensive to attend, one of the best alternatives for professional development is to turn to what is offered online.  Here are some suggestions. 

IATEFL Webinars  are open to members and non-members and have topics which relate to language teachers as well as to other fields.

You can also find recorded webinars, which is always helpful if you can't attend the event live.

Another of favourite of mine, is the well known site of
Russell Stannard, whose videos are full of ideas and clear instructions regarding edtech and teaching. Teacher Training Videos is not only for ELT teachers but for all educators who wish to update their practices with technology and state of the arts approaches. 

Landesinstitut für Pädagogik und Medien is another site to follow closely for professional development. With free webinars offered regularly, you only need to sign up to receive the link to the webinar. 

The best part is that none of these suggestions are video or PPT dumps, nor someone reading from their PPT (because a presentation and/or teaching is not a read-aloud exercise) - but real practitioners sharing ideas, teaching approaches and know-how that actually do bring life into classrooms, while interacting with colleagues who attend the webinars. 

On the left hand side of your screen, you can probably notice a video log with video resource suggestions for teaching. Two videos resources which are really worthwhile dipping into are ESL Video  and the already much talked about ISL Video Lessons which 
also offers video lessons in languages other than English. 

These are some suggestions for professional development; there is a wealth of opportunities for learning on the web and no reason not to keep up-to-date in education. 

What other webinars or learning sites for educators would you recommend for this Autumn?

Further Suggestions:

Viewpure - Videos without Clutter