January 25, 2013

speakpipe.com

One of the advantages of being a Webhead is that when you are  in the company of such enthusiasts, you  never stop learning about new tools to use with students or in your communication with colleagues.
While reading the messages in our Yahoo group yesterday, I came across a very interesting tool - http://www.speakpipe.com/.

The ad on the page summarises the use of the tool. It says:
"Don't force your customers to type a text message. Let them talk and show them you are listening."

It's just what I need for my blog, I thought. It is very easy to install: you can add  it as a widget with the HTML code you copy after registering on the page and it can be seen as a sign of a microphone on the right-hand side of the blog.

The use seems very simple, too. All you need is to click on the microphone and send a voice message to the owner of the widget.

Now I'm waiting for the first messages to arrive. And what are you waiting for, dear readers?
Send me a voice message :)





January 20, 2013

Keeping young learners safe online


In my PD plans, January is the month for the first weeks of  TESOL EVO online courses.  “Digital Storytelling with Young Learners“ is one of my favourites.
One of the topics the teachers discuss this week is how we keep our young learners safe online. Participating teachers from different parts of the world contribute their ideas and examples from their experience.

This is how I contributed to the discussion:
How can we keep our students safe online? What do I do as a teacher?

  1.  Students learn to introduce themselves properly (first names only, no portrait photos)
  2.  I constantly remind them about the importance of keeping the information about their passwords to themselves.
  3.  I carefully choose webpages to use with students. I only recommend the pages safe for kids.
  4.  I teach students to evaluate pages they visit when looking for information.
  5.  I respect copyright and give credit to the authors. I teach about copyright and plagiarism.
  6.  I involve parents. Teachers can't be the only responsible for children. There are “Parent permission“ forms and I encourage them to contact me and take interest in their children's work.
the world is just a click away
The resources on the wiki are great and I am sure I'll learn a lot of new ways of keeping my students safe and aware of the possibilites and risks of the internet.
I have added the following sites to my list of the materials to use with students in different age and language level groups:

1 BrainPOPJr video and quizzes, vocabulary exercises, activities, etc 

2 Common Sense Media – a site with great video and text resources which  all make great reading and listening material and a starting point for a discussion in class: 
In my opinion, this is the topic we must teach continuously throughout the school year, in all age groups of learners. That's why I am definitely going to use these materials to create some lessons for my students.


January 12, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Last year was a quiet one for this blog - not too many posts. It wasn't so because nothing interesting was happening in the classroom or various professional development sessions I attended. Simply, teaching and learning took a lot of time, I spent some with my family and friends, wasted some more...

I hope this year is going to be different - my first decision is to blog more regularly. What other New Year's Resoutions should I mention here to mark the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013? It's not easy to say at once.

I'll  embed an Answer Garden here - for me to add more answers when I feel like it, and for the readers to add some they feel would be right for me:)

New Year's Resolutions a Teacher Should Make... at AnswerGarden.ch.