LET’S BLOG

Everyone has already heard about blogs. It is a very used tool on the internet and it can be used in a variety of ways! I do myself blog, I have a blog for school which is this one but I also have a more personal blog which is more of what they call a “photo blog”. There are several kinds of blogs. However I think the most interesting kind of blog to use in a classroom is a traditional blog like this one!

I was googling to know better about blogs when I found this blog. It is SUCH a great blog and stuffs on it are so well explained! As mentionned on it, blogging with your students encourages writing and learning. They write their own blogs but they also have to opportunity to follow other people’s blogs and learn about a bunch of stuffs. Students can follow blogs that interests them, if someone likes car, he or she can follow blogs about cars!  Not only their classmates and teacher’s blogs!

Also, this blog is a nice proof that students like blogging! It is a different way to work which is fun because it is related to technology, and technology is very present in students’ lives nowadays. Students are more motivated to work on their blogs than to work with a pencil and a sheet of paper.Students also like it because they can receive comments on their blogs. Also, students tend to work harder when they know their work will be published on the internet, not only the teacher gets to see what they’ve done.

I found another Website which describes the advantages of a blog very well. A teacher’s blog allows the teacher to keep his class updated on assignments, it facilitate the communication between the teacher and his or her students. Students can also communicate with their teacher through his or her blog because they can directly comment on it.

Although blogs can be very fun, it is important to remind the students that their blog is for school is not their personal blog. It is important to remind them that the purpose of their blog isn’t to share their personal lives, post pictures of themselves,etc. 

To conclude, there are several different blog severs you can use in your class such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Blog.com, etc. it is up to you to choose the one you prefer for your class!

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Skype

You’ve probably already heard of Skype or used it. What is it? first important thing to know, it is free. Skype, as mentionned on their about section, allows you to communicate with people through video, voice and texts. It is just like calling someone but you can see the person and it’s free! You may need to buy a webcam or something to use it but most laptops have all it takes already integrated nowadays!

Now, how could this tool be integrated in a classroom? Well, it can easily be used in class. as mentionned on this website, if the teacher, for any reason, cannot make it to class, he or she could still teach through Skype. I know you will tell me it’s weird and is not as efficient as a real class but it is still better than no class at all or than a subteacher who has no idea what he is doing.

Also, there are a lot of other ways to use Skype for class. Students can easily use it to communicate with each other for a team project, they can discuss together through Skype, it is free and it allows them to see each other if they want to share some visual content or anything! The teacher can also use it to communicate with his or her students. For example, as a student I know I sometimes want to meet my teachers but they are not always available or maybe they are not at school the day I am available, etc. Skype is, in this case, a great solution to meet your teacher if your schedules don’t match.

I also remember that when I was younger, in elementary school, we used to correspond with students from other schools. We sent letters to each other and met during the year. Skype would be an awesome way to communicate with these correspondent! It would also be an awesome way to correspond with people from other countries to learn a second language.

Another thing that comes to my mind when I think of ways of using Skype in the classroom is to make oral presentations. Indeed, the teacher and student could skype together instead of presenting in front of the class. The student would probably be more comfortable to present in front of his or her computer than to present in front of a class.

I could go on for hours talking about ways to use Skype as a tool for education. Several websites suggest useful ways to use Skype in class, just like this one, and this one. Furthermore, Skype itself as a page dedicated to education. Skype keeps improving and is easy to use, there are no reasons why teacher shouldn’t take advantage of it!

Twitter?

ImageFirst, what is twitter?

twitter is a social media on which you can express yourself by “tweeting” small messages containing up to 140 characters. You can also include a picture in your tweets.If you want more detailed information about what twitter is, you can simply go on their about page and everything is really well explained.

How to use it?

To use twitter, you first have to know what “to follow” people means. To follow someone is to follow what the person does on twitter. For example if I follow Mr. X, everything Mr.X publishes on twitter will appear on my twitter home page. You can follow as many people as you want. People can also follow you to have your tweets published on their home page.  This website explains REALLY WELL how to use it and what to do on twitter. Also, the hashtags are important, it’s a good way to gather all the tweets you want to see on the same page. A hashtag is a # you put before a word and when you click on it, it leads you to a page where you can see every tweet that contains the same hashtag. For example if I tweet “I love #cats” #cats will become a link which leads me to a page where I can see every tweet that contains #cats. It is very useful if you are looking for specific information or if you want to regroup tweets together!

Why is it so nice?

Well twitter is a really nice tool because it allows you to see what people share, think and it informs you briefly. If you want to know what miley cyrus is doing or thinking, just go on her twitter page and read her tweets. You can interact with you friends but also with other people or even maybe celebrities! It keeps you updated on news.

Why does it concern school?

I was getting there! Most people tweet in English because it is an international language. This be said, you are encouraged to also tweet in English to be understood by the majority of people using twitter. This will then make your students practice their English. It can also, as surprising as it may seem, be really usefull for A LOT of other reasons. In fact, you can (if the teacher and all the students have a twitter account and all the students follow the teacher) tweet about homework, assignment, things that are due, etc. You can also write a story with your students by tweeting. Your students can comment or ask questions about the class, you can ask students to tweet 3 short comments about something you saw in class as an assignment, etc. Find 50 ideas of what to do with twitter in class on this website. It is a very useful website and it helps you if you feel like you have no imagination.

 

Twitter is a good way for students to connect with each other, with the teacher or anyone else. It faciliate communication and is fun to use. I think people should give it a try, but be careful, we can easily become addicted!

 

 

movie time!

Students really like to watch movies or short videos in class. Sadly, as discussed on this blog, administrators in education don’t always appreciate the use of videos in classroom. I totally disagree with these administrators though. I think that to watch a video is the best way to learn a language! 

I always enjoyed watching movies in class, it is different and fun! It is way more interesting than a traditionnal lecture class where students have to take notes and do some boring exercices. Movies are entertaining!  Students will be interested in watching the movie because it will be a kind of “break” of school for them, even though it is not. 

As mentioned on this blog, watching movies in class shouldn’t be a “fun Friday” activity. It should be part of a regular learning class because there are a lot of things students can learn from watching a movie. There are several ideas on this website of what you can do to help students learn and be attentive when watching  a movie in class. 

You can have students answer questions about the movie while they watch it or make them fill in the blanks. This way, you are sure students will listen carefully to be able to answer the questions or fill in the blanks properly.  You can also have them answer some questions after they watched the movie, have them write a text about it or simply have them talk about the movie. They can practice not only their comprehension of the second language but also improve their speaking and their writing skills.

Watching movies in class can be really helpful while being fun. Students will automatically practice their comprehension but the teacher can also make them practice speaking and writing if desired. There are a lot of advantages to watching movies in class and students like it because it gives them a break from traditional boring classes but they still learn without really realizing it.

The movie doesn’t have to be an old uninteresting movie about history or even a bad documentary, it can be ANY movie, as long as it is watched in the second language.

Wanna be the best teacher of your school? Watch movies in class.

 

Google drive

Last wednesday I discovered a new awesome tool in class. It’s called google drive! I was sceptical at first but when I tried it I was amazed!

What is Google drive?

Well first of all, google drive is obviously a google product. It is a tool that allows you to create a whole bunch of different documents, share with people, work with someone on the same document simultaneously, and, last but not the least, acces your documents ANYWHERE. this is only a brief description but this blog describes it really well if you want a more detailed explanation!

What is so awesome about it?

First, there are a lot of tools accessible from it. You can create written documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Also, you can share your documents with a friend or a partner or whoever you want and this person will also be able to modify it! This is what makes it so perfect. It is ideal for team school works, you can both work on the same document, at the same time, from your own computer! There is also a comment section in which you can talk with the other people working on the document! It really is well done!

Second, your files are saved in your account, that makes it accessible from ANYWHERE. Wheter you are at school, at home, at a friend’s, you can simply log in to your google account and find all your saved documents there! Furthermore, I found out on this website that you can not only access your stuff from a computer but also from an smartphone or a tablet. Isn’t it amazing? If you forget to print a homework which you did on your computer at home, you don’t have to worry you can access it and print it from any computer. It’s just like having a usb key with all your works on it all the time.

What else about google drive? Guess what? IT IS FREE. As mentionned on this blog, you can get it for free for 5GB storage, which is enough and almost too much! However, if you want more space, you have to pay. There are different upgrade options but I believe someone who needs it for school or for work as enough space of 5 GB. All you need to access this wonderful world is to register. 

I don’t see any disadvantages to this and I encourage everyone to give it a try if they are not conviced yet! Also, if you are a teacher or a future teacher, encourage your students to work with it, it can really make it more simple for team work! If you don’t already have an account, go register!