Monday, 23 February 2015

EVO Week 5 - Saying Goodbye





Another EVO is over. It was my eight and all I can say is that I still have a lot to learn. I was very lucky this year with the sessions I chose. They were all great. I managed to finish five and I moderated one of them. I learnt new skills - how to make videos, how to help students with pronunciation, how to create lesson plans for a flipped classroom. I took a refresher course in ICT4ELT and I managed to collect all five badges. Above you can see the badge to Week 5. And here's my ICT4ELT certificate:



In Flipped Learning, we said goodbye to the session and migrated to this Ning for more flipping.

The moderators of Teaching Pronunciation Differently shared their YouTube channel with us.

In #ebookevo, we published our final chapters. One of the weekly tasks was to create a cover for our ebook. I used PicMonkey to create mine.


Then I played around with this tool and created a 3D version of my cover.



After trying out multiple tools and platforms for my chapter, two stood out for me. One is FLIPHTML5. I really like the way my ebook looks on their platform:





I know I am being a traditionalist here, but my second favourite is Microsoft Word:





It is downloadable  and editable. It is easy to navigate through the document and it has a clean, simple look. I had originally embedded the videos, which is possible to do in the offline version of Word 2013, but then I replaced them with hyperlinked snapshots, because the videos wouldn't work in Word Online.

If you prefer PDF, you can download it from this link.

I experimented with several other formats and you can see all versions of my ebook in this wiki page. I created the wiki to record my progress through this year's EVO and it contains all my EVO 2015 artifacts.

Once again, moderating #ebookevo was a great experience. I hope to do this again next year. Which is why I am a very proud owner of this certificate of appreciation:




I am grateful to Shelly Terrell and the moderator team. Special thanks go to the EVO Moderator group, especially to Nina Liakos and Elizabeth Anne for supporting us.

And, of course, I am grateful to EVO for being there for us. See you next year, EVO.











Thursday, 12 February 2015

Week 4 - Evaluate, Moderate, Train




                            Coffee vector designed by Freepik


Week 4 in EVO is over and we are well into Week 5 by now. It was, in many ways, an exciting week for me professionally.

First of all, it was the week I moderated #ebookevo. It was my first time as a moderator. I was nervous to start with. I shouldn't have been, because I was moderating a group of enthusiastic, creative teachers.  I had the privilege to look at some chapters in making. I learnt a lot about new tools and resources. We discussed ways to engage learners and have them contribute to our ebooks, as well as technology elements that support learners. I will be forever grateful for this learning opportunity. I am officially an EVO moderator now.


                           Heart vector designed by Freepik


In the meantime, my trainer development course started on Saturday. I am really excited about it and, hopefully, it marks a new beginning in my professional career. Of course, I will have to work very hard to get the certificate.

In Teaching Pronunciation Differently, we explored sounds. What left the strongest impression on me this week, however, was this short video. In the video Roslyn Young teaches French sounds to a group of English-speaking teachers. Around 2' 37" she starts talking about "the subordination of teaching to learning" and something she calls "post-paration" (as opposed to preparation). Great stuff, don't miss it.

In Blended Learning we did Moodle workshops and the pedagogical focus was on peer-reviewing. We were asked to pretend we were B2 students, marking our peers' essays. The rubric we were given focused on the content and on how well the student completed the task. The first thing I noticed as I was "peer-reviewing" the papers was how difficult is was for me to ignore the language problems of one of the students and to focus only on the rubric. The student had done the task quite well, but there were numerous language mistakes. I believe it is important for us to teach our students to focus only on that one thing that we want them to review and leave everything else to the teacher. As teachers, we too can learn a lesson here. There are several different categories for grading writing, the student might do quite well in one, while having problems in another. We focus on the language too much sometimes, to the point that we ignore everything else.

Peer evaluation was something we did in EVO Fipped Learning as well. Our task this week was to view and comment on at least 1 or 2 other participants’ lesson plans, referring to these 11 indicators of flipped learning. I looked at the lesson plans of Jose Antonio Silva    and Yu Jung Han   and I was impressed by both. Then I went back and reflected on my own lesson plan. I started thinking about what we all have in common and, instead of analysing all activities one by one, I believe I started seeing the bigger picture. What our lesson plans had in common was that, once the students came back to class after watching the videos, they went straight to complex tasks where they were independent of the teacher. I know it is probably obvious to seasoned flippers, but to me this is a revelation. No scaffolding in class from easy reproductive tasks to the complex creative ones. That part happens at home. If you are not sure what I mean, you can watch classroom videos of a seasoned flipper and a truly great teacher, Khalid Fethi. Here's the first one, and then you can proceed to Part 2 and Part 3.



I would like to finish this weekly journey by saying a couple of words about ICT4ELT. This was my favourite week, because I got to play with various interactive quizzes and exercises. I discovered new ones, such as Learning Apps and Educaplay and rediscovered some old friends, such as Hot Potatoes, Quandary and Survey Monkey. You can see the quizzes and polls I created this week in this wiki page and, who knows, maybe you can find some use for them in your teaching.

OK, I'll sign off now. Next week, you can expect one more "official" EVO update from me. After that, I am planning to go back to the session wikis and explore some tasks I missed. I'll keep you posted.








Tuesday, 3 February 2015

EVO Week 3 - Mind Maps and Lesson Plans



Week 3 in EVO is over. It was a very busy week and I ended up with two new lesson plans, a new wiki, three new videos, a mind map and a couple of Hot Potatoes exercises.  I am going to share all of them here and I hope you find them useful.

Week 3 in #ebookevo was a mind-mapping week. I played with NovaMind, which is free. In fact, I liked it so much that I created a mind map for this blog post to let you know what you are going to read about.You can see a larger version here. NovaMind comes in various shapes and sizes (depending on your device and platform) and it even provides cloud storage for your maps.

In #ebookevo we mapped out our chapters, which helped us plan them better. Here's the map of my chapter:


Or see it here.

I am not going to go into various ways you can use mind maps in EFL (this deserves a separate post and I am planning to write it), but one immediate idea I had was to include the map of my ebook at the beginning of the book (thus giving the students the idea about what they were going to find inside) and then again at the end (as a kind of can-do checklist). And there is no reason why we couldn't start and end our classes at school like that, so that the students could keep track of what they are learning. Mind maps are easy to use and they are a powerfu visual tool.

This was a very busy week in #evoflippedlearning. We looked at a lot of great examples of flipped lessons and we created our own lesson plans. Here's mine:



Or you can read about the lesson procedure here. By the way, I made the videos myself.

In ICT4ELT I got my Week 2 badge:



I created a new wiki, where I am planning to showcase everything I create during this EVO.

In Blended Learning we learnt about Moodle lessons and created our own lesson plan. We were supposed to draw our lesson on a piece of paper, then upload the drawing. I am terrible at drawing, so I bent the rules a little and used Hot Potatoes and Quandary. I also made another video (yes, I am addicted now). The final result is this.





I probably missed the point of the exercise, but I created something that I and my students can use more or less immediately. By the way, if the video doesn't work in the online version, you can download the doc, or follow the link under the video.

In Teaching Pronunciation Differently we learnt about articulatory settings in English. We watches two very useful videos showing how the lip and the tongue positions differ in English. I still practice saying Sing a Song of Sixpence every day, focusing on different aspects of what we are learning in the worksop.

As I was writing this post, I got notified by Sanja Božinović that my ICT4ELT badge has arrived.



These badges are so motivating. I have now decided I want the ICT4ELT certificate. I retake this course every year, but this time I have worked on the tasks more seriously that I usually do. I have discovered new tools and rediscovered old ones and found new use for them.

I will sign off now. It is Week 4 already and I have moderator duties in #ebookevo. You'll hear from me really soon.



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