Webquest

What can teacher do to incorporate ICTs in their teaching?

Answer: By creating a Webquest for their students.

What is a Webquest?

“A Webquest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most or all the information that learners work with comes from the web.” (http://webquest.org/) To create a Webquest, you have to choose a website that will allow you to design and publish your quest for free. Here are some examples of sites that you can use: WeeblyWix  and Yola.

Once you chose a site, you can begin to create it. You will have to choose or create your background. Then, you will have to design 6 or 7 sections: introduction, task, process, evaluation, conclusion, credits and teacher page. However, you can add other sections if you want to. Here is a link that can help you design each of your sections. Also, you can take a look at this example to have an idea of what a Webquest looks like.

According to Vanguri, Szymanski Sunal, Wilson and Wright from the University of Alabama, this kind of activity gives to students the opportunity to use technology to complete a certain task. The reason why is that they will have to navigate on Internet to find the information to be able to do the Webquest. However, the researches students have to do are predetermined by the author of the Webquest because he/she will have included links to consult. One advantage is that with this kind of assignment, students have the opportunity to work on it outside of class because everything is on Internet.

As mentioned in Ahmed Hassanien’s paper, a Webquest is an “activity that helps students to learn through gathering, analysing and evaluating information from teacher-nominated Internet websites.”  Moreover, a Webquest is a tool that is used to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It is possible to create this kind of activity for every school’s grade. The teacher just has to choose the subject that seems the most interesting for his/her students. Also, these Webquests motivate the students because they are a different type of activities. It is unusual for them to complete a task on the computer from the beginning to the end.

Also, Lisa suggested that the Webquest created by the teacher do not need to be completed only individually. He/she can design one to be completed in teams of two or four. Thus, it will be even more interesting because they will do the project in teams and they will have the right to use the computer. All their interests will be put together.

My opinion about Webquest is that is it a good way to motivate the students to complete a particular task because technologies are part of their life. Every day, they use their cellphone, their iPod or their computer. Thus, they are used to work on computer and it will not be a big deal to explain them how it works because they already know it. In conclusion, it is a good way to motivate students with an interesting task that they will enjoy to complete.

Tricider

How is it possible to have all the students brainstorm at the same time and at the same place?

The answer: with Tricider.

Tricider is a free website. This website allows people to write down questions and share them with people around them. Then they can answer the questions, comments, give some pros and cons and vote for their favorite propositions depending on what is the question (tutorial). To be able to use this website you do not need to have an account. You just have to invent your question and share it with people. The question can be shared through Facebook, Twitter or by sending the link by email. A positive point of this website is that you can add your email address and every time someone answers or comments the question you will receive a notification.

According to Nik, you can use this website to do many things with your students. For instance, you can use it to publish a list of topics and have your students vote for their favorite one. Also, you can create controversial statements and ask the students to vote for the ones they agree and disagree with and they have to write pros and cons beside their choices. Another way could be that you divide the class in two, one half will have to find pros and the other half will have to find cons. At the end, you can determine which half of class has found the most convincing arguments. Another way to use the website is to create true/false statements to check if the students understood the text they read. I think these are interesting ways of using the website. For example, the second suggestion allows the students to practice their writing in a fun way because they are engaged in a debate. Their goal is to win the debate so they will not think about the writing part as a burden.

As shown by Melanie Kroening (Instructional Designer, Ecampus), one way you can use Tricider is to create an icebreaker activity with your students. Also, you can use it to brainstorm solutions and find the pros and cons of each, to brainstorm and collect ideas from the whole class or smaller teams and to brainstorm to find good ideas and vote for your favorite one to have the best idea rises to the top. Personally, I also think that the students can use it to brainstorm inside their teams. For instance, if they have to do a research, they can brainstorm on the topic they will choose or what they want to look at for the research. I did not think of using it as an icebreaker before I read the article of Ms. Kroening and I think it is a good idea because it will allow students to learn more about their peers on the first day of class. Also, the icebreaker activity could be used when teachers begin a new subject. The purpose could be to see what the students already know about that new subject.

Rhonndda also suggested another way of using Tricider, but not for the students. It could be used between teachers to make decisions without having another meeting. I think it is a good idea because teachers have a lot of work to do and sometimes it is hard to find time where everyone is available. It could also be used by teachers of the same subject to share what they do with their classes, to suggest ideas to the other teachers and also to help their colleagues find solutions when they face problems.

It is now your turn to try Tricider and see how it is a marvellous website.

 

 

 

What is Delicious?

How is it possible to keep track of the website you consulted and that you will need in the future?

Many people will say: “Well put links in your favorites.”

This is a good idea. However, if you work on another computer you will not have access to those links. What can you do to make this possible? The solution is to use Delicious, a bookmarking website. The advantage of this website is that it is free and you can access to it regardless the computer you are using. To use the website, you have to create an account and you have three options: with your Twitter account, your Facebook account, or with your email address. However, Delicious does not work with folder to classified your bookmarks, it works with tags. You can tag your bookmarks with more than one tag if you want to, it would be easier to find them after. Here is a tutorial to help you understand if you have difficulty to create an account and understand how the tags work.

Now, how can it be used in classroom?

According to Melanie, you can use Delicious with your students to do a project. I agree with her. Students can use Delicious to store the websites they will need to write their text or do their report. For instance, if they do the project in teams they can share their links with their teammates. If a member of the team works on the project at his/her house and save links on his/her own account. The other team members can go on his/her account and look at the pieces of information found by the person. Also, the teacher can follow each student. This will allow him/her to stay aware of the progress of the students’ work.

Also, according to Chris O’Neal, Delicious is a great tool because it gives you access to bookmarks of people you do not even know. The example he gave was that if you are a 4th grade teacher and you want to do a project on volcanoes with your students. You save a link and tag it volcanoes. Then you will be able to see how many people had saved a link under the same tag and it will give you access to their bookmark library. If you look at the other libraries, you might find one of another teacher that did the same project that you want to do and find interesting links that you could use. I personally think that it is a great tool for that, but also because you can share your own links with your colleagues. If you are two teachers that teach in secondary 3 and do the same project with your students, you could each find some interesting websites and share them with the other teacher. This way the students in both classes would have access to the same materials.

Andi Stix, an educational consultant & coach, also suggested another idea of how to use Delicious in classroom. Her idea is to use this tool to engage students in active learning with role-play. For instance, you want you students to choose the best video out of four for a museum exhibition. As the teacher you will have do research on your own to guide your students. You will have put your links under a certain stack. They can look at other things like videos or blogs, but you want them to have the same bases. To do so, your student will create their own account on Delicious and then you will share the material with them. After, the students will have to discuss with their team to share their ideas. For me, it is a good way to create interactive project, because the website is easy to access and accessible to everyone. Moreover, it will allow the students to have access to the materials from their houses. Also, you can share information with your student not only for a project, but in the everyday life. For instance, you do a class on irregular verbs and you had found a great video about that subject. Well, you can share it with them through Delicious and they will be able to watch it as many times as they want to. So, it can be useful to share any kind of materials with your students.

Little Bird Tales

How could your students create a story, design it, record it and share it?

The answer is really simple; have them use Little Bird Tales.

This website has many advantages. One of them is that it is free so accessible to everyone. Moreover, the website is really easy to use so the students will have fun using it. To create an account you just need an email address. You can register as a teacher. To do so, you will have to create 4-digit school code if your school is not already registered on this website. (https://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/2011/05/06/free-tools-challenge-22-create-high-quality-digital-stories-with-little-bird-tales/)

Your students could use this website to create their own story. First of all, they would have to invent their story and write it down on a sheet of paper. After, they would use Little Bird Tales to design their story. They would have three options to do the images of their story:  draw the images by themselves, use images from internet or use their own pictures. When this step is done, they can put a text box at the bottom of each page and write a part of their story. After, they can record themselves reading their story aloud. Finally, they have the possibility to share their stories with friends and family.

Another project that would be fun to do is having the whole class create one story. Each student would write a page of the story book. However, everyone would create a page without knowing what the other students are doing. Thus at the end when the teacher would put together all pages, it will create a funny story.

Often, we will ask our students to do a research and create a PowerPoint with the interesting information they found to present to the rest of the class. Well, instead of using PowerPoint, the students could use Little Bird Tales. It would allow them to put only pictures or key words and explain them aloud by recording their voice. It would be less stressful for them than doing an oral presentation in front of everyone because he/she could only present his/her video to the class.

Another way you can use this website is to use it to create your lessons. For instance, you want to give a lesson to your students on irregular verbs. You create a kind of “PowerPoint” with Little Bird Tales. When you are done, you record your explanations. Then, you share the lesson with your students and they can listen to it as many times as they want to.

It is now time to have fun using Little Bird Tales with your students!

Using iPad in classroom !

 

There is already some interactive board in the classes, but what will be another way to make classes interactive?

Answer: To use an iPad in class.

People would reply, but how can I use an iPad in my class?

Here is the answer.

There are many apps that you can use while teaching. However, do not try to find apps that will teach the subject for you because you will not find any. What you have to do is find apps that will help you teach the subject to your students or maybe will help you realize project with them. For instance, you want to make your students do a movie in teams of four because you want them to practice their oral interaction. Well, there is an app that you can use for this called iMovie. This app allows students to film, edit, produce and share their movie on iPad.

Another app that you can use is Strip Designer. This app is used to create comics. It is a good way to have your students practicing their writing and having fun at the same time because their goal is to create a comic not to write an essay. The task is more interesting for them thus they are more motivated and they will put more effort in their work that if it was just a writing production.

Moreover, many schools ask their students to bring their own device like computer or iPad. If every student has his/her own iPad you can adapt your teaching to every student in your classroom. To make this possible you have to choose apps that will best respond to the needs of your students. If your students are listeners, you can find an app where you can record your lesson and then share it with those students so they can listen to it at home. Or if some of your students learn more through tactile interaction, you can find apps that will allow them to manipulate the information in order to learn. (https://www.apple.com/education/ipad/teaching-with-ipad/)

Another app that you can use is iTunes U. This app will allow you the teacher to build your course on it. Also, your students can have access to this app so you can share materials with them. For example, you can create a lesson plan for the next class and your students can see it before they come to class. You can post all their homework assignments on this app. If you share a video with them, they can listen to it and take note that are synchronized with the lecture. An advantage is that they can bring their iPad everywhere so they have access to everything you share with them all the time. For instance, if you decide to change the date of an exam, they will receive a notification that indicates that you modified something.

One advantage of using the iPad in ESL classroom is that you can find apps where students can record themselves reading a text aloud. Then, they can listen to their voice and particularly to their pronunciation. After, the app will tell them the right pronunciation for words they mispronounced. It is a good way to learn the right pronunciation of words of a new language. (http://www.interactioneducation.com/ipadsineducation.html)

With the iPad, no need to use a mouse or a key board, everything is at your fingertips!

 

 

Timetoast

How to make timeline fun for students to do?

Well, make them use Timetoast.

Timetoast is a free website that allows you to create timeline as much as you want. As a future teacher, I think that using this website can make it more interesting for the students to create timeline. So, first of all, you have to go to the website to create your account. It is really easy to do. Here is a tutorial that you can watch if you have difficulties to register or understand how it works. Once it is done, you can begin using it.

Timetoast can be used to do many things. One thing that you can do as a teacher is to create a timeline where you will put all the homework assignments that your students have to do for the next class. Also, you can put all the upcoming exams they will have in the next month for example. I think this a good way of using it because often students will not write their homework in their agenda and they will forget to do one worksheet that you gave them. Moreover, they will arrive the day of the exam and they will tell you that they did not know there was an exam today because they did not write it in their agenda. Doing a timeline will solve all those problems.

A way to make your students use it is to do a project on their favorite author, singer or actor. First, they choose the person they want to do their research on. Then they find information on internet and after that they make a timeline of the person’s life.  Example: when the person is born, when did he/she become a celebrity or a famous author, etc. After, you can take the celebrity of every student and make a big timeline of when everyone was born or entered the world of famous people to see who became popular first.

An interesting fact about Timetoast is that you can add pictures about your event that you are adding to your timeline. It makes it more interactive for the students and more interesting to present to the rest of the class after. You can also add links to your event. If you talk about something in class and you ask your students to go deeper in the subject, you can put links on your timeline to guide their research.

However, when you register for free you cannot share your timeline with people. A solution to this problem is that the account you create can be only for your class. This way you can give them the username and the password so they could have access to the timeline you publish. An advantage of having only one account for the whole class can be that if students work in team, each team can create a new timeline for their project and all the students can have access to the work of their classmates. However, you have to explain to your students that they work on their own timeline and if they go see their classmates’ work they have no right to modify it. Also, if you have a blog that you can share with your students you can embed the timeline on it. It is another way of making it accessible to everyone. Finally, when students do project, they can print their timeline and hand it in to you in class.

 

 

WordPress

What is an easy way to make students share their thoughts with other students?

The answer: WordPress.

 WordPress is a website that allows you to create your own blog. It is available since May 27, 2003. Since that day it has been the most popular website used for blogging. However, what is blogging? It is to share posts on a regular basis. Sometimes people post articles about their life, about what is happening on the web or on topics they like. So, it is a way to share your ideas with the whole world, to make new friends, to visit other blogs that share the same interests, etc. Moreover, people can visit your blog, leave comments under your posts, or leave you a private message. Blogging can be compared to social networking service because it is a form of it.

Why should we use it in our classroom?

Because it is free.

However, it is not the only reason why we should incorporate WordPress in our classroom. The fact that it is free makes it available for everyone. One of the reasons why this is a great tool is that it will allow you, the teacher, to share many things with your students and not only with them, with their parents also. But first of all, before doing that you have to create your account and your students and their parents have to do the same thing.  This video is a short tutorial that will explain you how to create your account. If you have more than one class, it is possible to create a blog for each class if you want to on the same account. The only thing that will change is the address of your blog. Once it is done, you can begin to do some posts. You can make some posts about the upcoming exams. You can also post the homework assignments, this way the students will have no reason for having not done their homework because what they have do will be posted on your blog. You just have to make sure that every student is following your blog.

Rebeccah Haines proposed that teachers share their blog with to parents of their students. Parents will love that because they want to know what their children have to do for homework or when are their exams. They want to be implicated in their children’s education. Also, she said that she uses WordPress with her classroom because she feels it is a secure website. A reason why is that your have the option to block to access of your blog so it cannot be found through a Google search. I agree with her and I think there is another reason why teachers should share their blog with parents. It is because if parents have questions they can ask them to you on your blog. Sometimes other parents have the same interrogations, but they are too shy to ask their questions. By answering to their questions, you will probably answer to a lot of parents without knowing it. Also, their children could share their blog with them. So, their parents will be able to see what they are doing.

Furthermore, Deb Kim mentioned that WordPress is a good way of creating an online learning community because everyone will have access to your blog and can have access to other students’ blogs. Students like to have the impression that they belong to a community because it makes them create relationships with the other students in their class.

Another utility of this website was suggested by Michelle Langston. It is to use it to create portfolios. I think that it would be fun for the students to create their portfolios online because it would allow them to learn more about technologies. Also, they could carry it out everywhere they go because it is at the tips of their fingers wherever they can find a computer or a smartphone.

I think that the three ladies suggested great way to use WordPress that I would not have found by myself like using it to create a portfolio. However, I found another utility to this website. If you make your students read a book, they could use WordPress to do a book report. It would be easier than giving them a booklet to fill while they are reading because often they would lose it. If they use their blog, they would have no chance to lose their work because it would be on Internet. Also, for the teacher, it is an easy way of being informed of the work done by their students. They just have to take a look at their blogs and he/she can see where they are in there reading.

Now, the ball is in your hand. It is your turn to add technologies to your teaching to make it more interactive.

 

 

 
 

Prezi, a new version of Powerpoint?

It is really hard for a teacher to adapt his teaching to every student. Some are visual, others are auditory and some of them need to manipulate things to learn. Every student is different and learns differently. However, for teachers it is quite easy to adapt their presentation to students who are visual and auditory because it is possible to do both at the same time. A couple of years ago, before technology evolve, the teachers were using acetates as a visual support to explain their subject. Today, most of them use PowerPoint as a tool for visual support while they are teaching. Nevertheless, PowerPoint is not the more attractive visual support, there is a new one that just came out called Prezi.

As a future teacher, I would use Prezi and suggest it to my future students for many reasons. This online presentation tool offers three possibilities of registration and one of them is free.  This free option makes the tool available for everyone. One of the advantages of Prezi is that instead of making your presentation on many slides, you create a big map with all your information. When you want to do a Prezi you can use the background canvas the tool proposes or invent your own. Then, you can create bubbles where you can write, you can also import pictures, PDF or any files you have on your computer. After, you are done creating your map, you decide what you want to present first and what will follow. This way, you will be able to move around your map easily.

Another advantage is that you can zoom in and out. This allows you to focus on the most important information. For example, it this Prezi, there is a “slide” that has the word coccinelle in it and if you focus on the point of the letter “I”, you can see the picture of a ladybug. That way, the student will be able to know what the word represents. Also, another way to use the zoom would be: you build your presentation and, in it, you put some examples and you can even put further explanations. However, when you do your presentation to your students, you do not zoom on the examples and explanations because you are giving them aloud. But after the class, you can post your presentation on the portal of the school where every student can go and when they will review for an exam they will be able to go see those examples and explanations if they do not remember what you said. (http://www.creativeeducation.co.uk/blog/index.php/2011/11/using-prezi-in-the-classroom/)

Also, students are often asked to do mind map on texts they read. There is already many websites that exist for this purporse like Popplet, but Prezi is also an interesting tool because it allows you to move easily around your map. (http://ctl.uregina.wikispaces.net/Prezi)

It is now your turn to try to use Prezi and make energetic presentations for you student!

Why using Dropbox

I discovered Dropbox when I was in Cegep. I used it with the members of my team. It allowed us to share everything we were doing like articles and also the websites we were consulting. It is really simple to use. You just have to download Dropbox on your computer (https://www.dropbox.com/install this link is for PC, but it is easy to find the link for MacBook). You have to create an account, and then you can create a folder that you will share with the people in your team or with who you want to share your stuffs. After, you just put your word documents in it for example and everyone can see it. An advantage is that the people can look at your document, change thing if it is necessary, save it on Dropbox and you will be able to see the modifications. This is only one utility, but there are way more than that.

As a future teacher, I think that it can be very interesting to use this tool with students because it is really easy to use and free. If the students are doing a big research project in teams of four for example, they can create a Dropbox file that all the team members will share together. Also, they will be able to share the folder with the teacher. This fact will make it really easy for the teacher to keep track of how the project is going on, how they work together, etc.

Another way of using it is to create a folder for each of your classes. In those folders, you can put material seen in class, exercises, and important dates. Every student will have access to this folder and will be able to see what you post. Moreover, you can add a place where the students could ask their questions and everyone could benefit of the teacher’s answers or their peers’ answers. Often, teachers pass a lot of documents in class and there is always one student that loses his/her document. Next class, they arrive and say that he/she didn’t do his/her homework because they had lost their document. Sometimes it is true, sometimes it is just a reason for not having done their homework. So, if after each class you put the documents distributed in class on Dropbox, students will have no reason to have not done their homework (http://www.billselak.com/2012/dropbox).

Furthermore, the teacher can create a folder for each student of his/her class. In this folder, the student will hand in assignments or projects. Only the teacher will be able to see it. Then he/she corrects the homework, marks it and after the student can see his/her grade and the mistakes he/she had made or each student can do a portfolio that he/she will share with his/her (http://www.kentonlarsen.com/2013/09/using-dropbox-in-education-50-million.html).

It is also possible to use it for our own personal stuffs because you can have access to all the things you put on Dropbox from any computers, smartphones and iPad.  Example, if you begin to prepare an exam at school and you don’t have time to finish it before leaving for home, you save it on Dropbox. When you will be at home, you will be able to open the file on your own computer and finish what you had begun (http://plpnetwork.com/2012/08/10/dropbox-a-superb-classroom-tool/).

So, Dropbox is a wonderful tool to use in class because it’s easy to access and use.

Facebook as a tool?

Facebook has become one of the most popular social networks in the world. There are as many teenagers as adults that use this network. Whether it is to keep in touch with family or friends, or to play games, people use Facebook a lot. So why don’t we use it as an educational tool?

As a future teacher, I think that Facebook can be an interesting tool to use in class with students. There are a lot of things that we can do with this network. It is possible to create a group that will be seen only by the teacher and the students. This group will allow students to feel like they belong to a community. Also, with children in primary school, this community can be a way to intrust them with responsibilities. Example, each week a student could be responsible of the group with the teacher. The student would make sure that everything that goes on the page is correct. If not, he/she will tell the teacher and see with what they can do with the post. The parents could be added to the group, this would be a way for them to be involved in their child education and participate in it. (http://pedagotic.uqac.ca/?post/2010/10/11/Facebook-en-classe%3A-oui-ou-non) On this group, the students would be able to share information or ask questions to their peers or teacher.

Moreover, it is possible to add a calendar to the group where all the important dates will be on. This calendar will allow students to be aware of the important events or exams coming up. Also, any changes to the schedule could be done on the calendar and, every time, a notification would be sent to the students. The fact that they are almost always on Facebook will allow them to stay aware of the changes rapidly. (http://www.edudemic.com/100-updated-ways-to-use-facebook-in-your-classroom/) Furthermore, teachers would be able to provide some materials to their students on this page. It can be websites to consult for research projects, pretests, activities to practice what was seen in class, etc. (http://www.icicte.org/Proceedings2012/Papers/09-1-Petrovic.pdf)

Cyprien Lomas, Director of the Learning Centre in Land and Food Systems, discovered that even though students have access to WebCTVista an online forum for the students of the University of British Colombia, they use Facebook has a forum for online discussion. (http://ctlt.ubc.ca/2009/01/30/facebook-and-education/) For me, it means that even if the students have access to forum on the universities’ page, they prefer to use Facebook probably because the access is easier for them because they are always logged on it.

However, some people say that it is not a really great idea because students are not aware of what can happen on social network. Personally, I think that to set up a group with a class will be a good way to introduce them to the horrors that can happen on this type of networks if you don’t have the right privacy settings. So, before beginning to use the group with the students, teachers can look at the privacy settings with them to explain them how to protect their identity.

In sum, this network is at the tip of their fingers. So, why don’t we take advantages of this fact to create an educational environment?