Archive for January, 2009

How to Embed Almost Anything in your Website

I had an excellent website link passed on to me by our colleague @ipcjones via Twitter the other day. It tells you  how to embed stuff into your blog, Moodle or other web page (that means to add extra, or external stuff into your blog or other web page – if you have a look at the end of this post you’ll see my delicious  links which I have “embedded” into this post. )

The guide is pretty simple to follow and they reckon they can help you to:

“Learn how to embed almost anything in your HTML web pages from Flash videos to Spreadsheets to high resolution photographs to static images from Google Maps and more. “

http://www.labnol.org/internet/how-to-embed-in-html-webpages/6365/

I had a quick browse through the page, it looks excellent! Well worth a look for all those of us who were thinking about adding Twitter, Delicious, mp3’s or other content to a blog page. 

Here’s an example of “embedding” my favourite web links from delicious:

 

Have fun adding or rather “embedding” stuff into your blogs!

Best,

Seth

Being a Teacher Inspires

I got the TeacherTube 2008 list of their Top-Voted Videos of 2008 last week. The No. 1 video (based on TeacherTube viewer votes) is this one below. It made me realise what a privilege it is to have an education and therefore what an important and role and huge responsibility we have as educators.

The video is made by 4th grade students an it’s called “My Hero

The description of the video is: “This movie was made by a group of Grade 4 students in Bradford, Ontario, Canada. It is about a former child soldier, Sidibay, from Sierra Leone. “

It’s truly inspiring.

How could you use this in class?

I think this is such an inspiring video, just like 6 Billion Others which I wrote some lessons ideas for here, it would be a real shame not to use it with students.

  • Get your students to write to someone who is their hero. Choose a real person and get them to send the letter too.
  • Ask the students to discuss the video together in pairs, then to post a summary of their thoughts about Sidibay as a comment on the original TeacherTube video.
  • Record a podcast (or any audio) of your students discussing who their hero is and why.  Play it back to the class. Share it with other classes. Ask other classes to record something about their own hero.
  • Hold a vote in-class and choose a class hero. Shoot a short video similar to this about the person. Post it to Teacher tube. If your class can’t think of a hero, you could get them to look through http://www.mylifeisastory.org/ They’ll definitely find some amazing, inspiring kids there who could be a good candidate for hero status.

I’d love to know what you think of this video, or if you have any other ideas of how you coould use it in class. Please leave me a comment if you have any ideas you’d like to share.

Warm Regards, Seth

EVOnline 2009 – Quality Community-Based Teacher-Training

That time of year has come around again when the fantastic Webheads and TESOL get together to provide free training in the use of ICT for language teaching.

This event is now in it’s seventh year and is going from strength to strength. This year there are more than 17 different courses to choose from, all of which are delivered by expert educators who give up their time to help the wider language teaching community.

The EVO folk describe the sessions like this:

For six weeks , participants can engage with ESOL experts in collaborative, online discussion sessions or hands-on virtual workshops of professional and scholarly benefit. These sessions will bring together participants for a longer period of time than is permitted by the four-day land-based TESOL convention and will allow a fuller development of ideas and themes of the convention or of professional interest in general.

The sessions are free and open to all interested parties.

You do not need to be a TESOL member to participate.

Sessions are organized by TESOL’s CALL Interest Section and run wholly by volunteers who have donated their time to serve the profession.

If you want to enroll for the courses or find out more information, go to the EVO sessions wiki at: http://evosessions.pbwiki.com/

For now, here’s a taster of the courses that are on offer:

EVOnline 2009 Sessions

Becoming a Webhead

Blog-based Lesson & e-Portfolios

Collaborative Writing

Conflict Resolutions for English
Language Learners


Designing Interactive Activities

for the Young learner EFL Classroom

Digifolios and Personal Learning Spaces

Building a Professional ID in the 21st century


Digital Storytelling in ELT Classrooms


Enhancing Lessons with Web 2.0


EVO Video 09

Planning Video Projects


Images4Education

Exploring Images in the 21st Century Classroom

Internet for Beginners

Mentor2Mentor

Multiliteracies for Social Networking and Collaborative Learning Environments

NNEST: Networking Solutions for Professional Development

Teaching English through Drama: Dramatic Questions, Dramatic Answers

Tips and Tricks for Online Teachers 2009

Virtual Worlds & Language Learning

What’s in the Library for ESL/EFL Students?

See you there!

Best,

Seth.

7 Things About Me

I have been tagged by Nergiz Kern and GavinDudeney for the ‘Seven Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me’ Edubloggers thing. I’d noticed a few Tweets flying around Twitter about it, and now I’m kinda pleased to have been tagged and have been thinking what on earth I could share about me. So, here goes.

The rules say you have to:

  • Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog
  • Share 7 facts about yourself in the post – some random, some weird
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged

So my facts are:

1) I spent 6 months working on an animal rescue project in India in 2000. I completely fell in love with India during this time and am still a total Indiaphile now. I basically had a host of jobs from dog catcher to vet nurse, all of which were great fun, but hard work (I’ve got the scars to prove it.) We basically caught dogs and cats, but also worked with cows, monkeys snakes and more!  I first got into language teaching here when I tried to help a Nepali guy I was working with learn English.

2) I used to play Bass guitar in a terrible heavy metal band when I was a teenager. I really enjoyed it and believe it or not, we actually played a big festival (The Ashton Court Festival in Bristol) a couple of times.Judge for yourself how bad we were: khashmiri_bus_ride remastered!

3) My daughter, who is about 8 weeks old now, has her own blog. In her latest bizarre posting she explains why she has founded a group of revolutionary babies. I think I should be worried. Hmm… Perhaps I’m projecting my interests onto her. Poor thing, she’s doomed!

4) I’m mad keen on snowboarding. It’s one of the reasons I came to Italy in the first place.  Here’s a picture me about to fall off.

5) I had a mad crush on my French teacher at school. Surprisingly enough I did brilliantly in French and pretty awfully in German. I’m guessing that this is where I got my ideas that you learn better when you’re having fun from.  Mrs Lazarus if I remember right. We always tried to get her to say “Squirrel on The Wirral” as she couldn’t pronounce it at all. Ahh. Just to think of her now 🙂

6) I am a fully trained motorbike mechanic. As well as being a fan of terrible music when I was younger, I was also mad keen on motorbikes. I’ve lost count of how many engines I’ve stripped down on the kitchen table. I’ve still got one or two parts of them in my Tool kit nowadays. Must throw them out! I’m still debating with my wife whether I’ll be allowed to use my bike next summer. Being a dad makes you more wary of risks.

7) I love cooking and am a pretty good chef  I’d say. Indian food is my speciality, but I also love cooking Italian too. My latest creation was a Goan Xacuti dish and I’d definitely recommend it. It was delicious! Any time you’re in Trento, give me a shout and you’re welcome to come round for dinner.

Okay, So I’m going to tag the following seven of my favourite bloggers:

Carla Arena

Jose Picardo

Joe Dale

Valentina Dodge

Tomasz Walasek

Enza Antenos-Conforti

Elena B Ruiz

Look forward to reading about you folks!

Seth

Would you like you students to see this?

Ning Social Networks – Unsuitable for Education?

Many educators may already know about Ning – the social networking site that has become more and more popular with teachers recently.

Ning - Social networking made easy.

Ning - Social networking made easy.

Due to its flexibility and ease of setting up, Ning offers teachers a simple and easy way to set up a website that is fun to use for students and (if used well) can help students to develop and expand their Personal Learning Network (PLN). This could and should be a really valuable tool for teachers to use more and more, but as it stands at the moment, I’d urge real caution. Want to know why? Then read on:

I love the fact that the Ning development team are constantly doing so much to continually improve the Ning experience for its users. I especially like the fact that users will be able to discover new, relevant Ning networks that are similar to our own. This will be great for my students’ PLNs and a fantastic way of starting to expand school-based Ning networks and turn them into e-twinning networks.
The catch is that the free version of Ning is supported by Google advertising and this advertising can be quite inappropriate and offensive as I discovered earlier today. I am taking part in the amazing EVOnline 2009 sessions where brilliant educators from around the world are giving up their time to help each other learn how to use Web 2.0 technology in their classrooms. They have decided to use Ning to facilitate these sessions, great idea, however the ads that Google and Ning are serving up on their pages would most likely offend both the teachers and participants of these courses. Take a look at the ad I have seen 3 times now on one of our Ning pages:

Would you like you students to see this?

Would you like you students to see this?

Thanks heavens I haven’t started using Ning with my students yet. I probably won’t until there is better filtering of ad supported sites – this could risk me losing my job. It’s really inappropriate, wouldn’t you agree? To be fair to Ning, they do offer an ad free service for 13 – 18 year olds, but I personally feel that these ads would be just as offensive and inappropriate for adults too.

If Ning wishes to expand into school PLNs and social networks via free ad-based sites, that later become  converted to paying sites, they really should do something about this. I have already complained to Google about this ad, but I also feel that Ning should be pro actively pushing them to filter content more stringently. Does Ning really want to financially benefit from this type of Ad? I hope not!

I’d be really intrigued to know if anyone else has had experiences with “bad ads” in education? Have you ever wished you hadn’t used a certain tool with your students? I wonder what Ning themselves will say about this? I’d welcome any comments and your thoughts on this.

All the best,

Seth

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