How To Guide
Just before Easter 2013 I gave a talk at the Erickson “Scuola Nell’Era Digitale” conference in Trento, Italy. It was a huge pleasure, and I met some really fabulous teachers. They were a really dedicated bunch, working hard to improve the quality of education in Italy – often with the odds stacked against them.
I decided to forgo the usual conference “presentation-style” approach and do a more – hands-on workshop. It was ever-so-slightly chaotic in places, but we learnt a bunch, got through everything intact and had a load of fun. These are the slides I showed during my presentation. They’re in Italian – so I hope you get the gist of them!
PowerPoint has the ability to utterly, utterly destroy your soul with boredom – and yet it can totally engage your students’ attention and draw them into a digital story plot if used well. And how should you use it well? These slides will show you! 🙂
I have posted these before, but this is a slightly updated version that I made for the teachers and trainers at Bolzano Free University’s language department (a tri-lingual University in the north of Italy!)
I had wanted to upload this to VoiceThread so that you, my dear readers, could ask and answer questions and see how effective Voicethread is – unfortunately, Voicethread allows a maximum of 50 slides per presentation and … well… this has several more slides than this. Anyhow, the first slides are the digital story part. If you’d like to skip straight to the PowerPoint hints and tips, go to slide number 48.
Hope this is helpful – if you have any questions, leave them in a comment. I’d love to hear from you!
I was delighted to be invited to speak at this year’s IATEFL LT & TD SIG conference in Istanbul, Turkey. I put in a proposal to discuss IWBs and the lessons I’d learnt from watching teachers get used to using them in my training sessions. When the confirmation came through in early May, I gave a whoop! I’d never been to Turkey before, but had heard loads of good reports from friends who said how friendly and welcoming people there tend to be.
What’s more, Burcu Akyol who is a conference organiser par-excellence, was co-ordinating the team which organised the whole weekend. Basically I need say little more than I can’t wait to go to Turkey or Istanbul again. I had such a great time, the conference attendees were wonderful people, the talks were really top quality and the on the last night, when I went out for dinner… the food… oh the food! It was fabulous!
Anyhow, let’s get to the point, during the talk I promised the teachers present, that I’d post up the IWB slides I used to support my talk. The slides contain useful hints and tips for teachers starting out with IWBs as well as a whole bunch of links to some really handy tools to make teachers lives easier when creating interactive activities.
Francesco Zambotti is a research assistant at Bolzano Free University and Erickson Publishers of Trento. His area of specialisation is the pedagogically sound use of new technology in the classroom. as such, his talk at the Erickson “Schools in the Digital Era” was one that I’d been looking forward to all conference. And I’m pleased to say, he didn’t disappoint.
In my experience training teachers to use Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs), most teachers are really positive about the potential to bring interesting, stimulating and useful material to life their class’ IWB, but they often complain that it takes so very long to prepare materials that they are put off. Francesco had a simple, but effective solution to this: prepare less, present less, get the students to do all the work – then they’re using the IWB.
Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) are nothing particularly new, fancy, or special: just by being here and reading this you’re becoming part of my network in a way. PLNs have such a huge potential, which I still don’t think is being talked about widely enough.
I was performing some online college tutoring services for The University of Dresden recently, working with a great bunch of PhD students looking into digital literacies together. The group were really mixed, with engineers, forestry, medical and humanities students all in the same group. In the final week of the course I wanted to encourage them to create their own Professional Learning Network (PLN) so that after the course they would become more autonomous as learners and hopefully pick up new digital lietracies as they went along.
I wanted to show them a simple video to start off the week’s learning that would define PLNs in general terms. Try as I might, every single video I could find on YouTube was aimed squarely at teachers, or educators (and many of those were aimed at language teachers, too!)
So cutting a long story short, I decided to make my own video which in under five minutes could explain in clear terms:
- What a PLN is – and why it’s worth having
- Things students should consider before setting one up
- Some basic web-based tools that will help you get started
8 hours later, after lots of cutting clips, editing audio, shunting slides about to fit the narration, the final product is here.
Please really do feel free to use this with your students, trainees and colleagues – I made it using a Creative Commons license deliberately so that other folk could also use it. The only thing I ask is that you kindly credit me as the author of it 🙂
So, like I said at the end of the video: Let’s try to get as many useful PLN connections going on as possible in our network. I’m @SethDickens if you want to connect on Twitter, alternatively, if you have any other questions, queries or are looking for help in setting up a PLN, do please ask away by posting a comment in reply to this post!
At the end of 2011 I travelled up to Innsbruck, Austria to do some teacher training for one of the top language schools there, Die Sprache. We looked at a number of handy ICT tools for language teachers, with a focus on Podcasts. I thought I would share the slides from our training session here on the blog, so that other teachers who are thinking of using pod casts with language learners can take a look through and get a few useful hints and tips.
The presentation is basically broken down into three sections:
- The first is a quick run through of what pod casts are and why they are (a really good) tool, suitable for language learners.
- In the second section we look at podcasts used for active listening practice. Personally I think the fact that there are so many different topics of podcast available, as well as those made specifically for language learners, means that there are a great way of introducing regular listening practice to your learners.
- Then the third and final part of our workshop looked at using the brilliant Open Source sound recording software, Audacity. At first sight audacity can be a bit intimidating. I don’t really mind admitting that I only ever use about 5% of Audacity’s capabilities, but the ability to edit and mix sound recordings really make your recordings sound more professional. At the end of the day I’ve used Audacity with a class full of 15-year-olds, and it went very smoothly. A surefire sign of simple software.
Please feel free to take a look through the slides, and even share them with your colleagues if you wish. If you have any questions or if anything is not quite clear, please do ask any questions in the comment section below (these slides are of course designed to be used in a face-to-face seminar with me present, online they lose something.) Of course, if you would like me to come to your school to deliver this seminar in person, just drop me a line for a quote:
email: i n f o (a t) d i g i t a l a n g . c o m
Finally, I promised the teachers at Die Sprache who taught languages other than English, that I would find a few podcasts suitable for them. I didn’t find a great deal of sites, but here’s what I’ve found so far:
Radio Lingua Language-learning – Possibly the best group of language learning podcasts I’ve seen yet!
Schlaflos in München – der Podcast mit Annik Rubens – A very classy podcast from Munich.
http://www.andreasauwaerter.de/ – Andreas Auwerter’s Posdast
Podcasting for Learning » Zwei neue Interviewpartner im Bidcast online – Andreas Auwerter’s blog about podcasting
In addition to these links, I also have a list of links that (might) useful for teaching German and Spanish on my Delicious account:
- German http://www.delicious.com/sethdickens/german
- Spanish http://www.delicious.com/sethdickens/spanish
If you know of any more links good for teaching these languages, please do let me know in the comments.