Posts tagged Safety Online

Expat Shield Lçogo

Watch BBC iPlayer in Europe and Beyond!

Great news for EFL teachers and English native-speakers bringing up children in an L2 situation; there is now a quick, simple and best of all free way of watching the BBC iPlayer from abroad. ExPat Shield gives you a quick and simple way to get a UK I.P. address which fools the BBC player into letting you watch content from its website.

Expat Shield Lçogo

Note the word fools above though. Although you are not breaking any copy-protection (like on DVDs or software) and you are using a tool that has legal and legitimate reasons to be used (it gives you a secure connection for things like  transactions with your bank, stopping your passwords being stolen by tools like Firesheep etc) watching the BBC’s content from abroad is probably against the BBC’s terms and conditions.

There are other tools out there that do the same job, too (like VPNs) but i have never had any success with the free ones. They are either too slow to be useful, overloaded or simply don’t work. For those of you who want to give it a try, Ex-Pat Shield does work and is very simple and easy to use, too.

Basically you need to download the program from their website (you can get it by clicking this link here) install it on your computer (you might need to tell your anti-virus software that it’s allowed to install) then off you go. It took me 3 or 4 minutes only and I was watching the CBeebies content on iPLayer!

CBeebies Website

Obviously this will be great for my daughter growing up in Italy, I think it’ll also be really useful to Young Learners English teachers who’ll now be able to access content wherever they’re teaching, it’ll also be very useful for adult teachers, too as you’ll be able to use any of the authentic material available on the BBC iPlayer in your classes too.

A great, but simple TV lesson I’ve done in the past for example involves giving out TV timetables for the week to students, having a look through (possibly discussing the different categories of programme available) with a partner. You then ask the couples to decide on a programme to watch, they suggest their programme to the rest of the class and try to persuade them that it’s the best programme to watch (with all the rich language that can be drawn out for activities like this: “I would prefer to, don’t you think that, what about if we….” The lovely thing about this activity ios that for 10-15 minutes at the end of the lesson, you really could watch the programme that the class decides upon!

Have you got any ideas on how to exploit this material in your lessons? Would you feel uncomfortable using a “crafty trick” to access content in your class that would otherwise be blocked? Have you found another way of accessing online video content from sites like the BBC and ABC? Do be sure to let us know in the comments section!

DISCLAIMER: I have no idea whether this might even be questionable legally in some countries. if in doubt, please check before going ahead with trying this. I am of the opinion that this isn’t illegal, but I’m not a lawyer so my opinion isn’t worth a jot! If in doubt, don’t use it!

The 10 Best Ways to Look Professional Online

Maintaining a professional image on-line is vital nowadays for everyone. From  newly qualified students looking for their first job to top managers with years of experience under their belts. If you’re on-line, you’ll be seen more easily, so it’s a good idea to make sure what they see of you on-line makes a positive first impression, hey?

A positive image goes a long way.

Image From:

The How Stuff Works site is often a great source for authentic material for EFL teachers. It is regularly updated with articles about, well… how stuff works and things like that 😀 More than this though, it also often has some handy little “Top 10” lists which are easily exploited by language teachers. The article they’ve just published today, 10 Tips for Maintaining a Professional Image Online is perfect for in-class activities, both for business English students and for high school students. To be honest, it’s pretty darn good advice for a lot of language teachers, too. Here’s the introduction:

Whether you like it or not, you probably already have a significant online presence. Between government documents, newspaper articles and self-generated content, it’s not hard for others to dig up information about you. And whether those people are potential employers, co-workers or casual acquaintances, it’s generally a good idea to put your best foot forward on the Web.

For example, although social networks like Facebook were designed more for casual socializing, more and more human resource managers use these sites to screen potential employees. You must realize that personal Web content can have an effect on you professional life.

As a class activity, I will probably give 1 of each of the 10 pieces of advice to a different student. Ask them to read it, then do a mingle activity where they summarised their advice to each other, noting down what their partners told them. Probably afterwards I would read one or two of the key articles again as a class and do some vocabulary or comprehension work.

Anyhow, without further ado, here are the 10 headlines, or the 10 best ways to look professional online. Click the individual headline to read more.

10: The Best (or Worst) Stands Out

9: Professional Perception is Reality

8: Defend Your Reputation

7: Protect Passwords and Other Vital Information

6: Control Your Branding

5: Use an Alias

4: Establish Your Expertise

3: The Internet Never Forgets

2: Prepare for Potential Employers

1: Privacy is Still Real — If You Want It

What do you think? Do you agree with How Stuff Works’ list? Would you add anything else? Make sure you let us know what you think in the comments section!

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,


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