15 December 2015

Because There is Light in Collaboration

And so another semester heads towards its end, just as another year which was filled with emerging educational trends taking root in many parts of the world. Emerging trends which are now more regular practices in a diversity of classrooms.  Change takes time, especially in educational practices. And though I keep mentioning different digital tools and apps here in this space, that does not necessarily mean that educators should be using them all - not at all. As in any other context, educators know best what works well in their classrooms, they are able to choose, tweak and adapt as they best see fit. Most urgently is the need to keep learning, to keep experimenting and opening doors to learning for learners, meeting them where they best learn in their digital worlds of today. 

There is light and lightness in collaboration. In this short post, I would like to thank the many educators with whom I learn with everyday. Whether on Twitter, Facebook or other social media where I participate, I thank you all for teaching and sharing with me. Learning does not happen in a vacuum. In today's world of fast paced change, it is with bloggers , those who volunteer to oragnise webinars and so much more, and others who share  their learning explorations, that I most learn with. Caught up in my own daily routines, if it were not for them, for you, I would be stuck in my own circles of trials and errors, fidgeting with apps and tools, frustrated with closed, locked up journals (and fortunately, this too has changed so much).

Participate Learning is one example of how educators can collaborate and share. 

Creativity in the English Language Classroom Nick Peachey) is another great source of inspiration to all language teachers.
(edited by  Alan Maley and Nik Peachey)

Personally, I offer no particular predications for 2016. Educational technology will continue to develop, will continue offering debates and many changes. Some may agree, while, many will question, still preferring to stick to rigid, outdated approaches of classroom practices. Downes, as always, was right. Change will not linger. Change will not wait. Collaborating, exploring, learning, are the only ways forward. Leadership without belief and vision, without the humility that comes with so much change, does not stand for leadership either. 

There is light and lightness. 

In openness, in transparent collaboration. 

SOAR: An Animated Short from Alyce Tzue on Vimeo.

There are stories to look forward to, successes and failures.

There are changes too. Many which educators should be fearless in trying out.

To all, I wish the best of endings for 2015 and more fruitful, happy changes in 2016!

To all who visit this space, many thanks for your time.

May 2016 bring light and lightness to all.

What educational changes do you look forward to in 2016?

Further Suggestions:

What Achieving Digital Equity Using Online Courses Could Look Like

Mapping digital practices

Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2015: Credits and Credentialing

For more trends in Digital Education - Digital Delights, Connecting Online Education

11 December 2015

Video Resources for Lessons

One of my most immediate challenges when using videos in class, is to decide whether they are culturally appropriate and how can they be best adapted for a language lesson.  Often, it is a stream of hours before I am able to find one which may be of suitable use and interest to my students. However, there are video resources which are easier to find and created specifically for education.

On the left hand side of this blog, you can see a list of video resources which teachers can dip into and today I'd like to mention Crash Course

With a range of topics, from religion to history, health and economics, there is plenty of choice - provided the setting allows.

How do you find appropriate videos for your students?

Wonders Never Cease from Crowns & Owls on Vimeo.

Further Suggestions:

Video Resources for Teaching Online and at a Distance

Teachers’ Guide to Using Videos - by Catlin Tucker

Video for All - by Russell Stannard

Video & Storytelling - by Jamie Keddie

Video Resources - curated on Digital Delights for Learners

Video Writing Prompts

Teach with Movies

9 December 2015

Playing with Images

Do you ever travel through images?

Do you ever wonder about what the images represent, how the photographer felt as he/she shifted their gaze and froze a moment? What they really saw and what you see?

There may be shifts of meanings, shades of perception, spaces in between what one sees and another wishes to express. 

Regardless of subject, there are always uses for images in classroom. Below are some suggestions for teachers and students alike. 

Loupe Collage is as the name suggests, a creator of collages,
offering different themes and shapes. One may use only one image or more. And yes, free to use.  You can download the image, share on social media, as well as embed it.

You can also create cards and even look for Waldo if inspiration is low. 

Meme Generator creates memes - a fun activity for learners, especially at the end of term or semester (or any time!). MakeaMeme is another choice for memes. 

Fotojet is another free online collage maker which also creates cards and posters.

Last suggestion for the day, is why not transform your class into unicorns with Unicornify? You only need to pop in an email and the generator will create a unicorn, which then can be added to a Padlet to showcase a whole group of learning unicorns! 

If you teach a language class, each learner can add a speech bubble to their unicorn and include it in the Padlet - for example, what they remember from classes, what have they learnt, what do they feel they need to improve. Possibilities are as endless as unicorns themselves!

Chiaroscuro from Daniel Drummond on Vimeo.

Further Suggestions:

Learning Visually with Themes

Visualising Data

Clipping the Art

Blow Me Away with Images

Posters, Images and Metaphors

23 November 2015

The Learning Management System

keys via photopin (license)

As many may perhaps know, I am an active user of Edmodo,  as well as a support
Ambassador for Edmodo. I find it so practical for students, that I also use quite often when training teachers as well. Here below are some reasons why:

However, there are other learning systems to use with students and when teaching online. Love them or hate them, often a LMS does offer some sense of tidiness in a course, in particular when other digital spaces are also being used for learning purposes. Despite not being a complete fan of a LMS which keeps student's work locked up and then later, not freely available to them, there are times when using a LMS comes in handy.

Here are some suggestions:

Haiku Learning

Modo Labs

Matrix LMS







Open Class


What other systems do you recommend?

For educators and students who wish to take more control over their learning, then Reclaim Hosting
is definitely worth exploring.

Further Suggestions:

10 alternatives to Moodle for e-Learning software, LMS Platform using open source/GPL



Moodle - a collection of references and videos

Edmodo - videos, slideshows and suggestions of how to use Edmodo

Teaching Check List

101 E-Learning Tips from the Experts

21 November 2015

Reading Resource for Young Learners


November is a month dedicated to writing, but I have always questioned writing skills if students don't have reading habits as well. With all the digital temptations, how does one encourage reading?

BiblioNasium  is a reading space for young learners, a space where both parents and educators may find resources for fostering reading among a younger audience. 

Once you sign up, you will be presented with options, as you can see below:

A rich resource for both educators and students, making
reading in class different,  more contemporary and more engaging. 

Another approach to making reading more meaningful, is for learners to use Skitch (also available for Android). 

After reading a short story or chapter, learners take a photo, write something related to the image and what they read, then share their Skitch to their class blog or LMS (or even to a Padlet). 


Take a break. 

Read a book. 

Create digital art reading reminders. 

Further Suggestions:



I'd like to thank Enzo Pesce for the image above which I mashed up. Enzo Pesce shares beautiful, thought-provoking images on a daily basis.  An artistic mind to connect with and follow! 

19 November 2015

Diffuse with a Quote

Mid November pushes the semester onwards. Halloween has gone by, and other celebrations take shape with  plans and events to come.

Mid November and students become restless, wishing for the end which still seems so far away. 

Whether as a way to let off steam, or possibly even to summarise the essence of an essay or project, why not have learners create a simple poster with a quotation?

ReciteThis is simple and free to use - write your quote/words, choose the background, create and share!

When everyone has created their quote, have students share them in a wall (Padlet) , so creating a further sense of community among them. 

Teachers can use it as reminders to share with students or even to boost daily morale (when those waves of endless marking come along as they tend to do).

How do you diffuse bottled up energy from hours of sitting at desks? 

DIFFUSION from Kouhei Nakama on Vimeo.

Further Suggestions:

Soundbites for the Classroom

Posters, Images and Metaphors

14 November 2015

A Tile Board for MAC Users

Every journey of discovery needs a place where one can  register, reflect and save moments. Learning is no different. 

A great app for students and educators alike is PopBoardz, which can be used as student portfolio, a collection of references for teachers or even as a presentation tool for students. 

Whether organising ideas, presenting, sharing ideas, PopBoardz keeps images, links, videos, notes together and can be integrated in the iCloudDrive. Presented in tile form, one accesses what one needs to easily. 

What other boards have you found useful?

Further Suggestion:

Time, Priorities and Boards for Collaboration