Tag Archives: ICT

ACEC2010 My slant

How is it that a conference about technology, namely the ACEC 2010, the national biennial conference of the Australian Council for Computers in Education, wasn’t chiefly about technology?

That’s a good thing in case you’re wondering.

So, for me, at least, the conference was about the opportunities to meet new people, share ideas and make connections. Some of these people I hadn’t previously met, others I knew online and was happy to finally meet face to face. And the program wasn’t too bad either.

I attended one day in body and the other days virtually. Either way, I was there thanks to the gracious collaboration of participants on Twitter #acec2010 and other great places to be when you’re not there.

The theme of the conference expresses the essence of the program:

Digital Diversity conference explores interactive and creative approaches to ICT in education. Addressing diversity in styles of learning and thinking offers us new pathways for building the right knowledge and skills to adapt to constant change.

Yes, the theme of the conference is ICT, but the words ‘interactive’, ‘creative’, ‘diversity’, thinking’, ‘building’ and ‘adapt to change’ express the real focus.

The sharing has been amazing. For example, @ackygirl tweeted a link to the Twitter transcript.

Here are ACEC2010 Delicious links.

Alan November‘s plenary and workshop sessions were a highlight for me on the Wednesday.

Amongst other things, Alan spoke about authentic learning projects based in the real world, for example,  the teacher and students who built their own Wikipedia page. Listen to these students describe themselves as historians in the most serious way.

A huge thankyou to organisers of this very successful conference. Hope to see everyone again next year.

Animate your language lessons

This is a nifty little application I can imagine would make language learning fun.

Joe Dale (October 11) put me onto the Animate application for language learning on Jose Picardo’s blog

In the About section of his blog, Box of Tricks, Jose Picardo explains the role of technology in student learning:

Technology has been demonstrated to be a powerful motivator, helping to increase confidence and thereby encourage learning. Technology catalyses pupils’ interest, helping to establish an atmosphere conducive to learning and achieving.

Knowing how to make the most of the available technology is an essential skill for teachers to acquire in an age where pupils’ learning expectations are changing radically. Technology ensures that education remains relevant in our students’ increasingly digital lives.

Box of Tricks is full of great ideas for language teachers. Apart from ‘Animate your homework’ some of the many ideas include:

Using Animoto to promote speaking;
Podcasting in 5 easy steps;
Assessing with video: giving students control;
Edmodo: microblogging for the classroom;
Seeqpod: the easy way to take music to your classroom or blog;
Top 5 tips for creating resources for the interactive whiteboard;
Top 10 tips for using technology in your classroom;
Using Voki and a blog in a sequence of 3 lessons;
Wordle: using word clouds in a lesson;
Free comicstrip-creating website …. and much more!

Another great blog for language teachers is Nik Peachy’s Learning technology teacher development blog. Just have a look at his topics in the right-hand navigation. You’ll find exactly what you need for enjoyable and engaging language learning lessons, whether it’s a 5 minute fix or a new application you can add to your repertoire.

If you’re a language teacher and you think that you can’t use much technology in your lessons, think again!

ePals – connecting globally

I was talking to one of our Indonesian teachers, and he asked about the possibility of connecting his class to one in Indonesia. At a recent SLAV PD, Camilla Elliott suggested ePals. It’s a secure place for teachers to connect their students to classrooms around the world, taking advantage of a cultural exchange far beyond the limits of the textbook. You can connect with classrooms either through the forum on the project index page or the search box on ePals’ home page. Through ‘classroom match’ I typed in ‘Indonesia’ and the age range of the students. There were many results such as this one:

I’m an English teacher at one of the middle school in Padang West Sumatra Indonesia. Our first language is Indonesia and Minangkabau but we learn English as our foreign language. My students are very interested in English and want to…

ePals is supported by project ideas and forums, eg. The way we are:

What makes me who I am? In this project, students will engage in a collaborative learning experience. Through email exchanges, students learn about the daily lives, cultures, climates and geography of children who live in other regions of the world.

The project structure includes essential questions, objectives and culminating activity. The 4-part project elements include pre-activity prior knowledge and context-building questions, an exchange of 4 emails with ePals, a presentation of information about ePals’ countries, and a reflection/assessment activity. Each of these steps is well supported for teachers with detailed suggestions, estimated time taken and links to resources. In the culminating activity, students create digital presentations about themselves and their ePals which reflect their newly found cultural knowledge.

There’s a project index
including topics such as The way we were; global warming; habitats; maps; natural disasters; water. Links to information are supported by National Geographic. The home page also includes featured teacher, video and forum, and top 10 ePals activities. There’s a running list of new classrooms that have joined, showing their flag for easy identification.

It’s a great way to use blogging for authentic communication and global connection, be involved in collaborative projects, use technology and build literacies. And it’s safe and protected by blocking spam, pornography and offensive language, and managed by teachers and administrators.