Sunday, 4 December 2016

Listening cloze generator

Tubequizard is a free site which provides a quiz collection for your students to practise listening. There is the option for you or your students to select from a wide variety of cloze quizzes depending on the number of gaps to be filled in, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and other items your students or you wish them to focus on. 

For me, the best advantage of the site is that it can turn into a handy web tool which enables teachers to create listening cloze quizzes with subtitled youtube videos. Just click on 'Train with your video' tab, paste the url of your subtitled video and click on 'create'. And that's it!  Your fill-in the gaps listening text is automatically generated accompanied by the original youtube video. Teachers can edit their quizzes, in case there are slight mistakes, and finally share a link with their students. 

Another advantage is that there is no registration required. This makes it easier for students to be content creators with a sense of ownership. So they can produce their own cloze quizzes on their favourite subtitled videos and practise listening or even share a link with their class.  

Based on Angela Lee Duckworth's video  on grit, I created this quiz              http://tubequizard.com/quiz.php?fid=11&v=H14bBuluwB8The extra options generated are shown here.

I believe Tubequizard is ideal for EFL and ESL teachers who want to further develop their learners' listening skills in an easy and engaging way.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Colourapp: an image tool

I have always been keen on web tools and apps related to photo editing, avatars, emojis and anything related to image creativity. Today I stumbled upon one of Bart Verswijvel's tweets about a very interesting app. The colourapp makes use of Public Domain or CC0 artworks which you can modify in an attractive way by adding your own photos. After you click on 'agree' with the disclaimer when you enter the app, you are presented with a number of artworks. You pick one and then you click on the 'pencil' icon. Then the artwork turns into a sketchlike image with five colours. There are five circles with a plus sign just at the bottom of the image, each one corresponding to the same colour section on the artwork. When you click on each of them, you can upload an image from your device. The result looks like a collage and is really fascinating! When you are satisfied with what you have created, click on 'done'. You can share your creation on twitter or facebook. You can also download it on your device. Here are two images I have created:🙆


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Creating image designs


Pixteller is an easy-to-use image maker web tool. It is ideal for creating engaging posters, banners, social media profile covers or any other image design you wish. You can use other people's designs and edit them or create your own from scratch. I have signed up for a free account and I think it is quite satisfactory for my needs.

As today is Thanksgiving Day in N. America, I've thought of creating a pixteller image to thank the three most significant persons in my PLN. These are Shelly Terrell, Peggy George and Arjana Blazic. I'm thankful to them for sharing with their PLN their precious knowledge on educational technology. Above all, I'm giving them a shout-out for their integrity of character- always hard-working, tech-savvy enthusiasts but also kind, supportive and encouraging to others.
  

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Google Earth and Google My Maps (Etwinning Learning Event)

I enjoyed the experience of participating in Google Earth Etwinning Learning Event (Nov., 2016) moderated  by Marco Neves . We mainly focused on Google Earth and Google Mymaps.

I started out with downloading Google Earth Pro HERE.

Both Google Earth and Google My Maps are powerful educational tools in the way knowledge is conveyed. They provide students with an unforgettable virtual experience of any subject area they may deal with. The 3-D feature, the visuals and the sound engage and motivate students to deepen their knowledge and further understand a topic. Google Earth, Google my Maps and similar mapping tools also trigger students' exploration skills and promote inquiry-based learning.

Especially, in an etwinning project participants can have a better idea of where their partner school is located and explore their area in detail. Knowing their partners better grows bonds between countries and increases their interactivity and collaboration necessary for an etwinning project. Finally, these tools can facilitate a variety of tasks in an etwinning project. For example, students can share information on their towns or villages, landmarks, museums, favourite places in their country, and so on. 

Here’s a list of the RESOURCES we were provided with in the learning event and some sites I gathered.
Share your Google Earth Tour to youtube via Movie Maker

Google My Maps Track
Google Earth Track

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Brainy Box to promote writing skills

One of the ways you can reinforce your students' writing skills in a fun way is by using Brainy Box. This is my suggestion on how one can use it.  Students upload six images of their favourite landmarks, types of food, sports or anything else they are interested in and write a short text below or above the image. At this point, you should make sure they are aware of the Creative Commons licences of the images they use; so they can either upload their own photos or Free Creative Commons ones. The site my students frequently use to download free domain photos is https://pixabay.com/.

This is how the task can be carried out:
The students visit the site: http://www.classtools.net/brainybox/
They click on page 1 and Edit. They upload a photo and write a short text below. They follow the same process for all 6 pages. Then they save the final product. They are asked to provide a code in case they want to edit their presentation later on. They shouldn’t forget to copy the url they are provided with after they have saved their work. This is an example http://www.classtools.net/brainybox/5_D6fmUU. I have taken down my code so that I can modify anything I wish in the future.
To view the presentation, click on the number of each page just below the 'brainy box'. 

 Notice: If you click on 'Share' you get an embed code. I like this feature as you or your students can embed their creations in  a class blog which looks really impressive. There are also more options such as a QR code, a short url and so on.
Images Credits (CC0 Public Domain)

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Sunday, 18 September 2016

#30GoalsEdu: How blogging has transformed my teaching



How technology has transformed my self-esteem

Technology has made it easier for me to open myself to a wider ‘virtual audience’. The fact that I interact or share with others through virtual communities, social media, learning platforms without having to appear live has been a real relief to me; on the other hand, my online activity through these means has improved my social profile and has raised my self-esteem.

Besides my lifelong online learning, which is extremely significant to me, I feel I have something to offer to others, as well. There are so many communities which offer me the opportunity to communicate with like-minded people and maybe support others’ learning. It’s not that I am that knowledgeable or tech savvy; but if somebody is just a bit less experienced or less digitally literate than you, s/he can more easily be approached and supported by someone who has recently tried to figure out the way to accomplish a similar goal. I eagerly once served as a Teaching Assistant in a Coursera MOOC supporting the course participants with any knowledge I had. In many of my etwinning projects I usually took the lead to coordinate the work. I shared my ‘expertise’ and tips at a personal level. In this sense, I reckon technology to have played an important role in the way I perceive myself as an active person who does not only receive but also shares with others.  

How blogging has transformed my teaching

Technology and especially my ardent interest in its educational application sparked off my passion for blogging. I set up my first blog for the classes I taught English as a foreign Language in 2012. I perceived the idea of creating a blog as a two-way-process to approach my parents. They could see both my efforts and their kids’ work on the web and they could communicate with me online if they wished to by posting comments or sending me a message through the blog.

I additionally considered class blogging as a way to delight and satisfy my students with displaying their work online for a wider audience which I knew they adored. Besides, blogging was a great opportunity for me to provide my students with resources for extra EFL practice both at school and at home. I embedded or provided links to authentic and quality non-authentic material such as videos, songs, interactive games, online books and much more appealing stuff. I sometimes flipped the classroom by asking my students to watch a video or read an online book which we then discussed in class.  Finally, I made use of my blog as a means of generating collaboration and instant communication by embedding various web 2.0 tools such as padlet, linoit, google docs and forms inviting my students to work towards a common purpose. In short, the quality of my instruction improved, class relations improved and students got motivated in this tech assisted environment. Learning was ultimately enhanced in a fun way!  The class blogs I have created so far are http://blogs.sch.gr/acharou/ for years 2012-13 & 2013-14 and http://anthippi.weebly.com/ for year 2015-16. Briefly, here is the positive impact I consider blogging for my classes had on parents, students and myself (click to enlarge):

 My ambition is to get my students create their own blogs and to let them express themselves in a creative and constructive way!

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Easy collage making



Creating a collage has never been easier! Through Google photos you can turn a number of selected photos into a nice collage. Click on the ‘plus button’ to create, select the ‘collage’ option. Pick the images you are interested in making a collage with and then ‘create’. You can edit your creation by clicking on the ‘pencil’ button.  

You can get a link to your collage, e.g. https://goo.gl/photos/MM2SUx8V6vDXmefn7
or using the ‘More’ function (the three dots) you can save your new image on your computer or mobile device.


P.S. I learned this tip from @mattbergman14  during a SimpleK12 free webinar!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Photosynth for a 3D effect of your photos

Photosynth is an impressive free web tool for capturing and viewing the world in 3D. The tool can convert a series of photos into a panoramic virtual experience for the viewers. You can share your special creations with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, or embed them in your blog or website.

It is such a pity that the Photosynth Windows Phone App and the Photosynth iOS App are now officially unsupported, and they have been withdrawn from their respective stores according to a blog post I read.

Naxos-Chora by Anthi2014 on Photosynth

Thursday, 11 August 2016

#30GoalsEDU - Revamp a lesson

Learning Design for: Gamifying body parts in EFL classroom: http://v

Learning Design for: Gamifying body parts in the EFL classroom

http://v.gd/39zhII

 

Context

Topic: Body parts

Total learning time: 90

Number of students: 20

Description: Year 4 EFL learners recycle and learn new vocabulary items related to body parts through the use of games

Aims

The students identify parts of the body and use the relevant vocabulary

Outcomes

Knowledge: The students will enhance their knowledge on body parts.

Synthesis: The students will create word search games and a class display of a monster town.

 

Teaching-Learning activities

Getting acquainted with body parts in EFL

Read Watch Listen        7 minutes        1 student         Tutor is not available

The students watch a youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaNiEku9Uk0) on body parts and verbs related to each part of the body. They take notes of vocabulary they are not familiar with for future use.

 

Practice                         10 minutes      2 students       Tutor is not available

Students practice body parts in pairs through the use of a three-level game: (http://www.funwithpuzzles.com/2014/04/body-parts-labeling.html)

 

Discuss                          5 minutes        4 students       Tutor is available

The students in groups discuss their scores and experience on playing the three-level game and talk over instances of difficulties they faced.

 

 

Gamifying body parts

Investigate                    10 minutes      2 students       Tutor is not available

The students familiarize themselves with and analyze word search games on body parts visiting a Teacher provided symbaloo link with a variety of relevant word search games (e.g. http://www.eslgamesplus.com/body-parts-interactive-word-search/)

 

Collaborate                   5 minutes        2 students       Tutor is available

The students collaborate to decide and agree on the choice of vocabulary they'll use in the word search game they will create.

 

Produce                         13 minutes      2 students       Tutor is available

The students produce their word search game (http://justwordsearch.com/create.html) which they embed in the class blog to be played by other students in future lessons and as homework pastime.

 

 

Extension

Produce                         10 minutes      1 student       Tutor is not available

The students are asked to create a monster town with characters they will make up. To do that, they individually visit http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/make-your-own/make-your-monster and finally print their creature.

 

Collaborate                   20 minutes      20 students     Tutor is available

The students describe their monsters and are asked to create a joint product of their monster town on a piece of carton which is being displayed on the classroom wall and the class blog.

 

 

Homework

Practice                         10 minutes      1 student       Tutor is not available

The students visit the class blog and try to search for the words in the games created in class. They can also play this unscramble game: http://www.spellingcity.com/unscramble-letters-to-form-words.html?listId=19020142

 

 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

#30GoalsEDU - Design a Badge



Badges are an effective and appealing way to acknowledge somebody’s work, accomplishment or positive behaviour. So far I’ve used only edmodo as a resource to create and award digital badges to my students. Besides the ready-made badges offered on the edmodo platform, you can make your personalized ones following the detailed instructions offered by the edmodo support service.

This year I’ve come across several additional free online tools which help you create some really awesome online badges. 
My first favourite badge maker is http://www.onlinebadgemaker.com/, which does not even require an account. This makes it easy for my students to create their own badge, ribbon or heart and then download it on their laptop. One more interesting site which can help you generate attractive badges is http://www.typographyeditor.com/. You do not have to register for this tool, as well.
The next three tools demand the user to sign up for a free account. As a result, I personally use them to receive my professional development badges. I also use them to design my own badges and give them to my students for some sort of accomplishment. So, my third favourite badge creator is https://credly.com/. My fourth favourite badge maker is https://backpack.openbadges.org/backpack/login. Last but not least, Google Drawings is a handy tool which offers plenty of opportunities for increased creativity.

Below are some of the badges and some ribbons I have created and intend to award to my students for various types of accomplishments during the next school year.





Sunday, 3 July 2016

Infographics

Piktochart is a cool infographic tool. I am using the free version which offers lots of free stuff to create and display your content in a professional looking way!  
You get the embed code by clicking on PUBLISH (not SHARE). Below is a pictochart  I created during my participation in Professional Practices for English Language Teaching online course.

My social graph for #etwion [Networked Teachers]

Coggle  is a mindmapping tool which helps you share complex information. I am using the free version which is quite satisfactory. It offers 1 private diagram, unlimited public diagrams, real-time collaboration, unlimited image uploads, full change history, pdf and image download, export and import as .mm and text functions, comments and chat and embedded code for your website



The coggle below displays  my engagement in various types of social media I have joined.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

My #NotatISTE16 experience

My name is Anthippi Harou and I am an EFL teacher in Greece. 

ISTE is considered to be the largest teacher-based, nonprofit organization in the field of educational technology. Every year there is a conference organized by ISTE in various parts of America; this year it was held in Denver from June 26th to 29th. For people who cannot join this great annual event live, there is a special community created called NotatISTE.

So this was the first time I'd ever participated in a NotatISTE community using the hashtag #NotatISTE16Unfortunately, I was not as active as I would like to have been due to an online course on PBL by the European Teacher Academy I had already started

I had learned about #ISTE and #NotatISTE through a blog post by Shelly Sanchez Terrell, who has been one of the most significant and inspiring persons in my PLN.

A positive feature I can recall about my virtual participation is the #NotatISTE16 Google Community which I had joined. I felt glad I met Peggy George in the community because she had also been one of my inspirators and I considered her a familiar person. She offered great support by notifying, reminding and praising #Not atISTE16 educators on their work. She also updated the community LIVEBINDERS, a web tool that she really loves - maybe for the practicality it provides educators with to share bulky and valuable resources.

As soon as I entered the community, I read a pinned informative google doc post by the community moderator Jennifer Wagner. I got a first idea of what participants should do. I fell in love with the challenges we were encouraged to join. The whole idea of the challenge concept was so engaging and motivating providing a gamification element! For each challenge you accomplished, you filled the relevant points in a shared google doc we were provided with. Some of the challenges I completed included writing a post 'about me' in the G+ community, contributing to the Badge Share Google Presentation (mine is currently slide 35), creating an extra ribbon for #NoatISTE. By the way, I liked the great variety of ribbon gifs offered to us in order to use and enhance our creativity. Another challenge was to post a selfie with a monument of your area. For this one, I created a blended image with a photo of myself and one of the Acropolis using LUNAPIC. I watched some periscope live sessions and joined the #NotatISTE  remind class group. I also engaged in lots of tweeting, retweeting about the event news, resources and other stuff which were part of the challenges.There were still many more really amazing challenges till the end of #ISTE16 but I was unable to try them all due to personal shortage of time as I have already mentioned.

Besides the gamification element, an extra advantage to my participation in #NotatISTE was my PLN development. I made connections, esp. on twitter, with valuable people who shared similar interests to me. We exchanged ideas and I expanded my knowledge on instruction practices with the use of technology.

All in all, I consider my engagement in #NotatISTE16 a great experience, which kept me updated with what happens in educational technology worldwide. I am looking forward to implementing the useful ideas I have gathered in my EFL classes when Greek schools start again after our summer vacation!
 Below you can see sample of my challenge contribution:

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A thankful letter for my sixth graders based on #30GoalsEDU


Dear sixth graders,
Dear sixth graders,
Technology has once again proved to be my faithful helper as our school photocopy machine has broken down at the end of our school year! So, uploading this word doc on our class weebly facilitates the process of my addressing you in a thankful letter you see, conditions have made it impossible for me to print it out for each of you!
To start with, I’ m really proud I’ve been your EFL teacher for this year (2015-16). I’m so glad I’ve seen such amazing progress in your character and learning skills. Respect, resilience and empathy are only some of the special features you’ve gradually developed since the beginning of the year. You’ve also done the best you could as an EFL learner and have achieved to express yourself so well in a foreign language! This is actually terrific for a child of your age! Keep up the good work!
Continuing with some sort of advice, I would just like to give you some tips on your future life. Even if you feel you haven’t done your best so far and you could have achieved more, don’t worry, you’ve got plenty of time to further improve! Better late than never! Just set goals that express you yourself and which suit your personality. And, of course, don’t forget that these goals should be realistic and reachable by you, i.e. within your abilities range!
Besides, in your life I’d like you to bear in mind the Starfish story you worked on so enthusiastically in class. Please, always remember the moral we came up with: you, as an individual first, can make the difference for a better education, a better environment, a better society, a better world!
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to make mistakes in your learning journey as you improve by learning through them. Just reflect on them!
I’m really grateful for the wonderful time we’ve spent together and all the magic moments we have shared!
Enjoy your life in a respectful and creative way!
Wishing you the best of luck!
Your teacher of EFL,        
Mrs Anthi  
   
P.S. I would like to dedicate this song to you!   

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

A brief presentation of the moodle course for the students

A lesson plan created on the tool Learning Designer by Anthi Harou


Learning Design: Making 'snowman' cards with code to share in a project
Learning Design: Making 'snowman' cards with code to share in a project

Context
Topic: Computing
Total learning time: 100
Number of students: 20
Description: Students are building up a snowman with code. The final product will be uploaded in their etwinning platform  as an exchange of Christmas wishes with our partners.
Aims
To develop computational thinking through problem solving (following/giving instructions) and coding.
Outcomes
Psychomotor skills(Psychomotor skills): The students will draw, use the keyboard, will coordinate commands to products (e.g. the width of the snowman's head changes according to the number of the width parameter in our code).
Affective learning outcomes(Affective learning outcomes): The students will develop their creativity and build their confidence through sharing something they have created.
Application(Application): The students will apply the knowledge of coding to create a digital snowman
Analysis(Analysis): The students will analyze the way code is used to produce something.
Comprehension(Comprehension): The students will understand that code relates to real life (using code to produce a graphic representation).
Synthesis(Synthesis): The students will gather all their acquired knowledge to design/produce a snowman with code.

Teaching-Learning activities
Observing a snowman
Investigate                    5 minutes        1 students       Tutor is not available
Use http://www.pics4learning.com/ to search for snowmen pictures. Type in the search box the word 'snowman'. Have a look at the images and notice the shapes, the colours, the accessories and other details a snowman may have.


Preparing step by step instructions to build up your snowman
Discuss                          10 minutes      2 students       Tutor is not available
Discuss with your partner the steps you should follow in order to draw and decorate a snowman. Write down your instructions.


Writing detailed step by step instructions for building up a snowman.
Read Watch Listen        5 minutes        1 students       Tutor is available
Read the instructions http://www.wikihow.com/Draw-a-Snowman  on how we can draw and decorate a snowman.

Discuss                          5 minutes        2 students       Tutor is not available
Discuss with your partner the similarities and differences between your instructions and the ones you have just read.

Collaborate                   5 minutes        2 students       Tutor is available
Work with your class partners to edit and maybe improve your own instructions. Check them out with your teacher.


An introduction to drawing shapes with code.
Read Watch Listen        15 minutes      1 students       Tutor is available
(On the Overhead Projector Screen) Watch the first video/1st step  (Welcome to our Hour of Code) of https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/hour-of-code/hour-of-drawing-code
Watch the second video/3rd step (Making drawings with code)  Proceed to the 4th step which is a tip on how to easily change the numbers in the parameters of a drawing  (Notes: Teacher pauses the videos and makes sure students understand basic ideas of coding.)

(Tip for the T.): Teacher pauses the videos and makes sure students understand basic ideas of coding mentioned on the videos.
Trying out a simple snowman with code
Practice                         20 minutes      2 students       Tutor is not available
Follow carefully the instructions you are provided with in the 5th step of https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/hour-of-code/hour-of-drawing-code/p/challenge-simple-snowman, i.e. the challenge. Move on to coding with the 6th to 11th step for more details to your drawing. For each step one will be the driver (typing at the keyboard) and the other one will be the navigator (reviewing what has been written and correcting errors).


Matching your ideas on your paper and code to  make a Super Snowman for your cards
Collaborate                   10 minutes      2 students       Tutor is not available
Based on the notes of how to make a snowman you took down with your partner at the beginning of the session, use the grid paper https://s3.amazonaws.com/KA-share/cs/HandoutGraphPaper.pdf to draw your super snowman. One of you will be the painter and the other the instructor.


Finishing up the snowman card with a wish and uploading it onto our etwinning platform.
Produce                         25 minutes      2 students       Tutor is not available
Work with your partner to produce with code the super snowman from your paper grid  (i.e. Project: Super Snowman on https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/hour-of-code/hour-of-drawing-code/p/project-super-snowman). Don't forget to add some text with a wish for our partners. When you finish, save your snowman and share it on our twinspace (etwinning platform). To do that, click on 'share' in the upper right hand corner of your snowman project, copy the embed code and paste it in the PAGE: 'Christmas wishes from Greece'  of our etwinning project. (First click on 'edit page' and after you have copied your embed code click on 'save' to save your work.)

Produce                         minutes          1 students       Tutor is not available

(Assessment) If the final product of the students, i.e. their snowman with code has been effectively shared, the aims of the learning design will have been achieved.