EDC601 course has been very useful as we covered many useful technologies which I can use immediately in my classroom. The most interesting thing for me was the Pecha Kucha presentation. Though Power Point presentation has always been a very important part of a language classroom, the time limit forces us to think much deeper and craft a much more efficient presentation. Or it helps beginners to do a very simple but effective one.  I also enjoyed creating an instructional video with Screencast.  I will definitely be able to use this as a task in my classroom.

While I enjoyed learning these, I must add that there are still very limited resources out there directly for teaching Japanese, or colleagues who are exploring the possibilities of connecting with each other and sharing ideas and collaborating.  I feel I made a first baby step towards connecting to my colleagues by creating the Wiki page. It is still a very small platform as it is shared with teachers in my department, the idea is to expand it to get connected to other teachers somewhere out there. One of the ways I am looking at is Skype in the classroom. It already has 18550 teachers worldwide and I am looking forward to find some colleagues with the same mind to share ideas and do collaborative projects. It will be very exciting for my students to actually communicate with other students or native speakers through this forum.

One of the things I wanted to explore in this course was RSS feeds for students.  Though I haven’t had too much time to search for useful sites, I looked at some sites and even though they are in English, I think students will be able to use them for certain units they will be studying. I could tap into their knowledge of digital literacy as they must be managing the vast amount of daily information in a very effective way and come up with some good information resources we can use in class. Just realizing this possibility has been very useful for me.

I have got may fresh ideas from this course and that’s why I think I am pushing myself to take the masters course. I like it as it is very practical and useful and I also enjoy interacting with colleagues from different parts of our school and learn from each other.

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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in Uncategorized


Technology: more than a tool, a new skill

I’m sure many of my classmates follow Jeff Utecht on twitter and have read about this. I read further on his blog The Thinking Stick, and can’t agree with him more. He really summarized well what we have to teach our students in technology.  He wrote;

“If we view technology as a skill then it allows us to look at what needs to be taught and understood by a generation that is growing up with it. The skill of evaluating digital open content, the skill of organizing your digital resources. The skill of creating graphics. The skill of digital content design and web design. If you are looking for a good starting place the NETs for Students is a pretty good place to begin.”

He compared having those skills to knowing how to drive, while each car is different. The skills he is talking about are “skills of organization, of building research systems and meta-cognition, skills that go beyond the tools and deep into learning process”. Not just how to use Microsoft Word or Power Point but how and why you need to use them.

I think that’s where teachers are better than IT specialists in guiding students. But at the same time it challenges us to know what are available out there. At high school level, some students are technically very advanced in digital world but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they know how to use them well for their learning process. I feel there are lots of possibilities for collaboration between teachers and students in this field. This also make me want to take the Information Literacy course offered to grade 11 & 12!

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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Blogging


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Fun with iPad apps Silen Film Director

In the week 5 of our course, we got to play around with cool apps on iPad. Our group decided to try “Silent Film Director”, which transforms our video clips into “vintage retro” movies of 1920’s. We went down to the playground and took some simple video clips. From them, the app created a great retro-style film, with great screen effects and adjusted speed. We got to choose the music, frames and letters but the rest was done automatically. The only technical glitch we encountered was that it can only accept the videos in landscape layout. So the end product is without some parts which we filmed in upright layout, but it still looks good. We had great fun creating this and I can imagine students will love trying this out.

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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Blogging


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How to embed a Google calendar into your Blog

Have you ever thought it would be easier if all your assignments are shown on a calendar on your blog? Well, that’s possible. Due to the size restriction, it’s not quite a month-at-a-glance calendar, but it serves the purpose and it has been very helpful for my classes. The problem is that you constantly have to update it! I am planning to share the calendar with high school students using their private email accounts, then their assignments will show up in their inbox. What better way is there to help them get organized?

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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Blogging


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Google Apps for Education – new possibilities

Last week I found this video about Google Apps for Education and thought, “Yes, this sounds like what I have been trying out in my classroom”.  David Collett, our new IT teacher, has showed us the possibility of using Google Doc as a class and I have seen how empowering it is in my IB Japanese class.

Students have been preparing for their debate as a performance task and started researching in class. They created one Google document and added information as they progressed in their research. When they saw it happen in real time on the projector, they had “wow!” moment and started collaborating even more.  They could see who was editing “live” following the little colored markers, and that they could even chat. Over the weekend, I could access it from Hong Kong and leave a comment. But the most amazing thing was that a sick student today could participate in the writing process from her bed at home! At the end of the lesson, she was exactly at the same place as the other students. The feeling of “connection” and “collaboration” was such powerful motivation for students.

I’m ready to explore more possibilities of the apps!


Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Blogging


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Web 2.0 what does it change in teaching and learning?

  A lot!

It’s a whole shift in the mind-set. From the old school where teachers “owned” the knowledge and distributed it sparingly (against payment, mostly) to students, the vast amount of knowledge is out there on the web, readily available for anyone who wants to find them. And a lot of them are free.  When students have instant access to them, is the classroom learning still valid?

Absolutely.  I think we are all “social” and want to get connected.  Twitter, FB, chatting, they are all based on that. I think classroom will become more and more a place to bounce and exchange ideas, to collaborate, to solve problems together.  It will deal with projects and problem-solving like in real-life. Teachers still have to have good subject knowledge but their role will be more like a facilitator.  Subjects like Information Literacy will be compulsory from the young age and the learning across subjects will be more common as problems in real-life are never limited to one subject area.  Skills like collaboration, team-building and communication will have more importance than knowledge in one subject.

I think in 20 years from now, the school will look very different from what we have now.


Posted by on September 28, 2011 in Blogging


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Getting Connected!

by Aphrodite

It is always exciting to learn a new thing, and to learn to become digitally fluent, that’s great.  With all the sites and possibilities available, I want to make it simple to use AND practical and useful.

The most interesting aspect for technology for a modern language teacher is : to get connected. Connected to colleagues for me, for new ideas and possibilities, not only here at school, but other teachers around the world.  But even more importantly for my students, to get connected to people outside to put their learning to real use.  Getting a feedback on their blog post from native speakers,  or having real-time interaction with their peers in other languages, the possibilities are enormous.  If I can get them connected, my role as a teacher will be more and more like a facilitator as they will take up the ownership of their learning; communicating with people they want to.

For professional development, I want to make my RSS feeds more effective and selective. I have been using iGoogle for RSS feeds and news but I notice I haven’t been having enough time to read all of them. I want to streamline them so the news come to me more effectively. For students, RSS would give them other sources for learning and will open their windows much wider than the classroom.


Posted by on September 28, 2011 in Blogging


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