My Learning Diary
"Creative Use of Tablets at School"
European Schoolnet Academy
Welcome to my learning diary! My name is Ekaterini Stafylidou and I teach french to 10-11 year-old students in primary schools in Greece. I'm always looking for ways to motivate my students and make learning for them interesting and fun. Technology seems to be the answer!
My Teaching Context
This year I'm assigned to four different schools. The groups of students I work with have 12 to 20 participants because students get to choose between studying french or german as a second foreign language. The situation slightly differs in each one of my schools. I have a computer and a projector in three of them and a whiteboard in one of them. Access to the computer lab at least once a week is also possible in three of them. Only two of my schools have stable wi-fi connection. I feel lucky to be able to use technology but I'm still looking for ways to make my students more independent learners.
I want to use tablets in my teaching because students generally get engaged and motivated through the use of technology and tablets are lightweight, portable and easy to use. Furthermore, students can collaborate and move in the classroom. However, making a school investment is out of the question and BYOD (bring your own device) seems to be the only possible solution.
For my school, the most challenging of the areas addressed by Diana in the videos are:
-the need of a team to start with tablets (regarding the fact that many colleagues have negative feelings towards technology and they lack the technical knowledge),
-the involvement of parents who tend to fear their children's exposure to the Internet.
-The tasks should be clearly designed and taking into consideration that the tools are new to students.
- Students tend to misbehave when they are working in a non typical way as they feel that they get the opportunity to relax and do what they want. Internet is for them just games and facebook.
-Copying and using the school's wi-fi code without teacher control has to be avoided at all cost in order to ensure e-safety.
I'm familiar with Edmodo but I never used it with my classroom. I recently started using an e-class platform created by the Greek Ministry of Education.
The Learning Scenarios concept is new to me. I find it very interesting and can't wait to try it out!
Although my students are quite young they could easily create:
-an illustrated dictionary with the new french words they're learning,
-mind maps to show the use of french grammar,
-comics using expressions,
-video presentations featuring French monuments or their personal achievements and
-games for practising french to make learning fun!
Apps for content creation:
Module 3.01: Group Formation
The students usually get to choose who they will be working with. It seems to be the easy way to avoid conflict. I'm going to give the App TeamUp a try asap!
The greek students are not used to doing collaborative work. Whenever they are asked to do a collaborative task there is always the risk of having one of the team doing most of the work. Forming small groups and fixing a time limit that makes it impossible for one person to do everything, is the best way to avoid such behavior.
Students are very motivated when they get to use the language they are learning. E-twinning projects are an excellent opportunity for this purpose. I have already participated in a lot of eTwinning projects but we never used tablets. Students enjoy participating in the collaborative activities and are impatient to share their products with their fellow eTwinners. Examples of collaborative activities included in our projects are:
-exchange of Christmas wishes and traditions in a padlet,
-filling a collaborative document with information about sports and leisure time,
-creating a wiki with french monuments, famous french people, french songs and making it look like a magazine,
-participating in a videoconference asking and answering questions about their everyday life.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to use new assessment strategies of group work after the webinar. Kahoot is the tool I use to do group assessments this year. Although I insist in group work and equal participation of all team members, I'm not always sure this is the case.
Although I know the importance of taking into consideration the different learning styles of students, other than differentiating activities I never take the time to test my students on this aspect and act accordingly. That's another chapter to be opened in the near future.
I found an interesting test for students to find what learner type they are
Aurasma is an awesome tool to work with tablets! It is so important that students can learn independently, progress at their own time, learn faster and become more confident!
My students heavy work load in combination with the relatively simple material they deal with in my class are the reasons I've never considered flipping the classroom.
Lack of time for students is the biggest challenge of the flipped classroom.
My lesson plan is ready!