Anna Laghigna's Learning Diary

On board the European Schoolnet Academy MOOC on "Creative Use of Tablets in Schools" - Started on 13th April 2015 - finished May 2015.

About me

Hi everybody! My name is Anna. I am half Italian, half Austrian and I live partly on the Austrian mountains, partly in Northern Italy where I teach English as a foreign language at a High School.

I hope this MOOC will provide us all with new inspiration for innovative teaching and learning.

I'm keen on technology, which I have long been trying to implement in my teaching practice. My blog is a dedicated place to my students, where I showcase their multimedia artifacts and celebrate their achievements.

My teaching context

The school I work at is quite big and it is disseminated among several buildings.

There are about 1,000 students aged 14-19, most of them girls, who attend three different courses. These all finish with the Italian State exam (A-levels) at K13.

My students study classical ballet and contemporary dance along with more academic subjects. Class sizes range from 15 to 25 and there are lessons until late in the afternoon and on Saturday morning. Many students stay in the boarding house the whole week, sometimes for months, and on the whole have little chance to access the Internet from a PC.

These are some of my students in the rehearsing hall.

I do not have my own classroom and rotate around different rooms throughout the day. Classroom layout is very traditional and students sit in rows in front of the teacher's desk. There are some interactive whiteboards in few classrooms, which can be used only by the students in that class. We do not have projectors, neither tablets or laptop computers.

There is a computer lab with 24 PCs where we can take students upon reservation, but our WiFi connectivity is very weak, so even the best designed lesson can end up in a total flop.

This is why I and my students prefer using our own devices. I bring my laptop, tablet and smartphone to school and we share all devices available in class.

Any time we want to do groupwork, we need to move desks to arrange for better layout. Below you can see how some of my students are working together on a school project.

No tablets, alas!

Module 1 - Getting started with tablets at school

M1 - Q1: Why do I want to use tablets in class?

I would like to introduce tablets in my classroom basically to make my students become active learners. I would like them to use technology instead of me. Tablets can help them personalise their learning paths and develop HOTS skills through collaborative tasks.

In the last three years I was fortunate enough to teach in another school where I could experiment a lot with technology in the classroom. I also attended some courses (including two by the EU Schoolnet Academy) on innovative teaching and learning scenarios.

This year we do not have much technology available at school and we do not use tablets as part of our daily routine.

Nonetheless, because nearly all of my students constantly use What'sUp and other social media, I have decided that "If I cannot beat them, I will make friends"... with their smartphones (lol!). So we have started using my students' cell-phones also for teaching and learning purposes in the classroom. Mobile devices in general are more flexible and offer inbuilt options like videocam recording, text-to-speech, Internet access, etc.

We have used smartphones in class for researching information, flipped classroom and in-class-flipped learning through videos and websites, collaboratively tasks for creating content on Padlet, Edmodo and other apps as well as for tests, simulations, webquests, groupwork, video storytelling, QR Codes, etc.

If students are already familiar with these devices and use them as soon as they step out of school, why not exploit their potential also in class?

Youngsters are all multitaskers

Why do we need a change?

I think that the short video below summarizes better than thousand words how today's students feel when they are still addressed to as if they were "mere pitchers to be filled up with facts, facts, facts"! (cit. from Charles Dickens' Hard Times)

What does it mean to teach in the 21st century?

As Benjamin Hertz - MOOC administrator in this course on The Creative Use of Tablets suggests:

"We as teachers need to reflect on the way we are teaching if we really want to innovate the way we teach!"

The video below - though somewhat dated - still remains visionary and powerful for inspiring teachers!! I love it!

If I was being challenged by a parent or school leader, how would I try to justify the huge investment in tablets? What would I answer?

I have tried to reflect on why I should need these devices in my classroom, also considering the local situation at my school and in my country.

The first thing that comes to my mind is that we urgently need to innovate and adapt our schools to the actual needs and expectations of our students. In few words, tablets can help us teach 21st century skills and facilitate 'learning by doing' and project-based learning. Schools in my country have laid behind in these years and teachers need to see with their own eyes how technology can make our working in class more motivating and rewarding, not only for students but also for us. I think that a strong point to persuade skeptical parents and colleagues would be to explain that tablets empower the users. By introducing tablets in the classroom our main aim should be that of making our learners become more independent and personalize their learning. I love the Infographic below about Personalised Learning:

Moreover:

Tablets can bring texts to life and help learners customize their learning process. Instead of reading about English poetry only in class, for example, or a speech delivered by some famous philosopher or politician, students can easily click to hear a video or the speaker directly on their device and - above all - to their own pace. If they don't understand a word, they can easily look it up on an online dictionary without asking for explanation.

In the last years I have worked with more and more children with special needs, especially dyslexia; tablets can provide a full range of customizing options (like text-to-speech, dyslexia-friendly fonts or page enlarging options) to facilitate the reading experience for this kind of students.

Tablets can also provide alternatives to printed textbooks and constant updating of information. They ensure more flexibility in learning, offer constant access to multimedia-rich materials online and create a learning environment that expands beyond classroom walls, especially if the devices can follow students at home. They are lighter than textbooks, smaller than laptops and have a longer battery life. Furthermore, they can facilitate ergonomical and kinaesthetic learning.

What is the added benefit of using tablets in general and more importantly what is the benefit for my own situation?

As a teacher, I realize that web 2.0 tools as a whole and tablets in particular are contributing to changing the focus of my teaching practice.

Although tablets have been around for just a few years, they have already become an important tool to change education forever.

In few short years the number of tablets personally owned by students have more than doubled, but they are still banned from the majority of schools. Most students have used smartphones for years, so that tablets are the natural next step for them.

  • I would use tablets - as wells as laptops, chromebooks or any mobile device - to carry out collaborative tasks. There are plenty of powerful tools for teaching and learning that foster collaboration, critical thinking, communication, creativity, personal responsibility and independence, and which I cannot use at the moment without the flexibility that only tablets can ensure.
  • Tablets facilitate learning because they empower the user and help active learning. See the Cone of Learning below.
  • I would also exploit the versatility of tablets for more formative assessment with tools like Kahoot or Socrative, instant messaging and feedback.
  • By putting these devices in the hands of students, we can grab hold of their interest, interact with content on a more personalized level, and monitor real-time learning.

And finally, as teachers we should never forget that...

Module 1.1 -
"We aren't preparing our students for today, but for tomorrow!"

In Module 1.1, researchers from the Ikse vor IKT explain how tablets can impact on the quality of learning, fostering high-order thinking skills.

In particular, dr. Abdul Chohan emphasizes the importance of ensuring that technology is:

  • simple;
  • reliable
  • mobile;
  • providing access to learning
  • not only a tool for the consumption of knowledge but also a tool for the creation of learning and information.

The video below shows how the world has changed in less than 25 years! Did you know?

Module 1, Q2:

What whole-school challenges do I already face or do I anticipate facing when using tablets?

I realize that, besides the many advantages, there are also plenty of challenges to face.

Shifting from a teacher-centered instruction to a student-focussed learning scenario needs thoughtful planning to ensure that the technology used actually improves the teaching and learning outcomes. At the same time, we need to motivate students and get them involved in learning activities that make them positively forget the idea of using a tablet just for playing video games or social networking.

So I agree with the general rule suggested in the videos that "tablets must be used for learning not for playing!"

The first barrier I think will be pedagogical. I expect some resistance from my fellow teachers. Not all Italian teachers are ready or willing to experiment. Some believe that tablets and smartphones make kids stupid and addicted to technology. Many are stuck on traditional trasmissive models or simply habit. On the whole, teachers need to see examples of how others before them have successfully implemented tablets in their classrooms. An initial pilot class as well as workshops - not only with the teachers but also with some students involved in the project in the role of ambassadors - could be useful. I guess a visionary leadership would be essential - at least at an early stage - to overcome the initial scepticism.

In order to maximize the potential of tablet technology to facilitate student understanding, we need to develop efficient designing, tutoring and scaffolding strategies together with plenty of collaborative tools.

What I most feel the need for is to receive practical advice on how to effectively use tablets as part of the gradual release of responsibility from teacher to student. I would like to learn from this course how to integrate tablets into high-quality instruction, including strategies for using tablets for modelling, guided instruction, collaborative learning, critical thinking and independent learning, and formative assessment.

A further challenge may be financial. To cover the high investment costs for devices and Wi-Fi connectivity, state funding might be insufficient. I believe that various forms of crowdsourcing and the help from parents could be an option for funding the project, at least for a pilot class.

Front cover of the MOOC on the creative use of tablets in schools

Module 1, Q3:
What classroom challenges do I foresee using tablets?

On a class level, I don't expect many problems with the students. Probably they will respond enthusiastically in the beginning. Some might later object that working with tablets is quite demanding. Parents could be more critical.

The choice of a learning management system - like Edmodo or Moodle - is essential for the efficient introduction of tablets in class. I have been using Edmodo for over four years now and I would warmly recommend it also to my colleagues.

I see the technical requirements related to WiFi connectivity, the downloading of apps and the syncronisation and recharging of all devices in class as a relevant issue, for which I might need the support of some expert. I would also appreciate the availability at school of an instructional designer or at least of a helpdesk for troubleshooting. I would definitely go with the suggestion provided in the videos of identifying for each class at least two students who are already tech-savvy and could tutor the others in the use of tablets.

As it was suggested in the videos, also esafety, cyberethics and data privacy should be addressed by means of a good school policy as well as the promotion of awareness and Netiquette among students.

I reckon that many of the ideas Diana Bannister issued in the videos will require thoughtful planning ahead of the implementation of tablets in School. I particularly appreciated Diana's suggestion of introducing:

  • "Lists of I can" statements,
  • Rotating tasks,
  • Student trainers,
  • Lessons with more than one teacher,
  • Assessment of individual student progress based on metacognitive reflection.

Finally, in order to encourage a mindshift about learning and teaching with tablets not only among students and teachers but also with parents, I believe it could be very useful to organise evening meetings or workshops to provide information and advice before bringing tablets in the classroom.

EDMODO is awesome!

Oh yes! I know Edmodo and have been using it for over 4 years now. I am an Edmodo fan!

Edmodo is available also as an App, so that Students receive a notification on their Smartphones or an email on their PC anytime there are new posts on Edmodo.

There are plenty of videotutorials available on uTube also in other languages.

Being a teacher of English as a foreign language I have used Edmodo first of all to facilitate communication in English with me and other classmates. It's fun and easy.

I often post a question or a picture and ask students to comment on it. Or else I ask my Ss to take a picture and post it on Edmodo.

Edmodo is first of all a microblogging platform.

I constantly use Edmodo also to share media, assign and correct homework, carry out polls and for online testing. We have also used it for peer-reviewing (before I mark a composition, essay or whatever, a classmate should reply attaching his own revision of the assignment and gets extra points).

Edmodo is multi-layered

What is great about Edmodo is that the more you use it, the more you discover new possible uses of it. It is indeed a multi-layer LMS. Lately, I have increased the use of badges which I assign students as positive feedback on particular occasions or special efforts in class (Critical Thinker! Great Communicator! Great Presenter! Brilliant tutor of classmates! Inspired writer! etc.) There are so many badges available that can be adapted to our needs! My Students love them!

In the future I would like to carry out projects on Edmodo, by creating minigroups with other classes from other schools and beyond classroom walls, for shared projects, book reviews, Skype Misteries, etc.

Finally, the communities of teachers on Edmodo are awesome! I have learnt so much from them! There are communities for nearly all subjects and we share ideas, contribute materials and find new connections with teachers.

Last but not least, Edmodo is constantly growing! I would warmly suggest that you participate at the next Edmodocon - an international online event which is usually held in August and during which educators from all over the world present their own creative ways of using Edmodo. https://www.edmodocon.com/

I'm posting below a screenshot from my Edmodo Homepage to show where to access communities and embed Apps directly to Class Groups.

Other resources:

Video: "Wir gestalten die Zukunft"
They are building the future with tablets in Jennersdorf (Austria)

Among the additional resources provided in the first module of the course, I found this interesting video in German about the implementation of tablets in Austrian schools.

What teachers say:

  • Increased motivation among students
  • Multimedial working place
  • Visual learning (watching)
  • Audio learning (hearing)
  • Tablets add on didactic value to many teaching situations
  • For youngsters it would be now totally unconceivable to live in a world in which there were no more Handys, Smartphones or Pcs.
  • Technology needs to be integrated and find a place also in schools.
  • Teachers who have now been using tablets in teaching for a while would not easily accept to go back to the old teaching methodologies.

What students say:

Learning has become more fun!

Learning has changed dramatically.

They love Apps, in particular: Geogebra for Maths and, Garageband for Music.

Video interviews to policymakers: EQUITY OF ACCESS

In this video, some policy makers make one point clear!

  • Equity of access through 1:1 device must be ensured to all. Kids should have one device each and be allowed to take it home so that they become familiar with it.
  • Learning in the classroom is just a fraction of the total learning.
  • If students can have access to tablets 24/7, they are going to be more involved in the programme, than those who are given it just for one hour or so and then it gets locked in or it is given to another one.
  • The structured school timetables - usually in periods varying from 45 to 60 minutes - do not facilitate the efficient use of tablets or other multimedia for learning.
  • Especially in case of PBL or Field Trips (interviews) outside the classroom, lesson structuring requires rescheduling.
  • It is nearly impossible to have a good tablet lesson in 45-50 minutes!
  • A LMS like Edmodo or Moodle should be integrated into the school life.
  • To make lessons more transparent, it is suggested that at the beginning of the year students and parents are informed about the marking system. In particular, they should know how they can keep trace of evaluations and marks assigned throughout the year on the LMS itself.
  • A change at school system level should consider also Support. Today teachers are  asked to make trasformative change from didactic teaching to more tutoring and supporting to multidisciplinary learning. It is a complete revolution and we cannot expect teachers to do it without a lot of help!
  • Leadership is very important so headteachers need to be taken on board.
  • Policy-makers should invest a lot in order to make little changes become systemic.
  • Changes in the classroom should be learner-centric.
  • Focus should be on the learner. This can be achieved only provided that top-down policies are accompanied with bottom-up strategies.
  • The real challenge is blending national policies with what teachers are really doing in the classroom.

Module I completed - 1st Badge

What have I learnt from other colleagues' Learning Diaries in Module I?

I found some Learning Diaries that fellow teachers from all over Europe have shared on the Mooc Tricider really Inspiring! Thanks a million!

They have opened up new perspectives, which I had not even considered!

It's essential for us teachers to see what other colleagues have done in their classrooms.

Yes! Let's smash down walls!

Beyond classroom walls! - Beyond cultures! Cooperative Learning on all levels!

Internet safety & Cyberethics

Thanks to Chiara Spalatro's LD I have further reflected on the importance of making our kids aware of the risks of cyberbulling and privacy.

The video that Chiara has pinned on her Padlet is awesome! Straightforward and very efficient! Congrats to the Italian students who have made it.

Ximo Rey's account of a Tablet implementation experience in Spain

http://it.padlet.com/Ximo_Rey/LearningDiary

Very detailed account of the many strategies applied and troubleshooting solutions suggested in hands-on practice. Ximo has been very generous in sharing also plenty of resources and tools to be used in the classroom.

Ms Fasquel has shared useful resources and her own Blog

http://it.padlet.com/mhfasquel/tablets

I really have much in common with her! We both teach ESL with similar approach and I have used Flipped Classroom, too. I will learn the Scoop.it resources that she suggests in more detail and I will definitely get connected with her on Edmodo. Thank you Ms Fasquel!

Angelo Chiarle's Learning Diary is very informative and provides great insight on the current situation in Italian schools.

http://it.padlet.com/Angelo/AngeloLearningDiary

Thanks for sharing! I learnt a lot and am going to study thoroughly some of the apps suggested in his Mindomo Map.

Module 2
Using tablets for content creation

In this module we have two key questions/tasks:

  1. Identify at least one idea for content you could produce together with your students that has a wider purpose and meaning than just the classroom activity.
  2. Create some content with a tablet (can be your personal tablet) to use as an example when doing a content creation project in your class

So at the end of this module we should have achieved the following learning objectives:

  • Knowledge of a process of developing innovative "learning scenarios"
  • Understanding of what content creation with tablets refers to and how to implement this pedagogically effective in the classroom
  • Knowledge of a range of apps that can be used for content creation projects in the classroom
  • Development of a piece of content with a tablet that can be used as an example in a content creation project.

Q2.1 - What do you make of the Learning Scenarios concept?
Share any reflections and ideas linked to Learning Scenarios here.

I have been trying to implement this new approach in my teaching practice since last summer European School Academy MOOC on Future Learning Scenarios. It has dramatically affected my teaching style as well as the way I address my Students in class.

I reckon the first phase "Dream" can easily be implemented by all teachers independently of their teaching environment and the amount of technology available in class. Honestly, we don't need tablets to do that! What needs to be reconsidered here is actually the role of the teacher in class, whose tasks were clearly outlined in one of the videos on content creation scenarios:

  1. Communicate purpose
  2. Set goals and limits
  3. Produce a plan
  4. Define quality criteria
  5. Pre-select information/tools
  6. Assign roles
  7. Give on-going support
  8. Help with publishing content

This initial brainstorming session is key to the success of any project, because it calls on the motivation and creativity of its participants. Whenever students can choose the topic of a learning activity and contribute in structuring their own learning process, their motivation and creativity positively boost. They become active members in their team and stimulate the others in doing the same.

Learning by doing is another fundamental key to efficient longterm learning. It needs well-thought out modelling, planning and scaffolding by the teacher. I envisage some difficulties in that: often kids want to start doing videos or other multimedia products without any planning at all. Sometimes they feel frustrated when the teacher poses limits to their goals or resent negative feedback from their peers in the group. The suggested two steps prior to creating, i.e. "Explore" and "Map" are essential to ensure good collaboration in the classroom before proceeding on with "Make".

"Ask" and "Remake" are the two phases which are possibly the most formative for the students, whereby they need to reflect on what they have done so far and ask for help from teacher, other students or an external expert.

"Present" is what the kids always look forward the most. It is like the premiere to a show in a theatre: the spotlights are on the students, who can show what they have learnt and produced using their self-created knowledge. That's true competence!

I think this checklist to validate lesson plans for content creation by the University of Minho, (Portugal) could prove very useful for learning design. I'll definitely study it more thoroughly.

I made the following Mindmap on my iPad using an App called Popplet Lite. It was so quick and easy!

Maybe you have even used Learning Scenarios yourself (in another project)?

Yes, I have tried to use Learning Scenarios with my students.

This year for example we have made all together a virtual map of London as final output of our learning about the English capital. My main objective here was to bring my pupils to improve their speaking skills, both in terms of pronuciation, fluency and oracy.

First we got organised in groups and searched for information on the basis of a webquest. Information was analysed and put together on a Padlet. Then kids decided which attraction they wanted to present. We used Tellagami - an App that they could download on their smartphones for free and which allows the creation of a speaking avatar.

Their individual videos were then uploaded on a Thinglink that you can view below. (just click on each icon to watch and listen).

(The icon bottom left of the map, hides their Padlet ).

Q. 2.2 - What kind of content can you produce with your class?

Teaching English as a foreign language, I have used technology so far especially to improve speaking skills (pronunciation, fluency and oracy) through Digital Storytelling, Flipped Classroom or Webquests.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to carry out any PBL in full so far, firstly because we have little technology at school; secondly because there are few teachers in my school who would be willing to consider a multidisciplinary approach; thirdly, because you will need a lot of permissions in Italian schools to do so, including the approval by your principal. So, let's hope for the future.

If the main objectives of our learning stories should focus on the creation rather than the mere consumption of knowledge, the range of possible activities is huge: from videos, storyboards, comic strips, animations to presentations, e-books, timelines, infographics, blogs, wikis, etc.

Although we do not have tablets at school, we have however done some nice activities this year which have played a very important role in motivating my students and fostering their creativity.

For example, they created imaginary interviews with their favourite celebrities. First they researched information and created a webpage on Tackk - They were electrified by their outputs, also because I left them completely free to choose who/how to present their favourite VIP.

Then they turned the information into interview scripts and posted them on Edmodo, using only their Smartphones. We then recorded in class on my iPad using an App called Spreaker.

They prepared videotrailers of their interviews with iMovie and put the whole together on Wevideo.

Was this something they cared about? It definitely was!

Was it realistic? Probabily not, but it certainly improved their self-confidence. That is all that matters to me! They have been active learners.

This is the link to their video playlist on uTube. To view also their Tackk pages, please check out my blog.

If you feel like leaving a comment, I'm sure my students will be delighted to read what you think about their work!

After watching the video in Module 2.2, I have reflected on the way these activities were carried out in my classroom and compared my methodology to the structure suggested by Katja. I can conclude that these activities have served different purposes:

  • My students could understand and develop content (Use of English, Grammar and vocabulary, fluency, oracy)
  • They learnt how to create content using various Apps in an authentic problem-solving setting. They had also to reflect on various cyber-ethic issues such as plagiarism, copyright, privacy.
  • They have improved participation and motivation since then. Their multimedia artifacts were first published on Edmodo, where students could share results and outputs immediately with classmates; later also on uTube and on a dedicated blog.
  • Students could explore different websites, gather information, use their imagination to create a multimedia product and present it in an original way.
  • They could organise their own learning both as individuals as well as members of a roleplay team.

My role as teacher was mainly that of an advisor at the beginning. We brainstormed ideas together, but I set goals and limits, as well as deadlines.

I could not let my students free to choose the Apps to use unfortunately, because of obvious technical reasons. It's been quite demanding to coordinate all efforts due to connectivity issues and the limited number of devices available. Likewise, I had to help my students with the publishing of their videos both on WeVideo and later on my uTube channel.

Q. 2.3 - Create and share your content creations with your peers.

Post your links, files, images, etc. here and add a short description of how you created it (what app, what type of tablet, etc.)

Anytime I ask my students to create content using a special app, I first try it out and present a model to them.

Last year for example, I asked my 8th year students to create a presentation on their Daily routine using Powtoon. This is really an awesome tool for creating animated videos and presentations, which unfortunately does not work well on IOS because it requires Adobe Flashplayer.

I launched the invitation by presenting my own animated video, accompanied by a videotutorial on how to use Powtoon.

If you would like to take a look at some of my students' videos, please check out my blog:

A message in a balloon with WriteAboutThis

When I woke up this morning, I thought over the many hints and tips that are so generously shared by our colleagues on the Triciders and Padlets provided for by the course administrators and in the social groups. So much food for thought that I am finding it hard to digest it all at once!

Second thought was about the school environment in which I am teaching. So very different from the mindset that all participants to this Mooc do share.

Without inspired leaders at school, change is not likely to become systemic, I'm afraid. So I wrote this message on a balloon using a nice App for iPads: WriteAboutThis

Metacognitive reflection

In one of the videos in Module II, Dr.Fernand Mesdu from Hogeschool Universitaet, Brussels, stresses the difference between outcome and output in the students' learning process. He explains how important it is for students to be guided at this stage by their teacher on a metacognitive reflection based on the question: "How they did What?".

Last year, all my K9 students had their own blogs, in which they collected and showcased their multimedia projects. For each post, students had to provide a description of their work and answer some questions:

  • What did you do?
  • How did you do it?
  • What did you find difficult? How did you overcome problems?
  • What did you like best?
  • What did you learn?

This is the link to their ePortfolios on Blogspot:

2.4 - Apps for content creation

Postcard Creator: Video tutorial on uTube

Book Creator: Videotutorial on uTube

Storytime: Video tutorial

A Symbaloo webmix with lots of IOS Apps for Digital Storytelling: IOS Apps

My colleagues on this MOOC are posting so many links to interesting tools and apps on the attached Tricider: great collaboration tool and wonderful contributions by all. Thanks a million!

Module II - Completed!

Amazing!

This Padlet is simply amazing! So much creativity and collaboration! I have never seen anything like that "from teachers"!!!! Each contribution made by our colleagues on the Mooc is simply awesome! Congratulations to all!

I have generated this fake newspaper article with my iPad and a very easy to use web tool: Fodey.com. How do you like it?

Extra Resources:

Webinar 1: Parental Involvement and Tablets

Date and time: Wednesday, 22nd April 2015, 18:00h Brussels time

Topic of the webinar: Use of tablets in the school often makes parents to raise questions. The parents might want to know how the ICT is exactly used in the school, what kind of rules should be applied to the use of tablets at home, how they can get updates during the school year, etc.

First presenter was Lisa Cowell from the Penwortham Priory Academy at UK.

Lisa drew attention on the fact that Ipads were not considered educational tools in 2012 when they decided to start off their project.

  • They have chosen to implement 1:1 iPads because they were considered the safest in terms of battery life. 3% did not receive iPads because they had already their own device.
  • Kids can take their iPads home so that they become familiar with it.
  • Parents donate once a month according to their revenue: from £8-11 to 20£ a month and can decide whether to keep the tablet once the leasing period is over. 67% of them have done so.
  • They thought kids were more technological, but they are not. They used technology merely for videogames.
  • They gave parents training through blogs, meetings, email. They wanted parents to be present on the day the iPads were given out. Everything worked smoothly once accounts were created.
  • They carried out Parents' Surveys through online questionnaires. They also send out Newsletters every week to keep parents informed about what is going on at school. What's more, they have also published a PDF Parents' Guide to their iPads.
  • They also organised workshops for parents, but not many attended.
  • They had several breakages in the beginning. They had to provide for screen protection and cases. They now have a special insurance and their own repair in-house. They finally decided to use only iPad Mini because they are less fragile.
  • They set up a strong firewall and constantly carry out spot checks. Facebook and uTube are banned from their portal and cannot be accessed from school.
  • They use Showbie to collect, review, annotate information. They however still use a paper diary to assign homework.

I found this document about school policy and parental involvement at iPenwortham Priory Academy (UK), ENGAGING PARENTS IN THE USE OF MOBILE TECHNOLOGY

  • As for teachers' training, Lisa said that they first focussed on figuring out which staff was already competent and who was weak. Teachers were paired, so that they could learn from each other.
  • Some teachers would sit once in a while to teach others how to use various apps, troubleshoot problems, etc.
  • They also appointed tech-savvy students in the role iPad Ambassadors.
  • They now even have training courses for teachers and parents on iTunes!

I found this video on uTube about Lisa's school: images mean more than thousand words!

Second presenter was Hannes Thomas from the NMS Jennersdorf at Austria.

His presentation was amazing! The webinar attendees were all very active in commenting and many wrote they wished they had principals like Hannes in their own schools.

Hannes started by repeating his motto: "No risk, no fun!"

They have a vision and have chosen to innovate. Their program is "Wir gestalten die Zukunft" - We are shaping the future!

He then described how they deployed their project at school. He stressed the importance of having efficient infrastructure and equipment. Without broadband, very little innovation can be done.

Another key point in their strategy is teachers' training. Info dissemination is vital to enforce an efficient pedagogical approch to technology. They also have a newsletter and have created a network of teachers who communicate also through Twitter and Facebook.

They even created an App of their own to share documents and assignments in class, which is available from iTunes. It is called Papierflieger (paper plane!)

I found this video on Vimeo about the Polytechnische Schule Jennersdorf, which is basically the slideshow that Hannes presented during the webinar.

Finally, Simona Granfol from the Highschool Gimazija Jožeta at Slovenia. These are the slides to her presentation.

This first webinar was amazing! So much food for thought... and a bite of envy!

If only we had principals like Hannes in our schools! We need visionary policy-makers and inspiring motivators in the key positions at school. Without their help, there might be silent innovators among teachers but no systemic change will ever happen!

HOW TO USE THE CONTENT CREATION SCENARIO?

Among the additional resources, I found this interesting document: Content Creation Scenario which contains a detailed description of the seven key stages in planning a lesson story.

I am spotlighting here the list of apps that are suggested in relation to the seven stages of a learning scenario:

DREAM: TeamUp - Padlet - Lino-it - Reflex - FolioFor.me

EXPLORE: Evernote - Diigo - Google Calendar - Asana - Tackk

MAP: Mindmup - Popplet

MAKE: WeVideo - Loopster - Prezi - Snap (alternative to Scratch)

ASK: EasyPolls - Classdojo

Further reflections on the importance of teaching MEDIA LITERACY

Dr Diana Barrister from Wolverton University contributed on Facebook a very interesting article on the use of tablets in language teaching.

Dr Barrister also provided a link to Oxford University Press ELT website, from which it is possible to dowload their White Paper on Tablets and Apps in the English Classroom.

http://oupeltglobalblog.com/tag/diana-bannister/

Recently I have come across this presentation on the importance of being Media Literate in our times. It does not merely mean being able to Read&Write! It has to do with liberty and democracy!

Teaching critical thinking, communication, problem solving, responsibility, creativity, etc. do foster CITIZENSHIP! After all, shouldn't this be the ultimate goal of education?

As teachers, we might need to reflect also on this!

So, let's think outside the box!

I also found this video on uTube promoting Wakelet, a new tool for content curation, that an Italian colleague Gianfranco Marini suggested. Internet works through browsers and search engines, which rely on artificial intelligence. They call it: human revolution, meaning that Internet users should be in control of what is now available on the net. Quite inspiring!

Module 3
Teaching and learning collaboration

In the video below, Prof Deirdre Butler from Dublin City University suggests some key questions that teachers should ask themselves when they want their students to work in groups:

  • Are students really working together?
  • Are they giving each other feedback?
  • Are they sharing responsibility?
  • Are they making substantial decisions about the content of the process or the product?
  • Are they working interdependently?

Katja offers some excellent tips for practice on how to foster collaborative learning and form groups among students.

M3 - Q1: Challenges of collaborative work

I see Collaboration as a major challenge in our Italian schools, where trasmissive models are still primarily used for teaching. We teachers are the first who need to learn collaboration skills!!!

My students love working in groups! They say that what they learn doubles if they can do it in a cooperative way. Truth is, however, that they do not know how to collaborate efficiently because they lack practice! As Katja says, "Collaboration is a skill that needs to be learnt and that requires a lot of planning by the teacher".

I have found out at times that nobody has ever taught them how to do it! Teachers in secondary schools (A levels) often prefer more academic teaching and regard groupwork as appropriate for primary schools or too time-consuming. How sad!

The point is that when you come into a class like this, and you want your students to work in teams, they often tend to assign themselves tasks and insist on working on their own. It has taken a lot of energy, and even more time, to persuade my students that working in groups does not only mean distributing tasks. They need to learn how to share knowledge and resources with peers and how to switch from individual to teamwork.

Collaborative learning supports communication skills, inter-personal skills, collective problem-solving skills, cooperation, teamwork and leadership. Tasks and responsibilities must be shared among all members of the group.

Another big challenge is that learning spaces in Italian schools are very traditional, with students sitting in rows in front of the teacher. I always rotate classrooms, so that it is difficult to arrange for more efficient layouts.

I have been using some collaborative tools for brainstorming like Padlet, Tricider, Powerleague, Stickymoos. I have also used Google Drive for collaborative writing, but it was difficult because we do not have enough technology at school. What's more, my students stay in the whole week, so that they are unable to use the Internet from home either.

I often use Edmodo as a collaborative platform and ask my students to post links, texts. etc. as well as for peer reviewing. It worked very well. Titanpad is another great tool which I have used with decent results.


How do you form groups of students for group work and why do you take this approach? Based on your experience what strategies of forming groups work and which do not work? Why?

I usually let students free to team up, above all at the beginning of the schoolyear. Sometimes I try to form mixed-ability groups, especially with junior students, so that peer learning becomes easier. I also assign roles (moderator, presenter, reporter, etc.) I prefer having students work in small groups (3 or 4 max.). If groups are too big, students tend to get off track more easily.

Another good tip is to form groups according to similar learning styles and to limit the number of team members, so as to avoid inactivity by some in the group.

Next time we do workgroup in class, I'll try the tool that Cristina Nicolaita suggested on a course Padlet. I have already set it up with my students' names! Random item/person selector is also nice! TeamUp definitely deserves a try.

Although I have not had much chance to use technology-based collaborative work, I should say that engaging activies are on the whole well received by students and contribute to improving their overall motivation und productivity. This is a Tricider we used in class to trigger discussion on school issues. This class was new to me and students were not confident enough to speak in English. Tricider proved an excellent ice-breaker and braistorming platform, after which students had to write an essay on school issues.

M3 - Q2 How do you keep your students focused and on track during collaborative projects?
How do you ensure all students contribute to the task?

The first ingredient to keep students focused on collaborative learning probably depends on the choices initially made by the teacher. It is essential to choose collaborative activities that require the help of all team partners.

I believe that one key point to the success of teamwork in class is that general goals should be split in various minor tasks to be carried out and then integrated in the learning process. The production of a creative artifact (video, presentation, etc) as final outcome of teamwork is highly appreciated by the students. This can also be done collaboratively as a whole class.

Students need to know what their final goal should be. Likewise, knowing the possible target for their presentations increases not only their motivation but also their responsibility towards the other group members. As such, I believe that Project-based Learning and eTwinning projects can motivate students and offer great opportunities of collaboration even beyond classroom walls and with other countries.

Time limit is also essential: students tend to drift away from work and indulge in too long discussions before they agree on a project schedule. To ensure a fair distribution of tasks and deadlines we have sometimes used an online tool for scheduling to-do-activities like Trello or Scrumy (here is an example: http://scrumy.com/passed55leaping).

Each student should be responsible for a specific part of the project, which must be properly carried out to ensure group performance. The initial phase of research can be guided by the teacher through webquests.

To ensure that all students collaborate to the same project, technology can help. There are tools which show the amount of collaborative work done by each student, like Titanpad, PBworks, Google Docs, etc.

Possible pitfalls of groupwork conducted in class are that:

  • Students might lose track of time and will have to finish activities for homework. Assigning the role of moderator or challenger, as Katja suggests in the video, could be a good solution.
  • Sometimes, it happens that some members of the group do most of the work, while others tend to skip obligations. Responsibility could be encouraged also by assigning students the role of mediator/coordinator in case of conflict.
  • Giving students continuous feedback through Edmodo has proved very useful in my experience. I ask students to post right from the beginning the link to their multimedia project, so that all others including me can follow their work in progress.
  • To avoid distraction in class, certain apps should be blocked. Students should also be informed that while teacher or other classmates are speaking or presenting, tablets and smartphones must be laid down on their desks.
  • One more challenge could concern students' mixed abilities and the participation in the group of students with special needs. Tablets could be useful in this case, since they allow personalisation and differentiation of learning processes. Students with disabilities, who usually tend to be neglected in class, can do well in teamwork especially in the role of "journalists", "investigators" or "photographers".

If you have organised a similar project share your experiences (positive and negative) here.

I have had some great experiences of collaborative learning with my students. Last year, for example, we carried out a project all together on Nelson Mandela, soon after he had died. The topic was suggested by my 13th-year students, who wanted to learn more about this great man of our modern times.

They first watched videos and read articles from the press in Flipped mode. Later they worked in groups and created a Prezi presentation. Each group developed one slide in collaboratively: Prezi allows in fact to send out invitations up to 10 people who can then simultaneosly work on the same presentation. It has been one of the most rewarding teaching experiences of my career.

All students worked hard. Some had technical issues and were late in turning in, but all in all everything worked smoothly. Their presentation was even published on the school website.

M3 - Q3: What strategies have you used to assess group work? What are the main challenges for you when it comes to assessing group work?

I must admit that this is an area in which I need to develop better strategies. Since I have always worked on annual contract in very traditional teaching environments, I have not dared to experiment innovative ways to assess students. Consequently, I tend to evaluate only their final outcome, often through traditional oral tests or presentations.

So far I have not employed rubrics for assessing collaborative work, although I often use rubrics for presentations and peer-reviews. I always encourage students to self- and peer evaluate themselves both as a group and as individuals. On-progress formative assessment is however another point I need to better integrate in class.

I agree that each student should be responsible for a specific part of the project, which must be properly carried out to ensure group performance. Sometimes, I assess microtasks along the way for example through crosswords, quizzes, gapfilling, etc.

To ensure that students are evaluated also according to the amount of work that they have done, technology can help. There are tools that highlight by means of different colours the amount of collaborative work done by each student, like Titanpad, PBworks, etc. I intend to implement them more often in the future.

The main challenges that I envisage regard equity of evalutation. If some students have worked more than others or have coordinated the team, their efforts should receive adequate attention by the teacher. So far I have used Edmodo Badges to award recognition for their work and have considered their attitude and behaviour in class for conduct assessment.

So far I have used Google.docs and created a spreadsheet for assessing various tasks. I have recently tried OnlineRubric, an AddOn application for Google.doc that can be used also to send feedback by email to students. Here is a videotutorial

I will also give a try to Rubistar, a specific tool for creating rubrics that several colleagues have recommended on Padlet.

Collaboration tools

Several apps that I constantly use have already been suggested by course instructors and other teachers. Among my favourite are: Padlet, Edmodo, Google Docs, Prezi, Haiku Deck, WeWideo, iMovie, Animoto, Tackk, Tricider, Stickymoos, PBworks.

Some of the tools suggested in the videos are really intriguing. For example: Actionbound to organise interactive app-based activities for smartphones and tablets. Players are invited to accomplish tasks which can be defined through the Bound Creator in order to playfully discover their environment by learning more about its history, politics and culture.

As for note-taking apps I have used Evernote, but I would like to study OneNote better.

I would also add Stormboard to the long list of web 2.0 tools that encourage collaboration. Stormboard is a free online board which requires no advanced skills. The teacher or another initiator needs to register and then sends invitations to others. This tool offers a clear interface, on which students can text on sticky notes and attach multimedia, documents or sketches.

A big advantage is that collaborators can vote on priority (quick polls) and comment on each idea. It also allows export in PDF or Excell.

Here is the link to Stormboard and a screenshot of the Dashboard:

As for eTwinning, I have not participated in any eTwinning exchange yet, but would love to. I believe that Project-based Learning and eTwinning can motivate students and offer great opportunities for collaboration among students and teachers even beyond classroom walls and with other countries. So let's hope for the future!

And this is the end of Module 3.

So, also Module 3 is done!

There is only one more Module ahead of us! I have learnt so much from my colleagues.

Just for fun and to wish them all good luck with the last module, I have created this video with Animoto. I drew the pictures on my iPad using an App called Paper53. Enjoy!

Module 4:
Using tablets for personalising learning & flipping the classroom

Learning Objectives of this module:

  1. Develop a clear understanding of the concepts of personalized learning and the flipped classroom
  2. Understand how to use a number of apps to personalize or flip the classroom
  3. Reflect on an example of how teaching is personalized
  4. Reflect on your own teaching practices as regards personalized and flipped learning and flipped learning
  5. Design a lesson plan that incorporates ideas, strategies, tools introduced on the course
  6. Reflect on the effectiveness of other people's lesson plans
  7. Develop an understanding of how tablets can support children with special educational needs

M4 - Q1:Learning Styles of your studens

Reflect on how you gather information about the learning styles of your students. How do you know what types of learners there are? What are good strategies to identify this? Is it enough to simply ask the students as is done in the video above? Are the students, are we, always fully aware of how we learn best?

Teaching high school seniors, my students are most of the times already aware of their learning styles. Often, we come to discuss over learning styles when their performance is not within standards and they have failed in some areas of the syllabus.

As for teachers, too often do we issue personalised learning styles only when there are problems on the agenda regarding students with special needs. I think that at least as much energy should be devoted also to talented kids in mixed-ability classrooms and fast learners, who often get bored to death during transmissive instruction. Tablets are probably the best way today available to differentiate learning also in this respect.

We all learn in different ways. Often we change our learning style also according to the type of activities that must be done or even the way we felI on that day. I therefore agree that it is important to identify the different types of learners in class and that it is not enough to simply ask the students. They might not be aware of how they best learn. Some colleagues have posted links to questionnaires that they often use to assess students' learning styles. I'll study them in more detail.

Laura Cimetta from Italy contributed a questionnaire from Edutopia. Thank you Laura.

Stavrula Lada from Greece has pinned several questionnaires. This one from How to Learn looks interesting and quick to do. Thank you Stavrula.

The following infographic about Learning Styles was contributed on a Padlet by Janja from Slovenia. Thank you Janja.

Source: https://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tackk.com/mio/38101380/1430760047694/large.jpg

I have tried to reflect on my own teaching practice, in order to identify the areas in which my students often have issues in learning. One of these is for sure vocabulary. Some students do not spend any time at all in learning new vocabulary, because they are aural and pick up sound and meaning very easily. Others need to struggle more and find great help in drawing up mind maps and flashcards. Few say they will never be able to remember so many new words by heart. And this is true until learning remains standardised.

On the whole, I try to encourage above all junior students to reflect on the way they learn. Especially after some particularly demanding experience, I ask my students to jot down anonymously just a few sentences to describe what they found particularly difficult and how we might have done it in a more efficient way. Lately, I have done it also through Edmodo polls, but it was not the same! I have experienced that teenagers find it awkward to explain their problems in class and, sometimes, prefer keeping their difficulties for themselves instead of asking. Social learning through groupwork and peer-tutoring are however well received by all students.

Considering the way I personally prefer to learn (visual-auditory), I have been trying to differentiate the range of activities through which my students can learn. Sometimes I leave them free to choose which one best suits their learning style. This requires a lot of planning and designing on the side of the teacher, but it is generally very appreciated by the students. So, the same topic could be studied on written texts (textbooks, newspaper articles, websites, etc.), through videos, podcasts, mind maps and infographics. Sometimes, I present my students a Blendspace of different materials, which can be studied in a blended mode (part in class, part for homework). Again, our learning platform serves us perfectly also in that, since it allows students to independently access information on line. Without Edmodo as a central store of resources, I would not be able to differentiate learning at all.

Lately I have experimented the use of QR-Codes for personalised learning and to support students with special needs, for example dyslexia. Sometimes, I create a podcast with dedicated instruction and further explanations for students who have problems in reading, like in the example below.

This is a presentation on Modernism in art and literature, which I assigned for homework in Flipped Mode. It was accompanied with a quiz on Edmodo and very much appreciated, especially by two dixlexic girls I have in class. Haiku Deck is a great tool for this kind of students. All pictures in Haiku Deck are licensed CC or Public Domain.

Personalised learning, in my opinion, requires above all 1:1 contact between student and teacher. More than Apps and cutting edge devices, our kids need to know that there is an adult in class who is listening and watching over their progress. Edmodo or any other instant messaging platform can help the teacher break through that frequent wall of indifference and mistrust that is common to many teenagers of our times. Teacher's early feedback through posts and comments or personal interviews can make a big difference in the learning process of a child.

Attribution: CC https://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tackk.com/mio/38129249/14308561418145/large.jpg

Personalised Learning should not be the exception, but the rule!

Unfortunately, this is often not feasible in our schools: too many kids per classroom, not enough technology; too many classes, little collaboration among colleagues. In an ideal setting, I would like to have face-to-face interviews with each student and his/her parents sitting behind to set down short- and mid-term goals for each of them. I am confident that this would result in higher motivation and better school results.

I also dream of a school in which students will one day be free to study what they prefer according to their best talents and capacities, in mixed-aged classes with no barriers or too rigidly scheduled timetables. This might still be too visionary for Italian schools but already exists in other countries! Here is a video about a Danish school: Hellerup.

4.4 Introduction to the flipped classroom

4.2 - Q2: Personalising learning with tablets

Q2 What other ways can you think of how tablets can be used to personalise the learning experience of your students?

Student-centred learning requires new definition of student's and teacher's roles. "Liberating the student" can be facilitated with the use of tablets, since the learners are free to find and research information on their own.

The English school presented in the video of Module 4 has chosen ePace, Aurasma and Edmodo as main tools to foster independent learning. As one of the teacher reports, "students have become more self-confident and less likely to lift up their hands asking for help. [...] Kids flourish and improve"! ... Wow!

Allowing students to find information on their own and above all at their own pace can liberate more time in class for the teacher to move around and monitor and/or guide activities or offer support on the spot.

Tablets can be used in class in a variety of ways, for example for:

  • Paper-less study by sharing rich-multimedia materials - No more photocopies!!
  • Individualised activities according to personal learning styles
  • Easy sharing of notes and bookmarking of resources through Evernote.
  • Individual webmixes of bookmarked resources (Symbaloo, De.li.cious, Pearltrees, etc.)
  • Easy revision of instructions by teacher, communications and information available at any time and anywhere for all students (even when absent!)
  • Text-to-Speech for easy reading and to improve pronunciation in foreign languages
  • Use of inbuilt video-camera and recorder for reportages and documentation during field trips.
  • QR-codes and/or Augmented reality (Aurasma) for scavenger treasure hunts and kinaesthetic learning
  • Flipped Classroom and in-class Flipped Learning.
  • Content creation (videos, presentations, photo editing, podcasts, mind maps and infographics.
  • Instant communication and feedback from teacher and other classmates, through chats and instant polls.
  • Increased chances for formative assessment by using instant online quiz tools like Kahoot, Socrative, Quizziz, etc.
  • Keep track of progress through online assessment and portfolios.

I have come across this website, which has been suggested by Richard Byrne's Edtech for teachers. I'm bookmarking it here because it focusses on the use of iPads in class. It's Ipadders.eu I'll come back to it later for further reference:

Learninginhand.com is another excellent edublog where expert educators contribute great apps and resources. Here a brilliant inforgraphic on the use of iPads in the classroom

Q3 Have you tried out the flipped classroom model already? If so, share your experiences here. You've never heard of the model before but are curious to try it out? How would you start to implement it in your school and classroom context?

I have been flipping for about two years now! It works great!

I started very gradually! At first it was just videotutorials to show students how to use a special tool and create content for homework. My favourite app for this kind of videos is Screencast'omatic or Screencastify. They spared me repeating the same instructions over and over again and served well also for absent students.

After that I asked my students to listen to the dialogues in their English textbooks at home, (instead of wasting time in class playing a tape recorder) so that we could have more time for class discussions and other activities. Later I started to create whole lessons on Blendspace integrating Edpuzzle, Educanons, etc. to utube videos, articles and websites. This is an example of Blendspace, which led to the Prezi posted above.

This is a video quiz on London created with Educanon:

This year - due to lack of technology at school, I have also experimented in-class flipped learning, which consists in organising several stations in class (explore, make, ask, present) so as to allow students to rotate and use my tablet/laptop at turns to access information on line while others are doing other activities. I have learnt about this variation to the organisation of the Flipped model from an article on Edutopia: Flipped-classroom-in-class-version by Jennifer Lopez

One possible drawback of Flipped Classroom is that after a while kids might tend to get tired of watching videos alone for homework. So teachers have to invent even more activities to check that the work is done!

It can also happen that not all students have access to the Internet from home. However, if they have a PC, I have overcome the issue by downloading the video on a DVD, et voilà! It takes just some minutes!

Although I have used videos and self-made tutorials for a while, I must confess that I am not completely satisfied with this methodology. I mean, it depends on what topic is being taught. Our children watch videos and listen to music every day: they are positively bombarded with visuals! I feel that at least once in a while reading in class some nice piece of poetry or an excerpt from a book can create a special atmosphere of "happening" and "story-telling" in class, which kids can experience only at school! They love having somebody telling them a story! Mine was positively rapt by Shakespeare or Wordsworth or Coleridge, to mention a few! But that's not pure instruction, is it?

All in all, I would go for a blended approach and alternate a mix of different teaching methods according to groups, age, interests and topics.

Source: http://www.knewton.com/blog/education-infographics/flipped-classroom-infographic/

4.5 Flipping the classroom with tablets
What do you think are the key challenges to implementing the model in classrooms?

Flipping the classroom can be quite challenging because:

  • It requires thorough planning and designing by the teacher. This is in my opinion the biggest issue. Flipping can be very time-consuming especially in the beginning.
  • Internet accessibility should be guaranteed to all children. If not at home, at least in the school library. A B-Plan is always necessary (burning of the videos on DVDs or Flashdrives, inclass-flipping stations)
  • Before flipping, a teacher should have clear in mind how the time liberated in class is going to be used. If videos assigned for homework simply replace teacher-led instruction, we cannot say that much has changed from the old pedagogical approach. A shift from content consumption to content creation should be the prime focus.
  • A wide range of pre- and after-flipping activities should be designed by the teacher. These must be motivating and challenging for the students and - at the same time - allow the teacher to check if the students have done the activities and how much they have contributed to the online discussion.
  • The most important benefits of flipped learning are that it allows personalisation with the smart use of technology and online learning, in order to provide students more control over the pace (how fast they learn), place (where they learn) and content (what they learn). It is therefore fundamental to choose or make well structured videos  of adequate length (never too long!) that are easy to follow.
  • The fact that students have more control over their learning can also present drawbacks. In some cases students might feel at loss. Therefore instructions by the teacher must be very clear.
  • But above all, it is necessary to teach students how to watch the videos. They should understand that they are studying in a different way and not simply watching a film. They must learn to be proactive, take notes and give feedback or do related activities.
  • It is important to look closely at what the students are experiencing online, as well as the quality of teacher’s interactions with students as facilitators of that online learning. Instant messaging and feedback via Edmodo or other tools can be of great help.
  • Parents, other colleagues or the school principal might object that assigning videos for homework is not real teaching alive in class. Therefore it is necessary to inform families and school authorities ahead of flipping.
  • One of the issues that often arises after the first attempts at flipping is to keep motivation alive. After a while, students realize that they are studying, not playing videos and might tend to skip homework. Sometimes, it is difficult to check whether they have actually seen the videos at home. I like to use video editing tools which allow the embedding of quizzes - like Edpuzzle, Zaption or Educanon - note taking like Videonotes or Videoant - and video commenting like for example Comment Bubble.

Last fall I managed to attend an ISTE webinar with Jorg Bergman and Aaron Sams - the two American teachers who first used the Flipped Classroom model. It was really inspiring! In the following video, they provide some good tips to overcome issues that can arise after a few Flipped Classes.

4.6 Apps for personalized learning and flipping the classroom

Materials:

elearning infographic on the Flipped Classroom

From Edutopia: Flipped Classroom Reference Materials

Guide to Flipped Classroom

In this module session, 4 tools are suggested:

Showbie: to share resources with students that they can access in their own time and in preparation for the lessons. Videotutorial

Khan Academy: for sourcing educational videos that can be used in class. This saves from preparing new content on ourselves. While most videos are still in English there is an increasing amount of content available in other languages. They also provide a lot of supporting materials for teachers to use in the classroom. Video

Socrative: a free responding system to personalise the learning for students by gaining valuable information about the understanding of each student. Videotutorial

Aurasma: for augmented reality instructional videos and to personalise the learning. Videotutorial

Guides and Checklists provided by Creative.eun.org:

Share any other apps and tools you know about for personalisation and flipping the classroom.

I have used many, but if I had to stick to eight or ten as it was suggested throughout the course, I would choose:

  • Edmodo as LMS and sharing/communication platform
  • Educanon, Edupuzzle, Zaption for Video quizzes
  • Blendspace for aggregating media resources and quizzes for video lessons
  • Google Docs or Titanpad for collaborative writing and sharing
  • Screencast'Omatic for video tutorials and recording of video lessons
  • uTube
  • VideoAnt or VideoNotes for notetaking while watching
  • Spreaker or Soundcloud for podcasting
  • Kahoot, Socrative or Quizzez for online quizzes in gamification mode.

I also like video editing tools that allow comments and videonotes by the students. One of my favourite is Comment Bubble.

Here is an example that I have recently made to help my K12 students understande the famous Balcony Scene from Romeo and Juliet. Enjoy:

Tools and resources suggested by other colleagues:

"A well of precious stones": I cannot find a better way to express my appreciation for the great amount of tips, apps, resources and practical examples provided by all on Padlets and on socials! I have pinned some for further study next summer!

For example:

Quick guide to flipping your class

Apps for Education a collaboratively edited document by Luis Fìlipe. Brillian idea Luis!

A supercollection of web 2.0 tools curated by Gianfranco Marini! For the series: "One life is not enough!!!"

Another amazing Padlet on Apps and tools shared by colleaugues!

The Greatest of All

The "icing on the cake" is this collaborative document which Sòlene Faupin has initiated on Google Docs. Many of us have already contributed our Learning Diaries. What a fantastic idea!!! Plenty of excellent "food for thought" to study on!

New Update: 20th May 2015

Solène Faupin is working hard for all of us. She is currently turning the Google doc above into Googlesites. It is going to result in a gallery of LDs curated according to subject taught and nationality of each contributor. Brilliant idea, Solène! Thank you!

https://sites.google.com/site/creativetabletsinschools/home

Other Resources

Among the extra resources of this module I have found this video on an Austrian school for children with special needs. iPads have been employed to support communication. I was impressed and deeply touched by these extraordinary kids, who struggle and rejoyce when they finally manage to communicate something which others had to say for them before! There's hope, I say!

And this video is about the innovative learning environment that the visionary principal of ITIS Majorana has been able to set up in South Italy. Salvatore Giuliano and his staff have also extended their "Book in Progress" project to whole Italy and are currently delivering their own-made textbooks at the average, fabulous price of 5 Euro each! An Italian TV channel dedicated a special dossier on them. Here is the Video reportage in Italian. Although this is a brilliant example of how single individuals can do a lot do change the status quo, we need change to become system on a larger scale!

I love the graffiti in their presentation area! Inspiring!

I have collected on this webmix all the videos and some of the extra resources that have been shared on this fantastic MOOC. Please feel free to use it. To view it all, click on "Use this Webmix". If you have a Symbaloo account, click on "Add this Symbaloo" to save it in your gallery.

Learning Designer and Greetings

Here is my learning story. I have tried to apply what I have learnt about learning scenarios and have organised the project for a social campaign on kindness throughout seven steps.

This MOOC has been not only a great opportunity of professional development to me but also a great human experience! Meeting so many inspired colleagues who believe in Mr Mandela's words about "the power of education as a means to change the world" and who are eager to share and contribute to others' self-improvement has made me feel part of a community! It is at times not so easy for innovative teachers to adapt to the status quo. We are dreamers: so let's dream on! Thank you all!

I'd like to dedicate this short video to all my colleagues and also to the administrators of this course, who "from behind the scenes have led the game" and created an inspiring space for us all to exchange ideas and learn from each other: isn'it that exactly what tutoring and facilitating learning should be about? The video is called "Above and Beyond" and its final words mean a lot to me! "We have just begun!"

Ciao for now:)

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a year ago
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You are fantastic

a year ago
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Well done! A great work! Congratulations!

a year ago
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Tanya: Thank you for your appreciation

a year ago
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Mariana: Thank you for your nice comment

7 months ago
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Just want to congratulate you with this beautiful piece of work, which I discover beginning the MOOC on gaming now.

7 months ago
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Anne-Marie, Belgium: Thanks a lot! I took the Mooc on games last year and it was really inspiring! Great food for thought! Ciao😄

3 months ago
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Truly awesome! 😉

2 months ago
1

this is really inspiring! thank you so much :-)

2 months ago
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What a beautiful work!

a month ago
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@francescabarile Thank you Francesca :)