Aug 15, 2012

SMILE (Social Media in Education and Learning) is a project launched by European Schoolnet (EUN) with the goal to improve our understanding of the challenges and opportunities of using social media in education. The EUN has been awarded an inaugural Digital Citizenship Research Grant by Facebook. It's a year-long project divided into three parts.The first, six-week long part was an online laboratoy for 100 European teachers led by Ollie Bray, during which we investigated different educational opportunities that social media offers.

In the second part we have formed 6 Communities of Practice in order to highlight trends and best practices of how social media can be used in education.

I'm the deputy leader of CoP 4 - Social Media for Professional Development. We have just created a questionnaire and we'd like to hear from as many teachers as possible how they use Facebook. The results of the poll will be published on our Facebook page as well as our blogs and we hope to contribute to the safe and proper use of social media as a form of CPD.

#eltchat will live! fast and furious - a repost

Aug 12, 2012

One of the columns on my Tweetdeck is reserved for #eltchat - and it has been so since the first #eltchat was held back in September 2010 - even though I've taken part only in a handful of #eltchats myself! #eltchat, in case you still don't know, is a fast, furious and focussed form of CPD for English language teachers held on Twitter.

I was really taken aback to find out about the loss of, but am convinced that #eltchat will survive and continue to bring fantastic discussions which teachers can take part in or read about in transcripts that are regulary published and from which one can learn a lot.

So I'm reposting Marisa and Shaun's post right here:
For the last – well, almost two years now, since September 15 2010, #ELTchat has kept us on our toes and forged hundreds of professional and personal relationships amongst its followers who turn up on Twitter every Wednesday to talk about topics they have suggested and voted on – a community of peers which was created by a small group of colleagues – which grew and grew some more and became something that counts as an important part of our continuous professional development.
Like many great ideas, it didn’t hit just one person but several.
And that is how #ELTchat was created.
The website to keep up the communication of its members, a base and repository of our ideas was one of the first things we all thought of creating – the wiki came later.

Andy Chaplin was keen to join the moderation team and help with podcasts and technical stuff; he was quick to buy and announced the good news to us after the fact.
A few months later, right after TESOL France 2011, he suddenly disappeared – some say for reasons of health.
We never found out for sure.

We never received a single word of response to our emails. was and still is registered in his name.

And yesterday we lost it!

On August 8 the domain expired and we have no way of taking over unless it goes up for sale again; it was very sad that Andy Chaplin did not find it appropriate to renew.
The news is really upsetting.
The work we have put in on this website cannot be told in a few simple words – but it has been a labour of love and we have got so much out of it that we have never regretted one single moment
We are pretty upset at the behaviour of this individual – disappointment is one big understatement.
But we trust that our community of #ELTchatters, our PLN for short, will again gather round the new domain which we have purchased –

It will take us a few days to put the website back on its feet
And all will be as it was before – all the posts in place all your thoughts and comments, all the polls and great summaries which got us on the shortlist of the ELTon Awards nominations
We will be back with a vengeance
We are not just a website – we did not get on the ELTon awards shortlist as just another website!!!

We are a great community of teachers and we have a Plan B!

See you all in September!!!
Marisa Constantinides – Shaun Wilden


Aug 2, 2012

I just found out about TypoEffects on the Educational Technology and Mobile Learning website and since it seemed fun and useful, I gave it a try.

TypoEffects is still in beta and free for the time being, at least. It converts your images into typographical images or word clouds. There are two types of generators -  the Row-Text Image Generator allows you to insert an unlimited (?) number of words, while with the Word Cloud Generator you can use up to 16 words  only.. What I like most about this tool is that it lets me choose which parts of the photo I want to leave without the text. Also, it's possible to zoom in/out and there are a lot of colours to choose from.

How we learn

Aug 1, 2012

In my presentations on the skills of the 21st century I often share with my audience the famous quote by William Glasser: "We learn...
10% of what we READ
20% of what we
30% of what we
50% of what we SEE and
70% of what we DISCUSS with
80% of what we EXPERIENCE
95% of what we TEACH TO SOMEONE

Well, today I found out that William Glasser never said that. Who did, I have no idea. It might have been Edgar Dale, whose cone is frequently used to show how we learn. Some people say that these numbers are misleading and have no scientific acuracy. Nevertheless, I still believe that this quote is a good description of learning retention rates.

All the learning pyramids that can be found on the Internet are in English, of course, so I made my own pyramid with numbers and icons only, so that it can be used in different  linguistic settings.

For those who don't like pink, I made a more calming variant:

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