Tag Archives: English teaching

Wallwisher becomes Padlet – and reminds me that it’s pretty handy!

Quite some months ago I set up my Wallwisher account and thought I’d try it out with some classes – primarily, I thought, to gain some anonymous feedback as lessons progressed, allowing me to tailor subsequent lesson to address the feedback received. I did – then forgot about it when we swung into exam mode and then extended holidays.

Wallwisher came back onto my radar today in its new incarnatiion, Padlet, with the same simple to use features in a more advanced form.

Reminded of how useful it is for quick ‘snapshots’ of student learning, I quickly set up a wall (pad?) for my Year 12 class and asked them to post on the wall as follows, about our current unit of study:

  • a note on the right = something they enjoyed or really felt rewarded by
  • a note on the left = something a bit ‘meh’, or they weren’t satisfied by
  • a note in the middle = something interesting they will take away

This simple visual division helped me see at a glance certain trends, and the anonymity encouraged frank (but polite!) expressions of opinion.

Now it’s back on the radar, I can see Padlet/Wallwisher coming out often….

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Another new tool for creating a learning channel

Image representing Thinglink as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase

I’m grateful to my colleague, Teresa, for introducing me to the tool ‘Thinglink’ (http://www.thinglink.com/learn) recently. Simply, it allows you to upload an image and place links to online resources – video, audio, text, etc. – on the image in places that resonate with that resource. So, for example, a map could have video links pinned to cities marked on them; a picture of the human body could have links to explanatory notes; an image of punctuation marks could be linked to audio explanations of each, etc.

I think I’ll use this tool to encourage my students to make connections themselves – a creative way to collect research links on a particular theme or topic.

Something new for Term 4

If I come across a tech tool that I think might add something to my work with students, I’ll often look for the next opportunity – or create one – to use it with them. An example of this would be the social bookmarking tool, Diigo, that I realised part-way through last term would help my senior English students keep track of reference sites for their most important exam of the term, as well as share the fruits of their labours. Although I’d been using it myself for some time, I hadn’t created – or found – the opportunity to build it into my lessons plans; however, when I saw how my students were conducting their research (simple bookmarks, or copying and pasting URLs into their OneNote workbooks) I realised that Diigo’s time had come.

There are also times when I’ll plan in advance to use a tool because I anticipate it will be productive to do so, and  – usually – I am trialling it to share with others and so want some evidence of its usefulness. This term I think I’ll try to expand our Googledocs repertoire.

We’ve previously used Googledocs to collaborate on a series of questions: with 90 revision questions to answer and 30 students, each student was assigned three to write a ‘killer’ response to, and then had at their disposal the other 87 answers to revise from (they were encouraged to suggest amendments/ refinements to those other answers through commenting, by the way).

This term, I want to try the ‘immediate feedback’ function of Googledocs. That is, I’ll project a Googledoc on the screen and invite all students to co-edit it. They can add questions that arise during the class discussion, and add ‘me too!’ to existing questions, etc. so that I can get a sense of the more pressing questions/ areas needing clarification. I can add some pointers or other guiding responses to the document after class and then change the status to ‘view’ so they can see the document later as part of theirt revision. Incidentally, I won’t require them to log in to edit the document during class time so that their contributions can be anonymous – this time at least, and with my senior class, I want to see if this encourages the quieter ones to ask questions without their worrying about what others think (there is more research I’d like to do in this area using this tool!).

I’ll post about the outcome later….

Diigo as a classroom collaboration tool

I’ve just started using Diigo with my Year 12 English students. They’re doing some background research into the novel 1984 and I wanted them:

  • to keep track of web pages that were relevant
  • to record the bits of those pages that were particularly relevant
  • to share what they find and
  • to be able to search through their collaborative efforts to pinpoint particular ideas – ‘totalitarianism’, or ‘propaganda’, for example.

So we all created Diigo accounts and I created a group to which they were all added. I then reminded them of effective web searching strategies (using the resources that Google provide – useful!) Before they set off on their individual contributions to the collective list.

With only a simple demonstration, they were highlighting, adding sticky notes, tagging pages, and sharing with the group. Easy! To go a step further, we have added the RSS feed to the year group’s Moodle course so that our updated resource can be shared with their wider cohort.

Why won’t they disagree with me?!

Shakespeare - ChandosGenerally, I am finding that there is less willingness these days amongst students to explore multiple interpretations of literary texts than 20 years ago. Perhaps the rise of high-stakes testing has had the result of ‘playing it safe’ – students are cannier these days about where to play the game.

 

 

 

21st Century Skills (technology-mediated for the most part)

I’m in the process of collecting sites that define/ outline/ prescribe as some sort of framework the range of skills that are thought to constitute 21st C literacy. Suggestions for additions welcome.

http://www.diigo.com/list/kfbglobal/21st-c-literacy-frameworks