Technology Enhanced Learing

Moocs : a revolution or a failure?

My past presentation for Moodle Moot 2015 (organised by Dr. Nellie Deutsch), posted on youtube,  can be found here: Moocs : a revolution or a failure?

This is my powerpoint presentation for Moodle Moot 2015 (August 7-9) shared on slideshare

Moocs : A revolution or a failure?

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Film in Action: Teaching Language Using Moving Images: A Book Review

This review was initially published in ELTA Newsletter: September-October 2016

Published on Sep 25, 2016

ELTA Newsletter: September-October 2016

Film in Action: Teaching Language Using Moving Images: A Book Review

Reviewed by Vicky Papageorgiou, Metropolitan College, Thessaloniki, Greece

Keywords : Kieran Donaghy, spectacle, film literacy, mobile devices, producing short films, critical thinking, creativity, cultural awareness, film integration in scholastic syllabus

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Images dominate our lives. We see them around us every day, they have a powerful hold on us and they define us. In our image-saturated society and way of life, the spectacle is now the visible world itself, increasingly defining our perception of life itself, as Debord (1967) put it.

Film has long been a fertile field of the spectacle and one of our society’s most popular ones. Educators have not overlooked this fact but instead they tried to exploit it in multiple ways. A book that illustrates exactly this, in a practical as well as a sophisticated way, is Kieran Donaghy’s ‘Film in Action’, published for   the DELTA Teacher Development Series.

The book is divided in 3 sections.

Section A serves in a way as an introduction to the whole book-project. It sets the framework of what the author is trying to do, his beliefs, his aspirations, starting with the theoretical background of the role film has within society, education and language learning. He moves on to analyze  film literacy in the twenty-first century and the educational benefits that can derive from creating films. He closes this chapter with suggestions about using film in the classroom which is followed by a short but important section where Kieran recommends several resources that educators can use should they require further reading. A quite comprehensive list of bibliographical references is also included in the very end of the chapter.

Section B is dedicated to more practical activities that teachers can use in the classroom. Chapter One presents a lot of communicative activities that encourage learners to watch films with a critical eye. Hence the title ‘Watching actively’! There are nearly 70 suggested activities which cover topics from making predictions, ordering scenes, identifying stereotypes to debating the conventions and aesthetics of TV ads, describing a visual poem and to looking at the importance of paralinguistic facts.

Chapter two, called ‘Actively Producing’ is a special one and one that distinguishes this book from others. The author, acknowledging the importance that mobile devices have nowadays in our everyday life, dedicates a whole section to a range of activities that can lead learners to produce their own short film texts outside or inside the classroom. Donaghy  underlines  also how inexpensive this is since all that the students need is a mobile device, which most of them already own.

Some of the best suggested activities are : ‘From sky to screen’, ‘A natural voice-over’, ‘Revoice’, ‘I am what I am….or am I’, ‘Linking up’, ‘60’’ descriptions’, and several others which encourage learners to be creative and resourceful.

The last section of the book, section C, looks into the possibility of establishing film as an integral part of the scholastic syllabus rather than treating it as an add-on subject. In doing so, the author recommends four significant projects that schools can adopt : a Film club, a Film circle, a Film course and a Film chronicle, all of which promote critical thinking, creativity and cultural awareness. In this section, Kieran Donaghy also gives organizational ideas on how to implement any of these projects in our schools.

What makes then this book special in English language teaching?

  1. The theoretical framework that the book provides
      • Kieran tries to frame a theoretical background in the most well rounded way this is possible because his aspiration is that film is fully integrated in the scholastic syllabus.
      • The book is also quite well documented so that educators can use it easily as a reference book.
  1. There is a very practical side of it.
      • What is offered is a wide range of activities which, besides being quite easy to use, they also leave a lot of room to the teacher’s creativity and experimentation as they are not meant for a specific film/documentary each time. These are only suggestions and they can cater for different tastes/choices in films
      • Finally, useful links are provided to facilitate the teachers’ search for suitable film clips or short films (e.g. pages 39, 48, 49, 50 and many  more) or opening titles (p.36) and websites with ads (p. 38).

 

«What is essential is invisible to the eye», as de Saint Exupéry says (2000). Film, in fact, is one of those multifaceted media that because they are primarily the result of artistic expression, they can be open to multiple interpretations, making it a rather fascinating and challenging medium for educators and learners, among others of course. Kieran has obviously risen to this challenge!

 

References

 

Call for eLearning Papers: Innovation in education

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Call for eLearning Papers: Innovation in education

Open Education Europa has announced a call for eLearning Papers on digital and innovative education at all stages of life and for all types of learning.

The eLearning Papers provide an opportunity for researchers, people in projects developing innovative applications, and policy makers to share their material quickly and easily on a pan-European portal with international reach.

Authors are invited to submit papers in any of the 24 official EU languages on a number of key themes related to innovative learning. We are particularly interested in receiving contributions from people in international projects and early-stage researchers.

Topics

Papers may be submitted on any relevant topic, but we are particularly interested in those covering the following areas:

  • Learner data: Learning analytics; Methods and strategies; Big data and analytics
  • Teaching technologies: Online courses; Social media; Learning apps; Organisational digital readiness
  • Innovative learning methods: Gamification; Project-based learning; Entrepreneurship; Digital storytelling; Flipped classrooms; Maker spaces
  • Pedagogy and curriculum: open educational resources; Blended learning; Collaborative learning; Recognising and rewarding teaching
  • Quality assurance and accreditation: ePortfolios; Accreditation and certification; Validation
  • Recognition: ePortfolios; Digital assessments; Badges and certificates
  • Policy: European policy; National policy; Organisational change

Format

Authors can submit long papers of a maximum of 6,000 words and shorter entries between 500-1,000 words, excluding references. Bibliographic referencing should follow the Harvard style. Online citation generators can help to simplify this process. Long papers are also required to submit a short abstract in English (even if the paper is submitted in another language).

Review of articles

All articles will be reviewed by a specially-appointed, independent Editorial and Advisory Board comprising experienced academics working in the field of education from across Europe. If accepted, papers will be published online immediately on the portal where they will enjoy high levels of visibility.

Deadline: Papers will be accepted on a rolling basis with first online publications expected in October 2017.

 

P.S.  The call was initially published here

Call for eLearning Papers: Innovation in education

 

 

CALL for Special Issue on: Deploying Creative, Disruptive and Gamified Interventions for Lifelong learning

From now on, I will occasionally share some calls for papers for various issues, journals, all of them related  to creativity, Art in ESL, etc.

The first one is a CALL for a Special Issue on: Deploying Creative, Disruptive and Gamified Interventions for Lifelong learning. You can find the actual call here : http://globaloperationsdivision.net/capitalising-creativity/

INDERSCIENCE PUBLISHERS – SPECIAL ISSUE IJCEELL

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning

Special Issue on: Deploying Creative, Disruptive and Gamified Interventions for Lifelong learning

Possible (sub)topics are:

  1. Fostering Creative mindsets through Serious Games and Gamification strategies
  2. Capitalising Creativity
  3. Fun and positive mood as the common elements in Creativity, Games and Learning from a Lifelong Learning perspective.
  4. An Analyst, an Insightful or both?
  5. Context-aware real time creativity and disruptive innovation in Lifelong Learning
  6. Collaborative Creativity in Education
  7. Collaborative Global Dual Ecosystems for Open Work/Learning Flow Competencies
  8. Designing, developing, sharing and repurposing games as a creative process
  9. Assessment and Feedback Progress Indicators as metrics for creative learning analytics
  10. The role of emotional intelligence in creative thinking
  11. Incidental creative learning in games / gamification
  12. Game Authoring Environments for creating, sharing and repurposing games
  13. Mapping creativity-related learning attributes to game mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics.

 Deadlines for submission

 Submission open: November 1 2015

Submission deadline: February 1 2016

Final feedback and acceptance: May 2016

Expected publication: September 2016

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Authors are not restricted to these topics but submissions must provide relevant related topics within the remit this special issue.

Authors should prepare their manuscript according to the Instructions for Authors available from the online submission page of the International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning. All the papers will be peer-reviewed following the IJCEEL procedures.

Any specific instructions for submissions

Papers will be submitted directly to the Guest Editors. To submit a paper, you can send one copy in the form of an MS Word or PDF file attached to an e-mail to the Guest Editors (their names and contact details can be found in the actual call – the link is provided in the beginning).

Please contact Dr. Piet Kommers (Kommers@edte.utwente.nl) with any queries concerning this special issue.

3 Suggestions for Essential Apps for ESL Students in Higher Education

This is my 3rd post for EdTech Review India. You can find it here :

http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/insights/2134-english-as-a-second-language-esl-app

english-as-a-second-language-esl-app

Apps are useful and practical a lot of times and young people know all about them and use them.

But students are interested mainly in using apps for their own pleasure and entertainment and not so much for educational purposes.  It is not always easy to include them in everyday classroom practice but I think that it is worth the trouble to try to make a few of them part of your College students’ everyday classroom practice.

If the target group is College students, as mentioned above, you need to choose the right apps to introduce them to. They have to be easy to use, practical and exciting. You don’t want to overwhelm them after all! My 3 main choices would be:

Remind

https://www.remind.com/apps

This is a very popular communications platform which I was introduced to this year and I have found immensely practical for many reasons. It can be used in various ways, initially to communicate information to your students, e.g. homework tasks, useful links, photos, giving feedback using voice messages. But it can also be used in other ways, such as hosting a chat, which is a great idea since using twitter for a chat is too public and intimidating for a lot of students, but being on a more ‘private’ platform, like Remind, can minimize the feeling of ‘exposure’ that weaker students perhaps feel. It is safe, simple and secure both for educators and students to use.

Padlet

https://padlet.com/

This is another ‘must’ for encouraging ESL students to share boards where they can post language tips, exam strategies, useful videos they find. Teacher and students can also post text, graphs and even photos and videos related to a specific topic. Another idea is encouraging students to post questions, either as part of an activity or anonymously, post-lesson, which the teacher can then read off and answer them every day.

Prezi

https://prezi.com/ipad/

If Powerpoint is dead, then Prezi is its worthy successor! Prezi is indeed a very exciting tool to create presentations because it allows you to present your work in a non-linear way, creating maps of texts, videos, images, graphics, etc. It is very easy to master and some of its features, like the zoom, can easily make an impression on these young adult students and tempt them to use it in their presentations!

One way or another, these are not new tools (Prezi, for example, was designed in 2009) but it is useful to remind ourselves of a good combination of practical, easy to use digital tools that our ESL students would feel motivated to use on a daily or weekly basis. Good luck everyone!

My video activity for Nik Peachey’s new book ‘Digital video’

unnamedToday I am sharing the activity I wrote some time ago for Nik Peachey’s new e-book ‘Digital Video – A manual for language teachers’

You can buy the book online. Here is the link to it on iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/digital-video/id1025275485

And this link is for people who don’t use Apple devices:  https://www.scribd.com/doc/276137280/Digital-Video-A-manual-for-language-teachers

The activity I wrote involves U-tube videos and hosting short debates on a controversial topic. You can check it out here :

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I hope you enjoy it!

[EdTech Insights] How to Choose the Right MOOC

A new post I wrote is among the Top Stories today on the EdTech Review India , so I am sharing it with you. You can find it here : http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/insights/2101-choosing-massively-open-online-courses?utm_source=EdTechReview%E2%84%A2+Weekly+Newsletter&utm_campaign=b6b5cb0c6e-Newsletter_2015_September_1_9_4_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_94aed71205-b6b5cb0c6e-105661749

can_moocs_democratize_higher_education

When choosing the right MOOC to attend, the main points to consider are:

  • The course length and estimated weekly workload  – You can check this out before the course begins.
  • Who the instructors are – there is often a short biography of the course instructors. Knowing who your teachers are and their academic background is important. It might also a great motivation to choose a course, especially if it involves popular online teachers! More important is perhaps to check if they are experienced in online teaching or if this is the first time they are putting together a MOOC. This might give you an idea of how well organized and planned the course will be.
  • The course syllabus – You want to make sure this is what you are really looking for before you begin a course.
  • The course format – will it be delivered by video, audio, written text etc? Although, sometimes it finally proves not so terribly important, a lot of people are attracted to the variety of ways a course is delivered.
  • Don’t judge a course by its videos. Some online courses are amazing with their graphics and animations and artfully shot sequences, while others just show a professor in front of a camera. Test out a class for a couple of weeks to be able to evaluate the instructor’s commitment and knowledge. Just because an online course environment is not very hi-tech, it does not mean that the instructor(s) are not going to make it worth  to attend it.
  • Course Schedule (Scheduled MOOC versus Self-Paced MOOC) – Some courses allow you to join the course anytime that you want to, while  others need you to follow the university semester program. Keep into consideration any other commitments that you have and try to decide wisely between the two types.
  • Determine the amount of time you have to devote to a course – Even though courses allow you to generally work at your own pace, there are still requirements that have to be met in order to successfully complete the course. Especially if you are seriously considering to complete all the assignments offered so that you can claim a certificate at the end of the course. Think about how engaged you can be and then determine how much time you’ll have to spend on the course each week. Most courses today give you an estimated amount of time needed to devote each week. Check that out before you join.
  • Tangible portfolio – In other words, keep in mind you need to prepare a collection of materials that validate your skills and reputation. So, go with a portfolio that will let you increase your chances of getting hired in the future. Choose a course or a series of courses that will help you create a project in the end that showcases what you learn to a prospective employer.
  • Remember: there is no consistency between classes. The various platforms hosting the courses might set the framework and provide support but  it’s the professors and schools behind each course design the curriculum, create the content and set the class requirements. Make sure you pay attention to its assignment policies, once you’ve registered for a class. Different Universities, different instructors, different planning. Some courses do not ask you to submit anything until the very end. For others, you might be asked to engage to submit some work even in the end of the second week. Not to mention the professors who are trying out classes for the first time, so the result is that policies may change  as the professors learn what works.

Remember though! Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy the trip!

Lesson plan : Learning with YouTube videos

This is a new Lesson Plan I wrote and is now published on the current ELTA SERBIA NEWSLETTER, in the July-August issue

http://elta.org.rs/kio/nl/07-2015/Lesson%20Plan-Vicky%20Papageorgiou%20Learning%20with%20YouTube%20videos.pdf

You can check out the whole newsltter here : http://elta.org.rs/2015/07/13/elta-newsletter-july-august-2015/

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Learning with YouTube videos: Internet censorship

Key words: ​YouTube videos, debate, internet censorship, blended learning

Target learners:​Young adults or adults, C1+ level

Learning outcomes:

● By the end of this course, the learners will learn to search for a small variety of videos and to critically synthesize information/arguments to use in their debate,

● they will be able to enrich their knowledge about a current and controversial matter which they have experienced in some ways,

● they will learn to work together to reach an agreement on a controversial problem, solve a problem,

● they will learn to use online platforms to upload their written work and to hold a debate, like http://www.pearltrees.com, and http://www.collaborizeclassroom.com, and finally

● they will have to reflect on the debate by summarizing the important points of it.

Short description

In this blended learning activity, students will have to work on a controversial matter. While divided in teams, they will have to find youtube videos relevant to the side they have to present and defend, record their arguments to support their position and finally, make evaluations and judgments about this controversial matter. In the end, the two teams will have to hold a debate and reach a consensus.

Preparation

The T spends some time choosing videos that present opposing arguments or depict opposing sides. 2­4 videos for each side should be enough but the T should make sure their duration is not over 15’ each. (In this activity, Ss are asked to search for the videos they should use, on their own. Yet, because this is time­consuming and/or difficult for some students, it is advisable that the T has already prepared a selection for them, at least for the weaker ones). Some example videos the T could show them or post on the platform are the following:

An informative video about internet censorship.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPAvg6CU6sI

The Past, Present and Future of Internet Censorship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spapXznZf4I

Internet Censorship Is the Wrong Answer to Online Piracy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ngRPuXpCIw

Procedure ​(approximately 3 hours)

1. Tell your students that you have noticed that people of their age are very dependent on the internet and they spend a lot of time surfing the net. It is also true that there are a lot of voices currently calling out for online censorship because the internet is far too open. So, since this is a situation that they are familiar with, you thought it was time they discussed internet censorship because this is an issue in discussion lately. (5’)

2. Tell them that to be able to form a well­rounded opinion about the topic, they have to find videos on YouTube that support or condemn this kind of censorship. (5’)

3. Explain to them that they are going to be divided in 2 teams . (10-15’)

4. Allow them time to search for these videos online. Explain to them that you are going to be present and offer any help needed but you expect them to be independent in their search.

5. Tell them that in the next lesson, both teams are going to watch their videos about internet censorship in class. The first team are going to watch videos that support it and team number two will view videos against this censorship. (1 h)

6. Tell the students they should focus on three questions, which you have already posted on http://www.pearltrees.com/: These are the following:

• Is internet a public or a private sphere?

• Should there be more censorship?

• Should freedom of speech be absolute or should it be limited?

7. They should note down all of the arguments used. Then, they have to upload the relevant videos as well as their arguments on http://www.pearltrees.com/ so that both teams can prepare their counterarguments. No analysis or reflection of the arguments will be posted there, though. (30’)

8. You should set up the day the discussion will take place (online class).

9. On the day the online debate takes place, ask them to share the videos online on a specific platform http://www.collaborizeclassroom.com/ and tell them they can also add the arguments they have come up with. Each member of every team starts a brief discussion by posting their comment/argument and their video. Other members are asked to post their responses to this (this procedure can be done synchronously as well as asynchronously). (1h)

10. You should moderate the discussion.

11. Once each team has decided about their arguments, they should also rank them in terms of validity. (10’)

12. At the end of the debate, the Ss can vote and then see the results. Remind everybody that they should reach an agreement in the end and perhaps even specify a solution. Remember, you are there to moderate and not intervene in any other way. (5’)

13. At the end of the class, the students will present their decision, again in the forum. (5’)

Follow up

Ask each team to write a summary of the debate as well as the decision on the matter and how the whole discussion has changed their perspective (if it has). They can post it later on http://www.pearltrees.com/.

Software/web 2.0 tools

http://www.youtube.com

http://www.pearltrees.com/

http://www.collaborizeclassroom.com

Materials

The learners need access to PCs with internet connection, possibly 1 PC for every 2 students.

pearltrees

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Summer learning opportunities

Summer is ahead and soon most of us will find some time to relax and spend time with the family. It is also a great opportunity for professional development, with all this free time in our hands, if we want to learn something new or to deepen our knowledge in a subject, acquire some new skills.

MOOCs and webinars are available in abundance and they are generally free or for a small amount of money if you are asking for a certificate. I have compiled a list for June, July and August that I think you might find helpful. I am sure there are a few more out there, so feel free to let me know and I will update the list.

In the end of the list, I am also including some self-paced MOOCs which, in other words, do not start at a fixed date but you can jump in at any time.

June 2015

 Coursera download

 downloadFutureLearn

 

download (1) Class Central

 

download (2) Cambridge English webinars 

itdi iTDi

July 2015

 edx-logo-headerEdEx

  • Big Data in Education (Starts July, 1)

https://www.edx.org/course/big-data-education-columbiax-bde1x

downloadCoursera

 

download

FutureLearn

download (1)Class Central

 download (2)Cambridge English webinars 

    August 2015

 

   downloadFutureLearn

 

 download (2)Cambridge English webinars 

itdiiTDi

Self-paced

downloadCoursera

download (1)Class Central

 

Review and discussion of Ferreday & Hodgson – The tyranny of participation

This is my 3rd post for my PGCE in Technology Enhanced Learning. For this post, we were asked to review several papers. This is the first one of these : Ferreday & Hodgson – The tyranny of participation

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tyranny

The main issues the authors are engaging with

  • The ‘darker’ sides of participation in learning are under the spotlight in this paper.
  • Participation is not necessarily a utopian ideal but it could be experienced as oppressive
  • Participative learning without reflexivity can be tyrannical
  • The possibilities offered by the disruptions of a heterotopian space posing as an alternative

What their position (arguments) are

  • Participation without reflexivity can be seen by some learners as an exercise of power and oppression
  • It is suggested that online spaces should not necessarily be seen as utopian spaces, as a lot of pedagogists believe, but as spaces characterized also by disruption which in the end can disturb the notion of the learners. They are ambiguous spaces which can offer possibilities exactly through these disturbances
  • There are different identities of individuals in the way they participate. Failing to recognize them is not given enough attention and this causes many problems in the way these learners are seen in an NL environment.
  • Feelings of guilt are manifested but heterotopic spaces allow space for such feelings to be in the open, and they could result in support and critical reflection. This is what a non-perfect community is but it is a diverse and open space.

How this relates to my experience of the TEL course

I can tell that there have been instances that I, too, experienced, these ‘dark sides’. More specifically, one of the problems was that we were provided too much information at times, and there was not always enough time to learn and practice all this new information. Since the group forum was the main way of communication and participation, there were participants (including myself) that did not respond to the reflective tasks within the time limits given but only later. As a result, there was no response to these posts by other participants, leaving these ‘late’ participants with a feeling of exclusion or with an obligation to apologise constantly for not being prompt in their replies, exactly as Ferreday discusses. From a personal point of view, once writing a post, there is the expectation of a dialogue and when this does not occur, disappointment follows. Not being bound by space and time makes online learning convenient for busy professionals like us, yet it seems that, no matter how many the obstacles, interaction remains an essential as well as a much expected part for the learning process to be fulfilled. Yet, even if these feelings were out there, they did not cause a great disturbance rather than showing that these are just some possibilities that can occur in these online spaces.

What the paper’s main strengths and weaknesses are from my experience of the TEL course

Approaching online spaces and participation as not utopian spaces that can embrace diversity and offer more opportunities for reflection. In this way, these spaces are seen in a more realistic way and not as idealistic spaces where perfection is expected and nothing less.

Perhaps a negative side to this is that for a heterotopian space to function positively in the end, even through disruptions, there has to be reflective practice and therefore engagement of the learners with each other and another prerequisite is the creation of a more informal/less academic atmosphere, both of which require time to happen.