Want a taste of the shifting shapes and sounds of wondrous words viewed in motion?  The below video offers just this.  It is also a great tie-in to the TCE course I am teaching this term which explores grammar and standard English. 

Stephen Fry Kinetic Typography - Language from Matthew Rogers on Vimeo.

I made this discovery on Open Culture, a blog I enjoy reading.  Happy viewing!


Understanding Creative Commons

Copyright. Does the word conjure feelings of warmth and happiness? Here's an informative presentation from the K-12 Online Conference by Rod Lucier entitled Creative Commons: What Every Educator Needs to Know. Perhaps watching it won't leave you with the warm fuzzies, but hopefully you will walk away with an overview of Creative Commons and copyright.

This video inspired us to create a creative commons license for When Tech Met Ed.

There are more informative and applicable videos like this in the K-12 online conference that is currently underway. Here is the schedule. Links to presentations from week one are already accessible.

Happy viewing!

Changing Education Paradigms: Sir Ken Robinson

I saw the below video clip of Sir Ken Robinson in various RSS feeds I subscribe to and finally took the time to listen to it. Wow, it's interesting stuff! Not only do I love the RSA Animate (which reminds me of an exciting time one of my artistic students drew a picture of a scene in the book on the board as we listened to a difficult passage from the book), but it has some interesting concepts worth pondering.

Here's a link to a post on Open Culture by Dan Colman that has additional information and related links about digital technology worth exploring.  If you are not familiar with RSA, I suggest browsing their site.  

Happy thinking!

Playing With Words

Want a fun way to work with words? Try Wordle and Tagxedo to create exciting word splashes.

 Here are some ways we've used Wordle and Tagxedo.
  • Transform word walls
  • Use concepts and words from a "big idea"
  • Run sections of text and student papers
  • Compare student papers
  • Post creations to class blogs or post around the room
I selected our blog!


TEDx Redmond: It Doesn't Get Much Better!

Last week, my TCE classes explored the importance of setting high expectations for our students. This is also a topic Kacey and I have discussed as well. Do we give students enough responsibility and trust? Do we give them the necessary tools and empower them to take learning in their own hands? Do we allow them to have a voice? What would happen if we did more of these things? Perhaps TEDx Redmond offers us a glimpse of the possibilities.

Watch some of the excellent TEDx Redmond video clips of children and young adults talking with passion. Bob Sprankle has made them easily accessible on his blog Bit by Bit.

Watch this video of Perry Chen entitled For the Love of Movies! It will be obvious why I chose to highlight it.

I also recommend Cayle Diefenbach's talk Preserving Heritage.

TEDx Redmond was initiated by Adora Svitak. You can listen to her interview podcast on Seedlings show 94. Check out the line-up of TEDxRedmond speakers.

Happy viewing!


DropBox Saves the Day

Tech: Lately I've been overwhelmed with trying to keep documents in order and updated when I use multiple devices (home computer, school computer, iPad, iPhone etc.).

I was introduced to DropBox and life has become so much easier and a bonus? My information is backed up in the "cloud". Check out LifeHacker for a wonderful explanation of DropBox Dropbox Syncs and Backs Up Files Between Computers Instantaneously.


Combining Language and Pictures with Pic Lits

Tech:  I never cease to be amazed at the power of a single picture. I am not only referring to aesthetics or ability to evoke strong emotion, but also to its simple, yet effective use in education. In ESOL, we frequently refer to the need to integrate visuals for ELLs. Really, the ways we can do this are unlimited. Pic Lits is one such way that tech is delivering to ed.

Here's an example that I made within a few minutes using the "freestyle" mode.

PicLit from PicLits.com

I created the following using the "drag-n-drop" method. I can imagine using this second approach with a whole class in vocabulary development. As a follow-up activity students could then take the words and use them in sentences. I like that in this mode if you click on the arrow, it offers various word forms.

PicLit from PicLits.com

Met Ed (applications):  Free writing, vocabulary building, parts of speech, dictionary and thesaurus skills, poetry, etc. These are all possible applications for Pic Lits. The site has other suggested uses as well.   It also seems possible to extend this concept by having the teacher or students take pictures related to a unit or a particular lesson. Words could be added to the pictures in any language and even combined in a multimedia project such as animoto.


Ted Talks: Worth the Time

TED Talks are amazing!  Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) has talks, TEDx conferences, communities, and much more.  I find myself visiting the site at least weekly and have a RSS feed set up on my itunes.
Here are some of my favorites.  (I may not endorse all of the ideas presented, but will step out and say they promote thinking.)
  • In What Adults Can Learn from Kids, "Child prodigy Adora Svitak says the world needs "childish" thinking: bold ideas, wild creativity and especially optimism. Kids' big dreams deserve high expectations, she says, starting with grownups' willingness to learn from children as much as to teach."
  •  The Danger of a Single Story discusses how "our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding."
Here's Jeff Utecht's talk on Community Trumps Content.
Here are some recent TED talks I've enjoyed.

Happy viewing!


Two Ongoing Online Conferences

Although I highly recommend joining professional organizations, such as TESOL, there are many free online conferences and webinars available.  Here are two suggestions to get you started.

Join the K12 Online Conference site, the free "conference that never ends."  It has a similar appearance to classroom 2.0, highlighted in a previous post.  The K-12 Online 2010 conference will begin Monday, Oct 11 and continue for two weeks.  There will be a wide variety of presentations from around the world.  The conference can be accessed on the conference blog and the conference ningWatch video teasers!

Keep your eyes open for free webinars from Pearson Longman if you are interested in topics that are specific to ESOL.  Here are some of their upcoming webinars with open registration.  Topics include vocabulary acquisition and authentic reading experiences.

Feel free to share if you have any favorite sites that offer free webinars or online conferences.

Happy learning!


Classroom 2.0 Professional Development Site

Classroom 2.0 is a must explore site!  I recommend signing up for it.  If you don't wish to, at least browse this ning site created by Steve Hargadon.  I recently joined it and am still exploring everything it has to offer.  Here's an overview of some of the aspects I like.

Webinars:  This is my favorite aspect.  The site offers free live webinars delivered via Elluminate.  (If you register for the site, the weekly schedule gets delivered to your email.)  If you can't participate in a live webinar, you can watch a recorded version at your leisure in Archives and Resources.  I particularly like this section because it contains a list of links mentioned during the presentation.  The webinars I have listened to so far have all been top-notch.
They currently have a Featured Teachers series that I have been enjoying.  I recently listened to featured teacher, Zoe Branigan, and particularly enjoyed her discussion of the need to make technology available to ELLs in relationship to social justice.  She looks at both sides of the coin of tech use in the classroom and demonstrates many coooperative applications of it. (These recorded webinars are available for free on itunes as well.)
Groups:  You can join a special interest group, post questions and participate, or browse discussions.  There are many topics available. You could even create your own group.  ESL and Technology is a group that I recently joined.