Friday, December 20, 2013

TESOL Macedonia-Thrace Xmas Event - Evaluating and Choosing Edulactional Digital tools and apps. (by Sophia Mavridi)

Christmas is coming and what better way to end the first school term than listen to the wonderful Ms Sophia Mavridi talking about Educational Digital Tools and Apps.

Of course I am not going to write everything Sophia said, this is her project and her work, but I am going to mentions some of the facts that impressed me the most by her presentation.

The whole concept of the presentation was how to use technology in order to help our students learn.

"We need pedagogy and not just cool tools"

Digital tools and apps are really impressive, but what we as educators have to consider is: Do we really need them to achieve our goals? 
For example, we can use the interactive whiteboard to show our students the text from the book and do the exercises that follow, but can't we do that using the actual book and have the same result?

"Let's not impose tools to students. It's the learning that matters"

When we teach, it's not just the language skills our students have to learn.

Here are some of the skills we work on while on class:
  • High order thinking skills
  • Communication skills
  • Team work skills
  • Time management skills
  • Computer skills
  • Learning research skills
When we give assignments to  our students, team work is usually more effective, then they get to communicate with each other, do research, discover things on their own and this makes them remember.

"collaboration is the new competition"

We were also presented with some wonderful teaching tools:

In the end of our presentation we were given a task:
"You and your students are working on a class project. Your students need to collaborate outside the classroom. The project will then be posted and students will be asked to reflect on it"
Our task was to choose from the tools above and describe the activity.
 We had to choose among young learners, teens and adults.
My group chose young learners, which is a very difficult group in my opinion, since most of the children of age 6-11 do not have facebook or skype accounts.

We decided to have our students choose their favourite animal and describe it on kidblog.  They could also use Audioboo with a recording of their animals voice. The other students get to guess which animal it is.

Unfortunately, this task is as interactive as it could get, because students of that age cannot actually interact on the internet without a parent's help and supervision.

It was a real pleasure to be a part of this workshop and meet Sophia in person!

More about her work on Sophia's blog.

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