Friday, 31 October 2008

IOW Conference: Video-conferencing With Flashmeeting-John Warwick

John Warwick’s background is Science/Chemistry but his present educational focus is ICT and e-learning. He is also an eTwinning ambassador, which has provided him with many opportunities to explore the possibilities of flashmeeting as a tool to connect schools globally.

· Flashmeeting is a video-conferencing tools that is free for educational purposes.

· The aim of video-conferencing is to set up live interactions between groups of people or individuals. It is however possible to record sessions on a webcam and send them to partners if synchronous communication via flashmeeting is not possible.

· It is worth remembering that a professional set-up will only work well if the video-conferencing partner has equipment of similar quality.

· Another alternative is an intermediate set-up where a webcam is used with specialist computer software (PVX)

· The advantage of flashmeeting is that it is free to use and that you only need to invest in a webcam (from £25)

· The video confererences are private-by invitation- only, which makes this activity safe and secure.

Students could be talking about/ comparing:
· Hobbies
· Local environment
· Food
· Topical issues

Staff could use flashmeeting for:
· Organizing international projects (planning meetings)
· Languages INSET
· Friendships
· Preparing visits abroad/ exchanges
· Setting up penpals schemes
· Record a session and send it to the partner school

The webcam image can also be projected onto an Interactive WhiteBoard or a whiteboard using a digital projector. The quality of the image is not always of high standards but the linking in itself is a great way to motivate students. As only one person can talk at any one time, students must take turn and this is also a great way to focus on oracy.

Flashmeeting can support languages projects/ tasters e.g. Kent primaries who do Chinese are using flashmeeting to link with Chinese school.

The sound quality can be improved by having an external microphone and the sessions are also recordable, although this function can also be disabled. Parental consent may be needed to be able to share the link to the recorded session.

When used within a class/ a group, video recording can be used:
· To develop students’ AfL skills (with teacher or FLA, for instance)
· To help with KS2/KS3 transition projects: mini language lessons from Y7-9 to Y4-6? (lunchtime clubs?)
· To support enrichment projects e.g. Sharing cultural differences about Christmas
=> Gains in students’ self-confidence and improvement of self-image as a language learners.

More research about flashmeeting links here.

Setting up a meeting
Authorised user to book and input date, time and duration of the meeting. More than one person/ school can be invited. Each computer is ONE station. The guests then receive a url to click on to join the flashmeeting. Bookings are always done using UK time.

Meetings can be :

*Recorded or not
*Syndicated or not
*Included in a powerpoint presentation to share parts of a meeting

You need to be a registered user to be able to book your own meetings and invite other people.

Online tips and hints are available here and here.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

IOW Conference Show and Tell: Let's Not Preach To The Converted

The Show and Tell took place on the Saturday night in a local pub in Newport. The pub was a great venue with good food and a large function room that was soon to be filled by rowdy language teachers. I had volunteered to talk about what can be done to promote the use of ICT amongst colleagues.

After being told that the person due to do the presentation just after Joe Dale would not be taking part, I thought "follow THAT" as Joe was sharing his wonderful ideas and tricks to turn powerpoints into truly interactive classroom resources.

As a summary, I would highlight the following:

  • I believe that 100+ brains are better than just one-even if it is mine! That's why I love twitter and social networks.
  • Networking is one of the most effective ways to solve problems-ours and other people's.
  • Twitter is spontaneous, messy, professional and individual-that's real life
  • Diigo is the best platform to find like-minded colleagues to exchange resources and ideas with them.
  • I am a Ning addict but sometimes, sharing is just about making yourself available and dipping into selected conversations. Time IS a precious commodity.
  • VPD is the future-When will we get regular VPD free periods to network and exchange ideas about Learning & Teaching?
  • To anybody who tells you that they prefer talking to "real people" rather than take part in online communities, tell them that I have met a lot of people from my online communities at the IOW Conference-they seemed pretty real to me...
  • Sharing does not just happen, opportunities for sharing must be engineered within the school context. It must also be a genuine two-way process.
  • All threats and inconveniences can also be opportunities to "spread the word" within and across departments, across the LA, the country, internationally...

Impressions from the Isle Of Wight Conference (24-26th October 2008)

Twitter was the guest of honour at the conference and all the delegates should now know what Twitter is all about.

The Mash-up of the Twitter activities during the conference makes an interesting reading and gives an accurate idea of the atmosphere at the conference: positive buzz all around and excitement at the prospect of learning so much from each other.

Why you should use Twitter-Interview with the amazing Drew Buddie. Drew mentions the IOW conference in this interview and how Twitter contributed to the positive buzz. I also managed to blush in from of my computer when I heard my name mentioned as a self-confessed Twitter addict.

Photos from the IOW confererence 2008

Thanks to @joedale and the Twitter (A) Team for those great links.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Funky flipcharts and interesting interactivity (IOW Conference Part 1)

Funky Flipcharts and Interesting Interactivity was the first session I attended. Lesley Welsh from The English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, Hartlepoool, delivered an enthusiastic presentation about the benefits of using an IWB. OK, I was already convinced, but her positive energy was certainly infectious!

· Look at primary resources for simple graphics
· Move furniture/ objects around to teach prepositions
· Bubble game: text with multiple choice options in a bubble. Students work in pairs, one reads, the other one tries to guess what option was chosen, if it is right he/she then takes on the reading .
· Spotlight tool used with all new words/ pictures for new words on a slide
· Blind tool can be used to slow reveal: Team A un …./ Team B une …
· Erase and reveal e.g. country shapes, students have to say the name of the country.
· Brainstorm: paste a circle with a word in it and draw a line to show connection
· Drag and drop: Key phrases to fill in, re-order sentences (good starter)
· Phrases to fill in with extra support behind a colored rectangle
· Focus circle (with a countdown clock in the circle and a key word e.g. job). Make as many sentences as you can on jobs with te words provided
· Team vocabulary test: get the right spelling on your half with 10-15 chances given for somebody else in your team to amend the spelling.
· Labeling activity: e.g. a house
· Taking a picture with a camera tool is better to keep quality of picture rather than use copy and paste.
· Numeracy: looking at prices, students have to put the right coins in the till.
· Blockbusters, noughts and crosses
· Dice: Person 1=je 2=tu 3=il/elle 4=nous 5=vous 6=ils/elles
Verb 1=finir 2=parler 3=manger 4=dire 5=boire 6= être
· Use the dice to make a sentence with different types of words e.g. pronoun/ verb/adjective
· Flipcharts are good to ensure all the resources are together e.g. music/ audio
· Scroll adjectives (e.g. 10 ), write down as many as you can remember
· Scroll words with some vowels missing
· Match up exercise for the answers
· Use photographs of pictures instead of re-sized images for higher quality
· Activote systems: can be used for survey, quizzes, spelling or vocabulary tests (e.g. numbered parts of the face, multiple choice answers). They are good to identify students’ overall weaknesses as well as individual students’ difficulties.
· Use videoclips: e.g. weather forecast to listen to authentic audio

Best of all, I enjoyed Lesley’s top tips:
· Be prepared
· Find out what works for you
· Experiment and enjoy

Couldn’t agree more!!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Isle of Wight Conference, 25-26th October 2008: A Fantastic Opportunity for Professional Development and Networking for Language Teachers

Visit The Isle of Wight Conference

Web 2.0? Blogging? Podcasting? International Projects using ICT?
Here are a few of the themes for the wide range of workshops offered at the Isle of Wight conference due to take place 25-26th October 2008.

Masterminded by Joe Dale for the third year running, this event promises to have a strong impact in mfl classroom practice across the land.

The event is now running on 2 days with opportunities for informal networking before, during and after the Conference with an additional “Show and Tell” session at The Bargeman’s Rest Pub on the Saturday night.

This is a great opportunity to meet other language teachers and ICT experts to find out more about how new technologies can be integrated creatively in the mfl classroom. I also challenge anybody to find an event that is better value for money.
I am looking forward to be refreshed and inspired!

So come and join us now