How to use YouTube with students!

It is easy to forget that there are great things we can find on YouTube. The large amount of dogs and cats videos and other uninteresting videos of the sort can sometimes give a bad impression of YouTube. However, there are also some very interesting things that we can use to teach students!

I started looking into YouTube a few weeks ago. I give an initiation to English to kindergarten kids in an elementary school and I was looking for songs to play. For example, I found a great song to help them learn the days of the week and a funny video to help them with the weather vocabulary.

Then, I figured there must be other useful things YouTube can offer! Firstly, I recommend to take a look at the following video, as it offers basic information on how to find things on YouTube and how to manage the videos that you find useful for your classes or for other teachers:

http://www.edutopia.org/youtube-teaching-video

Of course, YouTube can be used to show videos related to the material you’re teaching in class. It can help to use a video to demonstrate something (for example, a song with younger kids). Also, older students can use YouTube to research information for a project they are doing. Edudemic has an interesting article, ”The Teacher’s guide To Using YouTube In The Classroom”. They offer many ways it is helpful. For example, they suggest using it to make videos to help students revise their material before an exam. I hadn’t thought about that and I believe this could be very useful for students! (http://www.edudemic.com/youtube-in-classroom/)

Evidently, there are precautions to take when using YouTube in the classroom. For example, when giving students access to the website, we need to make sure they consult appropriate videos. I recommend reading ”Tips for Teachers Who Wish to Use YouTube in the Classroom”, as it will help with making sure it is used in an appropriate and efficient way! (http://edtechreview.in/news/611-tips-for-teachers-youtube-in-classroom)

Since YouTube has many education channels, I am sure every teacher can find something helpful!

Integrating the IPad in our classrooms

This week, I have decided to talk about a tool that can be used with younger students. As we all know, children nowadays are almost born Ipad in hand. They sometimes know how to use it more efficiently than their parents do. This is why I believe we can use this tool as a teaching device in our classroom, even with kids in elementary schools. The application I chose to talk about is Sentence Builder. 

This app is great to help students create sentences that are grammatically correct. It offers 2 levels but also offers the possibility of creating your own sentences, which is great for teachers trying to help students practice specific things that they have learned in class for example. 

A teacher, who writes the blog ”Learning to the core” tried it out with her students and they had fun while learning, which was of course her goal! You can read her blog here:

http://dailylearningtothecore.blogspot.ca/2013/01/lets-build-sentence-free-ipad-app.html

Since there are already 250 sentences constructed and you can also create you own, this app can be used many times without being too repetitive for the children! I believe that such an application can make it interesting for kids for many different reasons. Firstly, they are the ones constructing the sentences, which makes it a lot more interactive than traditional teaching on the board. Secondly, they use technology that most of them already know and already enjoy. Thirdly, it will look like a game to them but they will be learning about sentence construction at the same time. 

This app might be difficult to use with kids who are just starting to learn English, but if they start learning English at a young age, after a few years, this could be very useful to an ESL teacher. This app is also recommended by the website Fun Educational Apps (http://www.funeducationalapps.com/2012/10/sentence-builder-app-must-have-teaching-app-for-teachers-and-parents.html)

Finally, it is also interesting to mention that you can create accounts and see how the children progress in their learning. This way, teachers can see if the app works with their classes or not! Sentence Builder is recommended as one of the applications ESL teachers must have on many websites, as it won Language app of the year 2010, given by IEAR (http://www.bestcollegesonline.com/blog/2012/04/30/16-incredible-ipad-apps-for-esl-learners/)

You can take a look at this YouTube video to find out how to create sentences with Sentence Builder : 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTjZ5yuTo6w

This one shows how Level 1 works:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOyVNCVLW78

Connected classrooms: visiting the world from your school!

This week, I have decided to talk about a great tool that I discovered last week. It’s the Google Connected Classrooms tool that now offers virtual field trips.

Since technology is now a huge part of teaching, being able to show to students places they would not have been able to visit is a great opportunity. I believe that English as a second language teachers can use this application to help their students develop their language skills while also discovering something different.

First, let me explain exactly how this works. Google Connected Classrooms offers different tools for teachers. On their website, a variety of field trips are posted on a schedule http://connectedclassrooms.withgoogle.com/ . These field trips are called hangouts. Teachers can simply show the live presentation on a smartboard in their classroom to their students. However, they can also RSVP and try to be one of the 4 classrooms taken to be live participants to the field trip (a webcam is necessary), meaning that their students will have the chance to interact with the guide! Here is Google’s tutorial on how to use Hangouts: http://services.google.com/fh/files/misc/cc-faqforteachers.pdf

I believe this tool can be of great use to English as a second language teachers. As I have mentioned before, this could be a way to help students improve their language skills. Also, teachers can do follow-up activities on the field trip, for example a written assignment. I believe that this offers students the possibility to do something different, interesting and rewarding, while also being educative. The following link offers a video showing a little bit how the field trips go:

http://9to5google.com/2013/11/04/googles-new-connected-classrooms-program-takes-students-on-virtual-google-hangout-field-trips/

On another note, while researching information about this tool, I came across an article from Brian Fagioli on betanews.com who had doubts about the use of the virtual field trips. He brought up the fact that virtual field trips should not replace real field trips. While I agree that schools should offer students the possibility to discover the real world, I believe that real field trips are more complicated to do because of many reasons (budget, distance, time). With that in mind, I don’t see why it has to be one or the other…why not use Google to show students things they could not see on a real field trip? Hangouts offers opportunities they wouldn’t normally have! With that said, I recommend you read his article, as he brings interesting points: http://betanews.com/2013/11/04/google-connected-classrooms-children-are-denied-proper-field-trips/

Schoology: managing your teacher tasks!

Being a teacher involves a lot more than just talking in class and correcting exams. In order to be the best teacher possible, one has to be well organized. This is why I decided to present a tool created to help teachers manage everything that comes with being a teacher. This great tool is called Schoology. Officially called a ”Learning Management System”, Schoology offers many possibilities to the teacher. Messaging, calendars, cloud service, recording and grading tool are just a few of the things that can be used on Schoology. It also offers the possibility of communicating with students. https://www.schoology.com/home.php

The great thing about Schoology is that it’s free for teachers. There is a cost when schoolboards buy it, though. There was an article on forbes.com almost 2 years ago about Schoology. The author suggested how Schoology can be a great tool for a school. According to him, Schoology could really help the way school are managed. One example:

”Also on the horizon: a workload analysis tool to help teachers view students’ upcoming assignments and avoid cramming tests and due dates on the same day as their colleagues.”

This would definitely bring school to another level and help the students at the same time! http://www.forbes.com/sites/jjcolao/2012/04/16/with-education-at-a-tipping-point-schoology-scores-6-million-in-series-b/

This video explains how Schoology can help a teacher’s management :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqc1xE2H9Wg

Evidently, there are other types of platforms that can be used by teachers but Schoology is cleary interesting because it offers so much, all within the same tool. It is also very easy to use. If you need more proof that it is a great choice, the following link offer a blogger’s opinion about why Schoology is the best choice!

http://rtschuetz.blogspot.ca/2012/12/five-reasons-why-schoology-rocks.html