sábado, 16 de abril de 2011

Social Networking for Educational Use

Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Hi5, etc. are some of the most important social networks around the world. No matter the age, almost everybody has an account in at least one of these networks. So why not to use them for educational aims? Why not to take advantage of them if the students already know how to use them and they like them?

These are just some points to consider when trying to make teaching more real and updated. The use of social networking sites for teaching-learning is so useful that you can be surprise about it.

By using Facebook, students can be in touch all the time and comment on a topic, share information or even answer to your questions while you keep closer to them. On twitter the activities can be also fun and the level of complexity can vary. For example, make your students summarize or reflect is a 140 character space, or analyzing texts with a short and specific participation. That could be perfect for you, since they have to synthesize their opinions and you don’t have to spend all your time reading only 1 post.

The following videos will show you some of the advantages of using social networks for educational purposes. Try them and make you teaching real!

Social Networking in Plain English

Twiter in Plain English

Social Networking Sites Have Educational Benefits

Using Twitter in Education

sábado, 9 de abril de 2011

Blogs and Wikis

Online Colaborative Writing Tools

The WWW, as has been mentioned in the previous posts, is an excellent tool for EFL teachers. This is so because the wide rang of possibilities the web offers to us for improving the learning-teaching process. The tools I want to mention today are the BLOGS and WIKIS.

The benefits they offer are many like the practice of the four language skills, although the prevalence of writing upon the others, the use of language through activities that can be done in groups and even as a whole class, etc.

Almost everything you imagine can be done by using a wiki or a blog. But I’m not going to say more, I offer you some videos that will show the importance and the pros and cons you may find by using wikis or blogs. Hope they help you.

Blogs in Plain English

How to Make a Blog

Wikis in Plain English

How to Create a Website (wiki)

sábado, 2 de abril de 2011

Using the Interactive Web in the Classroom

Web 2.0 offers a wide range of opportunities to the language teacher, especially because it accomplishes the first purpose of language: COMMUNICATION. That is possible because Web 2.0 has million of sites that are updated very frequently, if not daily, and provides interaction between WWW users. That’s the key point when thinking about using Web 2.0 in the classroom.

This interactive web makes our students not only learn and practice with thousand activities, but learning from other people in the classroom or around the world by chatting/writing or talking. Another important aspect is that with the Web 2.0 the learners can improve the four language skills while using language in a pragmatic way.

Another advantage Web 2.0 offers is that learners could be in touch with others students from other schools by School Links Projects. That is a perfect activity for our students to put into practice what they learn in class and to see that what they learn is completely useful in real life. So that would make them feel more interested and most probably they will participate in a more active way.

However, it is important to take into account the topics I have published in the previous reflections. You have to make your students to think SMART and teach them how to be secure, you may also be sure all of them have ICT skills, as well as the technological conditions you have in your school.

Having this in mind, it should be great if you use the interactive web to engage your students in the language learning. That would also achieve the purpose of language teaching: make students learn to use what they’ve learnt in a real context.

These links could help you find more info about school links projects and the use of Web 2.0. Hope you like them.

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 in Education

Viral Education 2.0

School Links Project

sábado, 19 de marzo de 2011

Using Office Software in Teaching

Nowadays, the use of technology has become a necessity in education. Concerning this, it is important to know how to use technology with educational purposes, in other words, learning technologies (LT).

In this matter, Office offers a lot of alternatives when thinking of using technology in classrooms. Word and PowerPoint are excellent options because allow you to present in a creative and dynamic way the class contents and also motivate your students to participate and learn by themselves, etc.

The strategies to use Office are uncountable and the uses even more. However, what I consider really important is the care we give to the use of the learning technologies. We have to consider many aspects in order to take advantage of the tools we are using, and make our classes a success since our students learn how to use the language in a real and productive way.

Therefore, there are aspects to consider like how to manage technology (ICT basics), the time we have for a class session, the availability we have to use the LT in the classroom as a whole-class or in computer rooms, the ICT skills our students have, and the applications of the activities we present, among others.

In order to do so, or improve your use of ICT, here you are some links that will help you to achieve you goals when using learning technologies.

viernes, 11 de marzo de 2011

Cyber Well-Being

The Internet could be considered as a double edge sword. It is a friend and a risk, all at the same time. Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine life without the WWW. Even children use the Internet as any other toy they can play with. This is worrying because though they can use technology for innocent and learning purposes, they are exposed to a lot of contents that are inappropriate for them. Moreover, people in general are also exposed to many different attacks (viruses, cyber bulling, among others) from other Internet users.

That is something we should take care about, especially when using technology in the learning process. So a good way to prevent these problems is by making your students realize about these situations. Teach them how to be SMART when using the web and what to do when being victim of any attack from the web –Internet users.

This could be helpful because in this way you are going to train your students to defend themselves and discriminate about what is right or wrong on the Internet. Of course, it is important to point out that teachers have to be careful with the sites they suggest their students to work with, and their behavior when working on the Internet. That could be a good way to be aware of any sign children or teens send to ask for help.

The following links are some videos that can help when trying to avoid problems generated by the use of technology, and how to teach your student to be SMART. Hope you enjoy them.

martes, 8 de marzo de 2011

Copyright and Teaching

Since teaching is a good activity absent of bad intentions, some of us think that all that is related to teaching should be good as well. However, this is not completely true. Teachers have to be aware of some details regarding Copyright Laws in our countries. This would regulate the kind of material we use in the classroom, otherwise we will become delinquent without knowing it.

Every piece of information written, done or published by somebody else is protected by Copyright Laws and we have to respect those rights. Nonetheless, there are many sites that allow you to use the materials published in them. However, it is my advice for you to acknowledge every author you consult and whose material you use. Another way is to use the material only for educational purposes and add the information related to the resources you use. Remember that even using songs in the classroom is considered a failure to the Copyright Law, so be careful when selecting and using other people’s material.

The following links may help you to know more about Copyright and Copyright-free material in the web:

Copyright Clearance Center

Goldstein, P. International Copyright: principles, law, and practice

Westbrook, S. Composition & Copyright: perspectives on teaching, text-making, and fair use

lunes, 7 de marzo de 2011

Search Engines:

Our friends in the WWW

The World Wide Web is like a huge library, it has lots of information that could be helpful for everybody. However, like in any other library, the searching for information could be horrible if you do not know how to access to it. That is why we, WWW users, have some search engines that make our job easier.
Some of these engines are Google (for any king if files), Yahoo, YouTube and TeacherTube. What you need to know when using the search engines is that they have like an especial searching code, for instance, the use of “” and – are helpful when you are looking for information in a specific category. This will make your searching easier and you will always find the information you need.

To exemplify and give you more information about, here you are some links you could find interesting when using the WWW.

sábado, 5 de marzo de 2011

Integrating Technology in the Classroom

Technology has become an important aid for teaching. In fact, the use of technology in the classroom is a must. Therefore, teachers need to be aware of how to use it and how to make our students learn by using technology. Probably these are the first stages before introducing and integrating technology in our students’ learning process

Other aspects teachers should consider are the planning process, the Internet access, the hardware and software available in the institutions, the quality of the websites and their pedagogical uses, among others.

To sum up, it is important not only to use technology but to know how to use it considering all the aspects that are related to it. By doing so, the results will be positive and effective for our students.

Here you are some links you can find useful for integrating technology in the classroom

Johnson, D. and Maddux, C. Using Technology in the Classroom

Shelly, G. and Cashman, T. Teachers discovering computers: integrating technology and digital media in the classroom

viernes, 4 de marzo de 2011

Evaluating WWW:

How to select the best website for your students

One of the most important steps in teaching is planning. That implies thinking about what you want to do, how you are going to do it, who is going to do it and where, when and why the activity is going to be developed. Considering these questions, teachers have to look for strategies, tools and evaluations that match with the purposes already established.

When thinking about the Internet and its inclusion or integration in the classroom these questions, and some others, become really important. A starting point should be the URL (uniform resource locator) and especially the TLD (Top Level Domain). There are two important TLDs like .org (non-profit organization) and .com (commercial). Most of the time, the information found in an .org site is for free and reliable. However, everybody can buy a website and name it .org or .com, so be careful.

Once we select the website, we have to check some details like the accuracy and acceptance (the way the information is written, if it is updated, etc.), authority and coverage (the validity of the information), audience and relevance (your learners and the purpose of the activity), educational focus (how the information is presented) and finally ease of use (the technical aspects of the site). When you check all these aspect you are ready to start planning how to use the information and the website itself and transform it in a tool for you to teach.

There are some criteria we can find on the web that can help us select the best website for our students. In the following links you will find some models to guide you in your evaluating process. Hope you take advantage of them.

Kirszner, L. and Mandell, S. The Brief Wadsworth Handbook

Watson, D. and Andersen, J. Networking the learner: computers in education

Wilkilson, G; Bennet, L and Oliver, K (1997). Evaluation criteria and indicators quality of internet resources, Educational Technology.

sábado, 26 de febrero de 2011

Integrating Learning Technologies in the Classroom

Integrating Learning Technologies in the Classroom

A Must in the 21st Century

Learning Technologies are those electronic tools we can help people learn. Nowadays, integrating this kind of technology in the classroom should be a must. The reasons for stating this could vary, but it is important to recognize that if educators want to accomplish the first goal of education-make people learn to be successful in life- teachers have to make educative processes more real. Considering this and the importance technology has achieve in the last 50 years, it is convenient to take into consideration all the changes need to include it into the teaching models.

The advantages are uncountable, the interaction, the variety, the developing of different skills at the same time, the authenticity and of course the use of what is learnt in today’s context. These are only some of the benefits teachers might find when thinking about using technology in a classroom.

However, what is really important to consider is the use we as teachers give to these technologies, the pedagogical applications we find in an electronic tool and how we make our students use them. This is the key point when using learning technologies and that will change the teaching results for sure. In order to help you find more about learning technologies, I offer you the next links. Hope they are of use for you.

viernes, 25 de febrero de 2011

Before Using Technology In The Classroom…
Make People Communicate Properly!

Reflection on Netiquette

Imagine the following situation:

After working all weekend in a report for your boss, you send it by mail and you receive the following answer:



I am sure you think this is totally rude and lacks of politeness, education and etiquette or, considering the environment where this situation took place, netiquette.

According to Strawbridge (2006), etiquette is "the framework of formal rules and customs governing how people behave". Considering this, the author explains that netiquette, the shortened form of network etiquette, is a specific type of etiquette design as a ‘think before act’ reminder when using the Internet (ibidem).

Probably some Internet users might think that this is not important, but when communicating primarily by text-based medium, it is worthy to have a look at these rules in order to make our messages clear without causing discomfort to other people. That is why netiquette is so important, to prevent misunderstandings when using communication by writing.

When introducing technology into the classroom it is useful to highlight the importance of using netiquette when writing and commenting other people’s opinion. This is completely necessary since the lack of some of the most important paralinguistic aspects like intonation and gestures, among others, can produce mistakes and confusion for the reader and consequently in the communicative process.

In order to make text-based communication clear and comfortable for every user of the Internet, people have been using some especial rules like the avoidance of capital letter since it is a sign of shouting people, the use of emoticons that can help to add humor information (only in informal contexts), and common abbreviations to shorten messages. The consideration of these easy-to-follow rules can assure users the success when using writing communication on the Internet.

In the classroom, it could be useful to discuss the netiquette rules with the students as well as practice their usage with them. Probably some previews session before the beginning of the course activities could be helpful, and would avoid most of the communicative problems when interacting on the web.

The next links could help you to learn (or remember) more about netiquette and its usage. They are very complete so you can be prepared to make your students aware of the importance of having “network manners”.


Strawbridge. M. (2006). Netiquette: Internet Etiquette in the Age of the Blog. [Online book] Available: http://books.google.co.ve/books?id=ru-lWSTuiqQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=netiquette&hl=es&ei=61hoTYG9CsP_lgfT9cX_AQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false [2011, February 24]