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.