Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

iPad apps

Posted: August 11, 2013 in Uncategorized
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As a second post today, but more of a request than for giving information, I will hopefully write a few more blogs before term begins. I would be interested to know if readers would like to know about iPad / iPhone apps that may be useful for the MFL classroom (as well as other subjects as well, but with the primary focus being n the benefits for the MFL classroom), or about more internet-based tools. If you have any preferences, please do send a message or comment below!

Apps I have been starting to use for MFL education include the following:

Morfo, Audioboo, Voice Record, WordFoto, Wordsalad, Comic Life, Decide Now!, ShowMe, Skitch, Videoscribe, dotSub, BaiBoard, Voxdox, Vintagio, Puppet Pals, Vittle, Story Creator, MyStory, Socrative.

Let me know if anything interests you in particular.

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Mentormob is a nice site which enables you to create playlists for your pupils. With it, you can set up a playlist composed of internet links, uploaded files, multiple choice or true/false quizzes and written articles that will guide your pupils along towards some piece of work. I discovered this a year ago I think, and I can’t remember who from, and filed it away into the ‘must explore fully another day’ category. I remembered it when having a meeting with some pupils for whom I am supervising their IB Extended Essay, and when I was promising to set them up with various links to help them begin their study, and Mentormob seemed to be a great option to help them get started.

Mentormob homepage

The URL is http://www.mentormob.com and you will see the homepage as above. To join, click ‘Sign up’ in the top right hand corner and fill in your various details. You can link your Facebook or Google accounts to it, but if you have a Facebook account, I would be tempted to keep it ‘away’ from school pupils and set up an ‘independent’ account. Once you have signed up, you will be directed to your dashboard, from where you can browse previously created playlists, create your own, and eventually see and edit playlists that you have already created. It will look something like this below:

Mentormob dashboard

When you are ready to start, click ‘Create’ at the top of the screen, and the follow screen will be viewed:

Mentormob create new

 

Give your playlist a name, write a short description, decide on Recreational or Academic, choose a category and then add tags to help it be searchable should you want it to be. Crucially, are the privacy settings on the right hand side. For school purposes, unless you are going to subscribe to the Mentormob University option (there are various price plans for this), it is probably worth clicking the ‘Unlisted’ option for privacy so only those you send the link to can view your playlist and then click the option that only you can edit your playlist, so that it can’t be changed. Then click ‘Save and Add Content’.

Here is a short 5 minute Jing video showing this starting process.

Mentormob demo

The process is very simple. Click the + button to add content, choose from the 4 options, either a link to an internet site, upload a file of a variety of types, write an assignment or create a pop quiz, involving true or false or multiple choice activities. Challenges can be created for various steps to ensure that pupils are thinking about what they are seeing.

Once you have created your playlist, click ‘Done Editing’ and that will save your playlist as it is. You can go back to it from your home page to edit, add and remove content at a later date. To do this, once you have clicked on the playlist, click on the pencil icon on the top green bar.

In order to share your playlist with your pupils, you simply copy the URL of your playlist and email it to your pupils. Your pupils will be able to do any pop quizzes that you have set from them, and click the arrows at the top of the page to go from stage to stage of the playlist.

There are plenty of ways that Mentormob can be used. Here are some quick ideas:

1) Coursework preparation: you can set mini tests on crucial elements such as verb endings, spellings, common mistakes, upload specific word documents that pupils could refer to, upload powerpoints and tagxedo / wordle clouds of useful vocabulary, perhaps podcasts or videos, and maybe use the assignments section to show sample courseworks.

2) Create a research list for projects such as Extended Essays, courseworks and projects, that start pupils off for their bibliography.

3) Create a practice pathway for the progression of a topic, grammar point or unit, involving different skills.

4) Get pupils to create playlists for each other on certain topics

5) Use it as a presentation tool

6) Pupils could create their own revision playlists under your supervision, bringing together key resources for holiday work or independent learning

Here are a few other links to help you get to grips with Mentormob

http://www.mentormob.com/learn/i/how-to-use-mentormob/what-is-mentormob-7

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB8A7824F8240814B – a series of 4 videos on Mentormob by the wonderful Emilia Carrillo, who deals with Browsing and creating

http://growingbrainstemporarysite.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/resource-for-teachers-and-parents-mentormob-allows-sharing-content-playlists-edchat-teachingresources/

iPad users: Be aware that currently (this is March 2013), you can’t create Mentormob presentations on your iPad or do pop quizzes, but having spoken to some of the guys behind Mentormob, this is on their roadmap as they develop the tool. Who knows, maybe an iPad app is also in their plans.

All in all, I really like Mentormob as a way of helping to organise your pupils for projects with a defined outcome, helping to structure their process and bringing together resources that they can respond to constructively. It is something I will be using a great deal with my Spanish IB extended essays and written assignments, and probably interactive orals as well. I’ll also be using it with the A level speaking exams as pupils prepare their presentation topics and discussion answers, and also towards coursework. I hope you find it useful as well.

Edmodo CPD

Posted: March 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

I’ve posted about Edmodo before, but I’m going to be doing a CPD in my school about it’s use, and thought that I may as well upload my CPD document handout for anyone interested.

Here it is: HOW TO USE EDMODO

If anyone would like to connect on Edmodo, please let me know!

 

My IB website Exclusiva!

Posted: October 21, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Permit me to do a bit of advertising for my side project from teaching.

Through Pearson Publishers coming to do some market research at my last school, I was lucky enough to get involved with a project to provide weekly online content for IB students doing Spanish B, whether as Standard or Higher level. (The content is actually appropriate for A level students as well).  The site is called ‘Exclusiva’ and it runs in tandem alongside the Espanol B textbook.

This is what the homepage looks like!

 

On this site you will find exercises in the style of IB exercises, divided up into the various topic areas of the IB. With each text related to the Core there are two exercises and one for the Options topics. As well as the Launch content of 30 texts, there will be a new text every week that my friend Virginia and I write, so for your subscription you get  52 new texts every year. All texts will be on relevant recent topics. There aren’t just written texts but some video exercises from authentic news sources. There are also really extensive vocabulary lists for each core and options topic divided up into verbs, nouns and adjectives. I also write a weekly blog with up-to-date links to things of interest such as videos, cartoons, news articles and songs.

Here is a link to a video about the website

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgDBlghEazs&context=C423fa5bADvjVQa1PpcFMqyaohbDK6vzAxzd1bO_FzqA_rEjj4CG0=

Hope it proves useful to people of 6th form teachers, whether IB or A level.

This post is a rather late follow up to a post I did about using Twitter in the MFL classroom, a post that was very kindly RT’ed around the Twittersphere by various people.

Rather belatedly I have come up with a list for Spanish students as to who they could follow to help them with their awareness of what is going on in the Spanish speaking world and to improve their comprehension skills. Here it is ready to download.

Spanish Language Twitter Accounts Worth following

Thanks to Amanda Salt and Tanya Castillo for suggestions and Amanda’s prior list which I have added to which can be found here.

Please feel free to add any other twitterers that are worth following in the comments section.

Moving hiatus

Posted: July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

Just to say that since I moved house about 10 days ago, I don’t have an internet connection, so have to come to the library to go online! When things are sorted out I will start posting again, including one on Xtranormal and probably stuff on Posterous when I have got to grips with it properly!

Dropbox

Posted: June 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I’m on the point of moving schools, and am needing to store the mountain of resources I have created over the last 12 years of teaching. I have got a portable hard drive which does the job nicely but another way of storing certain things that I need instantly wherever I am in the world is to use Dropbox.

Dropbox is an online store which you can also download to your computer and even as an App on the iPhone (I presume other platforms as well, but can’t confirm. It gives you a certain amount of space into which you can easily upload files from your computer or mobile phone, making it therefore much easier to access rather than having to rely on a memory stick or portable hard drive. To start with you have 2GB of space, but you can add to this by inviting other people to join Dropbox, by linking your account with Twitter and Facebook, and various other means. The maximum you can have is 50GB which you have to upgrade our account through paying!

To begin with go to www.dropbox.com and click on ‘Download Dropbox’. Follow the instructions on your screen to download the program onto your computer and in a short time you will have succesfully registered and you will have installed it onto your computer. You will have icons that you can click on to load dropbox, or you can open the website and sign in as well.

When you are on you will have a screen something like this below, with a list of folders in my case that you can add to that you have created, or that other teachers have shared with you. Here is a screenshot of my current dropbox contents:

Twitter users may be interested in the MFLTwitterati folders.These are dropbox folders set up and used by many wonderful MFL teachers across the world. Apart from the Spanish one that I am a member of, there are also French and German MFL Twitterati folders. To join these, you will need to be invited – I am more than happy to invite you to the MFL Twitterati and Twitterati Spanish folders (send me a direct message on twitter to @pedroelprofesor) but ask on twitter for the others using the #mfltwitterati hashtag and someone will oblige – you get extra mb space if you do so people will be keen! If you aren’t on twitter, send me a message via the comment facility on this blog. The folders contain a great deal of resources and ideas and are well worth joining and contributing to.

From your dropbox homepage you can easily create new folders, upload your documents and share files with others. Just have a look through the various icons at the top of the page (Upload, Create New Folder, Share Folder) or use the left hand left buttons (Sharing, Events, Links and Getting Started). It works much like your normal way of navigating through folders, so it should not be difficult to use successfully.

So how can Dropbox be used in the MFL classroom? For me it could be used as an alternative to a VLE. It could be an easier way to share files, exercises, websites, photos and resources with other teachers in the department plus with your classes as well. Giving pupils access to folders would allow them to access things at home, at school and on holiday which could make things easier for them, particularly for revision and due to illness. Edmodo offers a similar system to this with its library options, but Dropbox has the advantage in terms of how it can be used on smartphones and as a download as well, not just online. Similarly pupils could send preps to you in a similar way, and you can collate best efforts for others to learn from. I may well employ Dropbox for just this purpose in my new school, as it will save me a lot of time uploading files to a VLE when there is another alternative .

As a collaborative device, Dropbox has a lot of advantages, though you have to make sure you don’t exceed your memory quota. As a school or department, it could be worth while investing in premium accounts for teachers (though my new school declined my request for this having sent me the staff handbook via dropbox!) Please do ask to join the MFL twitterati dropbox folder as it is a very useful resource in itself.