mercoledì 23 agosto 2017

TES a useful tool for creating lessons online

TES : how to create lessons online in just a few minutes
It is one of the  fastest tools for creating lessons and you can choose  how to create lessons for your  students by using images, videos and adding your  texts.
I just tried it last week and after having checked my account was working I could work on the lesson by using the tool online which helps you look for  resources which you can use in your  lesson plan.
It took me less than ten minutes.  Good quality and good materials online.
Once  you are ready you can share it with your  students or embed it on your website.

Why  should everybody try it?
It's fast and it is free. You can also find a lot of materials which are  shared by other  educators. Sharing is caring and so you can  find  a lot of materials which you can use or also pay for. What I liked was the idea of integrating the lessons with  Google Drive too. 

lunedì 21 agosto 2017

Digital Tools and Personal Learning Networks

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On 17 July I was online and could see an interesting webinar about the importance of digital tools in the life of the  teachers who develop their own PLN.
The webinar was run by Cambridge English Language Assessment and provided some ideas about how teachers can develop.

The two presenters , Sally Matson and Anna Lloyd interacted with the teachers and  educators who were online and provided some tips about how we can learn together other educators and how to develop and share ideas, materials and  interact with other teachers.

I am focussing on  some key ideas which I feel everybody involved in teaching should be aware of.
Teaching today requires  a lot of efforts in terms of self-development  and thanks to the internet we can easily learn about new ideas and share tips and learn about what the others are doing.

The term  refers to  PERSONAL LEARNING NETWORK  and defines an informal network consisting of people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from. The term is used to define what you create, develop and maintain.
I think that like many teachers  I have felt  alone for years as it is not easy to work with the others in some schools . I wanted to share ideas and tips but often I had to cope with their opposition, it seemed to me that some never  wanted to work together or discuss about their work and methodologies.
Ever since I started working online and  met  likeminded  teachers  things have changed. I also enjoyed working with other teachers when I was in Dublin some years ago: it was a European project for teachers and I realized that more and more teachers want to work together in projects.

Today we have global communities of teachers and we can easily  work together also online, thanks to modern technologies we learn about them and we can share ideas.

 What the two speakers underlined in the  webinar was the importance of developing a reputation online.It is possible to meet virtual friends and educators who love discussing online and work with others as they feel that education is not a national issue but it involves educators, families and teachers.


While in the past most of the ideas were discussed in conferences and meetings  , now we can have a global audience thanks to social media.
Youtube, Linkedin,FB and Twitter can enable learners to find , share and create online resources.  This implies that  learner can control and manage their learning.

An important aspect of the connected educators is  the relationship with their  writing and blogging is becoming more and more important:

The main focus was only on the main platforms but I must say that we have great  bloggers that can help us learn about ideas, approaches and also new web tools.
Blogging is also useful for teachers when interacting with their learners.
The Digital Teacher
Teachers have a variety of resources they can rely on for learning:  Moocs but also dedicated platforms which have just been created. The Digital Teacher can be one of the first website to check if you are  beginning to work with  modern tools.  
 It is important to get organized and to start following important people in education and also events. Twitter or FB can help the learners and the teachers to become more involved in learning about the new events and   modern tools can help them to become organized in saving what they need to  read about and reflect on:

The webinar ended with encouraging words :  Join In!

The event was  a good introduction to what we mean by  connected educators today and how teachers can develop online.

You can watch the recording online dealing with this event .

domenica 13 agosto 2017

MMVC17 My reflections online

MMVC17  My posts and my reflections online

by  Tiziana Angiolini

After being part of the online community of educators who saw the webinars which ran from 4th to 6th August I had to write some posts and to prepare my reflections in a video. I posted a video for 10 webinars and a video as an introduction to this experience online.

Here you  can find my videos online and the links to the all the  posts I have written so far: this is my homework for getting the Certificate of Attendance as Dr. Nellie Deutsch requires us to  write posts and to make some videos for reflecting about the events.

My Presentation online  about  MMVC17 with links to posts and also links to the videos

The Beginning of the Conference :My Post
Day1 Presenting the Conference

A video summarizing all the main events which I saw  on line

My post :  Technoclil in the  21st Century

My post : Spice  Up your Lessons with Interactive Tools

My Post: Dealing with Digital Distractions

My Post : Motivating

My Post: Improve Classroom Culture with Mindfullness

My Post: What to expect in online Education in coming years


My Post: Rethinking Stress

My Post : Understanding Programming Foundamentals

My Post about  Native and Non-native  English Teachers

My Post about  Innovation for quality Leadership

domenica 6 agosto 2017

MMVC17- Innovation for quality Leadership

6th August 2017

Webinar by  Ebba Ossiannilsson

Innovation for quality  Leadership

I was online on 6th August and I could see the great webinar where  the speaker presented her ideas about  Leadership Management.
Quality and Innovation: she speaker  focused around leadership and transformation towards UNESCO SDG goals 2030 and the 4th industrial revolution.
She focussed on the way technology is playing an important role but what is more important is a strong leadership that can enhance initiatives in education and interdisciplinary work.
The main message was about the need for a systemic  change.

What we should do:   THINK OUTSIDE.
Ask questions. Great leaders need to be creative.
Great words in the final slide:  CARING IS SHARING, SHARING IS CARING.
The main focus was on providing key ideas about this concept:

It was a great presentation, well-focussed and interesting but I did not connect as I was following the speaker and her interesting ideas. When I watched the session I realized that we are still looking for leaders who have passions and  can motivate. I liked the world  CREATIVE VISIONARIES. I did not ask any questions but I thought the content is relevant to me. In addition, I would add that we should try to become  visionaries to build and develop  a better leadership.
I felt a bit worried about the world of education now as I believe that a few people are so passionate: I agree that people like  Nellie Deutsch are doing a great job but we should have more people.  The challenges and the steps will have to be shared among other visionaries . I will have to try to rely on the people I know in my country and on the international community.

I will have to continue follow people like  Ebba , Dr. Nellie Deutsch and  people who are aware of the importance of education and how leadership is  crucial to develop a better learning  community.
I have already done a Mooc about the importance of  Mentors and Leaders in Education and I will try to learn more about what innovative steps can reshape  Education. It will be a Group  Work shared among people.

Resources shared in the  webinar : the Presentation

Ossiannilsson mmvc17 6_aug2017 from Ebba Ossiannilsson

The video is now online


MMVC17- What to expect in online education in coming years

6th August  2017

Webinar by  Parminder Mitter Chaudhury

What to expect in online education in the coming years. A Teacher's  Perspective.

I was online and I could follow this interesting webinar dealing with the issue of technology and online education in coming years. The main focus was on the learners and how they will learn, the technology, the LMS and also information about  Moocs and types of courses which have been provided so far.
According to the speaker more and more learners have had access to courses online  so far and the number is growing.
Not only universities and public institutions are now involved in  providing courses online, but there are also private companies.  There should be a further development in the next years as tablets, laptops and smart phones are now widely used by  people who want to have access to education.
The role of teachers becomes crucial and many educators need to be taught about how to work with online technology and in courses online: learning about  LMS is important as the role of teachers becomes more challenging when designing  tasks and courses.

 Here is the interesting conclusion about our future as educators and also digital instructors which the speaker shared with us:

I connected with the other  attendees and shared my ideas about my experiences as a learner online. Personally ,I have always liked Moocs  but since they began I have found a lot of changes. I did not have  to pay for Certificates of attendance in many  courses while now I do have to pay with and Coursera. I also expressed my doubts about some quality of the courses.
The content in this  webinar was really engaging and interesting for me as an educator as more and more teaching is happening in a blended learning form. Also in my country we have now teachers who are starting working  online.  Moocs are also very popular. In schools it is not so easy to start working online as  schools have poor quality technology and not all the educators are provided with the right skills to start working online. Some tech-savy educators are doing well. 

When I watched the webinar I  thought that the future might be smart for educators as  more people will have access to education in the next years.  Good educators are also learning now online thanks to many  courses which do not  cost much.  
I felt that it is important to be hopeful as education is continuously changing but  we should not be afraid of technology.
Implementing the ideas will require a lot of optimism but the young generation of educators can be ready, the next steps to take the challenges require a lot  of team work in schools but I am sure that thanks to  people like Dr. Nellie Deutsch and also to many  Mooc providers educators can learn also while working online.

I have already learnt how to work on Moodle and I have tried to become more aware of the issue of education in the future by doing some online courses. I think that in some years I  might try to work online. What I am doing now is providing some activities by using  the Flipped Lesson Approach but I think that there will be more online educators also in Italy.  

Next step:  I think that if I could meet the speaker in 5 years  I would like to ask her  to enquire about the quality of the online courses.

Education for all means  improving the Quality in Education? 

Here is the recording of this webinar

MMVC17- What about Non-native online English teachers?

6th August

What about Non-Native Online English Teachers?

The speaker of this webinar was  Halina Ostankowicz - Bazan who  presented an interesting debate about Native English  Teachers  and Non-Native Online English Teachers as she faced discriminations on quite a lot of occasions.  
I was online and could follow this interesting  webinar which took place on 6th August.

The Presenter is a non-native  ESL teacher with  lot of experience in teaching English.

The focus of the webinar started with a question as  Halina said that she has often felt she has been considered discriminated:  NATIVE ENGLISH TEACHER  or NON-NATIVE ENGLISH TEACHER? This is my question.

We had a  poll online and we  found that most of the teachers who were doing  the webinars were  Non-native  English  teachers.  She also added that an important  linguistic like  David  Crystal had never mentioned the issue of  Native and Non-native English speakers. What really mattered were the competences of the teachers.

 The discussion  continued online when she spoke about the issue of how  Non-native  English teachers  speak English. 

In her presentation she referred to an organization that is aimed at promoting   TEFL equity.

When I was following the webinar I checked the website and I found some interesting  videos :  they are worth  checking :

Like many people online I connected and  interacted with  the Others about what Halina said and although I did not make any specific questions I realized that I have often felt myself  a sort of  less able teacher because I was not a native speaker. But in my reflections online I wrote that many Non-native speakers can be better teachers. For some pronunciation can be a problem, but  in Europe we have a lot of teachers who  have been abroad and have studied abroad and thus we are competent  language teachers.

The topic discussed is relevant to my present situation of ESL  teacher as  I often work with  Native English speakers in school but I have also found some teachers who are not so good at interacting with students. Families want to have some more tuition  in English but the quality is not always so good although they want to have  English mother tongue teachers in class.

When I discovered the organization    TEFL  EQUITY I  was surprised. I had  never heard  about it

I was felt that Halina was right in asking to be given the opportunity of  working online like some English Native  Teachers are doing now but I  thought also that it will take time before more teachers will be given this opportunity.
Challenges?  I am not teaching online and I work in my country in state schools and also privately : I think that if I had to  set up some online courses I might have to face some problems! Anyway, I would be ready to face them as I am a life-long learner and I have learnt how to work online thanks to many Moocs and courses which I have done and where I was able to work together with other teachers. 

In the future I will probably try to read and learn more about this issue as I feel that lots of teachers like me are qualified.  By the way,  I did my first teacher training  in the UK and  I took a Trinity College TESOL Certificate many  years ago.  I began teaching having the same qualification of the Native speakers and I had been doing English at school and  university, this meant that I had more competences as I had studied the language, the culture and also Literature or the many Literature in English for my State exams . In addition I had done three foreign languages and this meant that I had had to face difficulties in learning them.

What next? This is my question to Halina. Do you think you will be given more opportunities?

 I am optimistic and I can see that languages and projects are important in our schools and in Europe.
I think that I have some more opportunities for developing and for  working online as  an English Language Teacher.

Here is the recording of the webinar

MMVC17 - Rethinking Stress Triggers

6th August  2017

Webinar by  Sue Annan:  RETHING  STRESS  TRIGGERS


The webinar took place on 6th August and I was online, I could follow the interesting presentation by the speaker who explained how we can deal with stress when starting  teaching online.
She explained that when beginning teaching online you need to take into considerations many things:
first of all when you want to be available for some activities, secondly you need to cope  with you  and your private life- your family or your home life and your work life. You need to find a balance.

An important issue was discussing together about what we mean by stress and also working on the idea of " positive" stress. The focus was on working online and how hard it may seem at the beginning. You may feel you are overloaded and cannot find a solution for many problems :
-  finding   clients
-  thinking abou the website you are working on and its appeal on the learners
-  feeling worried about the prices and how much you should charge your customers

She suggested being  mindful so that we can be successful .

The approach of being mindful has already suggested by Dr. Nellie Deutsh in her webinar in this conference and personally I cannot but feel that both speakers have thought about the best tips.

I really liked what Sue Annan said about    " Smelling the roses", it is an easy  but helful way to be  and feel positive.

Key Idea :  Being  mindfulful

During the webinar I connected with the others and I really liked what the presenter focussed on as it must be very challenging for educators to start working online. She provided us with simple ways to face the beginning of a new way of working but what she said may be true for any task or activity we are starting.
I did not have any questions but I only appreciated the steps which she followed to guide us. We had to think about stress and to consider both sides of the coin.
The content presented is relevant to me as a teacher and a learner - I might  do some online courses  and the course  coordinator one day and I might feel under pressure so the tips she gave us in the webinar were really helpful.
Her words about being more relaxed  and about  smelling the roses made me feel  relaxed as  educators need to have control of what is happening around them and when facing difficulties it is important to have a positive attitude.

I think that what she said was based on her experience and that challenges can be faced by following simple steps like thinking that we can rely on the others and  that there are people like me   who might be in the same situation. Being positive is the beginning of a process of empowerment that provides us with " more energy" to cope with difficulties.

What I am going to do is to learn more about which strategies can help me develop to feel better when I am not satisfied.
As to the speaker in the webinar my final question is simple: How do you feel now that you are  working online? Are you less free ? Which are tips do you think you could share with us ?


Here is the recording of the webinar

sabato 5 agosto 2017

MMVC17-Understanding programming Fundamentals

5th August  2017

Webinar  "Understanding  Programming  Fundamentals " by  Harshita Kapoor

I was online on 5th August and I could follow the webinar by Harshita who is a great educator and expert in e-learning.
The main focus of the webinar was on the importance of learning programming fundamentals for using online platforms while trying to customise them as per your requirements.
She focussed on programming, hosting a website and customising it. Finally she focussed on password security.
She encouraged everybody not to be afraid of programming, reming us of the importance of it in education. She mentioned  Scratch which is a software that is now  used in school for teaching  programming. I tried to use it some time ago and I found it very simple. In some schools  also young students are learning about it now.  

I did not connect much but listen to the presentation that was really interesting. I learnt more about  internet security and passwords. I thought about what we are doing in Italy too: the language of coding is entering our schools in Italy but I have never been involved in this planning.
The presentation was relevant to me as  I have already started working online and I think I should be more involved in learning  about  programming. I felt happy as I realized that I am working by trying to learn more about technology and when I write in my blogs or websites I am continuing  learning.
But I do need to be more  aware of the risks of passwords.
I will continue learning about  the issue of privacy and security and the next  steps I will take will deal with this issue. It can be a  challenging experience but I need to do it also because  we will work by using such devices.

My future will continue in building my knowledge about programming , the language of  internet and carrying out  researches  related to online earning . How to work better  while providing lessons and courses will be part of my development.
Doring Moocs online and any course like the Moocs  which  Dr. Nellie Deutsch runs every year by using the LMS  Moodle can help me develop as a learner and as  teacher.


Thank you  Harshita for reminding us that we do need to become more expert in programming and  to be more careful when choosing our passwords.

You can find here the recording of the webinar:

MMVC17- Improve Classroom Culture with Mindfullness

5th  August

Improve Classroom Culture with  Mindfullness  - 
Speaker  Dr. Nellie  Deutsch

Saturday 5th August was an interesting afternoon spent at home as I could  see the great webinar where  Dr. Nellie Deutsch presented  Mindfullness  Practice Techniques.
Based on her knowledge about Mindfullness she made us reflect about these techniques that can
help us in class and how we can  deal with stressful situations.
I think that every teacher should be trained to know more about these techniques. Our learners could benefit from what we do with them and  the level of satisfaction and happiness would increase.
We had a nice interaction online with  Dr. Nellie who explained in a very clear way what she meant by Mindfullness and how it can help us.
She focussed on the ideas of Positive  Emotions which are part of this Practice.

The examples which she described were related to people who have reached  the goals by practicing Mindfulness. It was interesting to think about how we can change our  attitudes and reach levels of Acceptance and  Resilience.

In class Mindfullness can help us work in a more " relaxed way":

This webinar was really "cool" as I was given good ideas and we connected with the speaker and also the people who were following the webinar.
I had no questions for the speaker but I thought that the presentation was relevant to me as often I feel I cannot work well and I need a more relaxed way of working.
I thought that I should start learning  more about  this practice. I had read about Mindfullness but this was for individuals while the focus here was also on our way of working in class. The event provided me with some ideas about how I could work with my students if I could start following this way of working based on Mindfullness.
The challenges would not be at school but in myself as I am  often focussed on content and exams while I often forget that well-being should be one of the main objectives in my learning and also in my role of educator.
One thing that I could do is to start enquiring about  Mindfullness in education and if  they run a Mooc about it I am sure that I might  enrol.
I will read and check online as  Dr. Nellie Deutsch provided us with some sources.
Meanwhile I have already searched and found some interesting documents about Mindfullness and also  students:

                                     Free resources online

Check the recording of  the webinar online: 


Thank you to  Dr. Nellie for  providing us with these interesting  ideas about   Mindfullness!!

MMVC17: Dealing with Digital Distractions

5th  August

Dealing with  Digital Distractions -  Webinar by  Dr. Doris Molero

I could be online on 5th Agust and I was favourably impressed by Dr. Molero who presented an important issue which is often debated  : digital opportunities can be powerful but  they can be distracting.  How can we manage in the ELF classroom? 
In my classes almost everybody has a smarphone and I am often forced to tell my students to switch them off...... they seem to be busy online almost every hour and it is forbidden to use them in class.. unless we have decided we should work with them. 

The webinar began with some questions and we were asked to interact about our ideas and about the use of technology.

We all interacted and discussed the issue in the chat. We also saw a video dealing with Internet and the Brain. Our mind and our  brain are under attack in some way..... but we can do something.

An important aspect of the discussion was focussed on the  importance of  empowering the students about how to work with and use technlogy: we are required to  prepare the learners about how  to live in  the new  digitalized world and the tools which they are using.
I know that I must do it because  some skills  are to be taught and learnt.


Educators need to know  about the importance of social media  literacies which are part of the digital skills which our students need to be able to recognize and be aware of.

Educators  have to cope with the students' attention and way of working as  DIGITAL LITERACIES are crucial in the XXI century 

I was engaged and took part in the discussion as I feel that educators are the first ones who work with students . The content was relevant to me as smartphones are now used in some classes and although they are forbidden for private use in some schools in Italy we have decided to use them. English language lessons can become more interesting and students can also have fun.   

The presentation was good and engaging and I thought more teachers should become familiar with digital skills as our  students were born with them. Hopefully , I am aware of the problem and therefore I am trying to learn more  and  about  the best ways for dealing with the issue of using  digital tools in class.  They are so empowering that we cannot be afraid of them.

The challanges and the next steps are about my professional development in relationship with this problem: we will have to learn together as teachers and work on us to become good educators.  

The future is now so I expect myself to be involved in providing  reflective tasks with my learners.

One final question for the  speaker : how do you imagine school and education in ten years?

Here is the video with the webinar :

venerdì 4 agosto 2017

MMVC 17- Motivating Teens & Youngster to learn & study by listening to & Tapping into their Needs

4th   August

Motivating Teens & Youngsters to Learn & Study by Listening to & Tapping into their Needs 
Speaker: Susan Brodar

I was online on 4th August and I could listen to the speaker  Susan Brodar talking about her experience to engage and to motivate students who need to take exams in September. 

I had already watched Susan speaking in some webinars in the past and  I really loved her. Ifelt that I should watch her presentation, and it was worth doing it!!
Susan made a great presentation based on what she does and what she's doing to get  the students more engaged.
I think that she was great as she provided lots of tips which were really interesting- this makes me believe that she must be a hard-working teacher as she is working on the best practices to work with her students. Dealing with teenagers may be hard sometimes... sometimes we need to find a way for approaching them and  for working better with them.
Grammar is important but she wants her students to work on it in a different  way  as she knows that language  learners have to develop different skills from reading to speaking, from listening to  writing. You cannot  learn a language  if you do not work on it!! 
Here are some of the tips she provided us with:


The use of technology can help us and  youtube  and some sites provide  us  with tools for enhancing learning .   is one which I think is worth trying.  It seems to be  useful for students!

Sending homework to students is another way for monitoring them and  getting them involved in the process of acquiring the language!

She also suggested using tools for  word clouds : I agree with her.

A great activity which can help our  learners develop is based on reading  audiobooks: Susan provided us with an interesting website with free audiobooks. They can be downloaded and you are provided with the text and the audio.  This is perfect for my students!  I checked online and found  graded readers- I think that they might help me with my students next year.
Learning a language implies  learning by reading too.
Link which I will use  for my students :

I connected online and shared my ideas with the others who were online. I asked her some questions about how to cope with activities that might enhance learning and I asked about  creativity  and more engaging tasks.
I think that the tips she provided us with were the right ones for  Elt teachers working with students of any age. Being successful in English  implies working and becoming  more responsible  and she has worked well!

When I watched the webinar I thought that some tips were really important for me and I felt well as I am aware my students with poor  language skills  should be supported in a similar way.

I feel I can try to use some strategies and the  tools which seem to be good value.
There are no challenges for me, I just need to work and reflect about how to face the learners ' needs.
I think that at school we could start working in this way for the summer work of the  students who have difficulties: if I could I would like to ask Susan about the students' results.  Have your students  really improved? 

Thanks  Susan!!  

Here is the recording of this interesting  webinar: