Monday, October 8, 2012

Using twitter for educational purposes

Once I created my twitter account, I spent a few time exploring this tool, in order to learn a little bit more about it. I didn’t know much about Twitter before, and even less about its possible educational uses. After reading some of the articles related to the use of this resource, I would like to comment several ideas.

As the article 50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom says at the beginning, there are some opinions which affirm that a “140-character microblog offered by the ubiquitous social network can do little for the education industry. Though I cannot say that I totally agree with this opinion, I consider that this condition limits its use considerably, especially in educational issues.  Despite this contra of Twitter, It is certainly interesting the many ways in which Twitter can be applied in the classroom. According to both the article mentioned above and the one titled 60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter inthe Classroom, I am going to present my own Top Ten list with some of the cases in which Twitter could be very useful both for students and teachers:

1.      Tweet about upcoming due dates or assignments: It is easy to use it as a reminder of due dates and assignments. It is quick and you don’t need to text many characters.
2.      Coordinate assignments: Twitter can be used for students to work in group projects.
3.      Track a hash tag: Students and teachers can follow and communicate ideas about different issues of interest.
4.      Write a story or poem: It is a good idea to use Twitter to engage students in poetry and improve writing and literacy skills through short poems and stories.
5.      Ask questions.
6.      Twitter pop quiz: Great idea!!!
7.      Classroom connections: It is possible to establish a worldwide classroom network using Twitter as communication tool.
8.      Foreign language news stream: Students in a foreign language class can build their reading skills and stay on top of the news with a foreign language news stream.
9.      Communicating with experts:  I am actually following Bryan Alexander, the author of the New Digital Story Telling.
10.  Daily word games: Undoubtedly a great resource for word games.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Classroom 2.0

One highly recommended web site for those people who are interested in Web 2.0, Social Media and Participation Technologies is Classroom 2.0. Started in 2007 by Steve Hardagon, this site is an online community which can be very useful for those teachers who want to use the internet tools and resources in their classrooms. 
 This online social network offers us a wide range of different materials. It is nonetheless recommendable to register to get full access to all of them. Among the variety of resources that it offers, we can mention the collaborative projects on WEB 2.0 labs, the discussion forum, chat, workshops, etc. There is also an online book available and written by the own members. They also set up many events and conferences throughout the year, which are worldwide and held online.
Classroom 2.0 is undoubtedly a very appropriate group where you are able to work with other teaching professionals interested in technology in the classroom. It is especially useful for those people who are beginners , and may not have a big knowledge of these resources and tools. I found it very interesting because it could also be a great support for people like me. I have some knowlegde about technologies in the classroom, but my professional experience is quite limited until the moment. Although my objective is to become a TESOL teacher in Spain, I would like to apply new technologies to my classroom, because I consider them powerful tools and resources to learn second languages.  This community could be a perfect support to clarify the doubts that I am going to  have in the beginning of my professional practice, and it could also help me to improve my habilities on using these tools.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Before establishing an analogy to illustrate the student of the 21st Century, it would be appropriate to make a brief introduction setting out the main characteristics that define the current student profile. In recent years, education has experimented several changes and transformations due to globalization, which have created new needs that education must cover to adapt to this new environment where the main characteristic is constant change. These changes in society, which nowadays is known as “society of knowledge”, have also affected learners, which are actually quite different than learners in past years. If we have to mention a basic aspect to define current learners’ profile, we would say that they have become the protagonists of their own learning.  Besides, they are also characterized by other several aspects shown below:
-          Students have an active role in their education.
-          High motivation and self-esteem.
-          Good capacity for dialogue and teamwork.
-          They are part of a huge community of learners. This fact has notably changed our conception of knowledge, especially in terms of how we are able to create or generate it. Some past theories affirmed that learning is something that only happens within the mind of an individual. Nowadays, the way learners generate knowledge is differently understood. According to George Siemens, in The Changing Nature of Knowledge, apart from acquiring knowledge as individuals, we also generate it through the connections established with other individuals.
-          They are highly interested in investigation: Current students are not only potential knowledge consumers, but they are capable to generate new knowledge through what is previously acquired.
-          They have a deep knowledge of new technologies of communication and information,   and highly developed abilities in using these tools and resources: This is probably one of the main characteristics within the profile of the 21th Century learner. As George Siemens’ article Connectivism: A Learning Theory for theDigital Age affirms, “Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking.” The use of the internet tools with educational purposes is everyday more common in the classroom. We are undoubtedly facing a radical change in our teaching and learning methods.

Once we have an approximate profile of current learners, we notice that many things have changed throughout recent years. Focusing on the impact of technology on education, it is certainly interesting to find similarities with other past events in history in order to obtain a proper analogy to illustrate current learners. From my point of view, and after considering several ideas, I think that the process of change that education is experiencing today reminds me of what happened to the industry during the Industrial Revolution. Among the different events occurred within this period of time, we can underline the fact that economy at that time changed drastically thanks to the mechanization of industries, which caused the replacement of manual labor. In other words, our production system changed radically due to the introduction of machines in factories. The Industrial Revolution occurred many years ago, but now a new revolution in Education is coming soon. This current revolution is due to new technologies, which are notably changing our learning and teaching methods. In fact, we could affirm that some traditional teaching methods are slowly being replaced by other technology tools. Related to this obvious change in current education, a question comes to my mind: Who are the culprits of this revolution? Take into account the brief description of 21th century learners above, this question is easy to respond. In my opinion, students have clearly caused this new revolution, because their own characteristics as learners imply a huge change in education. The fact that they use technology in daily life from the very beginning of their lives, and they have developed great skills in using a wide range of technological tools and resources, is forcing education system adapting to them. Therefore, my analogy of 21th learners basically would say that students are like the “new revolutionaries of education”.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Multilingual Living

Multilingual Living is the name of the blog where I posted my comment. Founded by Corey Heller in 2004, I found it very interesting because it is oriented to provide some advice, support, and different tools to parents that are raising children in more than one language. In other words, Multilingual Living is kind of a guide to multilingual families. Apart from the resources that we can find in this blog, as language books, activities or interviews, there is also a digital magazine available (not for free). The post that I commented talks about some of the reasons that many people give to justify that they don't want to learn a second language. The author actually gives us a list of the Top ten excuses for not learning a foreign language. I found this post very interesting because, although I´m studying a TESOL degree, I sometimes used some of these excuses when I was younger and I was not so sure of learning a foreign language. At the end of the post, the author asks the viewers of the blog to add more ideas to his Top ten List, and that is what I did through my comment on his post.

Sunday, September 9, 2012



This video belongs to a serie of videos known by the name of “Social Media Revolution”. It is based on Erik Qualman’s book “Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business”.  Its author is also the founder of, a web site created with the purpose of providing “short social stories, statistics, studies and surprises”. The video basically shows some social media statistics for 2011. As the title of Erik Qualman’s Book says, this short video is a good proof of how technology is changing our lives in many aspects.
After watching the video, I would like to say that I am surprised with some of the information that it contains. I already knew that we were experimenting a great change in our lifestyles due technology and Social Media. However, I did not know that the influence of Social Media was so big in current societies in terms of relationships, business, commerce, education and many other issues. What I consider also surprising is the speed of this change, because probably seven or eight years ago, no video could present these statistics. Social Media Revolution video reflects some characteristics of current society, and it can be also useful to have an idea of what kind of society we are going to be in a near future.
As a conclusion, I would like to say that I support Social Media, and I am actually a user of some social networks, and other type of Internet tools.  I consider that, in some aspects, technology can make our lives easier and better. However, I also believe that we shouldn't abuse Social Media, and we should adapt to them step by step.

This second video by B. Nesbitt is based on a project to inspire teachers to introduce technology in their professional practice, in order to help students develop higher level thinking skills. We could say that the video is divided into two different parts. In the first part, we can see a very apt description of the “21th Century Learner”. The second part of the video is clearly a request adressed to teachers to begin using technology in the classroom.
This video reflects a critical issue related to the use of technologies in education, which is the distance between teachers and learners in terms of knowledge and background in new technologies. According to W. Richardson's text book, many teachers are not used to some Internet tools applicable to education, and that means a great difficulty to bring them to schools.
From my viewpoint, teachers should always be up to date, and should adapt to students. Therefore, It is necessary to provide teachers with proper tools, resources and training to achieve this goal. I also would like to mention that the introduction of technologies in the classroom shouldn’t mean the disappearance of other more "traditional" methods or tools in education, which are still valid. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Blogs: Uses and Standards


According to the first 3 chapters of the course text book, there are many ways in which blogs can be used. In the classroom, this tool can be useful both for students and teachers. A Weblog can be used as a class portal to communicate and archive documents. From a teaching point of view, it can be a place to publish the course curriculum, the syllabus, class rules, course contents, links of interest, homework assignments, rubrics, handouts… The blog is, undoubtedly, a marvelous course management tool. From a professional perspective, Weblogs allow teachers to share their own experiences, to work in cooperative projects, etc. 
For the students, a blog can be used as an electronic portfolio, a diary, a good tool for group activities, a place to handout their assignments and to communicate peers and teachers, etc. 


I’m planning to teach English as a Foreign Language, so I’m going to focus on the AmericanCouncil on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) standards. The standards of my field that students can meet blogging are:

Communicate in Languages Other Than English
  • Standard 1.1: Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions
  • Standard 1.2: Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics.
  • Standard 1.3: Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.