All posts filed under: Expert Educator Columns

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Shafaque Riaz: Moving learning games forward

by Shafaque Riaz Expert Educator Columnist, UAE Due to the stretched gap between my posts, I missed the connectivity with my readers, but I am happy to be back and sharing some of my experiences. As I mentioned in my earlier post, this time my focus is to talk over hurdles we as educators face by introducing games in mainstream lessons as a medium of instruction and how can we overcome them to use games effectively for learning. Primarily we should have clarity that it is neither the computer game nor the technology that promotes learning, but the play surrounding it. The learning occurs in a non-linear unstructured way when technology or video games/ simulated environment are used as teaching tools, and it is often the environment that fosters knowledge building and understanding. “The creative play is the foundation of early abstract thinking” (Vygotsky, 1986) The changing role of the teacher in this new setting I witnessed that when students gets the feeling of being in-charge of themselves, over their feeling, thinking, and learning behaviours, …

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Walid Chaafi: Podcasts- The Forgotten Tool

by Walid Chaafi Expert Educator Columnist, Tunisia Technology has advanced and brought new technologies into the fields of education. Teaching languages is not an exception. There are many ways to use technology to teach any language, one of them is Podcasts. Podcasts are the forgotten tool that educators as well as students can reply on to enhance teaching and learning of any language and mainly speaking and listening skills. As a teacher of English, I use this tool with my students and it is a success. In this article, I will explain how to use podcasts for better results. A Podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new instalments of which can be received by subscribers automatically. How do podcasts work? A podcast is a digital audio file located on a web server (1 + 2). Teachers and students can subscribe to the podcast via a program such as iTunes or Netvibes (3). This program is then …

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Tammy Dunbar: Sharing Test-Taking Tips With Sway!

by Tammy Dunbar Expert Educator Columnist, USA One year when I was teaching a First Grade class and we were nearing the end of our week-long standardized testing, one little student was so stressed out that he wrote an inappropriate word on his testing booklet. When I showed it to my principal, she sighed and said, “At least he spelled it right.” No one enjoys standardized testing. Not students. Not teachers. Not administrators. Is that a number two pencil? Did the students bubble things in clearly? Did they put the right answer with the right numbered question? Erase those stray marks, please! The new Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced Assessment is administered online, which brings a whole new set of difficulties and challenges. Wait! The volume isn’t working. Did you turn it up before entering the secure browser? What’s that flashing on my screen? My screen went blank in the middle of my test! What do I do now? But we know testing – in some form – is necessary, and we know we must do …

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Tammy Dunbar: OneNote To The Rescue!

by Tammy Dunbar Expert Educator Columnist, USA We had to have a Student Success Team meeting for Paris immediately. She had recently completed trimester proficiencies as well as reading comprehension testing in Read 180, and it seemed clear she might need more help than she was receiving. Emails were sent back and forth, but because we were in the middle of standardized testing, it was impossible to schedule a meeting so everyone could review the new data that would guide our suggestions on how best to help her. The new data was difficult to review without getting together: only I had access to her district proficieny scores, our Read 180 teacher was the only person with access to Paris’ reading comprehension data, her cumulative file was in a secure room, and our administrator had the only copy of the original SST recommendations which were on paper.  Then it hit me: why not create a OneNote for our Student Success Team? We had been training on using OneNote for ourselves and our classrooms for several months …

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Tammy Dunbar: Add New Spark to Your Class with Newspapers!

by Tammy Dunbar Expert Educator Columnist, USA Teachers need fact-based, non-fiction content. We need lots of it. And we need it now. The adoption of the new Common Core State Standards paired with the lack of approved curriculum and funds have pushed many educators to be creative in finding appropriate, timely reading material. That critical reading material also has to allow students to demonstrate independence, build strong content knowledge, comprehend as well as critique, understand other perspectives/cultures and use technology & digital media strategically and capably. (From the CCSS English Language Arts Standards.) Thanks to the Newspapers in Education program, teachers and their students can “read all about it” in daily digital editions of their local newspaper. And the cost is a teacher’s favorite “F” word: Free! Most large local daily newspapers participate in the NIE program. All a teacher has to do is contact their local newspaper and ask about it. We have been lucky to participate in The Modesto Bee’s NIE program for almost 12 years. My students have access to a daily …

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Nam Ngo Thanh: Bringing Twitter into Primary Class- Why Not?

by Nam Ngo Thanh Expert Educator Columnist, Vietnam I believe that application of social media in schools is not new to all of us. Educators are now using it to make the learning more exciting and meaningful. How about you? What is your favorite social media? Is it Facebook, Blog or LinkedIn? For me, it is Twitter. At first, I was hesitant to use social media in my primary class but my perception on using it had change when I read this interesting statement from one of the websites in education: “Twitter won’t change your life, but it might make your job more fun and a little easier.” I was challenged with this statement and decided to immediately apply Twitter in my class, but few people told me that elementary school students are still too young to use Twitter. I totally agreed them so I thought of the safest and best approach that I can give to my primary students. How did I begin this? I started by sharing with my students the benefits of …

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Poonam Dogra: Fostering Collaboration For Innovative Excellence

by Poonam Dogra Expert Educator Columnist, India Rayat International School is a hub of International Collaborative projects. Encouraging students to reach out to one another to solve problems and share knowledge not only builds collaboration skills but leads to deeper learning and understanding. Global collaborative learning uses technology as  a  tool  to  build  relationships  by  collaborating,  communicating,  and  sharing  with  others throughout the world. Students are not just using the computer to do the same activity they might do without a computer. They work on meaningful tasks and solve problems together, learning about different perspectives from their peers,  thinking critically as a result of reality-based learning and questioning. Research indicates that the jobs that will be available for the students in today’s classrooms do not yet exist, but we do know that they will involve working with technology to communicate and collaborate with others throughout the world. Students are growing up in a world where these tools are part of everyday life. As teachers, we can provide the opportunity for our students to use these skills …

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Matt Harris: Encourage Those in Your School to Share

by Matt Harris Expert Educator Columnist, Singapore I have discovered that TED talks are a great companion on long walks. I often listen to them for inspiration as I walk to school in the mornings (I live in Singapore, so I can walk to school year-round). The other day, I was listening to one from a volunteer fireman in the US who tells a great story about helping people and giving back to his community. Watch the video here <LINK> I drew inspiration for a number of things that are now on my blogging and vlogging to-do list to discuss. One of them in particular, really stuck out for me in a profound way – Don’t Wait. I won’t go into a ton of detail here as I hope to share more about this topic later and on other platforms. But the gist of it is don’t wait to share the gifts you have to give. In the EdTech sense, don’t wait until you are an expert or you have that next job or you …

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Nam Ngo Thanh: Tip for Parents and Teachers- Limiting Games and Using the Internet Effectively

by Nam Ngo Thanh Expert Educator Columnist, Vietnam Life skills education is one of the essential values at Vietnam Australia International School (VAS), Vietnam and is designed to help students adjust to the changes of natural environment or society to work out the sense of vigilance and to protect them. Today, the internet and online gaming addictions are seen as problems of the teens in the major metropolitan. Consequence which is easy to realize is the children get involved in the virtual world, neglecting education and external activities. Parents and teachers can help the children to limit their gaming online and know how to use the internet effectively under their guidance. Content   Should   Should not   Limit games online   * Master daily life and your attitude, don’t let the cyber world seduce you and influence your thoughts * Enhance participation of healthy activities and good habits every day, do not spend more time for playing games online – Healthy activities: playing sports, reading, drawing, listening to music, researching, and doing fun activities with friends – Positive habits: exercise, help parents in house works. * Always let your goals visible to you and try to reach them every day   *Play games online continuously for many hours     * Go to places where people are addicted to online gaming     *Carry your computer in your room without the supervision of the parents Using the internet effectively   *Determine what you want to access the internet, specify the purpose when you want to access the internet. *Focus on …

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Tammy Dunbar: Learning on the Edge of Chaos

by Tammy Dunbar Expert Educator Columnist, USA Successful learning is less about what’s memorized and much more about having the ability to make the right connections. But should teachers be the ones making all those connections for their students? At the CUE 2015 Conference, TED Prize winner Professor Sugata Mitra spoke about creating a “Self-Organized Learning Environment” or SOLE. As he points out, it’s often called “learning on the edge of chaos” because it requires an educator to truly be the “Guide on the Side” rather than the “Sage on the Stage.” Sugata postulated: What would happen if we presented our students with goal-oriented challenges that allow them choice and provide opportunities to solve problems on their own? In a remote village in India, he placed a computer and track pad in a Hole in the Wall three feet above the ground to see what would happen. What Sugata discovered, as he outlined in his 2013 TED Prize winning talk and at CUE 2015, is that if children were allowed to work in groups to …