I’d like to share the ideas and the links that I used in a practical training session on how teachers can use technology to do 3 things:
- to build up and manage their PLN (personal learning network)
- to connect with their students outside of the classroom
- to supplement their class material / with web resources
The teachers had just finished a 200-hour in service teacher’s certificate course but some felt that the sessions on using technology had not been practical enough. So, this “hands on” technology session was organised (nice example of teachers taking responsibility for their own development!).
I set up a quick web page using the fantastic Check This for the participants to use throughout the session – it was to be completely paperless, with the teachers working online during the 4 hours.
To get teachers started I had them set up accounts on Twitter – the best place to start building an online PLN. Once set up, the teachers then found 10 TEFLers to follow.
To help the teachers think about managing online PLNs, I had them take the first steps in setting up a Netvibes account. Netvibes, which is one of most attractive and user friendly sites for receiving web feeds, will suggest dashboard links for you to follow, based on topics that you suggest, even if you are not registered a user.
We then found some TEFL blogs to follow via Twitter and the teachers added the links to their Netvibes dashboard.
We also briefly explored ways of using Evernote to store, produce and share (with students) teaching materials and web content, and Scoop It for book marking and finding online teaching and learning resources.
To show the teachers how simple setting up a class webpage can be, I had them make a Check This page for their students and then post there a resource for learning English that they’d found on Twitter. Check This is just so simple to use!
Finally, the group used a collaborative Google spreadsheet to make notes on ways to use 7 different web tools in class. All the tools were ones that I’ve come across via my own online PLN, including Bombay TV, Animoto and the BYU Corpus of Contemporary American English.
Despite initial problems with web connections and setting up Twitter accounts, the session went quite well. The aim was really to help teachers see that using the web for teaching purposes needn’t be intimidating and that getting started is quite straight forward.
Note: If you were to do a session like this, I’d suggest getting the Twitter accounts set up beforehand, as it took longer than planned…but we got there in the end.