Should students create digital content?

digital-learning

 

  • How important is it for students to create digital content?

In my career as a teacher, I’ve had several empiric opportunities to verify that the probability of learning taking place meaningfully is directly connected to the free access to  creativity and pleasure in the process. Many times, this is not a complex thing, but merely an opportunity for connections and associations to take part in learning.

That said, I believe that letting our students come up with their own digital content places no difference from when we find ourselves watching students go on by themselves, associating the topic we were supposed to cover in that class with things from their particular world. The sensation I have is that, when students do make use of their creativity and association, they kind of increase the chances of that knowledge being retained, as if the information was burnt on the brains. Therefore, I’m pretty convinced that we teachers must foster students’ digital content creation whenever possible.

  • What are some of the benefits of having students create digital content?

Students may feel quite confident to be part of the whole process. Plus, it gets to be more meaningful when they realize that knowledge their producing is applicable to their own reality. It’s like this: we want to work on pronunciation with them, highlighting the differences between American and British English. A student that is into music, for example, might be delighted by coming up with his own video or version of Gershwin’s Let’s call the whole thing off, for instance. This could be a lot more efficient than simply writing down words on the board and making them repeat till they get it right.

  • What are some of the drawbacks on having students as content creators?

I guess there are two points to be considered, and both of them just endorse the importance of a teacher in the validation process: 1) students might produce unsuitable content, and; 2) students might not feel quite confident to produce content on their own.

  • How feasible is it to integrate content creation into your classroom?

I always try to foster them to collaboratively engage in the content creation whenever possible. I usually get some positive responses out of that. The challenge here is to keep the same attitude towards the use of technology, which can both a free ticket or an obstacle to the acquisition of knowledge they pursue.

 

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How social bookmarking has been helping me

information-hydrant-by-will-lion

I found this pic on a blog about bookmarking in school and with students (http://langwitches.org/blog/2010/12/22/using-social-bookmarking-in-schools-and-with-students-part-one/) and, for me, it translates quite well the sensation many of us might have when dealing with the amount of information available on the web.

In this context, bookmarking has played an interesting role as a tool to help me organize the activities I want to carry out with my students. For instance, if I want to explore a given topic with them through resources such as videos, texts or images, I can create an outliner and gather all the links to those resources and store them right there. This eliminates the need for opening several tabs or having to upload them on a flashdrive. Believe me! It’s that simple! Then, I just have to open the outliner before the class starts and get things ready. Plus, there’s also the alternative of sharing the outliner with the students or fellow teachers.

Tomorrow, A teacher (good friend of mine) and I are presenting a special class on Frank Sinatra’s life and music. Guess what? I did use bookmarking to help us with the whole research and to organize the links we want students to work on. I know it’s quite simple, but it does pay off.

 

 

 

 

Digital Skills and Literacies

People, I came across this interesting text by Maha Bali, an associate professor at the American University in Cairo, Egypit, where she very clearly explains the differences between digital skills and digital literacies. What called my attention was that, by explaining both things, she also reinforces the role of a teacher in this day and age. According to Bali “teaching digital skills would include showing students how to download images from the Internet and insert them into PowerPoint slides or webpages. Digital literacy would focus on helping students choose appropriate images, recognize copyright licensing, and cite or get permissions, in addition to reminding students to use alternative text for images to support those with visual disabilities“.

Here is the link to this text https://diigo.com/08xzkl. Enjoy it!

Teaching English in the 21st century

Hi there!

This is actually my first official online post on Education. This is quite different and challenging for me because technology can be too obscure, despite all the wonders that it brings. But, I’m also highly motivated to do so. I believe that, by exploring this intriguing world, I’ll be able to help my students engage more confidently in the learning process.

Teaching English in the 21st century necessary implies stumbling on technology, for both teachers and students already have some contact with it outside the classroom, and eventually it will take place in the classes. Students may refer to google translate to find a word that they don’t get, or a teacher may go to youtube to find a video to suit the objective of a class, for example. Nevertheless, one thing to consider is how connected to this world one actually is. If we take our younger students into consideration, who are thought to be born using technology, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find a teacher on the other side feeling threatened or quite resistant to using technological tools. How can you teach them something through technology if they can be a lot more proficient in this area than you?

This is a little bit the way I feel from time to time. But, I honestly believe that a teacher should embark on this quest, explore the online world and get to know about what other teachers have been doing. This a natural place for them and we should try to learn from it. It can be a good way to reach them and have them engage in the learning process. I guess it’s ok not to know as much as they do, for we will always be teachers and, in this sense, it is our responsibility to help them search for reliable sources and validate  information. As for me, I have just tried something simple, but out of my comfort zone. I’ve signed up for an app that lets you create surveys and quizzes and I have already set a first task for my students. This is sort of a follow-up activity and the objective is to have them answer two questions having to use the grammar structures and vocabulary worked on in the past few classes. Let’s see how it goes.

Cheers.