One of the stands I loved visiting at Bett was the Norwegian Classroom. It was fun to see the tools I love using in class. Creaza was a tool I suggested my students to create projects. At Bett, visiting their stand I noticed that they have added new features, updated the tool and it is really very cool for teachers and students now. Creaza consists of four tools; Mindomo – Cartoonist – MovieEditor – AudioEditor. In addition, it is available in nine different languages.
Today I want to write about Mindomo- a very versatile mind mapping tool which can also be used to create presentations. You can signup Mindomo going to its website or just activating your Creaza account you can also have the right to create your mind maps. Mindomo is not just a simple mind mapping tool, it is a great tool for flipped classroom that a teacher can create courses and assign them to students. It’s wonderful for Project Based Learning where students can work on a subject and collaborate on the same map.
It is very easy to use. All you have to do is to activate your account, go to Mindomo, and start creating your mind map on the topic you have to work. To make your work more colorful and energetic, you can add videos and images, clicking on the icons on the left hand corner of your screen. Once you finish your mind map, you can export it as pdf, jpg or png. You can print it out if you want to use it as posters in your classroom walls. You can keep it private or public and share your work with the link or embed it to your blog if you choose to make it public.
I was in London to attend Bett Show 2015 last week. Presenting at Bett was a great experience but being there, visiting the exhibition was even greater than that.
The moment I stepped into the venue, I realized this was something I was not ready to experience but a few minutes later I got used to the hustle bustle there. Bett was a great opportunity to up-to-date your knowledge about education, attend seminars, workshops and talks, listen to the real people who practised things and get inspiration from the teachers and students who were there to present their projects, experiments and ideas.
It was interesting to see where education is, where education is heading to. It was unbelievable to meet the people who designed the tools and apps I’ve been using. It was beyond my imagination to see companies exhibiting in their language (not in English) to the people from their country (not for the global market), telling me that Bett was the place they could reach their buyers, users.
Technology is an industry that is constantly changing and the market leaders are present to shape the education, having read the new kids’ needs carefully. Mobile technology is shaping the way we teach, learn and even mentor. Things are on the clouds and finally it looks easier to teach according to a child’s special needs now. And as things are on the verge of a great change, the curriculums we are using are so old. Marc Prensky highlighted the need for a new curriculum. He didn’t say to wipe out everything and start from the scratch but pointed out that the kids need to learn real problem solving, negotiating, creating, adapting, etc. You can see his slide for the other suggestions he made.
There was something for everyone at the exhibition, talks and summits; for the flipped classroom, for wearable education, for blended teaching, for gamification, for telling stories…
I was also very lucky to get my copy of Sir Ken Robinson’s ‘Out of Our Minds’ signed by him and had the chance to listen to him just before leaving for home.
We teachers should be aware of the big change but as Bob Geldof said at his opening speech it’s the teacher who will make a difference on students’ lives, not the apps. As we all know and accept they are just tools and we need to use them effectively as we’ve always done with the simplest tools or the most elaborate ones so far.
I’m planning to share some of the tools that captured my attention in the next few weeks.
And a few words for London before I finish this post, I feel a bit blue leaving the city. The moment I left, I started missing London. Although I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, London is still somewhere special; elegant, inspiring, innovative, yet old and classy and very cool.
I’d like to share a quick activity that I’m planning to do with my students tomorrow.
1. Tell students to think about the characters in the book/story/novel you’re working on
2. Ask them to prepare a list of characters traits and then ask their friends if the adjectives they chose for these characters are correct or they are the opposites.
For example: (from Animal Farm)
Variation: Prepare cards with characters’ names and an adjective to describe them. Ask students to choose a card at a time and decide if the adjective is correct or it must be the opposite to describe the character.
As we celebrate Christmas on January 6th, I planned this lesson for my young learners for tomorrow.
The lesson is for A1 students
- Divide the class into two.
- Ask students to make a row in from of the board.
- On slips of papers, write short sentences and give it to the one at the back.
- Tell him/her to whisper the sentence to his/her friend so that he/she passes it to the one in front of him.
- Continue till the first person in the row.
- The one in the front row will write the sentence on the board.
- Check mistakes.
- Then the one in the front row goes at the back.
- Repeat the process until all the students come to the first row to write the sentence on the board.
I learned an activity similar to the one above at a drama workshopI attended last week. In that one, the instructor, showed us a picture and wanted us to make a sentence and write it on papers left for us. We even discussed to create a story that way but my 4th graders are slow learners and need a lot of practice and guidance. I want to try this one first and then maybe in a second attempt I can ask them to write their own short sentences.
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