Google Docs for your class… Anyone?

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Google Docs is a user-friendly suite of office applications wherein word documents and spreadsheets can be made, shared, modified and stored online. The documents and files are available for access anywhere (from any workstation or laptop) at anytime with an Internet connection and web browser. Also, Google Docs is just one of the many online applications offered by and related to Google.

Since I use Google Docs in two of my classes in university, I must say that it is very efficient because there is no need to bring printed documents to school. I am here to talk about some of its tremendous potential for use in the classroom.

Google Docs is useful in collaborative writing. Google Docs allows students to share their writings with their peers and teachers easily. Teachers and students can easily provide comments or feedbacks in the 24/7 classrooms. Through Google Docs, editing comes handy especially when working in teams. Each of the teams will have the opportunity and privilege to add or edit their teams’ writing at anytime and anywhere. Google docs also provides reference tools and spelling checker, which would enable students to conveniently write and work on their writings. In addition, the built in research tools gives students the chance to become involved in real world writing because the built in tool allows them to streamline the process of generating citations and links with a handy one click feature. Google docs incorporate EasyBib in order to let students create sources in their writing easily.

A video tutorial on how to set up Google Docs for collaborative writing.

Do you want to know more about Google Docs as an educational tool? Click.

Google Docs templates can help teachers to have their students work on a digital project. You can guide the learning of your students by supplying them with a uniform page format by creating your own digital templates.  To find more about templates available for text docs, spreadsheets, and presentations, check these templates.

A collaborative brainstorming using Google Docs drawing tools. The drawing component of Google Docs has available features that help students to work together to develop their ideas. Digital brainstorming sessions give Opportunities for students to work together to solve real-world problems and also require students think outside of the box to generate different solutions to solving a problem. Tools are available to create a visual mind map wherein students can use shapes, arrows, text, word art and imported images to build a visual mind map for any task.

A video tutorial on a collaborative brainstorming.

For students, they can work on computer-based homework from home, at a friend’s place, the library, a coffee shop, or at school – in short, anywhere with Internet access.

More of Google Docs for students. Click!

Teachers can also use spreadsheets to produce tests and quizzes online. Using spreadsheets provides opportunity for teachers to organize cumulative data in one sheet that is accessible to any collaborator at any time. Also, they can use spreadsheets to record and keep track of grades, attendance, or any other data.

Here’s a video tutorial on how to do an online quiz!

Like technology, Google Docs is continually improving, evolving, adding other features, and becoming more efficient and useful in classrooms. I say, give it a try!

If you want to know more on how you can use Google Docs in class, click or here!

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Looking for an educational tool? Try Evernote!

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Evernote is a kind of web tool that allows its users to record voice notes, take notes, uploads images, documents, and PDFs, and capture images or information in any environment using whatever device you are most comfortable with. Through Evernote, the information is easier to access and search at any time, from anywhere. Without further ado, let me educate you on how to use Evernote as an educational tool.

Why use Evernote in education?

  • It helps everyone to easily remember things using computer, smartphones, and the web.
  • It stores all essential documents or information in one place.
  • It allows its users to simply add class notes, homework, lesson plans or syllabus, research papers, or anything related to education to their Evernote account.
  • It enables teachers and students to organize their notes and important documents into different notebooks.
  • If you have an iCloud account, Evernote syncs all your notes to the cloud, so you would have access to it easily. It will also serve as your backup storage in case of loses in documents.
  • Like other social networking tools, Evernote allows its users to share their notes with other users through email, or any social media.

You can go to the education section of Evernote, which is called Evernote for Education, if you want to learn more about how it can be beneficial to teachers and students.

More of Evernote in Education? Click or here! 

Few of the many ways teachers can incorporate Evernote in class.

  • It enables the teachers to take and save important notes in class or in a conference for later review or use.
  • Teachers can make a notebook containing important notes, such as review materials, class notes, readings, references, etc. In this regard, it will be easier for teachers to share these with their students. Also by sharing the URL, they will be able to allow students to simply see the changes in teachers’ notebooks.
  • Teachers can also create lists of the things to do and work logs using the recording tasks in Evernote.
  • It helps teachers organize their notes into different notebooks. Also, it helps teachers organize their classes using tags.
  • If unable to come to class, you can use Evernote to share a notebook with a substitute teacher containing lesson plans, quizzes, worksheets, answer keys, assignments for the students, references, etc.)

Few of the many ways students can use Evernote in studying.

  • It helps students to easily take notes in class and organize their notes into notebooks.
  • It enables students to scan teacher’s handouts, worksheets, textbooks, etc., with the use of a camera. In this case students won’t need to worry about losing important documents or any original copies of documents.
  • With the use Evernote, students has the option to simply create notebooks where they can organize and store their class projects, files, documents, school events or calendars, assignments, research works, and many more.
  • If students don’t feel like writing notes in class, Evernote allow them to simply record audio notes on their smartphones for teacher’s lecture.
  • They can also share their notes with their classmates or even collaborate with any of their classmates on their homework or any given group work.

Related reading on how students can benefit from Evernote. click!

 

Video tutorials on  Evernote.

– Overview on Evernote.

– For teachers.

– Notebook sharing.

8 of the many ways to “Tweet” like a bird in Class.

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“Twitter” is a kind of an online social networking and microblogging that lets the user read and send “tweets”, which is a 140-character long. I must say that “Twitter” is such a powerful social networking tool. We can definitely use its advantages to the fullest especially in conducting classes. Students will be engaged in using social networking such as “Twitter” in learning because education evolves as technology improves from time to time.

However, there are debates on how we can implement “Twitter” in class since it only offers a 140-character microblog. Well, whichever side you take, whether you (as teacher) agree or disagree, I must say “Twitter” offers you numerous ways to incorporate this powerful social networking into significant and lasting lessons in class.

1. Ask students to follow issues.

Teachers can incorporate a bit of technology in class by asking students to follow issues they are most interested in. Students can subscribe to different accounts from all perspective such as news, cultures, foods, health, and so on. This is also true to English classes wherein teachers can ask students to simply follow hash tags that are related to learning English. In this regard, students will have the opportunity to maximize the use of English especially in reading comprehension.

How to incorporate Twitter in an English classroom? Click.

2. Upcoming important dates.

Teachers can simply use “Twitter” to set up a feed only dedicated exclusively to important due dates, change of schedules, tests, quizzes, school events, and assignments.

 3. Important questions.

Students can simply tweet their questions on unclear readings, lessons in class, and clarifications. This is also a good way to practice students especially in English classes wherein they can maximize the use of the target language in conveying inquiries to their teacher. For teachers, they can simply use “Twitter” to post up sample questions for upcoming exams or quizzes. Also, teachers can post important resources related to topics in class.

 4. Update syllabus or course plan.

Emails sometimes filter important messages as junks or spams resulting to students’ failure to know the important changes and announcements regarding any updates on the course plan. However, with the use of “Twitter”, it keeps a permanent record of any information so students won’t have any excuse for missing out such important information or changes.

 5. Play Vocabulary.

Language teachers, such as English teachers, can post day-to-day challenges asking students to give antonyms or synonyms and definitions for any words posted. To add, teachers can ask students to unscramble scrambled words or anagrams.

How to use Twitter to learn English?  Click.

 6. Write poems, dialogues or short stories.

In your writing classes, such as English writing class, you can ask students to write their own poems, dialogues, and poems in small chunks, as they have to update their writing daily. Students can also follow their classmates’ mini stories or poems.

7. Take and share important notes.

Students can tweet and share their own notes or any review materials to their peers in case some of them miss the class or the lecture. In this case, students are able to help each other achieve a successful goal in class.

 8. Easier means of research.

By typing key words into Twitter’s search box, twitter provides wide range of microblog and related hash tags to their research topics allowing students access research ideas, opinions, and related readings. This would enable and facilitate students do their research on certain topics or studies.

In conclusion, teachers can ask their students to write a 140-character or less outline of the things they have understood or learned in class or even tweet questions that can be answered in the proceeding class.

Here’s a videos on how you can incorporate “Twitter” in class.

Want to save your literature class using Twitter? Click.

Do you want to know more uses of Twitter in class? Click or here!

Be Smart with a SMART Board!

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Today’s class was about an interactive SMART Board. After listening to our professor’s discussion, I am officially convinced that SMART Board is oozing with great advantages to an English class especially to both teachers and students.

To further understand the SMART Board, it is a line of interactive whiteboards produced by the company Smart Technologies. It is a presentation device (or tool) that interfaces a computer. The images (from a computer) are displayed or projected on the board by a projector where they can be visible or manipulated. Cut to the chase, SMART Board is a powerful tool that helps a teacher to deliver dynamic and interactive lessons with a simple touch of a finger, pen or other solid object.

How is the SMART Board beneficial to an ESL/EFL class? Well, I only have a couple of experiences using the SMART Board in my classes, but let me tell you, it’s really interesting. Here’s why…

  1. It enables an English teacher to have students participate actively in class. For example, when a teacher gives an error recognition activity, the students can go in front of their class and edit or correct the sentences. At this point, everyone in class can review errors.
  2. In a word study activity, the SMART notebook software helps an English teacher sort English words under correct category. This is beneficial especially when the lesson is about “the Different Parts of Speech.” The teacher will be able to have students categorize the words easily.
  3. With the use of highlighter tool, teacher can highlight or emphasize important text, grammar rules, parts of speech and so on. Wide varieties of colours are available for colour-coding.
  4. When correcting activities (such as correct sentence constructions, reading comprehension, etc.), teacher can hide answers from students. This would make students think about the answers hidden on the interactive white board.
  5. With the help of SMART Board, teacher can show students how to make PowerPoint presentation. This is useful in an oral activity wherein students have to present something in front of their class. (Example: Students have to present about themselves in English where they have to use adjectives to describe their favourite pet, food, TV show, etc.)
  6. Through SMART Board, it will be easier for a teacher to show students English videos and stories.  Through showing videos or stories with pictures, it can make the class livelier because students can see real-life examples. (Example: In a grammar class, teacher can present a video demonstrating how to construct simple present sentences, simple past tense sentences, etc.)

Want to read more of the benefits of SMARTBoard? click or here!

These are just few of the many beneficial uses of SMART Board in an ESL/EFL class. With proper training, this tool can be a powerful instructional tool that makes learning interesting and fun.

Here’s a video on how SMARTBoard is Beneficial to English Classes.