Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sharing the EVO experience - Week 2

Week 2 at Digital Storytelling for kids

This week was all about Sharing Stories through Comics. I loved the idea! Comics are a simple and fun way of telling stories, even for beginner students, as the language used may range from very very simple to very specific and advanced (phrasal verbs, idioms and the like).

The first great material shared by the moderators was a presentation by Janet Bianchini at RSCON3. Her slideshare contains many examples of how to use comics in the ESL classroom. Have a look!

After having a look at how other teachers used comics in their classes, participants were expected to explore different comic-creation tools and reflect on their uses, advantages and disadvantages. The tools proposed were Make BeliefsToonDooGarfield and Cartoon Studio por Iphone and Ipad. I wrote a post on comics a while ago, so you can find my opinion on most of these tools and a few more here.

Some of the participants created very funny and reflective comics! They are all compiled in a Posterous group. You can spend hours browsing around, there are so many great strips to read!

Week 2 at Digital Tools in the Classroom

Wow! Week 2 was intense! It was creative writing time! We had to write the beginning of a story in the tool of our choice, based on some pictures that served as prompts. Then, we were asked to share our review of these tools with the other participants. These are the tools I explored; I chose the ones I didn't know or I wasn't too familiar with.

A Scholastics website. Just great! You can choose the level and then spin a wheel and get your writing prompt. I got "List the five characteristics of a a thousand-year-old game host that only speaks in rhyme". Super cool, isn't it?

You choose from a list of heroes, villains and places and you get the beginning of the story.I liked the idea, as writing the beginning of a story is a tough job for students (the blank page effect!). The problem I found was that the language is quite advanced and therefore over the heads of many of my students.

What do you want to say to your future self? This would be great to set objectives and evaluate your results at the end of the year!

Social dream interpretations. You share a dream you had and someone else writes an interpretation. It's fun! But you have to be careful because some of the dreams or interpretations include inappropriate language.

Oh life is basically a way to keep an online journal.

After this first activity, we all collaborated to finish the stories, which turned up to be fantastic! We used EntriMixed InkWriteboard and TypeWithMe, which are all free and very easy to use. This is a post I wrote on collaboration some time ago, where you can find some more information about some of these tools and a few others.

As I said, it was an intense week! Full of new resources and great contributions!

Looking forward to week 3!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Sharing the EVO experience - Week 1

If you are not familiar with EVO (Electronic Village Online) you might want to start here.

Week 1 was a week of introductions in both sessions. Participants were encouraged to introduce themselves using visually appealing tools to share personal and work information. The result was great! I met teachers from many different places and discovered some nice tools at the same time!

The first task was to get acquainted with the different platforms used during the sessions (EdmodoPosterousWikispaces and Yahoo Groups). Participants were also asked to create a blog or wiki to keep their personal portfolios.

The second step was to create a personal space to introduce ourselves to the group. Some of the tools proposed by the moderators were Glogster,  Animoto,,   and  Prezi.

I decided to use Glogster because I liked the idea of sharing links and pictures on the same canvas. Want to have a look?

These are links to only a few of the many introductions shared by other participants in their blogs. Enjoy them!

Sharing the EVO experience - What is EVO?

EVO (Electronic Village Online) is a set of free online workshops dealing with a range of topics related to the field of language teaching and the integration of new tools to the ELT classroom. EVO takes place annually, over five weeks, starting on the second week of January, and it is attended by hundreds of teachers around the globe.

EVO sessions are moderated by teachers and teacher trainers from different backgrounds, according to the topic, and held 100% online. Sessions are mostly hands-on workshops, where tools and resources are shared and participants are expected to explore them and come up with their own conclusions and materials. The good thing is that, in general, materials and assignments are shared on wikis or blogs so that participants can work at their own pace. Some moderators also offer weekly webinars where doubts are cleared and questions answered. You can find more information on EVO and prior sessions here.

I chose to take part in two sessions: Digital tools in the classroom (moderated by Carla Arena, Ana Maria Menezes and Jane Petring among other trainers from different countries) and Digital storytelling for kids (moderated by Shelly Terrell, Barbara Sakamoto, Özge Karaoglu, Jennifer Verschoor and David Dodgson among others). I knew most of the moderators because I follow them on Twitter, and I was really excited to be able to attend their sessions because I knew they would be just great!

I must say I realize now that I was far too ambitious to register for two sessions, because there are lots of tools and resources to explore and I’m finding it difficult to keep up with the pace of both groups! However, I’m doing my best to take every advantage of this great opportunity to meet educators from around the world and discover new and exciting tools!

I’ll blog about this experience weekly. You are welcome to join the ride!