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December 2011 Archives

December 6, 2011

Five Fantastic Apps for Storytelling (guest post by Shelly Sanchez Terrell)

Recently, at the JALT conference in Tokyo Shelly shared how mobile learning motivates language learners. I thought many of the apps she demonstrated would be of interest to this column's readers, to use with both their students and their own children, and asked Shelly to share them in a guest post. Barb

My mobile device is one of the best learning tools I have used with my language learners. Not only do mobile devices help improve my students' English and motivate them to speak English outside the classroom, but they carry so much knowledge in their pockets. I encourage my students, young and old, to use their mobile devices to share stories. Most cell phones have the ability to take pictures, create videos, and/or record audio, which is why they are perfect for storytelling. However, if you have access to a mobile device with apps, you may want to try these amazing free apps that encourage your students to create digital stories and have fun!

Posterous- With this app, learners can include a mix of text, photos, audio, and videos as well as tags and location information in a blog post. You can share your post immediately on Facebook and Twitter! You can even allow others to add to your posts (set this up through the web app vs. the mobile app). A free version is available online as well as on various mobile devices including the iPhone, iPod, Android, and Blackberry.

StoryRobe- It’s incredibly easy for children and adults to create audio/visual stories on the iPhone and iPod Touch using this app. Use the built in microphone, or any 3rd party microphone to create audio recordings with photos and videos. You have the option to upload to Youtube or send it through e-mail. If it’s in their e-mail, then the parents can easily send their child’s production to their friends! You don’t need an Internet connection to create the stories, but you do to share them! Available on the iPad and iPod.

Sock Puppets- If you enjoy playing with sock puppets, you'll love this app that allows students to create a sock puppet show. Choose the sock puppet characters, personalize the characters by adding your voice, select the scene and props, and record a video. Send this by email or upload to Youtube. Watch this great example. Available on the iPad and iPod.

StoryKit- Create an electronic storybook by drawing on the screen, uploading images, recording sound effects and voice, laying out the elements of the story (text boxes, images, paint, and sound clips) freely by dragging them or pinching to resize, reordering pages, and uploading to the StoryKit web server. Email a link to the story. The application includes four public domain children’s books to rewrite and rearrange into a new story. Available on the iPad and iPod.

Animoto- Upload up to 10 images, choose a soundtrack from the library (many nice holiday tunes to choose from), and click a button to make a 30-second video. Sync your videos with your Animoto.com account, download videos for offline viewing, and make longer ones with an All-Access Pass. Available on the iPad and iPod.

I have only listed 5 apps here, but I include many more digital storytelling apps in this presentation, Kids Sharing Stories: Mobile Digital Storytelling. If you are interested in learning more, I'll be co-moderating (with Barb Sakamoto, Michelle Worgan, Ozge Karaoglu, Jennifer Verschoor, Dave Dodgson, Esra Girgin, and Sabrina de Vita) a free 5 week Digital Storytelling with Young Learners online course to learn how to use several more apps and web tools. The session will be one of the many offered through TESOL Electronic Village Online. You can learn more about it, and the many other sessions available, on the TESOL EVO wiki.

Shelly Sanchez Terrell

December 13, 2011

Free Stuff for Teachers

I support paying a fair price for someone's work. We all benefit when artists, writers, musicians, and web developers can make a living by creating quality work. But, sometimes they also offer us lovely gifts of their work, for free. And then, the proper response is a resounding THANK YOU!

Here are a few of the free gifts I've come across in the past few weeks. All of these are worth paying for, but because of subsidies or the generosity of others are available to teachers at no cost.

To Read:

From Jill Hadfield, I learned about a new ezine for English teachers. English Language Teacher Magazine emphasizes practical teaching ideas. The most recent edition contains contributions by Jane Arnold, Andrew Wright and Nicky Hockly, among others.

Dreams and Realities: Developing Countries and the English Language, is a book edited by Hywel Coleman, and made available by the British Council. It's available online in pdf format and on Scribd.

To Watch:

I learned about Teaching Channel from Judith B. O'Loughlin on one of my TESOL e-lists. It's like being invited into another teachers' classroom, and a great to get ideas about teaching techniques to try out. Ever wondered how to manage guided reading? Looking for a quick way to get student feedback on your lessons? Check out the Teaching Channel.

To Attend:

Teaching can be a lonely job. Webinars are like virtual workshops, and can be a wonderful way to combat isolation. Chiew Pang recently talked about this on his blog, in How to overcome the Lonely Teacher Blues. There are several upcoming free webinars for teachers who would like to explore them as a professional development option.

Free Friday Webinars with Shelly Terrell happen every Friday at 6 am Japan time. Each week features a different topic. The upcoming one on the 16th will focus on using holiday music for language learning. The time is not that easy for teachers in Japan, but luckily webinars are generally recorded, so you can watch at your own convenience.

International Teacher Development Institute* is hosting it's first webinar on December 17th. In the case of this webinar, Luke Meddings, Chuck Sandy, Marcos Benevides, Scott Thornbury, John Faneslow, and Steven Herder will be answering the question "What is a Teacher?" from their own unique perspectives. The presentations begin at a much more (for Japan) friendly time of 6 pm, but the sessions may already be full. So far, 300 teachers from 57 countries have registered, and there's a waiting list. Like real life conferences, there's a limit to the number of people you can fit into a venue. Unlike most conferences, there will be recordings.

Following the iTDi webinar, a more informal teacher sharing webinar will take place. If you've ever attended a My Share type of event, where teachers share practical ideas from their own classrooms, you'll have a good idea what to expect from Teach Meet International. From 10 pm until midnight (Japan time, again), teachers will take 3 minutes to share something they're doing in class. And yes, it's all recorded, and available after the event (as are previous Teach Meets).

To Use:

And finally, an extensive collection of ELT materials has recently become free for teachers. Jason Renshaw is a very prolific and sharing materials developer. His English Raven website has a collection of over 3000 resources, including games, flashcards, ebooks, templates, and more. While he's had a "pay what you want" approach for membership for awhile, Jason has recently decided to allow teachers to access all of his materials without charge. He wrote about this change recently on his blog.

Again, to the talented people who share their creations with us, THANK YOU!

*In the spirit of full disclosure, I should mention that I'm on the board of directors of iTDi.

About December 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Barb's Bits and Bytes in December 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2011 is the previous archive.

January 2012 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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