Web Tools

A Web-based Response Tool: Poll Everywhere

The developers of “Poll Everywhere” describes the platform as a tool that” transforms one-sided presentations into two-way conversations with the audience. This web-based audience response system lets you embed interactive activities directly into your presentation. The audience responds on the web or via SMS texting on their phones”.

You can create questions, polls or competitions and get immediate responses from your audience or from you students. You also have the chance to embed these activities into your presentations which helps the presentation or speech flow without any interruption.

After preparing the questions, the tool gives the user a link. When this link is shared by the audience (either by e-mail or by reflecting it on the screen), the audience can easily get involved in the process and start to cooperate. The user can also adjust the settings to make it anonymous to achieve privacy. And above all, it is free!

In my 101 class; for example, while teaching about definition writing, I wanted my students to write definitions of the terms they commonly use in their departments. One by one, simultaneously, the answers started to appear on the screen. We went over the definitions one by one trying to guess the department that the terms might be related to. It was fun!

October-November 2018

Vocabulary Applications

by Burçin Hasanbaşoğlu & Gonca Gülen

You may want to introduce Quizlet, StudyBlue, StudyStack mobile applications to your students to provide them with an opportunity to recycle on their own the words they learn in class. These tools may also foster student autonomy and make them practice self-study skills. For brief information about these tools and screenshots, please click here.

April-May 2018

ORAI- Improve Public Speaking

by Buket Tarakçıoğlu

buket

Orai, which is an IOS and Android application aiming at improving public speaking, might be of great value for our Eng. 211- “Academic Oral Presentations” students in terms of their vocal presentation performance.

First, please watch this public demo of the app. Then, let’s talk ☺

In the levelled lessons of Orai, which unlock as you proceed, you record your voice and get feedback in terms of percentage and time on:
– Filler words (um, you know, basically)
– How fast you speak
– You energy level
– Vocal clarity

How the application works in general

The application asks you to record yourself while doing the given tasks. The duration of recordings changes from task to task but the requirement is usually between 30 and 45 seconds while in some lessons it can be from 1 to 2 minutes.

Then, in the feedback you get after each exercise, you see how many and which filler words you used, whether your pace was within the acceptable range or too fast or too slow, how energetic or monotonous you sounded at which parts or your talk and whether you clearly articulated the words or muffled. You can always listen to your recordings again and also see the written transcript of your recordings. Your transcripts are color coded for the times when you talked fast or slowly, had a monotone or high energy and used gap-fillers. You can also personalize the gap fillers and add your own so the app. notices them as well.

Lessons and exercises

Of course, just getting feedback is not enough. You also need to do some practice to develop strategies to improve your public speaking. For this purpose, there are 5 categories of exercises in Orai.

The first lesson is about self-assessment.

  • In the first exercise, you just read a ready script.
  • In the 2nd exercise, you spontaneously talk about an everyday topic given by Orai, focusing on your filler words in the feedback.
  • In the 3rd exercise, again you spontaneously talk and focus on your vocal variety and pace when you finish this time. In the 4th exercise, you are given some tongue twisters to read and focus on your clarity in the feedback.

The exercises here enable you to get used to hearing yourself before anything else and to get familiarized with the app. You also assess yourself and see how you have been doing in any of the aspects above and if you have been doing anything not as good as you believe you have been doing before the exercises.

The second lesson is about pausing.

  • In the first exercise, you are asked to take an exaggerated pause each time you feel you are about to use a filler and think about what you want to say next instead while talking spontaneously on a given topic.
  • In the second exercise, you are asked to punctuate each phrase (meaningful chunk) you utter with a pause (while avoiding gap filers, also).
  • In the last exercise, you combine the previous two exercises and use the pauses you give at appropriate moments to think about what you will say next and to take a breath while making your upcoming presentation.

In this lesson, you see the dramatic effect pauses make on your speech. You also understand how important it is to talk in easily digestible phrases for our audience. In other words, you notice how you can use the power of pausing by also turning it into an opportunity to think about what you will say without interrupting the flow of the speech.  

The third lesson is about pacing.

  • In the first exercise, you just talk naturally on a given topic.
  • In the second exercise, you are asked to read a given passage and pause at every punctuation mark to count to three with your fingers
  • In the third exercise, you put them together and talk about the same topic you talked about in exercise 1 and punctuate it with pauses, in spontaneous talk this time.

This lesson gives you a strategy on slowing down (or adjusting) your pace by punctuating your speech with appropriate pauses. Talking about the same topic twice is especially a good idea as it gives the user a certain level of confidence and a chance to compare how you sound in each, with and without the pauses. Also, as a teacher, this activity made me notice the ineffectiveness of telling a student who speaks fast to just slow down without giving him/her a tool, such as this exercise, to work with.

The fourth lesson is about your energy.

  • In the first exercise, you are asked to choose a topic you feel strongly about and talk naturally about it.
  • In the second exercise, you talk about the same topic in exercise 1, but this time by exaggerating your intonation 3 times more than your natural intonation. To make this easier, you are asked to use exaggerated gestures and facial expressions as well.
  • In the third exercise, you talk about the same topic in exercises 1 and 2, but with authentic and appropriate vocal energy this time.

Exaggerating your vocal variety might give you a chance to notice how monotonously you talk at your natural level of vocal energy and talk with a better vocal energy, feeling more natural and less shy about it. Additionally, talking on a topic you feel strongly about already makes it easier to talk high vocal energy.

The last lesson is a recap. It asks you to look at your presentation slides and give your presentation using all the strategies you have learned in the previous exercises.

I have written these exercises in detail as they can well be used as class activities to practice vocal performance with your students.

Some personal thoughts on the app

On the whole, Orai might definitely help create some self-awareness and provide the specific practice our students always ask for, to improve their speech abilities. It would also help introvert students who want to practice and get feedback alone first before they go out to speak publicly.

Additionally, freestyle lessons in Orai might also work well for ENG 211 as students may record themselves making their own presentations and get feedback on their tone, pace, clarity and gap fillers.

One significant point to remember is that it might be a good idea to do the exercises several times to train the brain and to form a habit. This might also help overcome the difficulty of raising your vocal energy and weirdness of talking to your phone when there is nobody around J.

No need to say that public speech is not all about vocal performance. So, while this application helps with one aspect of presentation performance, it cannot make it perfect as a whole.

February-March 2018

A powerful platform to flip your classrooms: Edpuzzle

by Pınar Gacan Ertugrul

Edpuzzle is a great tool that enables its users to design self-paced and interactive listening lessons in an engaging way.

You can take already existing videos from YouTube or Khan Academy or upload your own videos and customize them in any way you like. Find a video, trim it to take only the part you need, insert your comments, questions, or some pictures and links within the video, or even record and embed your voice into the video. You can also create a class where you can assign your video lessons to your students and track their understanding, progress, and task engagement. It is very simple to do all these with its plain and user-friendly interface.

Edpuzzle also offers Android and iOS apps both for students and teachers.

You can visit the link below for a quick video that will help you get started:

Here is a short tutorial on how to create a listening lesson:

DECEMBER 2017 – JANUARY 2018

Grammarly

“Would you like to suggest a tool to your students that would help them proof-read their essays?”

Grammarly automatically detects grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes in the writings. Besides; Grammarly helps you identify;

  • Confused prepositions
  • Overuse of the passive voice
  • Wordy sentences
  • Repetitive words
  • Common writing mistakes like misplaced apostrophes
  • Spelling errors
  • Plagiarism
  • Human proof-reading

They can, simply, copy and paste any English text into Grammarly’s Editor (software that can be installed), or install Grammarly’s free browser extension for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge. Grammarly will, then, help them write correctly. Also, they can install Microsoft Office plug-in and check their text while they are writing on Microsoft Word.

Grammarly’s algorithms flag potential issues in the text and suggest context-specific corrections for grammar, spelling, wordiness, style, punctuation, and even plagiarism. Grammarly explains the reasons behind each correction, so they can make an informed decision about whether, and how, to correct an issue.

Free or Premium?

In the free version of Grammarly, in addition to the online text editor, users can use browser extension for Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox that corrects critical writing errors so you can write with confidence. The browser extensions bring Grammarly’s powerful algorithms straight to the users wherever they’re writing online, including Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Tumblr. In the premium version, over 400 types of checks and features are offered. It checks for grammatical errors, provides vocabulary enhancement suggestions, detects plagiarism, and provides citation suggestions.

So when Grammarly saves the time that we can use to give more content and organization-related feedback, why would we disregard it?

OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2017

Symbaloo:

Symbaloo is a cloud-based application that allows users to organize and categorize web links in the form of buttons. Symbaloo works from a web browser and can be configured as a homepage, allowing users to create a personalized virtual desktop accessible from any device with an Internet connection.

Symbaloo users, which must be previously registered, have a page with a grid of buttons that can be configured to link to a specific page. The application allows users to assign different colors to the buttons for easy visual classification.

Symbaloo allows a single user to create different pages or screens with buttons. These screens called webmix are useful to separate topics and links can be shared with other users, making them public and sending the link via email.

For each lesson or topic, for example, you can create a symbaloo page which you can share with your students. For a 102 class, for example, the teacher can store links regarding researching or APA citation and share all these resources with students.

You can access the page by visiting:

https://www.symbaloo.com/home/mix/13eOcLjSaI

 

MAY-JUNE 2017

Web 2.0 Sessions at MLD

by Seher Balbay

 

It has already become a cliché to say that Web 2 technologies, that allow the users to construct, that is, to ‘write to the Web’, are becoming indispensable at all levels of education. But are we, as MLD teachers, ready to adopt to the digital world that’s moving into our classes step-by-step? Will we be able to survive in our habitat whose ecosystem is constantly changing? While some Web 2.0 tools provide support for effective collaboration and communication, some are much too troublesome to even figure out. How can we decide which tools are worth learning if we don’t get to try them out? With these questions in mind, we set out on a journey of experiencing Web 2.0 technologies. After all, we are trying to cater for the needs of technology-savvy digital age natives as technology-ignorant immigrants.

The instructors willing to participate in a session first fill out a questionnaire on http://bit.ly/PretestWeb2. Our sessions are conducted in English and are not exclusively for English language instructors. Instructors come to the sessions with their laptops and smartphones. All they are asked to do before the session is to get a gmail address, and remember their app/google store passwords.

We started out with a session on Google drive, dwelling specifically on Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides, and QR codes and B it.ly. The project computer assistant, Orkhan helps each and every one of us one-by-one during the sessions. Actually a video of the first session is available on http://bit.ly/web2toolssession1 , if you still want to catch up.

Here are some inspiring ideas about how to use the Drive in MLD courses.

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With Google Docs in 101, we can prepare a reflection sheet for students to fill out after every reading text we finish. They would be writing more, without organization concerns because it is not going to be called an ‘academic paragraph’ or an ‘essay’, and with a concern for accuracy, since students will be able to read each other’s writings and they might not want to lose face by over-simple mistakes. Also, the instructor wouldn’t be the only addressee of students’ products, which would make the writing task more authentic. In 102 students, can jot down the for-and-against ideas on common argumentative essay topics to elaborate more on the subject matter. In 211, students can prepare their slides together. On Dropbox if two people work on the same file, only the changes of one of them are saved. Here, students can leave notes on the corrections of each other. It makes it extremely easy for the teacher to give feedback on slides prepared collaboratively because students have shared ownership of a file, which makes them listen to the comments of the teacher more attentively.

With Google Forms, teachers can prepare an actual job application form for students to fill out in 311.

With QR codes in the first week of classes, when nobody has the book, the picture of the first reading can be used on students’ phones. The picture can be on drive and the QR code can be on a piece of paper, or on the instructor’s phone, or on a slide on the projection screen. In a few minutes, everybody would have the text for free. It would save the day. In 102, when students ask us APA 6-related questions, we can refer them to the QR code of the booklet of APA 6 instead of finding the answer ourselves, and spoon-feeding them which would be a little scaffolding developing student autonomy in learning to learn at the same time.  In 211, we can give the QR code of the videos we choose for the speech analysis task. It can be the code for the video links or the code for the folder with all the videos. Many business cards have a QR code today, which is a short link to all the biodata a person wants to share but is too long to include on a small card; this can be introduced in 311. Actually in any course, group quizzes/ games can be prepared, and each question can be a QR code on the walls of the classroom. Students can collaborate to find the questions first with their QR code readers on their smart phones.

Thanks to Bit.ly, the link ‘shortener’ and customizer, the link to your extensive reading pack folder can be something like http//bit.ly.seher-readingpack, which is self-explanatory. In 102, the link to APA citation guide can be something like bit.ly.apaozet –very memorable!

Here is an example of the links used in 211: http://bit.ly/ENG211Unit2.

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Our second session was on Kahoot and Mentimeter, and you can already see some of our fun Kahoot quizzes on our 211 opencourseware.

Thanks to Web 2 presentation tools, presenting has become even more interactive today. I can already see 211 students taking polls as they present, with the results reflected on their slides in seconds as graphs, for example, when they start working at TAI or HAVELSANJ

1Our third session was on a video editing tool, EdPuzzle which is used to add questions on a video. EdPuzzle has a large achieve of educational videos from YouTube or TED Talks. Actually, videos that can be used for a speech analysis task can be seen on http://bit.ly/MechTechEDpuzzle and http://bit.ly/BlueMarbleEDpuzzle.

 

We get exhausted even without getting to learn emerging technologies, you might think, but actually we have to train ourselves to utilize them in class or soon we will be exhausted because we don’t! So, expect an email from us, and join our next session!

MARCH-APRIL 2017

Smart Use of Educational Technology

One Tool, Two Lesson Plans

hale-vesikalik-foto

Hale Kızılcık

Introduction

Is the growing emphasis on educational technology a bandwagon? Do we really foster learning by integrating technology in our lessons, or are we selling the same old stuff at a higher cost because it is disguised in a new fancy package? Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself when making decisions about using technology in class:

  1. Does it help me to achieve my course objectives?
  2. Does the classroom have the required technological equipment (wireless, loudspeakers, projector, etc.)? (Harmer, 2015)
  3. Do the students have the required technological equipment and apps? (Harmer, 2015)
  4. Does using technology increase the effectiveness and efficiency of my lesson? (Harmer, 2015)
  5. Am I being a good role-model when using a particular technology? (E.g. Do I know how to present an effective lesson using power point slides?)
  6. Am I making pedagogically sound decisions? (Harmer, 2015) (E.g. That there are plenty of videos out there does not really change the fact that having students watch videos without a clear task is a bad idea. With a pre-while-post design, in a typical lesson we can exploit approximately a video that is 7 minutes in length.

If the answers you give to the questions above are “yes”, you may proceed with confidence.

In the rest of this paper, I will present how I use an Internet application, Padlet in my classes. I will start with a review of the application and describe how to make a padlet on your computer. Then, I will present two lessons in which I used Padlet. I will also share some student samples from these lessons. Finally, I will reflect on the educational merits of technology integration in these two lessons.

Full text- Smart Use of Educational Technology

DECEMBER 2016 – JANUARY 2017

Emaze

If you are among the colleagues searching for a new, easy-to-use, and also a “cool” presentation tool, the bulletin board is proud this month, to introduce to you the free presentation software: “Emaze”. “Emaze” is a cloud-based software which helps presenters design their slides on a variety of presentation templates.

Once logged in, all you need to do is to choose a presentation template which appears with its specifically designed slide templates, tools, and colors. The user is also given the chance to make modifications on the slide in case the offered template does not offer the desired format. After the final touch, the presentation can be saved on the page and used later. You can also download the presentation to use it off-line.

You can visit the link below to start exploring the tool:

https://www.emaze.com/

OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2016

Blendspace

“Blendspace” is a free platform which you can use to activate your classes with a variety of media tools. The “space” you have when logged in will enable you to bring together any type of media. Each “tile” on the wall can be used to post pictures, links, videos, text, presentations…etc. allowing you to create theme-based lessons.

The best feature of Blendspace besides being free is that it is super easy to use. You can also share the “space” you created with your students or colleagues. For example, you may be designing a lesson on “graffiti” for the 211 course and you can create a space for this specific lesson by attaching all the related lesson ideas, videos, TED Talks, activity sheets or presentation slides to be stored for future reference, to be shared with your colleagues, or to be used in class.

You can also write explanations or comments “behind” each tile which becomes visible with each click.

Below are some of the lesson ideas that Blendspace team came up with. (directly quoted from their official site: https://www.tes.com/lessons/zDWJzQP8ctzrXA/15-ideas-for-engaging-students-via-blendspace)

Bring a competitive element into your lessons.

Divide the class into teams of three. Introduce the topic and give 30-40 minutes for teams to create a Blendspace about it. Provide success criteria that students have to meet and indicate that you’ll judge which Blendspace is the best when the time is up!

You can also divide the class into two teams. For example, bring up a Blendspace containing twelve tiles. Each tile should contain a different resource connected to the topic. You also need a set of complementary questions, one per tile. Invite team one to choose a tile. Display the resource on the board and ask your question. If team one gets the question right, give the team two points. Continue until every tile has been chosen, making sure you keep track of points along the way.

The first idea is great if you have a set of computers. The second idea only needs one computer and one projector to make it work.

Give your lessons incredible variety by creating a smorgasbord of content, questions, and activities.

Choose a topic and decide how many Blendspace tiles you want to include. For example: persuasive writing and nine tiles. For this activity, you want to draw in a wide variety of ideas and information. For example, start with a video, move on to an audio file, then have a question, follow up with a piece of text, then an image, next an activity, and so on. Voila! You’ve created a themed Blendspace that gives students a whole range of ways to engage with the topic.

You can teach the whole class with this technique by displaying the Blendspace on the board and inviting students to choose the tile to look at next. This approach encourages students to be actively involved in the learning process. After all, you can go through a Blendspace in any order you like; it doesn’t have to be linear. If you have enough computers, you can have students explore the Blendspace individually, in pairs, or small groups, before bringing the class together for a follow-up discussion.

To see an example “Blendspace”, you can visit the link below to my (Elif’s) Blendspace on continuous professional development regarding the use of technology I designed for the in-service program.

https://www.tes.com/lessons/r5OWbksO11viKA/elif-s-cpd-module

Blendspace Tutorial:

MAY 2016

Kahoot – “A game-based learning platform”

Being one of the most popular online gaming tools created to enhance learning is, definitely, Kahoot. We know that most of our colleagues are familiar with and users of this wonderful tool but if you are among the ones who haven’t yet heard about this online platform, PDU is proud to introduce it on the bulletin board.

Kahoot is basically an online “game-based learning platform”. You can have a free account and login (getkahoot.com) and create your surveys, feedback questions or fun quizzes. As you create your questions, the system directs you to create multiple-choice alternatives and to record the correct answer. After you save your mini survey or quiz on the platform which is cloud-based, your project stays there waiting for you to implement in class. The rest is just fun! As you register your own account on the computer in the class and start the game, the system gives a password which students would have to use to join the game (visiting kahootit.com) on their own smart phones. Given the fact that most students today have their own connected devices, this is really easy. Still, though, in order not to disadvantage students who may not have connected devices, you may wish to do it as a pair or group work. The questions are reflected on the projector screen and the alternatives appear on their smart phones. Synchronously, they respond to the questions and statistics for each question as well as the ranking of the participants are announced…But the best thing to see while playing Kahoot is the engagement and motivation. The students get really competitive.

You can recycle vocabulary, evaluate students’ understanding about APA conventions, cover comprehension questions, or get feedback….What you can do with Kahoot is only limited to your imagination.

Just give it a try. And you’ll love it.

To watch a tutorial video, you can visit the link below:

APRIL 2016

Mendeley- Reference Management Tool

As METU Library describes the tool, Mendeley “is a reference manager tool and academic social network that can help researchers organize their research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research for academic institutions”.

Mendeley  works as a powerful reference management tool which enables users access via different devices.

As instructors spending much time on citation conventions in classes and as academicians writing and submitting pages, it might be handy to know about such a useful tool that METU Library offers to its users.

MARCH 2016

Screencast-O-Matic

Having read and been inspired by Sevda’s action research which we posted this month (you can see the document posted on “Action Research of the Month), we thought it might be a good idea to introduce a screencasting tool; namely Screencast-O-Matic which is a tool commonly used by many teachers today.

Screencast-o-Matic is a web tool which you can use to record and share screen recordings. You just need to download the tool and run it when you need to capture and record your actions on the computer screen. When you click on the icon that appears under the programs menu after the download, a dotted rectangle frame appears on your computer screen which shows the part of the screen that will be recorded. The user can, as well, adjust the size of the rectangle which gives him or her the flexibility to choose what to record. Along with this frame, there appears a toolbar to be used to manage the actions of the user. The user can delete it, or save it or record audio messages and so on.

Many “how to” videos which we watch on You Tube are created using such screencasting tools like Screencast-O-Matic. How we, teachers, can use the tool is, therefore, limitless. Giving feedback, explaining how to do something, showing examples, givig instructions are only some examples of what we can do with the tool.

How to make spell check on Windows for an essay, for example, can be modelled by this tool. Then you can e-mail the video…And, hopefully, you may receive error-free papers!

Enjoy 🙂

Padlet – Online Wall

Padlet is a wonderful tool that can make things more enjoyable and easier in or out of the classroom. When you know about Padlet, it is impossible to avoid using it as it is very user-friendly and useful.

Padlet is, basically, a virtual wall that exists on a cloud-based system, so it is possible to reach it anytime provided that there is the Internet connection. Once you create a wall on Padlet, you are free to post texts or visuals or files. You can write on it or upload pictures, visuals, documents and even videos or presentations.

But the most important asset of the tool is that you can share the adress of the Padlet wall you create simply by e-mailing it or by announcing it to your students and then the tool becomes accessible for everyone who wants to contribute to the wall. Just create, share and see what your students come up with. It becomes a space reserved for you and your students..And what you can do on this wall with your students is limitless.

You can also change the background of your wall as you wish either by choosing a background among the suggested or by uploading a large image from the Web.

A few ideas about possible use of the tool might be:

  • posting a question and asking for responses
  • journal writing (one Padlet wall for each week, for example, to discuss class topics
  • asking for feedback
  • sharing projects (everyone can see what others create)
  • creating forums
  • collecting and presenting ideas (as we did on this bulletin board for the new year’s resolutions last month)
  • avoiding overlaps while choosing topics for essay writing or presentations (and therefore a very useful tool for 211)

Below is a sample Padlet created for 211 informative presentations to avoid topic clashes.

padlet ornek

Below you can watch a short video that introduces the tool in more detail.

Hope you like it..

And please comment if you use the tool and find it useful 🙂 Thank you..

DECEMBER 2015

Visuwords – Online Visual Dictionary

Developers of this wonderful site describe visuwords as “visual dictionary”, “visual thesaurus”, and “visual lexicon”. Visuwords is basically an online dictionary which shows the meaning, the derivatives, the related words, the synonyms, and much more visually by displaying the word in a seemingly “brain-map” format.

Given the fact that most of our students are now visual learners (as they are exposed to visual information today more than ever), Visuwords can be the dictionary that may “like” consulting when they need synonyms or definitions.

As we today equip most of our classes with computers and projectors, it is easy to use Visuwords which runs online. This makes it practical for us, the teachers, to do some vocabulary study in class as well as for students to discover lexical structures.

To give you some taste of it, below we post a printscreen we got for the word “leadership”: (you can click on the printshot below to see a larger image)

visuwords1

And when you click on the word dots on the page, the definition or examples are given in a box as illustrated below:

visuwords2

Please visit visuwords.com and explore the tool..Hope you find it useful 🙂

NOVEMBER 2015

eduCannon – Interactive video learning platform

Don’t we all love using TED Talks or YouTube videos in class? Using videos in class is among the most favourite activities for most of us as they are authentic, engaging, motivating, and fun. However, the video itself is not useful if the implementation is not carefully planned. Should we use them in class or outside the class? Should we let students watch the whole thing to make it more challenging, or is it a better idea to take breaks in the video? How do we manage that? When is the best time to combine the video with questions or tasks? If you have such concerns, eduCanon can be a great help to you!

eduCanon is an “interactive video learning platform” that help teachers plan video sharing experience. The developers of the website describe the tool as “an online learning environment to create and share interactive video lessons”. With this tool, passive viewing and listening experience can be transformed into an active experience for students. EduCanon makes it possible for teachers to predetermine when to pause the videos and to embed questions. The variety in the question types is an important asset of the tool, as well. You can make it open-ended, multiple-question, fill-in-the-blanks, or any other type. Plan the experience and let it go! Simple, yet effective.

You may want to watch the videos below if you are interested in using the tool.

OCTOBER 2015

Diigo – A tool for personal knowledge management

It is the new term…a time for paperwork, research and study; not only for students, but also for us – the teachers-. We will be compiling articles, do some research to enrich our materials and we will be reading texts for different purposes. So, PDU is introducing a new, useful tool to you. It is Diigo!

The 12-person team of Diigo describe their medium as a user friendly, yet a versatile multi-tool for “personal knowledge management” which is designed to improve the reading and research experience. When most of the online reading experience including “browsing, researching, annotating, storing,  organizing, remembering, collaborating, and sharing” is largely ad-hoc and inefficient, Diigo seems to be a good help to improve productivity. So maybe, we should give it a try and see if it works for us.

Basically, it is a bookmarking webpage where you can store the links to the articles you choose to keep. This helps you build a personal library. But there is more to it. Here is a list of areas of use copied directly from the original site, diigo.com:

  • Read more effectively with annotation toolsas you browse around the web. Add digital highlighters and sticky notes whether on PC, tablets, or mobile, and have them always be where you left them when you return! Print to mark-up? No longer necessary. Better recall? Proven! Create reports with your annotations? just a few clicks, and no more copy & paste into Word or email.
  • Build your personal library in the cloud, with links, pages, notes, pictures etc, never to be lost, and ready to be accessed anywhere. Of course, those digital highlights, sticky notes and screenshots you added while going around the web automatically go into your library.
  • Say goodbye to broken links and lost treasuresThe web is dynamic – valuable content you found earlier is often no longer there when needed. Diigo archives the webpages for the links you save. Better yet, the archived pages are fully searchable. So do not just bookmark, save to Diigo!
  • Provide feedback and catch attention with annotation or screenshotsWant to draw attention to a particular paragraph to your Twitter followers? Highlight it and tweet. Want to comment on a student’s writing? Use sticky notes for inline commenting. Want to provide feedback on a web design? Capture the page and mark it up.
  • Organize your information as little or as much as you want.Since Diigo provides powerful search capabilities, the simple act of saving or annotating something, often with just one-click, will enable you to find it easily later. But of course, when you do want better organization, for easier review, for connecting the dots, for better sharing, for presentation, or whatever, Diigo provides unsurpassed organization capabilities, with both tagging and lists, to suit different needs.
  • Share information as much or as little as you wantOne advantage of storing information in the cloud is that you can share them easily when you want to. Each piece of information can be set as private or public on Diigo. If you are an extrovert and like to share your passion and showcase who you are, make public as the default! If you are introvert, keep them all private! Want to send a whole collection to someone? just a few clicks away.
  • Enable better collaboration on information for any group, large or small. Too little or too much sharing with email? Build a group knowledge repository for your family, your class, your team, or your entire company; each group member can add and subscribe to it, and browse and search it. Better yet, group members can interact with on-the-page annotations. So imagine your class are all reading the same Wikipedia article, and commenting and discussing right on the page!

imagesAn  In-Class Implementation Sample Using Diigo

Diigo can be used to search for, store, annotate articles for the extensive reading pack which all of the freshman instructors in our department are responsible for compiling. This may save our time and make the researching process more efficient. Moreover, we would never run the risk of losing the articles and can easily store them for later use.

JUNE 2015

AudioBoom – A podcasting tool

Do you use podcasts in your classrooms? Or, would you rather prefer encouraging your students to record their own podcasts? Maybe, you as the teacher would want to create podcasts to be used as classroom materials. If you are interested in any of these practices, “AudioBoom” is a great source for you. AudioBoom is primarily a podcasting tool which runs with a website and an application compatible with IOS and Android. It is widely used for education purposes allowing teachers and students to listen to, record, and share podcasts. The developers of this tool describe it “as the easiest, most effective way to give teachers and students a voice.” And that is why; we are embracing AudioBoom on our bulletin board this month.

AudioBoom can be used for various purposes in the classroom. There are readily available sound files (from BBC, CNBC or the Guardian) which might be used for listening practice. Also, teachers can ask their students to record their own reflections as podcasts which may help save some class time. Teachers, similarly, can use the tool to create their own sound files to be shared by their students.

When there is growing interest in authenticity and learner-centered classrooms, AudioBoom seems to be an ideal destination to reach.

To learn more about the website, you may want to watch the video below. For a more practical classroom idea, please see attached the sample teaching scenario.

images

sample lesson plan-audioboom

MAY 2015

Thinglink – A multimedia poster presentation tool

This month, we will introduce “Thinglink” to you. “Thinglink” can be used as an education tool to create interactive images. The tool enables its users to turn any kind of visual image to a multimedia launcher. Users of “Thinglink” can insert multiple “hot spots” on a chosen visual image. By including videos, audios or by providing links to different websites – each displayed by “icons” – users can gather different information media on one visual image. Therefore, it can easily be used for educational purposes, as well. Teachers can use the tool to present their material in a creative way…Similarly, students may be asked to design “Thinglink” images to present or share projects. Its being higly interactive through comment boxes and its shareability through e-mail or “streams” make “”Thinglink” a good alternative for those who are eager to add some variety and creativity to their classes. To see whether this tool can be a part of your teaching experience, you may want to watch the video below. Attached, also, is an example lesson plan which may, hopefully, give you some inspiration if you may want to use it some day..

For a sample lesson plan, download the attachment below.

Sample lesson plan-Thinglinkimages

APRIL 2015

Penzu – A Journal Writing Tool

The Web tool we have chosen for this month is Penzu. As the developers of the software describe it, “Penzu is an online diary and personal journal. With a unique and compelling user experience, it makes writing online as easy and intuitive as writing on a pad of paper.” With its interactive nature and an easy-to-use interface, Penzu can be a very helpful tool to encourage journal writing or reflective writing in our classrooms. Penzu enables its users to get free accounts, to write and keep online journals, to attach clips (e.g. photos), to share with others through sending e-mails or links,  and to comment on written journals. Therefore, this tool can be used to foster communication and collaboration among students.

To see whether this tool can be a part of your teaching experience, you may want to watch the video below. Attached, also, is an example lesson plan which may, hopefully, give you some inspiration if you may want to use it some day..

For a sample lesson plan, download the attachment below.images

sample lesson plan-Penzu

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