Creative learning and the question of time. ESOL November

It’s the first week of November so that means another ESOL webinar – this time, leading on from comments about the pressure of time on ESOL teachers, we looked at creative learning and sharing ideas through the use of technology.Wordle_EL

To start us off we did a bit of crowd sourcing on a Google doc- lots of ideas and links about what has proved useful and interesting to us; click here to see  ( if you have something to add please do so!). Many teachers work in different places at different times and there is often little chance to get everyone together for team meetings or to develop a common scheme of work so collaborative tools here could help; Google docs, Pirate pad or even Google groups where you can also have on-line meetings using Google hangouts.  Some old favourites came up as well such as the Talent website where there are also examples of IWB lessons which have proved to be a great help in showing how to be more creative with the use of interactive whiteboards. Other resources mentioned, that can be re- purposed or embedded, were those on the British council website. NLN materials can also be re-jigged using the Xerte toolkit, which we looked at in October.This can be quite time consuming to begin with yet worth doing if working as a team and the resources are going to be reused. Other ideas were also about using high quality professional resources such as Headway digital resources for IWB, finances permitting obviously. However, this is not the last word on re-purposing resources as there is the imminent launch of the Discover Jisc project at the end of this month that we will also look at soon.

Continuing with the theme of shared resources we also wondered how many of us think it would be great to collaborate with other practitioners across different learning providers to develop resources and innovative practice.The consensus was that yes most people would like to work together more.This also reminded me of the recent Niace report: A New curriculum for Difficult times where one of the key messages was about co-designing the curriculum in a much wider context. Hopefully, this is something that we can look at again later on in the year. We also mentioned the Innovation through technology funding call for projects. So if you are thinking about bidding for an individual or collaborative project check out the website and your local Jisc RSC can also help.

Our next item on the time saving agenda was learner created content. When I was a newly qualified teacher I was often told that I should stop trying to do all the work in the class but get learners themselves to do more instead- it took a while but then I realised that,indeed, most of the learning  took place when the learners were more active, though thorough preparation on my part before the lesson was key. So Franca Marchese, from Barnet and Southgate College, showed us an example of a learner who created a rather funny video using go-animate about what not to do in a job interview. This included standing on a chair shouting ‘‘I find these questions unacceptable!” but a great example of a resource that can  be used with other learners to discuss and develop employability skills. Other ideas were from Magdalena Bicka, from Redbridge College, who told us about how she used Prezi to create a lesson on developing reading and scanning skills and then getting learners to create a Prezi about someone they admired

We then briefly mentioned Brainshark,which comes highly recommended-this is a tool where you can upload a power point presentation,pictures or word document and then narrate over them.  What could work well here is that everyone (or nearly everyone) is familiar with something like power point so that could make it easier to start reluctant learners off. Something else that Brainshark provides is a tracking system so that you can see viewing details. Another similar tool is Present.me

I also suggested getting learners to make induction packs for new learners- by creating Prezis with embedded videos of life at the college or in the class and then embedding them onto Moodle or ( if no VLE is available) Padlet.

Lastly, we talked about Voki avatars, which is a popular tool  for creating spoken instructions or presentations but we were wondering what else can we use Voki for?  I thought that it could work well for activities such as dictogloss.(See dictogloss definition here from the British council) I love dictogloss because learners really learn so much from their own self- correction and if it is on a Voki they can go back and listen to it again and again. So please add ideas here on what we can use Voki for, especially if we can use it for two or more speakers working together.

Finally, we thought about what we will be looking at in next month’s webinar on the 6th December. ‘Incentivising learning’ is the theme and hopefully we will talk about what we can do to increase the incentive factor for learners such as using games, mobile assessment and more time saving ideas.If you have something that you can share with us please do contact me. e.lando@rsc-london.ac.uk

For the recording of the webinar as well as the resources used click here.