Technology on the go – Episode 1

Hello everyone,

  Our Technology On The Go Podcast Page!

Ana Maria and I came up with the idea of creating podcasts to help teachers learn a little bit more what is going on in other classes around the world and what teachers have been doing to enhance learning using technology. Today we  had  Kay Nixon, as our guest speaker, an English teacher from Lincolnwood, IL. 

Take a listen at our very first podcast – Tune in for the next TECHNOLOGY ON THE GO

Also read about our podcast project on Ana Maria Menezes’ blog.

By 2 teach is 2 touch lives 4 ever

Creating activities using Google Spreadsheet Gadgets

Hello there,

I learned how to create exercices using Google Docs Spreadsheet last year and have been trying to write about it on my blog but I always get caught doing something else. So here it is, I am finally sharing:

Do you use Google Docs?

Yes? Are you and your students getting the most out of it?

No? It is a very useful tool to use for your classes. In the district I work in, all the students have Google e-mail so we all share documents through Google Docs, it is easier to share their homework, projects or quizes with their teachers and classmates. It is a great way to work on projects together and collaborate with each other using a common document. I have been using Google Spreadsheet to create activities for a while now. Here is an example:

To create this exercise, I have:

1) Logged into my Google Docs

2) Click on Create – Spreadsheet

3) Wrote the words on column A and the definitions on column B

4) Select column A and B and click on InsertGadget

5) Selected Flash Cards Gadget By Seth Glickman and clicked on add to Spreadsheet

6) On the top right hand corner there is a drop-down menu. click there and select move to own sheet…

7) Once you have done that you will have on the bottom of your spreadsheet two tabs, one with the list of words and definitions and one with the gadget.

Hope you enjoy creating your own activities! If you have any questions on how to create different activities using Google spreadsheet do not hesitate to ask. Please share your creations, I would love to see the activities you have created.

YouTube Channel

Hi there,

I attended Lucy Gray’s conference about Instructional Uses of YouTube at ICE 2012 and I was amazed by what I learned so I am sharing how I decided to use it with my students to enhance learning!

I have learned that I can create a private channel so my students can upload videos safely! And best of all, they can do it from their mobile devices. Let’s see how!

Fist of all, as YouTube is a Google product you will need to have a Google mail account in order to start your channel. If you already have one, great! If not, you can access YouTube and click on create an account, it will create a Google account for you when you sign up for YouTube.

1) If you already have a Google account, please click on Sign In as shown below.
2) If you do not have one, please click on Create Account, see image.

Once you have your account you will be ready to start posting videos!

Let’s get started:

To find your YouTube e-mail address, access your account settings on the right-hand corner and click on Mobile Setup on the left (see picture below).

Give that e-mail address to your students so they can start uploading videos from their mobile devices by sending an e-mail to that address! If you don’t like the address YouTube generates, you can change to a different automated one until you find one that is good and easy enough for your students.

Want to try it out? Please, share the results with me!

1) Record a video either with your mobile device or with your computer talking about a website or app that you like using in your classes with your students. To post your video to my YouTube channel, please send an e-mail to the address below, and don’t forget to attach your video. 

ge8bbx4fp17a@m.youtube.com

2) The subject of the e-mail will be the title of the video, so write your name and the name of the website or app you are sharing. Thanks.

3) To see your video access my channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/csousa74?feature=mhee

To see how I am using this feature with my students, please access my wiki by clicking HERE.

Reposting #ELTchat: the loss of eltchat.com – Plan B

I was directed to Cecilia Lemos’ Blog after reading Shelly Terrell’s post on Facebook. I have not participated in an ELT Chat yet but I am always following the educators’ comments about it. I am currently teaching Spanish but I have taught English as a foreign and second language for over 8 years. I keep reminding myself the importance of participating in the ELT Chat because it is a great opportunity to gain and share knowledge and build my Personal Learning Network (PLN). I was very sad to hear what happened with their domain (eltchat.org). To know more about what happened, please read the post below in its entirety.

This is a repost of Cecilia Lemos’ blog:

For the last – well, almost two years now, since September 15, 2010, #ELTchat has kept us on our toes and forged hundreds of professional and personal relationships amongst its followers who turn up on Twitter every Wednesday to talk about  topics they have suggested and voted on – a community of peers which was created by a small group of colleagues – which grew and grew some more and became something that counts as an important  part of our continuous professional development.

Like many great ideas, it didn’t hit just one person but several. And that is how #ELTchat was created.

The website to keep up the communication of its members, a base and repository of our ideas was one of the first things we all thought of creating – the wiki came later.

Andy Chaplin was keen to join the moderation team and help with podcasts and technical stuff; he was quick to buy eltchat.com and announced the good news to us after the fact. A few months later, right after TESOL France 2011,  he suddenly disappeared – some say for reasons of health. We never found out for sure. We never received a single word of response to our emails. eltchat.com was and still is registered in his name.

And yesterday we lost it


On August 8 the domain expired and we have no way of taking over unless it goes up for sale again; it was very sad that Andy Chaplin did not find it appropriate to renew.

The news is really upsetting.

The work we have put in on this website cannot be told in a few simple words – but it has been a labour of love and we have got so much out of it that we have never regretted one single moment

We are pretty upset at the behaviour of this individual – disappointment is one big understatement.

But we trust that our community of #ELTchatters, our PLN for short, will again gather round the new domain which we have purchased – eltchat.org

It will take us a few days to put the website back on its feet

And all will be as it was before – all the posts in place all your thoughts and comments, all the polls and great summaries which got us on the shortlist of the ELTon Awards nominations

We will be back with a vengeance

We are not just a website – we did not get on the ELTon awards shortlist as just another website!!!

We are a great community of teachers and we have a Plan B!

See you all in September!!!

Marisa Constantinides – Shaun Wilden

Cecilia Lemos

P.S. We would greatly appreciate it if any of you belonging to this great community of teachers,  teacher educators, bloggers, #ELTchat followers,  reposted this on your blog

If you decide to do this, please add your name to the post under ours.

Marisa Constantinides – Shaun Wilden

Cecilia Lemos

Camila Sousa

Google Sites

I have created a tutorial for my students in order to have an e-portfolio for our Spanish class, in this tutorial they will learn how to create their Google Sites. Why Google Sites? My school district is very concerned about publishing students’ work online so this way, only teachers and other students inside our school district have access to our “private” sites. Not even parents can access our Google Sites, if they desire to do so they would have to use their children’s ID and password. Our blogs or sites are restricted by a district user ID and password and this makes it safer for the kids, especially because they are Middle School students who sometimes act without thinking or fearing the possible consequences.

Although we have private sites, we like to interact with other Spanish classes and for that reason we use websites such as VoiceThread that allow us to collaborate with other classes. I have created an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that is signed by the parents in the beginning of the school year regarding the release of their pictures and projects, I also create a form that students and parents sign for my class listing the technologies we will be using during the school year to request their approval for publishing on my public blog or wiki so that I can showcase their work to the “world”.

This tutorial was made in QuickTime Player. I simply opened the application, clicked on file, then new screen recording and recorded the tutorial. To publish it, I posted it on Vimeo then hosted on my wiki.

Click HERE to watch the tutorial.

First Day of School

It is important for teachers, administration and parents to be on the same page and understand how technology plays an important role in our classes. I don’t even have to mention that our students “live and breath” technology in their daily lives. My Middle School students are constantly texting their friends and family, some of them maintain a blog, have a Twitter account and a Facebook page just to mention some of the technology and websites they are exposed to. In other words, they are out there in the World Wide Web sharing their thoughts, pictures and constantly searching and researching.

Keeping that in mind, it is necessary that parents and administrators in schools also realize that the world is interconnected and as teachers we need to enrich our classes with technology to be able to communicate with the “world” and reach out to students and teachers of other countries and work on projects together and gain more knowledge about their language and culture. Being a Spanish teacher, I understand the importance of putting my students in contact with other Spanish speakers, which can only be done with the help of the available technology in our school.  To better learn a language it is important to be exposed to people that speak it and really immerse ourselves into their culture.

For that reason, on the first day of school I like to send a letter of introduction home with my students so the parents can read and know a little bit more about me and I can list the technologies that will be used in my classes during the school year. I always like to be in contact with parents by sending them letters so that I don’t need to wait for Parent-Teacher Conference Day to convey my message and inform them how their children are doing on a daily basis.  Together with my letter of introduction I also send parents an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) letter for parents and students to sign regarding the websites we will be using, how to be safe online, and asking parents permission to release their children’s pictures and projects on my public blog or wiki.

Click HERE to see the letter of introduction I send to the parents.