Blog Archive

Friday, December 12, 2014

Week ten - Assessing Technology Integration and Wrap Up!

With the fast development of technology and its application on our daily live tasks, we need to take advantage of it by using it in the best form possible. 
When using technology in teaching there are two important issues addressed which contribute to our students' development.
The first one is related to the fact that people nowadays use technology regularly, therefore by offering students the chance to experiment with new tools we encourage them to become active learners ready to participate, review and reflect upon, not only their work, but their peers' too. 
Secondly, technology can offer us tools through which the learning objectives are achieved in a smooth, interactive and cooperative way. 

The two tools presented to us this week, helped me reflect on the way I use technology in the classroom. (See models below)
My result was somewhat pleasing and I realized that this course has been a great inspiration for me. It feels like this opportunity is just the first, but extremely important, step towards a long journey. 

This course gave me the chance to try many methods and become aware towards their usage.  I have tried these tools either with my students or being in the role of the student during the course. These are the ones that I find most useful: 

- Web searching techniques (I tried and loved it. A plan to implement it with fellow teachers and students)
- The ABCD learning objectives;  (Tried them both as a participant and when preparing for classes)
- Creating blogs; (A plan to be implemented)
- Delicious bookmarking system; (I tried and loved it)
-  Rubrics; (I have been using them for four assignments now and they make everything easier)
- wiki classes; (wiki class seems like the perfect plan for having students upload their work so that they can give quick feedback and save time)
- Paddlet (Loved it when we tried it during the course. Planning to try it out with students during the second semester)

It has been a great journey so far and I will continue exploring this ocean of opportunities. 
 Till next time!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Week nine – The use of technology in addressing various learning styles

As individuals we are all different and therefore we all learn differently. In his theory of multiple intelligences, Howard Gardner provides us with insights into multiple intelligences which are related to individual’s personal skills and their preferred ways of learning.  It is both the role of the teacher and students themselves to identify students’ learning styles in order to provide them with the right activities which in turn help them acquire the information and the material in the best form possible. With the advancements in technology, this has become much easier since various materials that are found online, can be adapted either for offline or online use to address different learning styles.

For example, for visual or spatial learners, presentations in PowerPoint, Prezi or other forms, can be used to offer students the possibility of looking at the key ideas or pictures. Google images are a great source where one can find multiple images which can be used, either online or offline by printing them and bringing them to class, to facilitate learning.

For auditory, also known as aural or musical learners technology can provide various possibilities to help them learn. For example, songs are a great source to teach and reinforce vocabulary, grammar or pronunciation. When using songs students can either work individually or in groups either to brainstorm ideas and predict what the song will be about based on the title, to fill in the missing words, to rearrange the lyrics, etc. They can also be a great source for discussion.

There are many different possibilities how technology can be used to facilitate the teaching and learning process, however it is the teachers’ job to find the proper tools that address their students’ learning styles and which in turn help students better acquire the information and the material.

An online quiz to find out your learning styles and read more on learning styles and multiple intelligences:

A website consisting of videos and quizzes related to the videos: 

British council offers numerous songs for young learners of English:

This website is great to learn and improve language skills through the use of music videos and lyrics:

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week eight - Online Resources

During this week, I realized how quickly  time has flown and that our course is gradually coming to an end. Hence, this week offered me a chance to reflect on the technology-related change that I started implementing and once again various tools were introduced to us, which can be used to create online and offline resources to use with our students. 
Many tools  offer the possibility to create online classrooms which are used with students. They can be used for discussions, assigning tasks, uploading and downloading files, such as assignments, extra materials, quizzes, questionnaires, etc. 
Others offer online and offline possibilities to create worksheets, exercises, crosswords, word searches and much more. 

All these resources offer possibilities to reinforce students' skills, such as critical thinking skills, language, and communicative skills; enhance student collaboration and most importantly promote learner autonomy. 

Online classrooms:

Tools to create worksheets and more:

Looking forward to exploring all the endless possiblities!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week seven - Leaner autonomy and technology-enhanced lessons

Transforming our students into autonomous learners is a continuous process which requires perpetual efforts, both from the teachers and students’ side, accompanying these with the development of various skills that contribute to learners becoming self-critical and aware of their learning, thus giving them opportunities to improve themselves.

As Dimitrios Thanasoulas, author of “What is Learner Autonomy and How Can it Be Fostered?” states in his article ( there are many attributes that characterize an autonomous learner and which have to be taken into account when fostering learner autonomy. Some of these attributes include the awareness of students towards their learning styles and strategies, being active while working on different tasks, being motivated, addressing learner’s specific needs, etc.

Technology can be used as an extremely appealing and attractive tool to provide students with limitless opportunity in becoming autonomous learners. Having started to implement the technological related change in my classroom, this week I had the chance to experience on of the most hectic, but rewarding days in school. In order to practice writing a paragraph, students used laptops writing on Microsoft Word Documents and using Edmodo to upload their files. In comparison to our typical writing lessons I noticed various differences, such as:

- The students were much more excited and motivated to work on the task, therefore, they used their time more efficiently and were very eager to work on the task;
- They were able to track their progress and autocorrect their spelling mistakes using ‘spelling and grammar’ option in Microsoft Word, thus becoming more aware of spelling rules and their writing habits;
- It was very useful for students that they had already planned the key information for their paragraph, through a graphic organizer and illustrations;
-     - Once a student was done working on their assignment they were willing to help others in writing and using the technological tools;

Even though the students need time to get acquainted with using technology for educational purposes, their motivation and interest are key factors that will drive their learning process.

Next time during our technological-enhanced lesson, the students will be working in groups and will create online invitation cards for their thematic party, which they have planned beforehand.

Feeling motivated!


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week six - Implementing a technology-related change

Engaging students in learning is a crucial element in the learning process, which is achieved through the implementation of various techniques, and results in student-centered lessons, where students are active participants in the learning process and acquire the knowledge by exploring the content through numerous tasks given by the teacher who acts as a facilitator. Keeping students motivated and interested in learning is attained by varying our lessons to break the routine and surprise our students and by giving them the tools to work with, which in turn help them acquire knowledge through a natural process.

Engaging students and having active participation in the classroom shifts the attention from the teacher, which is a trait of traditional teaching, to the students who become a part of interactive learning. The development of technology has propelled and facilitates this shift by offering teachers unlimited possibilities to use it as a tool in attaining learning objectives by having students act as the main actors in this process.

This course’s week was very exciting since I got to experience the first step towards making a technology-related change. As my goal is to improve my fifth-grade students’ writing skills, I have been researching and selecting different tools to use in my classrooms. Among others, I have also selected Edmodo ( as the main platform where students will communicate with each other in English, work on different tasks and assignments and share different links with their classmates, hence become autonomous learners and better users of English.

In the last lesson for this week, my students and I created our online classrooms. After introducing briefly this website, I helped the students create their accounts and they also gave their answers in a poll that I had posted beforehand.
It was amazing to see the children’s excitement and their curiosity to start exploring this tool. Right from the beginning they kept asking questions related to the website, such as:
-          how can we upload our pictures,
-          how can we post, what can we post,
-          who can see our posts,
-          how can our parents login,
-          how can we find the code,
-          how can we win badges?

After school, I uploaded a riddle, just to see if they would react and how. From that point on the majority of them have been responding to my post and not only. Many of them have been uploading their own riddles, jokes, and links and responding to their peers’ posts. What is more, I can immediately identify areas which they are struggling with and provide my student with instant feedback, suggestions, and links with videos giving instructions on certain uses and practice through games.
I can’t wait to go back to class on Tuesday and see their reactions and hear their feedback. I think that from this point on they will be much more motivated in learning and this will give them a chance to not only become autonomous learners, but also improve their skills in English and technology as well by using it appropriately.

Until next time!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Week five - Alternative Assessment and Problem Based Learning

When teaching a language the learning outcomes, that we set in each lesson, are important factors that contribute to the final results that we aim to achieve at the end of a level or course. However, when tracking the students progress, testing if they can perform a specific task or produce a simple structure is not proof enough that they are able to use those structures in real life situations. Therefore, a continuous assessment should take place when evaluating the students’ progress. As John M. Norris points out in his article “Purposeful Language Assessment: Selecting The Right Alternative Test”, language assessment is a process which uses tests or other methods of evaluation to collect data on students performance and then use those data to take action within the classroom, course, program or curriculum.

Students are much more motivated when they are given various tools to work with, when they don’t know what to expect and when they can express themselves in different forms, either through writing, role-playing, giving speeches, reading or performing well in a test. Hence, in order to keep the students motivated and interested in our lessons, we as teachers need to provide them with dynamic lessons, tasks and expectations. The expectations for each assignment can be given through the use of rubrics which are important when it comes to informing students about the criteria. RubiStar ( is a great online tool which can be used to create rubrics).

Problem Based Learning is a great tool which offers the students the possibility to work on topics that interest them, using an innovative approach in which students are required to gather, process and report information, come up with final products and are given the chance to be autonomous learners, whereas teachers act as facilitators guiding students through this process. This method engages students in collaborative learning, who in  groups, try to answer a driving question which as John Larmer and John R. Mergendoller put in their article (Seven Essentials for Project-Based Learning) “should capture the heart of the project in clear, compelling language, which gives students a sense of purpose and challenge”.

As PBL requires the students to complete a series of tasks it also requires the use of rubrics to set clear expectations and the use of alternative assessment to evaluate students’ various skills and their final products.

Best of all,


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Week four - More resources

This has been a very hectic week with the Problem Based Learning week in our school, various tests to check and the preparations for this week's lessons. Therefore, it was very relaxing to read the articles of our course when I was able to find the time. 
With all the activities, I feel like a need to go over the materials of this week one more time and read all the comments and thoughts that others have shared. 

I'll get back to you soon!