Monday, February 11, 2013

An interesting blog

Last week I discovered so many Edublogs. One of them specially called my attention: Edutech for Teachers. You can find a link to it in the scroll bar on your right.
Edutech is a blog about sources and strategies for teachers to add technologies to their lessons. I found it interesting because many of the sources suggested are totally new for me, but also because it gives classroom applications to those tools I already used in my everyday life, adding a new perspective to my way of thinking about technologies and teaching.

A recent post about Twitter had this effect on me, so I had to thank the author for incorporating this perspective to my point of view by commenting on it. Infographic of the Week: How to Use Twitter in 60 Seconds, not only gives the reader some keys to start using Twitter but also specifies what the classroom connection is. This is indeed, the most relevant section of the post as the author suggest applications of Twitter that I had never thought of before.

As I said, I used Twitter every day in my personal life for, at least, 2 years. I use to read the daily news on my walk to my job or in the train to University. In this post, the author shares some ideas to use Twitter with your students that I found really inetersting and encouraging: invite the students to create accounts assuming relevant figures' personalities. From my point of view this is an excellent idea for your students' to experience historical events and to get to understand the big W questions around them.

I suscribed to the RSS of this blog. I am willing to know what is next!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Challenges for the 21st Century Class

When I was a kid I went to school to learn from my teachers. I sat every morning in my chair, and listen to my teacher, an inexhaustible source of knowledge that tried to fill our brains helped by a text book, a blackboard and, in special occasions, some videos. I am getting ready now to become a teacher and this is not the teacher I can be, this is not the teacher I want to be.

It is scary to think how in the last 20 years the world has changed. Connections worldwide have become common thanks to the internet and so, everyone can share their knowledge and their ideas and have access to everyone's knowledge and ideas. Consequently, what is the point to spend hours filling our students' brains with theories that will not be valid anymore at the end of the class? If we as teachers do not give knowledge to our students, then what is our role in the 21st classroom?

In a world where knowledge evolves at dizzying speeds, citizens have to be able to select the good information from the correct sources. They need to differentiate between good information and propaganda in order to build their own knowledge and ideas.

Citizen need to learn how to organize the information found and how to share their thoughts in a proper, accurate and responsible way, linking their ideas to others' in order to gain credibility or  improving them by collaboration.

Technologies evolve as fast that our students will work in positions that do not even exist yet. Many of which will be created for them or, even better, by them.

Therefore, we can not teach as my teachers did in 20th century. The 21st century teacher has to:

  • Enhance creativity in their students, so they will be ready to innovate in a changing society.
  • Help their students to develop their adaptation ability, because the technologies they are using to learn, will be different to the one they will use to work in the future. 
  • Guide their students to develop their critical thinking, as they will be responsible to select the information, and the sources from an increasingly ocean of ideas, theories, and statements. 
  • Teach their students to connect their ideas to others' by building networks to take advantage of new learning opportunities.
To have an idea of how society has changed and what is the reality we are facing, I recommend you to watch the following videos:
In the bar on the right of this page you will find some interesting links to other blogs about education. Many of them can give us some ideas on how developing these skills in our students, others will focus on the content of language learning, but all of them give as clues and ideas to use technologies in the classroom. I hope you enjoy them. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

A New Blog in the Classroom

Welcome reader, 

If you have crossed the door of this site it is because you are interested in applying technologies in the Second Language classroom. If I am right, then you are more than welcome to stay here, read the posts, and share your thoughts and believes with the other readers by commenting on the posts. 

This blog is originally a class exercise to experience new technologies and share our feelings and ideas. I'd like to open it to a professional community of Second Language Teachers interested in using technologies in their classes. 

But before starting, what is a blog? How does it work? and how can I use it in my class? A weblog is a webpage that an user can easily edit. It allows the creator to share thoughts and believes, news, or anything relevant by creating articles (posts, from now on). 

The reader can always access to the new post, but also find old ones by scrolling down the blog. This technology also allows a new way of interaction with the author since the readers can also comment on the authors' posts. 

Weblogs can be a really useful tool for our students to acquire a language because a) they can have access to real language used in a real context by native speakers, b) they can produce language with an specific purpose, and c) they can keep track of their improvements on their Second Language and gain language awareness. 

Let's imagine we are Language teachers in a Middle School and we want to improve our students' reading habits. We can use personal weblogs. Every week students have to select a book from the school library, read it, and post anything related to the book in their personal weblog: a critique, a summary, an idea related to the reading, a feeling, ...

The teacher can keep track of the books read in a wiki shared in the class, so the students have access to the links of their classmates' weblogs. Students, when select a book, can check if someone has already read it and comment on the classmates' post about their own thoughts and feelings.

This activity meets the following ACTFL Standards:


  • Standard 1.1: Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions
  • Standard 1.3: Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.


  • Standard 5.1: Students use the language both within and beyond the school setting
  • Standard 5.2: Students show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using the language for personal enjoyment and enrichment.

But, what about the teachers? How can we use weblogs? This technology allows you to create a professional world-wide community. As we are doing right now, we can use our own blog to share our experiences teaching, recommend a good book that helped you in your career, post links to sources so that other teachers can use them, contact language teachers around the world to start an exchange program with our students, as many other possibilities. There is thousands of professional weblogs online, I encourage you to look for some other bloggers but also to keep an eye to this weblog, you never know when the next update can be posted.