Youtube: A teacher’s sidekick!

As a future teacher, I see the importance of adapting your classroom to the new technologies. Kids theses days are hooked so early to all kind of different screens (TV, phones, iPads, etc…). This is the reason why teachers would benefit from the implementation of Youtube within their classroom! Everyone knows or has heard about Youtube. It is quite accessible. In fact, it follows most of us in our back pocket. Why not take advantage of this and show to our students all the educational potential it holds!

Students can go watch videos,  depending on their interests, but in the language that is being studied! It offers an opportunity to hear more of that target language. If they are learning a foreign language, these Youtube videos can help them get used to hearing and understanding the language they are studying. In the case of ESL teaching, there a lot of videos online.

Just to name a few possibilities:

  • You can find online “Spoken English Lessons” like this
  • You can find videos on specific grammar topics like this 
  • You can find situational videos that demonstrate how to act/ what to say in certain situations like this 
  • You can record your class and put it up online so your students will be able to review the class content
  • You can even find videos that give tips for future teachers! Whether it be examples of activities you can do in class or suggestions of good class management skills..

There really is an endless opportunity as to how Youtube can upgrade your classroom experience!

If you are looking for inspiration, here are a couple of good examples of youtube channels for teachers!

Youtube is also an excellent resource to help plan your class. You can use it many ways to help increase the level of in-class participation of your students, or simply to help you organize your class.

  •  Ice breakers. Videos can be used to engage students,to help them start discussions. This is a good tool in language classes to help provide more opportunities of oral practice.
  •  Save videos. Make a playlist of relevant videos for your class.
  • Archive your work.  This allows you to save your old work and material. You can then send it to new students. This saves you time and space!
  • Exam review. You can easily upload videos and information that can help your students review for an upcoming exam.
  • Video message to your students. Create an account for your class. Forgot to give specific information about an assignment or you would like to send them a message before the next class? A video online is a quick easy way to do so. You can even send them an e-mail to warn them of this recent upload.

The possibilities are endless! Go have fun with it, you will not regret it!

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Storybird: Once Upon a Class…

Surfing the internet, I stumbled upon something incredible. I present to you: Storybird! If you could be friends with internet sites, this site would be my BFF!

Their motto : “Create, read and share virtual stories”.  This site allows you to create stories online from their picture bank online. You have the creative liberty of doing whatever you please. As a future teacher, I have fallen in love with the simplicity of this site. There is even a section specifically for teachers and another one for parents. It seems as if it was made to be used in classrooms! In fact, The possibilities for the classroom offered by Story bird seem limitless.

Reasons to love Story bird:

  • It’s Free! It also takes less than 5 minutes to set up an account.
  • Amazing art. There is nothing like nice art to inspire you in your writing projects Students can use this art as the focus point of their story. Also, through visual art you can grab the attention of your visual students!
  • Puzzle solving. Readers can unlock special pages and bonuses hidden in the stories online. This helps  your students to develop problem solving skills. This game factor can also help increase their level of motivation to accomplish their tasks,
  • Social reinforcement. Students can receive feedback from their peers. This can help to build their self confidence in their work. It also allows them to work their social skills within the classroom. Having students give feedback to others is an excellent way to create a writing community within the classroom.
  • It’s a grade booster! Teachers and kids report higher grades in writing and reading comprehension when using Storybird regularly

Useful for the classroom:

  • Facilitates grading. You can correct and assign grades online.
  • Easy sharing. This site makes it easy to share the stories once they are completed. You can even e-mail them to parents so they can see their child’s progress.
  • Fundraising.  You can sell your online creations. This can help to finance a school trip.

Reading about it was just too fun, I had to try it out. Here is a small sample  of what you can do!. Personally, I found it quite easy and amusing  . I definitely intend on trying out more stuff soon!

Are you having the urge to try it out for yourself, check this tutorial out!  Here is another one made especially for teachers.

Do you need ideas to start writing yourself? Here, check out these examples of story ideas.

Dweeber : an online study group

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What is Dweeber?

 Dweeber is a social networking site whose aim is to facilitate doing homework. It enables young students (aged 13 to 17) to accomplish their homework with their friends. This way it is fun, it is efficient, and it has more chances of being done!

So, what exactly is Dweeber? One could say it is a Facebook for young people that has an academic purpose. Here is a little history to introduce you to this site…Dweeber was opened to the public in 2009.  Their aim was “to allow young people to use the growing phenomenon of social networking to actually help them learn, study, and do homework, as opposed to getting in the way of it“. It has the objective to empower young people and to create a habit of helping and sharing with  their peers. As a  future teacher, I simply adore their guiding principles:

  • Everyone has their own unique brilliance.
  • Think of differences as resources rather than disorders
  • Track assets rather than deficits
  • Think of mistakes as experiments rather than failures.
  • Everyone has an inner Dweeb, a geek part of us that is passionate about something important.

Another interesting part of Dweeber is that they have a Youth Advisory Board. This way teens can also get help from teens if they have questions on the site’s procedures. This is great. Some students prefer asking their peers or people within their age range for questions, rather than going to go see an adult. (In the same direction, Dweeber allows students to interact between each other. This also enables the shy students to get the information they need without having the scary task of asking their question in front of everyone else in the class!).

Would you like to get started? Check this video out. It explains to you all the different parts of this site.

Teach web 2.0 did a throughout review of Dweeber, here are the main points (its strengths and weaknesses):  

Strengths: 

  • The registration is free for everyone
  • Students can work together collaboratively
  • Easy to navigate the website
  • Homework help among friends
  • Designed with students in mind
  • Students can personalize their pages
  • Has chat rooms with foul language blockers
  • Gives students the opportunity to practice appropriate chat room etiquette.
  • Only approved “friends” can contact student
  • helps students view their differences as resources
  • builds student confidence

Weaknesses:

  • Aimed for students aged 13 and up
  • Dweeber is in beta – aka still under construction
  • May be blocked by some school districts
  • Privacy issues with other people who are not friends with the student/class
  • Only 8 students can interact with the whiteboard at a time
  • Can be used for more social networking communication instead of homework use
  • 43.5% of the site is used for OTHER use…instead of homework, math, tutoring etc
  • Requires signup with an e-mail address

 Ideas for the Classroom:

  • It is an excellent place for communication between the teacher and the students. Dweeber can be used to post information related to the classroom (homework, forgotten messages, assignments, guidelines, etc…)
  • Using Dweeber creates the environment necessary to implement a cooperative learning experience for the students.
  • Dweeber facilitates students working together on a project after school hours.
  • The teacher can set up online study sessions for the students. (Students can create Flashcards for their homework).
  • Through the social networking, students can share ideas together to improve projects. They have access to peer feedback.
  • Students can use the whiteboard in groups to cooperate together in solving math and/or science problems.                                                                        dweeber whiteboard

 

Recommendation:

Personally, I encourage you to go try out Dweeber for yourself. Sure, the environment of social networking is a tricky one when it comes to young people. It can be easy for them to leave the homework behind and focus on the communication aspect of this site.However, I do believe in the power of such a tool. I frankly see the great potential Dweeber offers for students to achieve their homework in a cooperative learning environment. For those who have access to technology at home, I would definitely recommend introducing them to this site.

On the plus side, compared to Facebook, Dweeber is more suited for kids. Therefore, it could be a good alternative for those who do not wish to create a Facebook group for their class (see previous post). Dweeber is a social networking site made to be used by kids. Therefore, it is reassuring to know that they do not collect any personal information. The also aim to keep off their site the information they do collect. However, it is still recommended to have students get parental consent. Hosting a netetiquette 101 class in your classroom beforehand couldn’t hurt also!

Leave a comment and me how you are/ or how you would be using Dweeber in your classroom

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