As well as writing to the web you can, of course, use existing resources to great effect to learn a language. There are the amazing free audio podcasts you can get to learn any language under the sun, simply by searching for it in the iTunes Podcast Directory or using the words "French podcast" in Google, for example. But the following are some tried and tested ideas:
Edinburgh is one of twelve UK cities, the only one in Scotland, to be part of British Telecom's wireless cities trial. So from 2007 I will be able to blog from Princes Street Gardens while Morgane does her shopping...
This is such good news, although I hope that the rundown areas of Edinburgh get it, too. This could be a great way to break down the digital divide and allow us to give web-based homework safe in the knowledge that the access is provided. I just wonder whether we'll see many more smaller towns investing in wifi points themselves. It's the rural, remote communities, after all, that have most to benefit from this.
The cool cats at Moray House School of Education, Edinburgh Uni, have been learning this morning about lots of technology. I started out by putting the teacher in his or her place, the place I believe we should be: the guide on the side. I am grateful to AJ for his two writings which set the scene:
"Like a coach, the teacher has a limited role. The coach cant play in the games. The coach doesnt do the workouts. When it comes down to it... its always the players who do the sweating, the intense training, the defending, the scoring.
The coach is a strategist and a motivator. He gives the players a practice plan and a game plan. He (or She) strives to build the players' confidence... to urge them on to greater and greater efforts."
"Ive been living in San Francisco for about five months now. Last year I lived in Bangkok, but I was ready for a change so I decided to come here and give it a try".
Imagine the above is a quote from a native speaker. Now imagine you ask that speaker, "why did you say 'have been living' instead of 'live'? Imagine you ask them, "Why didnt you say 'I have lived'.... "Why did you use the past tense in the second sentence?"
Unless they are English teachers, most will hesitate and struggle to give a clear, rational explanation. Why? Because native speakers are masters of Understanding & Using the language... not analyzing it "logically". Native speakers have what Krashen calls a "feeling for grammaticality". Native speakers operate on "feel", "intuition". Native speakers detect errors not through formulas or complicated analysis.. rather, most will tell you "it just doesn't sound right".
Having set the tone, here are some of the tools we discovered today:-
Here is the podcast we've just made in 30 minutes featuring the silky tones of Olivier and Charlie. Charlie speaks Spanish and explains how she would organise a class to do a podcasting activity. She's spot on. I didn't even know that Olivier didn't speak Spanish. Hats off!
If any of the students present (or not!) have questions, points to make, concerns, or - best of all - ideas about how they might use some of this in their projects, units or next placement, please do share with us here. It was a joy to work with such a nice bunch this morning. Thanks.
"Google reckons it should be able to "store 100% of user data", which means "all user files, including: emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc)"
This is not only cool for those of us who lose information, such as blog posts ;-), but also a cunning Return on Investment (ROI) by Google, if they pull off this future service. Ben comes in with a cautionary comment on using this kind of high-powered technology in education, because of who owns that technology:
"Get ready to make the Backup Of All Time!"
Hell no! If they're going to be indexing my personal content and using it for advertising analysis, as we know they will be, they'd better make it worth my while. And anyone thinking of using this in education should think again - what are Google doing with student personal data? Their approach may be one to learn from, but not to actually use.
I often wonder about the pay-off for having powerful tools such as Google. We are happy to use its search capacities, with every search contributing to market research into how they can improve their service further. Many educators are also happy to run their blogs on Blogger (and get their students doing so, too, now that Will, via Steve, has revealed the secret to getting rid of that pesky and potentially damaging 'Next Blog' link). Running a blog on Google's Blogger entails a certain amount of information sharing.
What's the difference here? More information? Better information? If it all helps Google develop more powerful tools that benefit us and our students in the long term is this a price worth paying?
From ZDNet comes the news that seemed likely. If you've ever owned a GMail account you'll know the bliss of never having to throw out an email to save space. That 2GB of space is about half my old Dell laptop had in total.
Google have now hinted through some leaked PowerPoint slides that GDrive, a bona fide way to use Google's power to store everything you've ever owned in the world of 'e' with unlimited memory space, is not that far away. Get ready to make the Backup Of All Time!
Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.
Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.
School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.