Classroom teaching has evolved during my last 25 years in the classroom. Our students have changed as well. Long gone are the days of audiocassette recorders, and overhead projectors. Many classrooms today are outfitted with Smart Boards, smart TVs, and other digital tools. However, due to funding constraints and dated buildings, many classrooms are not fortunate enough to have these tools. How can you appeal to digital natives, while at the same time work within the constraints of your classroom?
ActiveTeach is the answer. What is ActiveTeach? ActiveTeach allows teachers to bring the text to life without the worries of a Smart Board. Take a look at this video of my colleague, Elizabeth Holland using the Active Teach for Next Generation Grammar during her class.
Notice how she is able to highlight text to draw more attention to the content. You also have the ability to enlarge, manipulate and annotate. These are great tools for any classroom, and can really appeal to our digital natives.
One great feature is the ability to do exercises from the text, right on your board, through the ActiveTeach. My students love when I have them come up and complete information within the Student Book via the ActiveTeach. Take a look at the image below. You can see how to select an exercise, and have students complete the answers on the ActiveTeach.
The ActiveTeach also includes all the videos and audio files, as well as some great teaching tips, exercises and games. Make your grammar come alive!
Why FLIP, or blend face-to-face learning, with digital learning? Well, the reasons are numerous. Many I have outlined here in the previous months. Moving some content outside of the classroom allows us more flexibility in the classroom. Additionally, it allows our classrooms to go back to a collaborative, communicative, rich language environment. However, it also allows our students to microlearn.
What is microlearning? While the term may seem new to you, the concept is not. Students learn best when content is presented in small chunks. Think of YouTube and Khan Academy. The success of these sites speaks directly to their appeal to digital natives—learning in bite-sized pieces for those ever-dwindling attention spans for traditional lectures. Recent research indicates that exposing students to new content in small doses is the most effective for learners today. Yet, while traditional learning methods are decreasing, media consumption is rapidly increasing for learners of all ages. Thus, the success of Khan Academy and TedEd. So, what about our ESL learners? How can we provide more microlearning for them? Continue reading →
Last month I introduced the concept of using technology versus integrating technology. Since then I haven’t stopped thinking about this concept and my own classes. I believe that we need to strive towards true integration rather than just technology use. One criteria outlined in recent publications regarding the integration of technology is where we use the technology.
With this push towards technology in learning, is it really effective to use it in the classroom? Research says no. Although certain tools can help facilitate learning, students using technology in the classroom takes away from the cooperative, communicative environment needed for language learning. So, how can we effectively use tools in the classroom to facilitate learning while at the same time integrate technology outside of the classroom? Continue reading →
Blended learning, the Flipped classroom, Extended learning . . . all terms that are being used today. However, the big question remains—are commercial materials readily available that allow us to move toward FLIPping and extending learning opportunities for our students without creating more work for teachers? Absolutely! This month I would like to focus on just that—how MyEnglishLabs, particularly Next Generation Grammar, have been designed with blending or flipping in mind.
The four pillars of the FLIP include: Flexiblity, Learning culture, Intentional content, and Professional educators. Over the next two newsletters, I will walk you through examples on how Next Generation Grammarmeets each of the pillars. Continue reading →