Our Educational Message

Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Student Video Mondays

Strange as it may sound, I enjoy going to school on Monday mornings. I know what you are probably thinking. No one in their right mind is excited about leaving their weekend behind. Don't worry, I also have problems waking up on Mondays. However, what I truly enjoy, after several massive cups of coffee, is to see our group of young high school students walk through the door. You never know what you are going to get. A select few are happy and awake, but the majority are half-dead zombies who couldn't even bother to brush their hair. That face they make when you say Good Morning brightly and energetically resembles Freddy Kreuger from Friday the 13th. My colleague and I then proceed to have a great laugh between us, and this how our week gets started.

The point I am making is teaching at 8:00 on Monday mornings is one of the toughest jobs in the world. You're lucky if the student remembers his or her materials, much less what you are trying to teach. To get around this, and to get them awake enough to speak a few words of English, we introduced a small project called Student Video Mondays.

Teenagers love Youtube, and they enjoy sharing newly discovered videos with us, especially clips from football matches over the weekend. So, we took that basic premise and made it into a weekly project. In short, the students must find a video on Youtube that is, first appropriate for school, and second, has a theme or message that we can discuss afterwards. The videos must be less than 5 minutes, and they must prepare comprehension and discussion questions on a website called Blendspace, which will be further explained below. One student presents their video each week as well as their rationale for choosing that particular video.

Project Requirements

1. Make a calendar for yourself and your students. This calendar should show the dates that the students will present their videos in class. You can use Triptico to help you place the students in order on a fair basis. Once ready, you can display that calendar in the classroom as well as on your PLN. That way there can be no excuses about the students forgetting when they are going to present.

2. As mentioned above, the students should find a short video under 5 minutes in length that has a theme or message that can be discussed and debated in class. These videos can be of any format, be it animation, an advert, a clip from a movie or television show, or an amateur shot video. Last year, for example, our students brought videos about video games and violence, computer hacking, texting and driving, just to name a few. Plus, Blendspace makes it simple by allowing you to search for Youtube videos directly from their site. Once you find the video that you want, just drag it over into one of the boxes, as pictured below.

3. Once the video is chosen, the students must then prepare a tutorial on Blendspace. It is an incredibly simple website to use. When you register for free and sign in, you click the large blue button with a + on it, and away you go.  On the left side of the page is your canvas, which is broken down into boxes.  You can select from 4 to 6 boxes, and there are so several layouts to choose from.  On the right side of the pages are several helpful tabs that make searching for videos and images even easier for the user.  There is a tab for Youtube, Google Images, Fickr, Dropbox and Google Drive.  Once your desired video or picture is found, simply click and drag it over onto your canvas!

Once the students are set up with Blendspace and are ready to produce their own video tutorial, we inform them that they are required to have 6 boxes on their canvases.  The six boxes must be created as follows:

Box 1: The student must include an introductory image that gives the audience a brief glimpse into the upcoming theme in the video.

Box 2: The student should include a short introduction to the video.

Box 3: There is where we ask our students to have their video.

Box 4The student must prepare at least three comprehension questions about the video. These questions are surface type questions which should help the class follow along with whats happening in the video.

Box 5: Then the students must prepare at least five essential questions, which should focus on the theme of the video. These questions should turn the message of the video into the students lives, also known as personalization, the buzz word going around education today. These types of questions should lead to a deep understanding of the topic, thus they typically begin with why, or even what would you do. For instance, in a video about a physically-disabled salsa dancer, you could ask questions as pictured below:

Box 6: Finally, we ask students to provide us with a short paragraph about the reasons why they chose their particular video, and what it meant to them. This gets the students to further think about what message they are trying to send to their audience with their video tutorial.

For a more detailed description of the Student Video Monday project, please watch this video, which is a video tutorial created by one of our students.

At School

When presentation day arrives, we first have the student give a short introduction to his or her video. We then watch the video all together as class. Next, we go through the student's comprehension questions, particularly looking at his or her grammar and structure. Then we read and discuss the essential questions by making a HI-Cloud (Hazırlık Idea Cloud) on the IWB. All students are expected to take notes as it will assist them in their homework assignment. Finally, after the discussion has concluded, we, as well as the other students, give productive feedback on the presenter's choice of video, quality of questions asked, and grammar used therein.

After School

As a homework, the students, excluding the presenter, go to Edmodo, our class PLN, and write a decent-sized paragraph about the video, making sure to answer the presenter's essential questions. The presenter is expected to read his or her classmates' responses, but you can also look at them as a whole class the following day.

Favorite Project

At the end of the last academic year, we had several students tell us how this was one of their favorite projects of the whole program. They enjoyed being able to share a video with their classmates', in addition to reading what they wrote about his or her video choice. It also places a lot of focus on making grammatically-correct questions, a skill that shouldn't be overlooked, as well as essential questions that can evoke a class discussion by personalizing the video and themes therein.


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