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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

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Hot off the Press! - News Video Monday

A few months ago, just a couple of days after the world learned of Nelson Mandela's passing, I had a short conversation with a former student, who is now in the 11th grade.  After sharing some pleasantries, I asked him if he had heard that Mandela had passed away over the weekend.  To put it bluntly, the reply that I got from him was something I simply could not have predicted.  First, he asked me who Mandela was, followed by his own question of, if I had heard that Paul Walker, the actor, had also passed away recently.  Was he really comparing Nelson Mandela and Paul Walker?  

Right then and there, for the sake of my own sanity, I realized that I had to get my students to be more aware of what's going on around the world. The majority of them rarely, if ever, watch the news on television, let alone pick up a newspaper.  Even though they all have smartphones and could download a handful of free news apps, they are frankly not interested.  On the other hand, as much as we want to blame them for being lazy and uncaring, we can't.  If we were to stop and think about ourselves at their age, we weren't interested in the news either.  I certainly wasn't, to be honest.

So, with all this in mind, I wanted to come up with a short project that would give the students a reason for checking out the news, and then presenting their findings to their peers.  After brainstorming with my colleague, David, we came up with something we call News Video Monday, where one student each week is assigned the task to find an engaging world news video in English, and prepare a Blendspace tutorial based upon it, for which they receive a project grade.  The tutorial requires the students to fill in six boxes on Blendspace, all of which will be explained through the very first News Video Monday presented to our class from Kaan.  He chose to make his project about the recent flooding in the south of England, as pictured above.

Note: The language used by the student in the pictures below has not been corrected to show total authenticity.

Box 1

In the first box of the tutorial, we ask the students to place an image that depicts the subject of their news item.  On Blendspace, it is easy to drag and drop Google images from the right-side toolbar of the website.

Box 2
In the second box, the students write an introduction to their chosen news item.  The key here is to give their classmates the basic information of what their tutorial is about. 

Box 3
The students then include the news video in box 3.  The video can come from any English news website, though they can also easily be found on Youtube.

Box 4

Next, we ask the students to come up with at least five discussion questions to ask their classmates after watching the video.  We advice them to refrain from asking surface questions, and focus more on open-ended essential questions that we can all talk about as a class.

Box 5 

In the fifth box, they must state their reasons for choosing this particular news item.  They should write about why it's interesting for them, as well as why we should all be aware of the situation.

Box 6 

Finally, the students are required to make a five-question multiple-choice quiz on Blendspace.  The reason for this is that we post the student's tutorial on our PLN, Edmodo, and after school all of our students have to return to it and take the quiz.  Moreover, they must also leave a comment and give feedback to the student who presented that morning, as pictured just below.  This gets all the students involved in the project, and gives them an opportunity to tell their classmate what they really thought of his / her tutorial.

Although it has only been one week since we began this project, I felt so inspired by Kaan's effort that I wanted get it on the blog as soon as possible.  It was clear to both my colleague and I that he spent at least several hours over the weekend making it, and it led to a engaging discussion on climate change.  If the upcoming News Video Monday projects are anywhere as good as this one, we are in for a very successful semester.

To reach Kaan's News Video Monday project on the England floods, please click here. 

Furthermore, another student of ours, Sima, presented her news tutorial today on the recent acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook, and that can also be reached by clicking here.

Finally, I would like to leave you with the most creative effort we have seen so far since we began this project back in February.  Our student, Sinan, asked if he could produce his own news video, as opposed to just finding a news video on the internet, and, of course, we permitted him to. We always love it when our students want to be creative and make their own projects, and we were simply blown away by what he produced on IMovie. Check it out below... 


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