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Showing posts from 2017

Workshops, Keynotes, Twitter Chats and More

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Professionally, 2017 seems to have been a great year for me: As a teacher trainer I have:
delivered 42 workshops, 2 keynotes and one 5-day course,
led 8 webinars,
designed and facilitated one 12-day eTwinning online learning event,
moderated 4 Twitter chats and one 5-day long Twitter marathon
travelled to 7 countries to give workshops and keynotes.

I've been lucky to have closely collaborated with some of the most inspiring educators from all over the world.

With my students I successfully completed:
1 global project on climate change,
2 eTwinning projects (both recognized with European Quality Labels),
1 Erasmus+ project (recognized with two awards)
and started a new Erasmus+ project.

But besides these nice things, 2017 has also been a year of many rejected applications, failed and unfinished projects and far too many disappointments. That's life, I guess. Or a sign for a career change maybe.


Class Learning Toolkit

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Inspired by Barbara Bray's post Build a Toolkit so Learners Become Future Ready, I created my Class Learning Toolkit:




I divided it into 5 categories, based on the skills I want my students to develop: 

Project and Task Management
Edmodo, a learning management system -  the teacher shares content with students, assigns tasks, grades assignments, or  connects students with peers and involves them in international projects. Edmodo is synchronized with many educational apps so students can use a variety of tools and apps through Edmodo. eTwinning, the European community for schools – the teacher  connects with colleagues from all over Europe to carry out international projects integrated in their curricula. The teacher can also use eTwinning for professional development as numerous lifelong learning opportunities are provided for teachers on the platform. Students use it to collaborate with peers and to create new content.

Skills development: organizational and task management skills, c…

Professional Learner's Toolkit

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Jane Hart recently shared her Modern Professional Learner's Toolkit, based on the Top 100 Tools for Personal & Professional Learning 2017.


Inspired by Jane Hart, I created my own Professional Learner's Toolkit:

FAVORITE WEB BROWSER:Safari is my all time favorite, but I also use Chrome, because of some features that Safari doesn't support - yet (e.g. new Google Sites)

FAVORITE SEARCH ENGINE:Google search - despite its algorithms, it's still my number one, using search operators helps a lot.

TRUSTED WEB RESOURCES: BBC for European News, New York Timesand Washington Postfor world news and Google Scholar for scholarly literature.

NEWS & CURATION TOOLS: Feedly is my favorite RSS and I try to check it on a daily basis, but it can happen that days go by and I don't have time to look at my feed. Pinterest is still my number one curation tool, despite its being closed to those who don't own an account with it.

FAVORITE WEB COURSE PLATFORM:Coursera, but I don't u…

Dream Big

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Back in 2014, while I was on my Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship at the Pennsylvania State University, my apartment in Cunningham Hall was the place where the Humphrey Fellows met every week. There we talked about serious and less serious matters, we laughed a lot and cried a little, and we dreamed big and small. One of our dreams was to write a research paper and have it published by a renowned publishing company.

And yesterday my dream arrived per mail! A paper that I co-wrote with my colleague and best friend Bart Verswijvel, was published by Routledge. Bart and I were invited to contribute to the book International Handbook of Teacher Quality and Policy by Dr. Gerard LeTendre and Dr. Motoko Akiba.

In 2014, I met Dr. LeTendre at the Humphrey Fellows Welcome Reception. We talked about education and I mentioned eTwinning. He was amazed to hear about this unique community of European teachers and wanted to learn more so he invited Bart and me to talk about it to the Teacher Leadership F…

Climate Action Project

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I'm delighted to take part in a global project empowering students to address climate change. Climate Action involves more than 250 schools from 64 countries. Students in these schools will work together to raise awareness and to find ways how to tackle the issue of climate change.

So far I have launched or participated in a number of international projects on such a large scale, (e.g. my award-winning project Greetings from the world involved 27 schools from all the 6 continents), and in all my projects I encouraged my students to come up with  their own ideas. Still, I was there, their guide by the side, directing them in the way I thought was the right way!

However, in the Climate Action Project, we teachers intend to get out of their way completely - we want  our students to have their say in all the stages of the project. My plan is to make myself invisible and let my students be responsible for their learning and take ownership of the project and its outcomes. During the 4-…

My 10(-ish) Year Blogging Anniversary

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I just noticed that I've been blogging for 10 years and 6 months! I forgot to mark the 10th anniversary, but it's never too late to do so. Some stats:
I've written 334 blog posts, received 371 comments,  my blog has been visited 134,121 times, I have 58 followers, most of my readers come from the US.
I've written about traveling quite a lot, both  as a tourist and as a teacher traveling for educational purposes (conferences, school exchange visits, etc.) and also about teaching with technology. I don't know how many miles I've traveled, maybe there's an app for that!

My most visited post is First lesson, new students and no computers, followed by Tech Tools To Boost Verbal Thinking. My least visited post, with only one view is Easter Sunday in Galway (I still think it's a well-written post about a beautiful Irish city).

When I started this blog I used Picassa for sharing photos, but as Google discontinued this service my photos in my blog posts can'…

Stop Chasing Dreams

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When you work hard, you work and work and all it results in is failure after failure, and you look back and try to improve and make it better and work again and work and work and nothing but failure comes out of all this hard work, how do you get up and keep going? How do you gain the strength to overcome your failures? Where do you find determination not to give up? How much grit does it take to succeed? How do you know that there is success at the end of the tunnel filled with failures? What if success happens to other people, what if it will never come to you, no matter how hard you work? How do you know when the time is right to turn over a new leaf? How do you know when to stop following your dreams? How do you know that your dreams are too big to fulfill?

Top 5 Tech Trends To Dominate This School Year

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According to ISTE, the following top tech trends  will dominate 2017-18 school year:

1. Coding 
2. Real-Time Learning Feedback 
3. Virtual and Augmented Reality
4. Media Literacy
5. Digital Citizenship

Check out the full article by ISTE Connects here: 5 Tech Trends To Watch This School Year.

Turning a blog post into a video with Lumen5

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Lumen5 is an amazing user-friendly app that turns a blog post or an article into a video! All you have to do is copy paste the link to the blog post and Lumen5's Artificial Intelligence will automatically create a storyboard for the video. If you don't like how "Natural Processing Algorithms" have shaped up your story, you can easily edit it any way you want.
The next step that AI performs is choosing the appropriate audiovisuals from a huge library of copyright free videos, photos and audio clips.  If you're not happy with AI's choices, no problem, because you can upload your own visuals. Before you publish the video you can add your logo and your watermark if you want to. The video can be published directly on Facebook or it can be downloaded as an mp4. file. Here's my first video that I created very quickly, it took me about half an hour to turn one of my blog posts into a video in the way I liked it.


Lumen5 offers a free plan with an unlimited number …

Trends, Challenges and Developments in Educational Technology

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It's been a huge honor and privilege for me to serve on the Expert Panel of the NMC/CoSN Horizon Report for two years in a row and to examine applications and manifestations of trends, challenges and technology developments. This year, the Panel was composed of 61 education and technology experts representing 20 countries across 6 continents. The Report can be downloaded here. The NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2017 K-12 Edition was produced by the New Media Consortium in collaboration with the Consortium for School Networking and made possible by mindSpark Learning.

The expert panel examined an extensive set of background materials that identified and documented a range of existing technologies and proposed new topics and technologies that are relevant for teaching, learning and creative inquiry in K-12 education. The final topics selected by the panel are detailed in the Report.



Reference:
Freeman, A., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Davis, A., and Hall Giesinger, C. (2017). NMC/CoSN Ho…

Slowetwiam Inspiration

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When I first came up with this idea to organize a slow Twitter chat that would last for five full days, 24 hours a day, at a time when most teachers from European schools are still on holidays, I had absolutely no clue how it would go! But I liked the idea and proposed it to Irene Pateraki, eTwinning CSS Pedagogical and Monitoring Manager, who gave me her full support.

Two weeks ago the word slowetwiam didn't exist. Now,  it is a lively buzzword that has attracted teachers from Europe and beyond to learning and sharing on Twitter.

More than 1,000 tweets, retweets and replies have been sent out by 90 teachers over the past 5 days! Some teachers actively participated from the beginning to the very end, while others chimed in whenever they could. Our tweets have been delivered to Twitter timelines more than 2,283,000 times!


We had our ups and downs during the chat:


We discussed five topics and inspired each other with so many great ideas.

#slowetwiam :a great way to get us in the moo…

Computational Thinking? Yes, I can teach it!

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"Computational thinking is a way humans solve problems; it is not trying to get humans to think like computers. Computers are dull and boring; humans are clever and imaginative. Equipped with computing devices, we use our cleverness to tackle problems we would not dare take on before computing and build systems with functionality limited only by our imaginations."

According to J. Wing, this is one of the characteristic of computational thinking. To me, this is what makes computational thinking so tremendously exciting: combining computing with imagination and knowing that the sky is the limit.

We don't need to be rocket scientists to understand and teach computational thinking. Check out my posts about  how to teach computational thinking with tech tools.

Tech Tools To Boost Visual Thinking Skills
Tech Tools To Boost Verbal Thinking Skills
Formulate Problems In A different And Fun Way
Tech Tools To Recognize Patterns
Tech Tools To Teach Abstract Thinking: Scavenger Hunts and …

Tech Tools For Algorithm Design

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Algorithm design, the fourth and final element of computational thinking, may seem like rocket science to educators who have only a vague idea of what an algorithm is, let alone design it! Or teach it!

But fear not! You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand and design algorithms - and then teach algorithm design to your students! Because computational thinking is much less computational (rocket and computer scientists, please don't get me wrong!) and much more thinking! And when I say thinking, I mean using our brain - not only the left, but also the right side, to solve problems. Because we need logic AND creativity to come up with innovative solutions.

In fact, we already ARE teaching computational thinking to our students. Their computational thinking skills are being developed whenever they work out a rule, determine a principle underlying a process, and create a tutorial or a step by step guide to solving problems. Or when they are learning programming and …

Tech Tools For Abstract Thinking: Scavenger Hunts And More

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Abstraction is the third element of computational thinking. Abstract reasoning or abstract thinking refers to the ability to identify and analyze general principles that generate the patterns we previously detected.

In activities that require abstract reasoning students are asked to interpret, analyze and evaluate information or ideas, connect the "dots", form and explain viewpoints, and draw reasonable conclusions.

There are many activities and tools that we can use with students to develop their abstract thinking skills. They can play games, take part in debates or solve puzzles and riddles.

To create puzzles, cryptograms, riddles and rebuses, you can use Discovery Education Puzzlemaker, CryptoclubRebus Generator or Riddle Generator. These tools are especially useful for online scavenger hunts.

Scavenger hunts are great to boost students abstract thinking skills. A scavenger hunt is a game that consists of a number of different types of tasks or activities.  Students …