This blog has always focused on those online resources and applications that can be exploited to support teaching and learning. However today I’d like to give you a quick run down of the tools and services that I’ve been using over recent years to help me manage the flow of information and organise myself as a teacher.
The following services are mostly device agnostic, that is to say, they will work across all major operating systems and devices, though some restrictions will apply, especially if you have a Windows phone or tablet, though not on Windows netbooks, laptops or PCs.
In my role as teacher of languages, I have sought to study and understand how the social aspect of Web 2.0 can be harnessed to strengthen the teaching and learning of MFL. Most interesting to me was the transformative potential of blogs, Web 2.0 applications and social networks, not only to enhance existing practice, but also to create new technology-based tasks which would have been previously inconceivable[1. PUENTEDURA, R R (2006) Transformation, Technology, and Education. (2006) Available from http://hippasus.com/resources/tte/ Accessed 11/08/2011], a process depicted below:
However, in order to assess whether learning socially online can truly have a transformative and positive impact on learning outcomes and curriculum delivery as accurately as possible, it is important to moderate any inherent positivity and open up the field of study to all viewpoints[2. SELWIN, N (2011) In praise of pessimism - the need for negativity in education technology. In British Journal of Educational Technology, Volume 42, Number 5, pp 713-718 Available from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2011.01215.x/abstract Accessed 30/08/2011], discarding any preconceived notions that may bias the conclusions of this case study and taking care not to avoid any evidence that may be counter to those notions[3. COHEN, ., MANION, L. & MORRISON, K (2007) Research Methods in Education. London: Routledge-Falmer. Available from http://lib.leeds.ac.uk/record=b2879829 Accessed 18/04/2011].
I am always extolling the virtues of online social networking and the many advantages it can bring to education, so it was only about time I finally got round to setting up a Facebook page for Box of Tricks.
You can already subscribe to Box of Tricks via RSS (want to know what RSS is? click here), via email or if you follow me @josepicardo on Twitter. However, if Facebook is the tool you use most frequently, now you can like the new Box of Tricks page to keep up to date with everything that is posted on this website but also to share resources and participate in discussions regarding the effective use of new and emerging technologies in education.
Social networking is a much maligned concept in education, often steeped in misapprehension and unsubstantiated fears about online safety and privacy.
The fact is that social networking tools, when used appropriately, can support and encourage learning by giving individual learners the opportunity to construct their own learning and to share both resources and experiences in an environment in which the teacher ceases to teach in the traditional sense and becomes a learning facilitator.
Many teachers associate social networking with public social networking sites such as Facebook and often cite misgivings about being friends with their students as the principal deterrent to considering the use of social networking with their own students.
However, there are many tools that allow you and your students to create safe, private and education-centred social networks. Here are some of them: