The Future is now

May 31, 2014

I gave my first plenary to an audience of 300 educators at the eTwinning / SIRikt conference in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, yesterday. Before I got on the stage, seeing 300 people in the huge conference hall sounded intimidating for a shy speaker like me, but once I started my talk I felt more confident and happy to be there.  Another great thing was involving the audience in my talk with the interactive Kahoot quizzes and the response I got was terrific.

Let them take control!

Apr 16, 2014

Recently I discovered Getkahoot,  a classroom response system that completely engages every single student, without exception, even those who are always reluctant to do whatever I tell them to do. Getkahoot fully captures their attention and what's more, not only do they want to answer the questions in the quizzes I prepare for them but they also want to make their own quizzes! Of course, I grabbed this opportunity with both hands. And used it to make a boring lesson from the textbook exciting and fun.

The lesson was about the scientists of the 20th century and my students created their own Kahoot quizzes about it. As I strongly believe that they must have a choice when doing a task, I didn't tell them what they should do -OK, I gave a few hints, like they could create vocabulary quizzes or a reading comprehension quiz about any of the scientists mentioned in the book, or about any other scientist they know and like. I also told them they could make flashcards with Quizlet or use any other quiz tool they want. They could use Google or the textbook or whatever they wanted.

They all opted for Getkahoot. It was amazing to see how involved they were and how carefully they studied the text in the book in order to write multiple choice questions that wouldn't be too easy for their peers. After having created their quizzes, they shared them with me so that they were able to play their own quizzes from the teacher laptop without having to log in. I stepped back and they  took on the role of the teacher. I responded to their questions along with other students and it all went perfectly and very smoothly. One of the features that I especially like about this tool is that there's no need to register to play the quiz so no time is wasted on logging in. All they have to do to take part is to type in the given PIN number and their nickname - so that the teacher can easily see if they are all in.

Before each of my students launched their quiz on the teacher laptop, I checked the quiz for spelling and grammar mistakes. But I won't do that  next time, because I think this is a perfect opportunity for peer review. I want them to have control of each step of the learning process. It's their learning after all.

I'm a Humphrey Fellow!

Mar 22, 2014

Ever since I was 13 I've had this dream: to live and study in the US! And last Thursday (on Happiness Day)  I was notified that my application for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship was accepted! This means that I'll be living and studying in the US for ten months, starting from August 2014!

Every year about 200 fellowships are awarded to working professionals from across the world. They are selected based on their potential for leadership and their commitment to public service. I'm the first high school teacher in Croatia who has been awarded this prestigious honor. I still think I'm dreaming!

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