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Showing posts from 2012

Highlights of 2012

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What started in 2011, continued in 2012 as well - I travelled, I learned, I was invited to speak at conferences, I ran workshops and I co-hosted teachmeets. To my delight, TeachMeet Int'l won second runner up in the Edublog Awards 2012!

The year started with our trip to Cuba - it was a fantastic holiday with no internet access whatsoever! In March, we explored Berlin and Potsdam, in April we flew to Boston, saw the sights and tried our very first clam chowder in a bread bowl! (Absolutely delicious!). Then we headed for Toronto, and on our way there we stopped to visit the Niagara Falls, both on the US and the Canadian side. In Buffalo I treated myself to what is now my beloved Kindle Touch. I never leave the house without it!

In January it was my school's turn to host a Comenius meeting. 31 students and 19 teachers from 7 European countries came to Zagreb to meet their project partners and to learn from each other.

The spring was abound with conferences: Microsoft Slovenia i…

Paraprosdokians

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This morning I got an email from my dear friend Jean-Paul Auffrand, an English teacher from France who I met in Finland back in 1997 when we both attended a course on how to introduce modern technologies into foreign language teaching. That was 15 years ago! Since then we've implemented many a modern tool in our teaching, but what I appreciate most when it comes to new technologies is that that they've given us the opportunity to stay in touch over all those years, for which I'm so grateful!

Jean-Paul's email made my day. He sent me a list of paraprodoskians. According to Wikipedia, a paraprodoskian is:
"Aparaprosdokian(pærəprɒsˈdoʊkiən/) is afigure of speechin which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part." Here are some more:
The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don'…

TeachMeets "r" us

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I've written about teachmeets here and here and everywhere, but I simply must write about this favorite topic of mine again, because TeachMeet Int'l that Sonja, Bart and I run, host and moderate has been nominated for this year's Edublog Awards in the category Best Open Professional Development along with other prominent conferences and  PD courses.

We're all so excited and proud to see that TeachMeets have earned the recognition they, I believe, fully deserve.  Because TeachMeets give a voice to ordinary teachers who do extraordinary things ... extraordinarily well!

TeachMeets in numbers:
67 teachers from more than 40 countries from across the 6 continents presented at 3 virtual international teachmeets;20 teachers presented at 2  virtual regional teachmeets;44 teachers presented at 3 teachmeets live That's why I invite you to vote for us: Click VOTE HERE, choose the category OPEN PD and vote for TeachMeets. Voting is open till 11:59 PM US Eastern Standard Time o…

iBook Author at the Future Classroom Lab in Brussels

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Two weeks ago I  received an invite to take part in the course on how to create interactive textbooks with iBook Author. Even though I have no experience with Apple products and even though my school doesn't have the money to invest in iPads and even though the people at the Croatian Ministry of education still don't see the necessity of teaching with technology, I accepted the offer wholeheartedly and flew to Belgium on Sunday to attend the course. As a true lifelong learner I enjoyed every minute of this intensive learning opportunity at the Future Classroom Lab in Brussels.

The course was led by Kurt Klynen, a teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator, whose expertise, friendliness and support helped me get the hang of Apple products. Actually, I didn't only get the hang of Apple! Apple really took my fancy and I do, really do honestly, truly hope that one day .... soon... I'll be able to use iPads with my students...(hopefully this post will be read by a good soul …

21st century skills and eTwinning

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It was a great honour for me to be one of the invited speakers at the national eTwinning conference, held in Zagreb, on Friday 26th. Even more so, when among the invited speakers is Bart Verswijvel, who is not only my co-host of the virtual TeachMeets and StudentsMeets, but also one of the best and most confident speakers who I have ever listened to (and I've listened to many, many distinguished speakers worldwide).

At the conference, four Croatian teachers were awarded for their eTwinning projects carried out in 2011/2012. It was fascinating to hear how they implemented their wonderful ideas and how their students loved such innovative ways of learning. One of them is Tea Horvatic, who has written a wonderful post about the conference and whose excellent etwinning project about mini hotels can be found here. Our faithful teachmeeter, Nataša Ljubić Klemše,  was also awarded for her excellent project My first ICT hello.

We also had a wonderful opportunity to hear about amazing pr…

Festivals of learning

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As November is getting closer, we're all getting super excited about the three events that we're organizing in Croatia: two teachmeets and a studentsmeet will be a real treat for the edu community in Southeastern Europe.
The calls for proposal are open for all these events. If you happen to be in Croatia in the week between 12-17 November, don't hesitate to join us for these grand festivals of learning:
TeachMeet CUC in Rijeka on Tuseday, November 13,
TeachMeet INFO in Zagreb on Saturday, November 17 and
StudentsMeet INFO in Zagreb on Saturday, November 17.




Wonderful world at TeachMeet Int'l

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Back in June when we scheduled the third Teachmeet Int'l for September 29, I had no idea that I would spend my whole summer preparing for the workshops that I gave to teachers all over Croatia at the end of August (as part of the School 2.0 project by CARNet). I had no idea that September was going to be filled with so many projects and very tight deadlines that I had to beat. Add to this the massive school paperwork that is always due by the end of September and you'll understand that I was so terribly tired and exhausted that the thought of calling off the Teachmeet crossed my mind! But luckily, I don't give up that easily!

And I'm glad I didn't because the very minute that all these educators from the four corners of the globe started coming to the Adobe room, all my tiredness disappeared into thin air. I enjoyed every single minute of the event! So much so that we even danced, both on the stage and in the chatbox! These two hours of pure enthusiasm, passion an…

SMILE

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SMILE (Social Media in Education and Learning) is a project launched by European Schoolnet (EUN) with the goal to improve our understanding of the challenges and opportunities of using social media in education. The EUN has been awarded an inaugural Digital Citizenship Research Grant by Facebook. It's a year-long project divided into three parts.The first, six-week long part was an online laboratoy for 100 European teachers led by Ollie Bray, during which we investigated different educational opportunities that social media offers.

In the second part we have formed 6 Communities of Practice in order to highlight trends and best practices of how social media can be used in education.

I'm the deputy leader of CoP 4 - Social Media for Professional Development. We have just created a questionnaire and we'd like to hear from as many teachers as possible how they use Facebook. The results of the poll will be published on our Facebook page as well as our blogs and we hope to con…

#eltchat will live! fast and furious - a repost

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One of the columns on my Tweetdeck is reserved for #eltchat - and it has been so since the first #eltchat was held back in September 2010 - even though I've taken part only in a handful of #eltchats myself! #eltchat, in case you still don't know, is a fast, furious and focussed form of CPD for English language teachers held on Twitter.

I was really taken aback to find out about the loss of eltchat.com, but am convinced that #eltchat will survive and continue to bring fantastic discussions which teachers can take part in or read about in transcripts that are regulary published and from which one can learn a lot.

So I'm reposting Marisa and Shaun's post right here:
For the last – well, almost two years now, since September 15 2010, #ELTchat has kept us on our toes and forged hundreds of professional and personal relationships amongst its followers who turn up on Twitter every Wednesday to talk about topics they have suggested and voted on – a community of peers which wa…

TypoEffects

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I just found out about TypoEffects on the Educational Technology and Mobile Learningwebsite and since it seemed fun and useful, I gave it a try.

TypoEffectsis still in beta and free for the time being, at least. It converts your images into typographical images or word clouds. There are two types of generators -  the Row-Text Image Generator allows you to insert an unlimited (?) number of words, while with the Word Cloud Generator you can use up to 16 words  only.. What I like most about this tool is that it lets me choose which parts of the photo I want to leave without the text. Also, it's possible to zoom in/out and there are a lot of colours to choose from.


How we learn

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In my presentations on the skills of the 21st century I often share with my audience the famous quote by William Glasser: "We learn...
10% of what we READ
20% of what we HEAR
30% of what we SEE
50% of what we SEE and HEAR
70% of what we DISCUSS with OTHERS
80% of what we EXPERIENCE PERSONALLY
95% of what we TEACH TO SOMEONE ELSE."
Well, today I found out that William Glasser never said that. Who did, I have no idea. It might have been Edgar Dale, whose cone is frequently used to show how we learn. Some people say that these numbers are misleading and have no scientific acuracy. Nevertheless, I still believe that this quote is a good description of learning retention rates.

All the learning pyramids that can be found on the Internet are in English, of course, so I made my own pyramid with numbers and icons only, so that it can be used in different  linguistic settings.


For those who don't like pink, I made a more calming variant:

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Global heroes from Seattle

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It's been almost a year since I attended the first Partners in Learning Institute in Seattle along with 49 innovative educators from all over the world. We've stayed in contact ever since on the various social networking sites, the Dirty Fifty Facebook page being the one I like most.

 All these educators have inspired and motivated not only their students, but also their fellow teachers. That's why they've been interviewed for Daily Edventures, a blog by Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education at Microsoft. I'm really proud and honored to be one of these global heroes in education. You can read more about what we've been doing and how we've been trying to change education and bring innovation into our classrooms. Here are the interviews in the order they were were published.


21st Century Skills

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As the school year is getting to its end, I've been thinking about how my teaching has changed over the past year or years. Not much, I regret to say! I preach 21st century teaching and learning, but when it comes to applying it in the classroom, it just doesn't seem to work in the way I want it to work. Maybe I'm too harsh on myself, but I feel that there's a missing link between the theory and (my) practice.

So much has been written about the 21th C skills and as usual, I feel kind of lost in it. That's why I made a Pinterest board and now I'm pinning all the relevant websites to it so that they're at hand. I'm going to delve more deeply into them over the forthcoming holidays and hopefully be ready to roll in September.




Bloom's interactive taxonomy

Last week I had a wonderful opportunity to attend a Master Teachers Course organized in Prague by Intel Teacher Engage  and led by the one and only Ollie Bray. Ollie had 18 of us from Eastern Europe + Spain glued to every word he said and  made us do all the activities eagerly and enthusiastically for almost ten hours every day. He's an exceptional presenter, a skilful teacher trainer and a great person. Everything was meticulously organized by the wonderful Ruth Merrett from Intel who made it all run smoothly and who took care of all of us with a smile on her face. It was an absolute honour for me to be there with teachers from different countries, some of them Glogster ambassadors like myself, and to learn together with them and from them.

One of the teachers in the course was my dear friend Rose, who I had the pleasure of meeting virtually almost three years ago when she joined my Greetings from the world project. It was a special moment when we first met in person - on the p…

QuizSlides - a stylish interactive test creator

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Last year my students did a webquest on English speaking countries. They showed their findings in presentations that they delivered to their peers in the classroom. I uploaded some of their presos to my Slideshare account (I still have more than a half to upload). One of their tasks was to create interactive quizzes in power point, which are absolutely meaningless on Slideshare.

However, last week I  came across QuizSlides, a great tool for ppts. QuizSlides enables you to keep interactive ppt multiple-choice quizzes interactive. QuizSlides is still in Beta and it's still free (The authors are planning to introduce premium features in the future, unfortunately.)

But for the time being we can take advantage of this nice tool. I created a ppt quiz based on the questions made by my students in their presentations and uploaded it to QuizSlides. Then I took the test myself to mark the answers. I got the embed code, but for some reason, it doesn't seem to work.

There are two differe…

Teaching students how to present

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No one has ever taught me how to present. I learned it first by watching good and not so good speakers at virtual and IRL conferences, then by reading about it online and finally by doing it. And I'm still learning.

No one has ever taught me how to teach presenting. I have never been asked to teach my students how to acquire presentation skills. But I'm doing it because I strongly believe that presentation skills are as essential for 21st century students as are critical thinking or problem-solving skills.

My students learn how to present by doing it, not only in front of their classmates, but also in front of an international audience of their peers. Yes, I'm talking about StudentsMeet, an informal gathering of students, which we first organized in February and which gave the students from ten schools in seven countries a great opportunity to talk about their interests, to connect with their peers in real time, to speak English, to listen to many different accents, and t…

LyricsGaps

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Richard Byrne from The Free Tech for Teachers first wrote about LyricsGaps in September 2011, but I introduced it to my students only recently. They loved it so much that they didn't want to leave the classroom.

LyricGaps is a fun way to learn languages with songs. At the moment there are song-based quizzes in18 different languages, submitted by users from all over the world.
For each song there are different modes for the user to choose from - Karaoke, Beginner (with a drop-down menu), Intermediate and Expert (fill in the gaps). The video clip is embedded on the page so that can  listen to the song and do the task at the same time. The quiz can also be printed out.


What I like most about this application is the built -in dictionary which allows students to double click the word they don't know and the dictionary entry pops out. What's more, they can listen to the pronunciation of the word.

The LyricsGaps authors invite teachers to create their own quizzes or customize the…

Twinning with eTwinners

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Why I like TeachMeets

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Ewan McIntosh is my hero! He is the inventor of TeachMeet. Yes, inventor is the right word, because TeachMeet is an ingenious invention, it's a life-changing experience. Those who have never taken part in one won't understand what I'm talking about; those who have are most probably hooked for life.

The reason why TeachMeets have taken the educational world by storm is actually quite simple: They give ordinary teachers the opportunity to speak, to present, to share and to connect with other like-minded teachers.

TeachMeets are organized all over he world. On Friday  the world record was broken at the Sydney TeachMeet - more than 330 particpants gathered to listen to 40 speakers - Ewan McIntosh was also there - and so was I - even though my presentation was a virtual one, via Skype, I could feel the extraordinary atmosphere at the ATP Eveleigh event, which Simon Crooke described so wonderfully in his blog post  4 Pubs and a Bar: A TeachMeet Tale.

On Saturday we organized th…

A trip round the world

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This morning I went to Sydney! Only virtually, though, but still it was an amazing experience as I had a wonderful opportunity to give a presentation on StudentsMeet at a live TeachMeet. There were more than 300 participants, around 40 presenters and lots of enthusiasm and passion.

Tomorrow morning, another TeachMeet is going to take place - this one will be held online. 33 presenters from 20 countries have signed up.They're going to talk about the projects they carried out, the ideas that worked, the web tools they used . They too want to share their enthusiasm and passion.

They come from 20 countries from across the world.

Join us on this virtual trip around the world and get inspired and motivated by inspiring teachers who dare to teach differently. They're just a click away .

Learning from students

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Isabella was the only student from my school who took part in StudentsMeet last week. Her 4-minute presentation was about Windows Movie Maker. She gave the same presentation to Comenius students who were visiting our school a month ago. She made it clear that this user-friendly video editing tool will enable us to make great movies - quickly and easily.
Windows Movie Maker Basics, IX.gimnazija, Zagreb
View more PowerPoint from stuteachmeet Isabella talked about it with such ease that she inspired me to give it a try. And here's the result: my first movie ever. It's far from perfect, but I really enjoyed making it. The bottom line is that if it weren't for Isabella and her inspiration, I would have never made it!


StudentsMeet: Teaching the teachers

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We did it today! We switched the roles and we gave our students a voice. We gave them the opportunity to teach the teachers and to share their ideas and experiences with their peers from across Europe. And thanks to their enthusiasm and commitment, their competence and expertise, today's StudentsMeet session was a great success!

The students from 10 high schools from the UK, Belgium, Romania, Turkey, Hungary, Italy and Croatia gave fantastic talks about different topics that they're interested in: Internet safety, Tumblr, Facebook, voluntary work in Morroco, 3D printers, movie makers, globalization, digital media, SOPA, online gaming, mobile phones... They have shown what great teachers they are and how much we can learn from them. I'm delighted to have had this wonderful opportunity to be there with them this morning.




Welcome, Europe!

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Yes, today is the long-awaited day for Croatia - today we're voting in a referendum on whether to join the European Union and I do hope the Croatian citizens say yes.

But no, this post is not about the referendum. This post is my way to extend a warm welcome to the participants of the Comenius project Imaging Europe. My school is one of the 8  participants of this project financed by the European Comission and I'm the coordinator of the Croatian team. 50 people are coming to Zagreb today and they are going to be our guests over the next five days.

31 students from Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Greece and Spain will be hosted by the students from my school while 19 teachers will be staying at a hotel. Over the next week we plan to show our guests all the sights of Zagreb and the surroundings, visit several muesum, go to a musical, learn how to make movies and actually make them, eat delicious Croatian food, speak English and most importantly, get to know each othe…