Earlier this evening I had the splendid opportunity to talk in front of 21 Greek teachers of all levels of education – pre-primary, primary, secondary – as part of an eTwinning meeting organised for them by Greek teacher Maria Georgiadou, fellow eTwinning ambassador and a dear personal friend of mine, with the help of Irene Pateraki, Greek NSS.
The meeting took place in a classroom at the 1st High School Ippokratio of Kos Island, where I ‘arrived’ by means of Blackboard Collaborate!
Thus, relying on video-conferencing, I presented 7 tools that my students and I use in eTwinning projects. They represent an eclectic collection of tools, and I specifically tried to select different kinds of tools according to the various activities and tasks that can happen in an eTwinning project.
For instance, if you consider the life of an eTwinning project, perhaps you have had an idea for a project and you would like to advertise it in the ‘Find eTwinners’ area of your Desktop – now imagine that, instead of just writing about it, potential partners are presented with your idea in the form of a project trailer! This can be achieved by employing an amazingly user-friendly tool called Animoto, which takes your photos, your text and the most suitable music, and turn all these into stunning video slideshows – short masterpieces really! They can be easily exported to YouTube and embedded in the TwinSpace or elsewhere.
We then saw what we could opt for when we have found the right partner/partners and perhaps we need to have a brainstorming session so that the aims, the work process, the expected results can be decided upon… At this point I urged them to take advantage of a virtual wall and post on it all their ideas – sharing! For this, there is Wallwisher – but you can do more, a lot more. Be creative! Build a wall soon!
I then asked the attendees to imagine that their students need to introduce themselves – a great tool to adopt to do just that is Voki, which is a service that creates speaking avatars for which one can use one’s own voice!
Another tool that I talked to them briefly about is Myebook, which helps create an online book or magazine – as an end product for a project, for example. I know, maybe you think that the smell of ink on paper will be lost, but this is how things are nowadays, am I right? And we do need to keep up.
Next tool had to do with social networking a little. Social networks are here to stay too, and one of them is Glogster, which allows users to create online posters, called glogs. A glog is an interactive multimedia image that looks like a poster, but viewers/readers can interact with the content. Currently this social network has over one million registered users. We can use Glogster all throughout our projects, for different presentations.
The next two tools I told them about could easily be called auxiliaries when working with text. Wordle is a ‘toy’ for generating “word clouds” from the text that one provides. Such a cloud gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. This is very useful, in my experience, for editing your own – or your students’ – texts. The more often a certain word appears, the bigger it will come out in the Wordle. So you need to use synonyms instead!
Diigo is a tool for bookmarking websites – sites that you have seen that they are useful for you, and you want to be able to get back to them at some point in the future. By tagging the Diigo entries carefully, you will be able to find the right website in a flash!
I really hope this assembly of tools will prove valuable for you as well, in the future, as they have for me. Thank you, dear Greek teachers, for a great evening of learning and sharing!
All screenshots my own, made with Greenshot.