Friday, 29 August 2014

Our #ictclil_urjc Experience At #simoeducacion14

Great news for all those of you who were part of the #ictclil_urjc 2014 blog roll adventure!

Our experience has been highlighted today at the online journal of SIMO, the educational fair and learning technology exhibition that will take place in Madrid from 16 to 18 October 2014. 

Congratulations, and thanks once again for your enthusiasm and good work!!!!!

Discover what SIMO Education 2014 will offer you over the face-to-face sessions in October:

Meanwhile, have a look at SIMO Blog and read about our experience and lots of other awesome innovative learning practices. You will also find good tips and ideas to grab for your connected lessons.

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Let's get talking!

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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

IATEFL Young Learners (Children and Teenagers) Special Interest Group (YLTSIG) Webinars 2014-15

The International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) has a number of Special Interest Groups (SIG) which give teachers professional development opportunities including the chance to share knowledge and best practices in key areas of English Language Teaching and Learning.

Among those Special Interest Groups, the Young Learners and Teenagers SIG (YLTSIG), like other SIGs within IATEFL, is led by a committee of volunteers who arrange discussions, organise conferences, produce publications, maintain a web site and organise events for teachers all over the world.

Meet the members and join the network for IATEFL YLT SIG on WizIQ!

Twice a month, starting 7 September 2014, you will have the opportunity to attend live webinars and connect with some well-known educational inspirers that will generously share their knowledge and experience with any teacher insterested in EFL and innovation.

Don't miss the opening webinar, 'Superhero Activities, Tools, & Apps to Empower Children', with @ShellTerrell, undoubtedly an amazing season debut and an extraordinay chance to grab awesome ideas for your back-to-school lessons. Bookmark it in your calendar: 7 September, 17:00 CEST.

Humbly following, there comes my webinar, 'The timeline of an-econnected story', on 14 September, 18:00 CEST, when I will try my best to share the experience of an e-connection that starts in a University classroom (URJC) from Madrid, with a group of future CLIL teachers taking a Master's Degree on The Use of ICT and Web Resources in Primary Bilingual Education, which spreads towards real CLIL classrooms and students, to design digital storytelling together. 
You are invited to join and have a taste of what will happen at the webinar by reading The timeline of an econnected story & Bringing Colegio San Gregorio and BookMe-Library together.

Autum is not autumn in October any more. No dropped leaves scattered around playgrounds in October this year, but blooming up storytelling trees with Aaron Sherman and Rebecca Ray from Storyboard That. And if you may think November is the time to be indoors and lie back, Dr. Christel Broady might talk you out of that comfortable couch by leading you towards free virtual communities; then, if you like, indoors you may stay while opening a window onto Buenos Aires, where Susan Hillyard is based and will be ready to tell you more about digital storytelling and oral tradition.

Stay tuned for the end-of-the-year webinars brought to you thanks to WizIQ,  IATEFL YLTSIG, and their incredible online events and website coordinator, Dr. Nellie Deutsch as well as for the promising series in 2015. 

Over twenty presenters are now booked, so 2014-2015 is certainly a dream school year already, and surely a year of special interest for all those of us who are hooked to professional development.

Thanks ever so much, Dr. Nellie Deutsch, for bringing so many educators worldwide together, and for this new chance to share!
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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Have you been 'FaceQed' yet?

Not yet? 

Well, well, well, I have been a lucky one and my eleven-year-old technologically creative son has avatared me with the brand new free app FaceQ, available for both iOs and Android.

While having an iced drink at a cosy sun umbrella-protected café in the middle of one of those historical trendy colourful suburbs that only a few can enjoy in the summer if they work in a city closed for vacation in August, such as it is warm Madrid, my son would not stop fiddling around with his mobile, taking snapshots, uploading them to his Instagram and talking about avatars and funny faces.

So, my obvious question as a mother, was: 'What are you doing with your gadget'?

Fast and happy, he answered with another question: 'Would you like to have a new avatar?'

And there he came up with this snap design, while I had not really been able to find a sec to say yes, in a couple of minutes, created with his iPhone, using the free FaceQ app, while enjoying the shade without losing imagination.

And this is how I found out two things: what I looked like for my son and how he felt about my working away from home from Monday to Friday.

Besides, I was inspired for a few back to school icebreakers (Thank you, son!) with the aim of fostering ICT use in the ESL classroon once again. I think this app can be a nice free tool to carry out some quick quests over the first days back in our lessons.

Ten ideas coming to my mind right now:

  • Pair the kids up and get them to avatar each other. Then, ask them to describe their designs to the rest of their peers and have a 'Guess Who' game.
  • Have the kids avatar themselves using the app and compare their faces with the same avatars other peers have designed of them; compare the differences, make them aware of the fact that the image one might have of oneself can be different to the image others have.
  • Share the avatars as pictures in their virtual classroom profiles.
  • Turn them into posters and decorate the classroom with a big group picture of the class avatars.
  • Make badges out of the students' avatars, so they can wear them, both virtually and as real pins.
  • Hold a vote for the best avatar and give out prizes or awards.
  • Keep them until the end of the school year, then have another round of FaceQ design and get them to explain the changes in their design. How has the image changed, to yourself and to others?
  • And of course, take advantage of the designed faces and get them to practise parts of the face, colours, revise shapes, types of hair, eyes, clothes, accessories, and so forth.
  • Get them to design the faces of their whole family tree, and then have a nice round of 'introducing my family' presentations among peers.
  • Or get to know them better by asking them to avatar their favourite cartoons, characters, sportspeople, heroes, singers, idols ... Here you go another couple of my son's outcomes, which show two of his most-loved heroes in the world right now. 
'Who is each gentleman? Would you like to take a wild guess and leave a comment with it?'

It is a simple easy to use app; outcomes are quite attractive and ready in minutes, as you see. On top of it all, there is no need to register the under-age users and you can go social with your designs too, as they are shareable through social networks such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, but you may also mail your creations, so why not give it a try? 

Many of our students might come back to school having already heard of FaceQ or even having used it, so it is a nice chance to go fashionably mobile in class from the very first day.

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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

#TWIMA Project launches website

As I announced several weeks ago, I am keeping my fingers crossed for a 2014-2015 school year bound to be full of connections and collaborations, starting soon with new allied projects such as the World Poetry #Twima one.

Today, our host Mr. Smith-TRT, is launching the project website, The #TWIMA Project, and that is the first page of chapter one in this global iBook project into which I am also diving with all those of you willing to get your hands on another e-connected adventure.

Using the Book Creator app for iPad, we will hopefully end up having a poem written by one classroom from each country in the world by the end of 2014.

In order to start organising our contribution to the #TWIMA project from Spain, we are opening a series of chain poems about our country to be collaboratively written at Padlet:

Welcome to Spain - Chain Poem 1
Welcome to Spain - Chain Poem 2
Welcome to Spain - Chain Poem 3
Welcome to Spain - Chain Poem 4

Once the chain poems are written, we will nicely compile them all using the app and submit them to @theipodteacher, who will kindly turn all the poems from every participating class in the world, into an iBook.

Stay tuned for updates and further information. If you are interested in becoming part of the project from the Spanish end, join the Digital Storytelling for Teachers online training course before September 22, contribute to our chain poem and be part of this worldwide experience.

If you have your own classroom and would like to have great fun and foster writing poetry among your students, please fill in the form and join the project yourself. There is still time, go for it!

Meanwhile, stay for a while and read about how to organise and contribute to chain stories. Or, if you prefer, set your artistic skills at work and design the project logo. Or, if you'd rather browse around, go and find out which countries have a writer already for the project.

Whatever you may decide to do now, do not forget to go #TWIMA!

Image seen at Mr. Smith-TRT Blog

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A tribute to Robin Williams

Maybe the one guy who was able to best wake up the world in the morning.

Image seen at The Hollywood Reporter.

Goodbye, Captain!

And, please remember: 'Seize the day!'

Related Posts: Good morning Vietnam!
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Thursday, 7 August 2014

Chain Stories

Welcome again to a new goal, part of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators on tour, a new landing in the journey I am happy to be your Inspire Leader. So where in the world is the 30 goals landing once more? In Spain. 
Shelly Sánchez Terrel and myself invite you to accomplish the following goal: 'Chain Stories'.

Accomplish This Goal

Find students and teachers in any part of the world interested in connected writing and have them contribute to or organise a collaborative chain story. A chain story is an easy way to have students learn vocabulary and work with their friends. In a chain story, the teacher begins the story, student A continues the story, student B continues where A stopped, and so on.  The students have to listen to each other and understand each other so that the story makes sense and flows.

How We Accomplished The Goal

Shelly Sánchez Terrell, @ShellTerrell, designed these learning missions for the INTEF ‘Digital Storytelling for Teachers’ e-Training Course, of which there have been two online editions in Spain so far, October 2013 and February 2014. My role at the course was an advisory one.

Participants were asked to accomplish the goal through two different activities:
1. Contribute to a Collaborative Chain Story
For this first proposal, participants contributed to a collaborative web chain story. We used an online tool, Padlet. This tool allows you to click on the web wall and add text, images, videos, and more. You do not have to register, but our participants were asked to include their name. Contributions can be made on any mobile device with internet access or on the web.
The instructions were clear, and participants were asked to work in groups:
A. Visit the collaborative chain story for your group by clicking the link below. The story has already been started.
B. To contribute to the story:
  • Read the entire story up to the last post. NOTE: It begins from the bottom up. Your contribution needs to make sense and continue the flow of the story as well as relate to the previous post.
  • Click on the board, a box will pop-up, please add your first and last name. If you feel uncomfortable with this, then add the first letter of your name and at least 4 of the initial letters of your last name.
  • Start typing your contribution. It should be at least 100 words long. Add an image or a link to a video or sound clip to accompany your part of the story. This added multimedia should be an element you wrote about in your story.
C. When you are finished writing your story, make sure to save your part of the story as a pdf. To do this, click on the bar on the far right. Click on the Share/Export icon (the 4th icon with an arrow). Choose Export PDF
2. Organize a Collaborative Digital Story
The second proposal asked participants to organize a collaborative story using digital tools. We asked teachers to do this with their students but if this was not possible, then they could do a public collaborative story and invite participants. They had to have at least 5 additional people contribute to their story, including themselves; this made 6 authors.
The instructions were explained in detail, as follows:
A. Choose any of these tools to create your collaborative story:
  • Voicethread - Create a collaborative story by uploading images, documents, and videos that are turned into a multimedia slideshow where learners and others can navigate slides and comment in various ways.
  • Voxopop - Create collaborative audio stories or have discussions. Listen to this example chain story by Nik Peachey to give you ideas.  
  • Google Presentations - Have each person contribute a slide and include images, colored fonts, and more. Here is a template you could use.
  • Book Creator Lite for iPhone, iPad- Each student contributes a page to the story. Make sure you include their voices or drawings so that we know your students contributed to the story.
  • Padlet- Tell a story with sticky notes. Add video, images, and text. Choose the stream layout for your chain story. Each person will see the previous post and will be able to contribute. Students or your peers DO NOT need to create an account. However, they should include a name even if it is an alias. This app is free and available on the web or through any mobile device with Internet access. Here is a good tutorial on how to set-up a free account and begin the story.
  • If you want to use another tool, please get permission. We have chosen these tools because they offer visual or audio stories. A text only story will not be acceptable.
B. Create the beginning or framework of the story and have your students, peers, family members, or the public add to the story. Give good instructions because the story needs to make sense. It needs to have a clear beginning, middle, and end. At least 5 additional people need to contribute to the story. It should be obvious that 5 additional people contributed.
C. With some of these tools, they will need to register for free accounts so please do not save this to the last minute. You should have someone end the story or end it yourself. You need to turn in a completed story, put together well.
D. Participants should publish this story online. When their digital story is complete with at least 5 additional contributions from other people, they were asked to please submit the link to their story.
Outcomes by Participants
The collaborative chain stories to which participants contributed in both editions have been compiled into printable booklets, downloadable from Slideshare:


Thank you for dropping by! I hope you enjoyed your stay.
Find out more about The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators at and join our 30 Goals Facebook community!
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Monday, 4 August 2014

Back to life after Moodle Moot Virtual Conference 2014

The 4th Annual Moodle Moot Virtual Conference 2014 is over ...

... and we are already starting off Moodle Moot Virtual Conference 2015!

Incredible as it may sound, after an intensive 3-day non-stop online learning and teaching adventure, full of possible missions, open badges, massive Moodle enrolments, songs, flat but spatial virtual worlds, creative debates to foster speaking skills, well-designed instructional training courses, and much more educational stuff, both presenters and participants have successfully and happily survived and are ready to go back to life.

However, it is going to be a different kind of life: richer, more connected, more collaborative, with a brand new backpack full of blocks, grids, group choices, rubrics, workshops, polls, awards, templates, reflections ... A Second Life maybe, a virtual world inhabitted by educators, some former dwellers, some newcomers, but all with the same goal: 'teaching and learning online'.

How come? Well, because along three summer vacation days, from 1-3 August 2014, with the priceless guidance of inexahustible Dr. Nellie Deutsch from IT4ALL, who impeccably set up the conference both at WizIQ and Moodle for Teachers, over 2000 educators worldwide have had the chance to learn from each other, share experiences and find news about Moodle while discovering engaging, socially encouraging online ways of teaching, which for sure will have a positive effect in our upcoming lessons and bring us all closer to active teaching.

But #MMVC14 is not really over; being a virtual conference, it is going to stay there for other educators to view the live session recordings, watch the YouTube MMVC14 Playlist and keep on reflecting, discussing and sharing.

That is the beauty of teaching and learning through technology: every session, every piece of evidence of what has taken place in the conference, stays. It does not vanish in the air once the doors of the classrooms close, since online classroom doors are always open and the learners and the teachers can mingle, have a cuppa in USA in the morning and some tea in Finland in the evening, or the other way round; travel to a wide range of educational scenarios across the world, jump, swim, spin off and sit back at home in comfort. All in one go!

Can anybody tell me if that is possible without ICT and e-connections? I don't think so, and that is why I would warmly like to thank you all that attended the MMVC14 webinars (not only mine), and Dr. Nellie Deutsch for her enthusiasm, patience and well-doing, without whom these meetings would not be happening at all.

So now, dive into the recordings, catch up if you can, and start with the countdown for #MMVC15!

Related posts: MMVC14 - In and Out of Moodle.

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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Accomplishing the goal Support Learning with an App

The latest goal in The 30 Goal Challenge on tour has landed in Brazil, where the English teacher Raquel Gonzaga is proposing to support learning with an app.

This is an area of teaching and learning that I am really fond of, and I try to use apps and turn ESL and CLIL learning into mobile learning whenever I can in my lessons, so here I am, showing several practices some of my students have carried out using Aurasma, QR codes and mobile devices.

The first series of classroom practices I would like to share were designed by a group of CLIL teachers I used to teach in the North of Spain, and what they did, to put it in a nutshell, was to design a presentation of an item of their syllabus, which they wanted to show their own students, so as to flip their own lessons, using Wix, which they later turned into a videoclip and hid behind a QR Code. Thus, their own students could scan the code, view the teacher's presentation, grab the explanations and focus on hands-on work when in the face-to-face classroom.
Our goals, consisting of fostering the four skills when learning ESL and encouraging CLIL teachers to use ICT and mobile devices in their own lessons, were successfully achieved after several sessions working with Wix, iMovie, and Unitag Qr Code generator.
Here you are the links to their final outcomes:

  • About Melinda Gates. By a Citizenship CLIL teacher; target audience: Secondary Education students.
  • Structures. By a Vocational Training CLIL teacher; target audience: 13-year-old students.
  • A Sonata Form. By a Music CLIL teacher; target audience: Secondary Education students.
  • The World in Shapes. By a Kindergarden CLIL teacher; target audience: 3-year-old students.

The second ESL activity to support learning with an app I would like to share is an Aurasma weekend mystery, Augmenting The Union Jack: an Augmented Reality blog activity regarding a famous flag and some issues around it, by which a bunch of Secondary CLIL teachers who were my students in 2013, were shrunk-brained over a whole weekend while posting comments to solve the mystery hidden behind the flag and using their Aurasma app until the puzzle was finally sorted out on Monday morning and they were all very happy to have found out the answer and at the same time to have practised reading and writing skills in ESL, which was my ultimate goal anyway.
The online activity was posted on the classroom blog by a Thursday evening and consisted of an augmented image of the Union Jack, together with an overall question: 'If you were told to think of songs that have something to do with this flag, would you be able to hum at least one?'
Besides, we started a face-to-face discussion in class about flags and anthems, and the reflection proposal was left open for them to keep up the debate through blog comments after they had left the classroom: 'What is wrong with the flag and what it hides?' Of course, one can only find out what the flag hides by scanning it with the Aurasma app and then, once the tip is grabbed, there was the open debate, intensive and online from that Thursday night until the following Monday morning, when I finally posted the solution, following the thread of the students' own blog comments.
It was a very rewarding activity as it turned out really stimulating for the students, who were supported in their ESL learning skills with the Aurasma App.
And finally, I am also proud to share a sweet activity to support Primary students' learning with an app, although this time, I think I can talk of supporting connected teaching and learning with an app, as it is a virtual interview that a group of 11-year-old students from Alicante, in Spain, challenged me into by using FaceTime from iPad to iPad, lead by their enthusiastic teacher, @blogmaniacos, who had to borrow the Head of Studies' device in order to be able to open the door of her rural classroom, full of highly ICT skilled kids, and let me in. I was actually taught a wonderful virtual lesson and felt these kids had supported my own learning with app. 
It was a warm May afternoon, full of emotions, virtually crossing the country thanks to an app (I was in Asturias, Northern Spain at the time), which proved that even without means, one can connect, teach and learn if one wishes to do so: an example of how technology and apps do not only support learning but also bring people together: Video Conference with Blogmaniacos.

Join The 30 Goals Challenge Community and our Facebook Group! You will find loads of goals to accomplish and be able to follow the virtual world tour.

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

MMVC14: In and Out of Moodle

Join the 4th annual MMVC14 August 1-3, 2014and let's learn about teaching with technology.

Free Online Conference by Educators for Educators.

Over the whole weekend, 30 presenters from various countries in the world will be delivering live sessions on a wide range of topics such as:
  • Teaching and Learning Online
  • Live Online Presentations on WizIQ
  • Mobile Learning
  • Sustainable Future
  • Blended Online Learning

On 3 August at 3pm, Spanish time, I'll be delivering a live class entitled 'In and out of Moodle'. In this presentation I will showcase various online teacher training courses on Moodle, where the focus is at an active schedule of activities aimed at having teachers produce digital materials and resources that they can put into practice in their own classrooms almost immediately, as well as engaging them in social networks and professional virtual communities.

I am looking forward to welcoming you all to the class and hope you enjoy an intensive elearning weekend!

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