Posts Tagged japan education

Twitter in the classroom

I have always been interested in using @Twitter as part of a class activity or curriculum, and today was a day to utilize the service. I was not the teacher for this class, but I was the adviser for the activity.

Our English Workshop uses a textbook from @CengageLearning and @NatGeo (National Geographic) titled Keynote, which uses @TEDTalks to engage students in various contents while studying EFL. For this particular lesson, students were focused on a lesson on page ew of book 1 titled, “WRITING Social media post”.

The teacher created an obscure hashtag, in this case #KGNKN32 and while having her phone connected to a classroom projector, posted the post written in the textbook:

Help! I want to buy some secondhand items, such as clothes, music, comic books, and furniture. where’s a good place to shop? All ideas welcome. Thanks! #KGNKN32

students then searched for the post using the hashtag and replied with their ideas. As the teacher’s phone was connected to the classroom projector, all students could see the replies of their classmates on the screen and discuss their ideas amongst each other.

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Leading by example

Since arriving at my current school 5 years ago, I have been pushing for a stronger, and more relevant ICT environment for both students and teachers. As an introvert, I find myself having difficulty in explaining to colleagues what it is I’m doing, how I’m doing it, and why I’m doing it, mostly in regards to tablet use in the classroom. And so, my most viable option in promoting tech in the classroom has been through the notion of leading by example.

With iPads for the last few years, I have transformed a video listening class from a teacher-centered cinema format, to a student-centered format. In doing so, students are divided into groups from 2 to 4 students sharing 1 iPad with the necessary videos uploaded. This allows students to work with each other in completing the required work, with the teacher engaging with small groups, rather than an entire class.

The situation has always been that this was my style of teaching and that others were fine teaching the other way. Today however, a second teacher decided to try my format. His response was that he had never seen students work as diligently on their assignments as they had today. As a cinema format class, the teacher controls the video, and is responsible for keeping all students on task. This raises concerns because students learn at different paces and learn through different styles. When they are in the small groups, students can focus on their learning strengths and help each other, and it seems that my colleague took notice of this.

On a plus side, these same students had taken my class the year prior and had no issue changing into the group format, expressing their preference over the cinema format to my colleague.

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This day in Ed. Tech

In the late morning classes, one senior teacher was using an iPad as he wirelessly connected to a projector via AppleTV in order to demonstrate to students how to understand UNHCR country profiles as part of their Model United Nations training. As he gave a tour of the profiles, students used their smart phones to view the web pages being shown. On the other side of the room, an exchange student who does not have a smart phone was issued a school iPad connected to the room’s WiFi system for the activity.

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An oldie but a goodie: iWebKit

A web app framework allows anyone with little to no programing knowledge to create a website that is designed specifically for smartphone and tablet devices. There are a few out on the internet to choose from, depending a lot on your own taste and what you want to achieve with the web app.

In 2016, the Kansai High School Model United Nations is looking to implement a web app that can be used by participants to receive announcements and other information pertaining to the day-to-day activities.

To prepare this web app, I chose an oldie but a goldie. iWebKit was introduced to me by a fellow Apple Distinguished Educator while we were working together in an iOS integrated school a few years ago. iWebKit has not been updated in the last 5 years or so, but its simple UI and ease of use makes it a choice for me. There is also the nostalgia of the original iOS interface.

For this web app, we will be integrating Twitter for live announcements, Google Drive to access needed documents, Google Calendar to display the days’ events, and Google Sites to allow group editing of MUN draft resolutions.

I am a big Apple fanatic, but being able for a project like this to work on other mobile devices is crucial. iWebkit has been doing just fine with that.

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A Day of Tech in Multiple Classes

Continuing to record the use of tech in the classroom, I had the privilege today to assist two teachers in tech use, aside from my own use.

  1. Teacher A being given an iPad to be used as a debate timer using the app Presentation Timer, as well as a video player. This was his first use of an iPad in the classroom.
  2. Another teacher was given our electronic blackboard projector to show and demonstrate how to fill in forms for the students’ preparation for an abroad school trip coming up in February.
  3. Myself, placing a number of audio speeches on 3 iPads for students in small groups to listen to while practicing the preparation of a debate summary speech.

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Students vote, prefer small groups to whole class in video-watching activities

I started off my 2015 listening workshop class using the traditional approach of a class watching a video on the big screen and completing appropriate work. Last week, I broke them into small groups to watch videos on a group iPad while completing appropriate work.

I then asked in an informal manner which setting they prefer, and all who replied voted for the small groups. I would agree. I find the larger class to be very passive when everyone is sharing a big screen. As is the manner, students face forward, mouths shut, while their teacher lectures. However, when they are broken into smaller groups, interaction occurs, and the work seems to become more enjoyable.

It also allows more teaching moments for individual students as I can walk around and answer questions.

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QuickVoice for voice recording

IMG_0637-1A simple, free app for iPad, QuickVoice, allowed our students to record a short mock-radio infomercial about the effects of Malaria and how to prevent infection. As student groups came up to record, the rest of the class closed their eyes to pretend they were listening to the radio.

The recording I felt pushed the students to perform at a higher level than what they might have done given a slight rise in anxiety, but still doing so in front of classmates made the experience enjoyable.

QuickVoice® Recorder By nFinity Inc.

We also used a rather inexpensive Monaural Microphone from audio-technica.

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Breaking down the barrier, one brick at a time.

Japan for the part is conservative. They value their traditions, and they value their customs. Teachers especially, develop a keen sense of being the lecturer. She speaks, you listen. She writes notes on the board, you copy. No questions asked, literally. And so it with that, trying to introduce different means of interaction, different teaching methods, or different ideologies can be quite a hassle. While much of the world is searching for new, innovated, cost-cutting ways of educating our children, most educators in Japan will reply, “the chalk and black works perfectly fine.” So, it is fascinating and exciting when a Japanese teacher agrees to give something new a shot.

IMG_2260Last week, one of our social studies teachers wanted to show a powerpoint slideshow, so I had asked if he would be willing to give the iPad a try. He agreed, and we spent a few minutes making sure he was familiar with using a touch screen, something, up until then, had never used. We connected the iPad to an Apple TV, and he gave his brief lecture. The most fascinating aspect was not of my colleague using the iPad, but the students’ reaction to him using it. After getting over the shock of him using an iPad, they began encouraging him, and even assisting in swiping to the next slide and annotating.

The students were amused, but more importantly, they remained intrigued at the presentation. My colleague at the end joked about it being his first time, but commented that the experience was good.

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