How many of us would’ve considered ourselves proficient in online teaching a year ago? Not that many I don’t imagine. I remember in September 2019 I downloaded Zoom so I could be part of a teaching podcast with a former colleague of mine. It was the first time I’d even heard of the platform. I’d taught people through Skype and even WebEx but these were normally 1-to-1 lessons. The time spent in confinement and the rise of Zoom allowing for full online classes is a whole new world. That said, life is an unpredictable and let’s be honest it’s been a very steep learning curve for all of us.
A couple of weeks back, I wrote a blog a about The Masked Classroom and the importance of harking back to some of the activities us teachers did in yesteryear, when we could move around the classroom and students could properly interact. Today’s blog is quite the opposite because I’m going to run through 17 of my favourite and most successful games to keep our Zoom Rooms as engaging as possible. Not simply an endless stream of PowerPoints and Kahoots.
Using video in the language classroom was a thing when I was at school, though back then it involved wheeling in a big TV on a trolley to watch Run Lola Run and we didn’t do much besides watching. How things have changed! We now typically watch much shorter videos and we do more to exploit them.
The benefits of using short video to teach languages are many and varied. Students watch short video already (eg YouTube and TikTok), it’s a medium they’ve embraced. With the ubiquity of mobile devices, short video can be watched anywhere. Visual clues aid comprehension and give meaning to language: videos demonstrate paralinguistic features like gestures, facial expressions and intonation. We can broaden our students horizons with video: video can bring the wider world into the classroom and expose learners to different cultures, accents, people and ways of life. And of course, video can provide a meaningful context for grammar and vocabulary and it can also provide a speaking model for students. We could go on, but we’re here today to propose activities. Here are 10 of them:
There are no questions about it, the landscape of the classroom has changed. No matter which way you look at it, teaching may never be the same again. From one day to the next we went from face-to-face teaching to being stuck at home trying to figure out just how to get our ideas across to our students through a computer screen.
We’ve since been thrown back onto the front line and a great number of us are back in the classroom. Only now we’ve got brand new issues to deal with. In this blog post I’m going to provide you with 13 activites that will keep your classes active and engaging despite these essential restrictions which have been put into place
In spring many of us moved our teaching online. As we go to press, schools have thankfully reopened, though many are following a blended or hybrid approach and for some the threat of further closures looms large. Even when we are ‘back to normal’ most agree that the events of this year will have accelerated digitalization in education and much of what we’ve learned to do this year we’ll continue to do.
In this blog post lets have a look at some practical ways of going digital with our assessment for learning. We’ll look at four areas:
- Written feedback on written work
- Oral feedback on written work
- Peer feedback on presentations in online lessons
- Progress tracking with an LMS