sabato 31 dicembre 2016

New Year Resolutions

Thanks to the many teachers and educators who have helped me discover a new world- Twitter is the source of my  CPD and I have been learning so much.

First of all, I will continue follow them and learn from them.

Second, I will share ideas and what we have been doing together.

Thirdly, I will work online by doing some courses  which are run by  EVO 2017

Fourth, I will continue writing and thinking about what I have been doing.

Fifth, I will finish my MOOC on   DIGITAL STORYTELLING and  I might decide to work on the project run by the University  in Milan  next year.

      And  finally  my best   Wishes for  the New Year 

Made with

Happy New Year 01

By ItsLassieTime (Self; from item in my collections) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

giovedì 29 dicembre 2016

E-Portfolios- EMMA MOOC

This year I discovered a European  website - called  EMMA- which  provides  MOOCs, many have to do with education and learning. It is a useful website which can  enhance our learning and help us develop as teachers and life-long learners.
EMMA is an innovative platform that provides free  MOOCs.  Some are self-paced - this implies that we can choose when to do the MOOC. I could enroll to do the  MOOC about  E-Portfolios  before  the summer  but only in December  I could work on the lessons  as I was busy while working at school.  If you  do 70% of the activities you are given a certificate of attendance.
The course online was released in 2015 but they offered a " Self-development course" in 2016 too:

We had to watch videos, reflect on what we had seen and think about our ideas about  ePortfolios.

The link to the Mooc
will show you what the main content of the course was about.

Lessons were presented by providing an introduction, videos and a lot of links and documents online.The tutors made a list of sources for each lesson and I must admit that  I bookmarked them as I am going to check them later.
The overall framework was clear and well-organized. I must admit that  I have been given a great introduction to what is now required at work,at school and at university too.

Definition of  e-Portfolios 

EPortfolios have been used for showcasing learner work and to support formative or summative assessment processes.                                                                                  
Now  ePortfolios offer many more  possibilities like storing, archiving, thinking, reflecting, storytelling, collaborating and publishing about one's learning experiences.                                                                                  

E-Portfolios can show your achievements, your reflections and  what you have been doing as part of  your professional development

Helen Barrett 's  presentation was an interesting source as I could enter the world of  E-Portfolios:

E-Portfolios as Digital Stories of Deep Learning from Helen Barrett on Vimeo.

More resources about what  E-Portfolios can be found by following  these  links :  

E-Portfolios can be used in different ways:
- to demonstrate the skills and competences  - a good example  is the  curriculum vitae
- to reflect  as a teaching  tool- good examples  are blogs  where technology is used a  collaborative learning  tool 
- to enhance or improve  formative and integrative  assessment
                                                                    CASE STUDY

Different  Perspectives
                                             The Learner  Perspective

The Instructor                                          

                                            The  Employer

CPD  and  E-Portfolios

This is an interesting use of Portfolios and I think that we will be required to use them in our profession: this is what I have been doing when I do MOOCs online and in many cases I have been asked to reflect online and share my reflections after attending some conferences online.    

                                         ePortfolios Ownership

We can have  different types of  Portfolios:
- Individual ePortfolio 
- Institutional / Organization ePortfolio
A good example  is   the European Language Portfolio
- Individual ePortfolio within an institution/organization
I am already familiar with  the European Language Portfolio:

The Structure
The structure of an e-Portfolio can vary depending on the perspectives and aims.
Google Apps can be used :

Some guidelines can be found online

Web 2.0 Tools and Social Media can help you develop and construct your E-Portfolio: 

Eifel2011 monam web2 from Helen Barrett

Helen Barrett has shared a lot of information about  Portfolios:

Professional  Development

In  Education   ePortfolios offer the opportunity to create and manage an online space of digital artefacts that provide evidence of competencies and abilities acquired over a specific period of time.                                                                                                                                                        
They should support  growth and change .                                                                                       

My Reflections and what  I would like to do in class with my students

First  think about modern tools which can be used by them: Google Apps and in particular  New Google Sites can be used to showcase their  artefacts.                                                                                  
 Here are some interesting Tutorials:   I have just started my new website and  I must admit that it is very easy. I might therefore support my students  but I am sure they will be successful.                                               


Second think about  creating a class site for presenting the class activities : I have found an interesting website created by an Italian teacher who has worked on this activity which is worth sharing:  
More ideas can be found by reading  this slide created by  Shelly  Terrell:                                                                              

Eportfolios for Meaningful Student Learning from Shelly Sanchez Terrell

As a teacher  I will continue   blogging ....................................

As a teacher I will continue  blogging and I will  write about my profession and for my  CPD as  education  requires reflecting on what we do in class, what we have learnt and how we can improve our methodologies:

More resources about   e-Portfolios online:

Click here to open this binder in a new window.

venerdì 23 dicembre 2016

Christmas 2016

                                    MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Time for Christmas and time for holidays and thinking about the best ways we can better our way of working in a difficult situation for educators and also for the country.
While I was working online I came across some good documents which I could use in class with my students.

Videos online: classic tales

Useful for watching and viewing a story and learning new words.

A  Christmas  Carol by  Ch. Dickens- from

A reading task which can be carried out while watching a  film about this famous story by Dickens.

Watching a video advertising about  Christmas

Watching advertising can tell us about a country and its traditions.

Watching a video about making  " Panettone":

Watching how to make a special dessert in Italy while comparing  what other countries have to celebrate  Christmas or other special festivals.

Royal  Christmas traditions in the UK

Learning about  Victorian England and the tradition of  Christmas.

Visual History of Christmas Traditions Infographic by Balsam Hill

Christmas is celebrated in a multitude of rich and cherished traditions. This illustrated timeline, brought to you by Balsam Hill Christmas Tree Company, captures the flow of some of the most popular Christmas traditions and figures throughout Christmas History.


domenica 27 novembre 2016

Collaborative Teaching and Learning week 4

                                          Week 4
 How can teacher collaboration facilitate collaborative learning?

We worked on our lesson plan this week and we watched a lot of engaging videos about  projects and collaboration among classes working with projects and where teachers and students were engaged in collaboration and activities to be done together. Most of the activities were European projects and students were involved in working together and sharing their outputs with other learners.  
A good video was the one which I missed live online where Professor D.Butler answered questions related to collaboration.   

Modern technologies and  IT can help us while working with our students and support us when working and collaborating.
A useful guide can be found online and downloaded :
Colab Guide Lines .
The website  offers a lot of useful material which we can use for designing activities which require collaboration and  the use of  new technologies.

A good document to start with is the one presented dealing with the problem of assessment and the document shared dealing with spreading new approaches in education:

Tablets, mobile devices should not be banned but  integrated within our  lessons and  tasks.
New tools and apps are growing and they can offer a lot of applications which can help us while working in class and at home.

Further resources were shared online and in the Mooc

Module 4 Resource Section

This is my  Learning Diary about the four weeks spent together ;I have added  the link to my lesson plan: I could also read a lot of interesting projects online, which I think should be shared and analyzed by other teachers. The main activities were all  based on collaboration.

EMMA Moocs

Autumn has offered  interesting courses for  reflecting on education, education online and   Moocs. It is a new world which is built online and where networking and digital skills are now the  main features of it.Educators are connected, learners are becoming more connected and knowledge is now shared.

Emma is  the  European Platform that has  provides  the Moocs for free with  interesting  videos and documents related to the topic. Lots of ideas and a great overview about  knowledge and the future of education. The Mooc offered short courses from September to November this year and I was free to register and follow the tasks online simply by choosing what to see and when to do it. That's the reason why I like  Moocs: I can learn online while I am at home or at school in my free time and  sometimes the quality of the Moocs can be great.

I have just finished the session   MOOCS with Distinction and  I have watched some interesting videos and learnt about  experiences which have been shared by many thinkers and educators.

I have particularly appreciated some parts of the Moocs as I have come across the ideas they have presented and can help us learn about the future in education.

Stephen Downes - The emerging new Consciousness in digital culture

Stephen Downes  is well-known for his theories about  Connectivist learning, learning networks and how and why they emerged.
He is an international speaker and has published many books online dealing with this new way of learning and working online :

He is interested in  Open Educational Resouces and  Moocs  :  ( about  open education )

MOOC – Diversity and Community in Online Learning from Stephen Downes

He publishes his daily newsletter

Global MOOCs for non-native English speaking 16 – 17 year olds: increasing digital and lifelong learning skills
The Teacher involved in the project :Inge Ignatia de Waard was born in 1967 in Antwerp, Belgium. She is currently researching mobile learning and MOOCs at the Open University of the United Kingdom. She has a background in IT and pedagogy (studied at Athabasca University, Canada) and has been an international public speaker, addressing audiences across continents on the subject of online, MOOC and mobile learning.

This section of the  Mooc was really interesting  as it presented a   brief overview of a Content Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) project that uses Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) to enhance language, digital and lifelong learning skills for upper secondary school students (16 – 17 year olds).

We were also provided with the slides:

Hack the MOOC: alternative MOOC use from Inge de Waard

David Weinberger - The networking of knowledge

David Weinberger, Ph.D., writes about the effect of the Internet on ideas. He is a senior researcher  at the Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and was co-director of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, and a journalism fellow at Harvard's Shorenstein Center. His most recent book, "Too Big to Know," looks at the networking of knowledge and expertise.

Alessandro Bogliolo - Algorithms are forever

Alessandro Bogliolo is  serving as e-skills for jobs ambassador, a Europe-wide campaign to raise awareness of the opportunities that digital skills offer for employment and employability.
He has been working on coding and  providing  courses for teachers online as  coding and literacy should be mastered by everyone in today's world.

Internet is the tool, it provides us with a network of educators who are working online and they are sharing ideas, providing tips and  helping us  develop new approaches to learning. The learner is the centre of the new learning process as more choices are offered for  learning  and choosing  to learn how,when and what can now be a reality.  
Moocs can offer plenty of courses to people who would have never had access to  learning online in the past.
How will they develop next?  What kind of quality?  Teachers and educators are still experimenting but the new way of learning has already begun.

venerdì 25 novembre 2016

The English Language

                                     The Language we  study and  speak

Easy or difficult to learn? It is considered the language of commerce and it is widely used by students working online all over the world. MOOCs are mainly in  English and  scholars and educators use it to work together and share resources and papers.

The  English Language : a history  about  it and  how it changed

English  and  W.Shakespeare 

Learning more about the English  Language: help on line and blogs undefined


Dictionaries and Reference Tools, by smberdaxagar

Check your vocabulary online

Teaching and Learning  Vocabulary

venerdì 18 novembre 2016

Collaborative Teaching and Learning Week 3 Assessment

How can you assess Collaborative Learning?

The week was really interesting as we had to think about assessment while students are working and collaborating. We were provided with some interesting experiences  where teachers discussed  how they worked and what they had to monitor and assess: formative assessment but also peer evaluation. It is important to see how our students work and see if they meet the criteria:

Anna Laghigna- one of the tutors- explained how she had  worked with some projects and how students learnt  and reflected on what they had done: 

Guidelines for  assessing Collaborative Learning

This is a useful guide which can help us develop rubrics and how to observe students while working together. It can be downloaded and used  for assessing students better.

Sources :

I really liked the post by a teacher on twitter

Interesting  diaries online which have been shared

I appreciated the variety of tools used when writing the diaries and the experience which all the teachers showed while reflecting on the teaching practice: they have developed great skills and can  work well also when working with PBL and assessing students who are collaborating,

Powered by emaze
Made with Padlet

My learning diary will be presented later in week 4.

giovedì 10 novembre 2016

Collaborative Teaching and Learning Week 2- Designing Collaborative Learning

How can you design  Collaborative Learning in the Classroom?

The main topics discussed in the second week were in relationship to the different tasks and how collaboration works. It was interesting and with lots of ideas about how to create rubrics for assessing collaboration.
Embedding Collaborative Learning

The Collaboration Rubric

We were asked to start thinking about the activities we would like to share and work on. I did not as I did not have the time but I was impressed by the way rubrics can help us think when designing our activities. I really liked the ideas about the different types of rubrics which can help us when  working with groups and with projects .

Resources for the module
Collaboration Rubric:
Learning Scenario Template:
6 Example Learning Scenarios:
Resources for the 'Asteroids, impacts and craters' learning scenario:

domenica 30 ottobre 2016

Collaborative Teaching and Learning -Week 1

I have just started the Mooc "  Collaborative  Teaching and Learning" thanks to the  European platform   Europeanschoolnetacademy.

Why is  Collaboration important in education today?

The course is an interesting one about  the importance of  Collaboration in Teaching and Learning.

We also have social interaction online thanks to  Twitter- educators in the  21st century can rely on such a network of  thinkers, educators and people who love teaching:

The course is followed by over  1,200  participants and we are guided into discussing ideas and sharing interesting tools or projects which have been  carried out by teachers in their schools.
Thanks to the internet we can learn more from the others and see what they have done: I have particularly liked  some  videos about collaboration and  projects  which have been done by some Italian teachers who described the reasons why they chose  collaboration in their activities. Collaboration is required by teachers and learners and it is important for achieving  the aims .

The approach in the course is  based on presenting videos, reflecting, thinking about our experiences and sharing ideas by using  social networks and padlet.

Here you can see some of the videos where the teachers  discussed what they had done: 

Collaborative Learning in a flexible classroom

Collaborative Learning and PBL

Online we can find a lot of tools and this is the reason why  PBL and collaboration can be enhanced by using modern technology.
I really appreciated watching the videos about young students and older ones working together and learning together, but what they did was successful as they also  used modern technology. They were more engaged too.

Here is a list of tools which can be used to better our learning activities: most of them are popular among Italian teachers too. We only need to rely on better internet connections and train our learners to work by using such tools.

Google Apps

What activities have we done? This padlet presents what  some teachers have done.  Some of them have developed great tasks!  

Made with Padlet

Meanwhile I have done my first module about the introduction to  Collaborative  Teaching and Learning and I am looking forward to week 2.

sabato 15 ottobre 2016

Halloween - English Language Teaching tips and ideas

                               and Halloween

 Some ideas I have found online..................  Thanks to the  web we can find plenty of resources online ranging from videos to  stories and activities.
I was online some weeks ago and  I could follow  some interesting teaching ideas about  the topic  Halloween.  Shelly Terrell provided me with interesting  weblinks.
It is true that this is a typical American celebration . However, it has become international and most of my students do go to Halloween parties in Italy too. In most supermarkets we will find sweets and decorations for the scariest night of the year. 
While I was walking in town yesterday, I could see some shop windows and also in most schools we have children talking about  Halloween.


I found some nice  videos which I am going to use  with students in my classes. They will provide  some material for
 " thinking, listening and reporting" in English. 

I might use some tools like edupuzzle   for checking what they have understood.

Watching a video about how to make  Halloween  cookies :

Who provided me with lots of sources :   Shelly  Terrell, just check online

                          Lessons  and  Ideas

Using  Padlet for  writing a story    ( History of Halloween)

Using  Tackk or Thinglink for presenting information and traditions about  Halloween

lunedì 5 settembre 2016


Saturday 3rd September    2016

 Edupassion- a Web conference worth seeing

Have you ever thought you would spend more than  six hours  listening to a conference online and thinking you would not like to stop doing it?
This is what has happened to me. Last Saturday was fabulous, a whole afternoon  was spent online till late in the evening and  we learnt from other educators who were presenting their ideas about  their role as educators and how they felt about what  they had been doing. Engagement, passion and love for their job and their interests in students, so many tips and ideas about how to work, how to support teachers who are beginning to work and also the importance of a network of educators who can learn together.  

EduPassions Free Web Conference Program from Shelly Sanchez Terrell

The  conference  was the place where they discussed and introduced their experiences and you could feel that they were passionate about what they had chosen to do.
The two great people who made the event possible  are two  Icons in the field of  Technology and Education: Shelly Sanchez Terrell and  Sarah  Thomas .
 As I have followed a lot of webinars they have presented I was sure that they would run such an interesting event but it was also the voices of the many  speakers who had been invited to the event that made  Suturday 3rd September  such a valuable source of tips for everybody who was online. 
 I liked to listen to the many voices of people who were living in the Usa , in Europe  and  in different parts of the world. Every experience was special, and I could listen to people who had decided to make their choices and live their experience of educators as people with passions. The term chosen "Edpassion" was the right one to define these teachers.
If you check the word " educator" you will see that it has  roots in the  word " educere" meaning  to lead, draw and take out - see the link
The term " passion"  comes from the Greek language and means " suffering"  as explained online

The focus of the speaker was on many aspects of teaching but the main focus was  loving teaching:


Teachers can be the ones who  inspire and provide the tips and ideas for other teachers and they should be ready to listen to their students and understand their needs. Engagement is really important to devise a better strategy and empower the learners to become " active" learners.

You can see my certificate for attending the conference - I was the lucky one to win a subscription to Simplek12 and now I am able to view and see all the webinars they run. I will therefore continue learning online and meet new teachers online who will share ideas, lessons and their knowledge about  webtools . 

mercoledì 31 agosto 2016

Learner autonomy and Language Teaching and Learning

Some weeks ago I was able to see the interesting webinar which was presented by David  Little. The webinar was online on 20th August and it  was offered  thanks to  a group of  professionals - IATEFL

This organization runs  regular CPD webinars , just check online- they are offered for free and are seen by many teachers of  English living in different countries :

Who is the Presenter

David Little has been  a Professor at Trinity College Dublin and has studied the issue of learner autonomy  and language learning- online I have found a lot of materials he has been working  on- - European Language Portfolios and Learners

The  European  Language Portfolio  ( ELP) is part of his  great  work in the European Union and teachers have been involved in  implementing it:

 ELP Material 2008 pdf document

The  Webinar : Learner autonomy and its implications for the  discourse of language teaching and learning 

The webinar described  how some learners can be successful and what teachers should do in order to help all the students master  their knowledge and their  autonomy.
He focussed on different learning environments and how students could better while they were or became more aware of their learning process. This link is important as in our learning situations, the traditional ones with students who are learning in a non-English-speaking country  we often face the issue of students who are passive learners and do not work well and they lack autonomy.
Reflecting on our  traditional way of learning and by analyzing learning  situations in which learning happened and had a lot of successful learners can help us think  about what language activities  teachers should do:

The teacher can support the learner but what is really important is the idea of creating a good learning environment which can facilitate and support students: the role of L1 is not  neglected and L1 is still important

An interesting idea presented by Professor Little was the one about optimal learning environments: intrinsic motivation is the key for promoting autonomy and the students' success

He underlined the fact that the target language is used not only for working in class but also by the students when they are thinking and  reflecting about  their own learning.

This is really important as good learners can reflect on their process of learning . In my experience as a teacher of English I have done a lot of activities and created a lot of tasks to help my learners but I have never asked my students to use the language as a reflective activity. This will be my great goal this year as I am aware that in some ways I have made some mistakes while I tried to be supportive but did not give my learners " the tools" or rather  " the  tasks"  which might help them and drive  their learning and their autonomy.  

The role of  Writing- a key idea in the presentation

I have always used writing as a controlled activity but what was suggested in the webinar  was a great way for building autonomy among learners.  We should provide opportunities for our learners who  write down about what is happening in their  learning . Working on  reflection and  narration can enhance their autonomy as learners.

The webinar  ended with a long list of activities which we can use and can provide opportunities for learners who are working on the  language and their autonomy: instruments of scaffolding

What new ideas about learning and learners  did  the Presenter introduce?

- any learner can learn well if he or she is aware of the progress  and what  has been done or achieved   when studying the foreign language
-  L1 can be used and it is also important for the learners- teachers can, therefore ,use it  if they are not   English mother-tongue speakers 
- teachers need to  provide opportunities for using the language not only in a guided  written discourse but also in the personal reflections on what has been done
- teachers need to think about writing tasks which help the learners : blogs, reflective 
  writing , portfolios are just some  good examples . I would also add  writing articles for the school magazine or online presentations or working on digital storytelling thanks to the modern web tools.

Professor Little  provided some examples of students' assessing their progress: they showed the great level of language reflection they had and they used  English in a correct way!

I wish to thank  him for the great ideas and  sources which he provided us with: food for thought and new ideas for my personal reflections on  ESL and TEFL.  I will have to check  some sources about scaffolding and how we learn.

                                                      Useful ideas and tips

Ideas for scaffolding  can be found online :