domenica 31 gennaio 2016 and the MOOCs in the Reading Club  and  the Courses about  Literature

Light Reading
Image Light Reading  by  Martin  from
under  license     This is the  website link  you  need to click on if you want do some literature in English and you want to be guided in discovering plots, characters and  in thinking about what you have learnt. It is an interesting activity online which is worth sharing as it can provide us with tools for working with our students. Every activity is in English and it is a good way  for working online and learning.

The BerkleyX Club is organized by Maggie  Sokolik and she runs the reading of a book which lasts four weeks. Every month she starts a new book and thousands of people from all over the world are reading the same book. 
I started  doing the activities online as I wanted to revise some old books which I had read when I was at university. It was December  2014.  My first book was  A Christmas Carol  by Charles Dickens. I continued and did most of the readings, just for pleasure, in the next months.
Here is the list for the next readings, if you are interested you need to register to the platform: you are required to have an email and to choose the password for the access. If you want you can use also your  FB account or Google+.
Some courses which are offered :
3rd February :   A  Room with a View 
1st March:  Call of the  Wild 
1st April : The Picture of Dorian Gray
1st June: Frankenstein
1st July: Dubliners
1st August : A Study in Scarlet
These are just a few books which you may have read.  The tutor provides you with the e-book in pdf and a guided tour of the time and the writer in each week . Activities vary from sharing information online to  posting reviews after you have done some online research.  There is a discussion online where students can post their comments too. 
Why is it good? Because you can use English and you  can write and read in English.
For each week there is a test and a written assignment which can  be based on an online research, describing a picture that is in relationship with the topic or issue presented in the book.
While I was searching the web I came across interesting videos and resources online. I am going to use the approach in class  and some of the ideas   which I have just seen in the activities I was asked to do.
For example the final activity for my task about Jane Eyre in January was to carry out some research online about the films which were  made  or to choose to write how I  would   write the script for a film based on Jane Eyre and which actors and actresses I would like to have in the film. My script changed a lot of things  and I chose the love story between an English man named Rochester and a beautiful woman whose skin is not white. I wanted to underline the social class differences and the problems in the Victorian Age.
 These are just some examples of how we could exploit literature in a different way:
- reading and commenting  about  characters and plots
- watching  old films based on the  films and comparing  different films based on the books
- writing a review about what we have read or seen in  a film
- commenting what others have written in a post
Testing was based on choosing the right items for questions related to each section we had  done and which might refer to  the themes, the characters, the mood, information about the writer and the story narrated.

If you are interested, just enrol online. I have already done many courses but I am willing to re-read what  I learnt a long time ago.      
The  Reading Club might be interesting also for our students of Foreign Languages or in " Liceo Linguistico" who are interested in learning online.  
All the activities are free and if you do most of them you can get a statement of accomplishment.

sabato 9 gennaio 2016

WW1 World War One: a History in 100 stories MOOC course by Futurelearn

           World War One:  a History in 100 stories

If you are interested in learning more about WW1 you might be interested in choosing  this MOOC course by Futurelearn:

World War One: a history in 100 stories

The course will be running again in April, starting on 25th April 2016.

I did it last year and I got entrapped into the stories which were presented. Sad stories about men and women from Australia who went to Europe and experienced one of the worst experiences that people can see and  will never forget. The MOOC was free and it is free also this year and you can learn more about the events and how people decided to enlist and choose to go abroad and sometimes die.

On Remembrance Day in November 2015 they launched a book about this work which many people saw thanks to Monash University, a leading university in Australia:

You can learn more about the course and the book by  seeing the presentation of the project online:

I think that also our students might be interested in learning online because we can study  History by learning about  people and their families during  WW1.

"Memory and History  are always about the Future ": just think about learning online and decide to enrol. We can think about also today's wars because  men still make mistakes and  forget what happened.

giovedì 7 gennaio 2016

WW1 - Teaching ideas about the best ways for introducing and working on the topic

WW1- A MOOC course from FutureLearn and interesting ideas about how to approach the theme with students of English 

Last year I was able to do some courses online that focussed on the topic of  WW1.  I did more than two  MOOC courses  thanks to Futurelearn, a platform which provided me with plenty of ideas about how to work with my secondary school students of the 5th year who  are going to study for the final year exams. What's more I wrote some online activities to enhance teaching by using technology too and I chose this topic for my activities online which were done for some other MOOCs. It is only a pity that I am working in a school where technology is  really  poor and my students cannot work online in class, some do not even have an internet  access at home.
This is the link to the post I wrote about the last  MOOC which I had liked  and was offered by Futurelearn.

I am doing another  course now and it is " WW1  Heroism: through Art and Film".
I liked the  approach as the tutors online  guided people through the discovery of what happened in Europe in the years 1914-1918. We could learn about  artists who depicted the atrocities of what they had seen while others celebrated the power of the great heroes who were sent to the front and died.
The Red Baron was a great hero for the Germans and his name was later remembered by the Nazis to underline the values in which he believed and that made him a man who had fought for his country.Today we know that he was or became a symbol of  the Nazis.
The films which were mentioned had to do with different cultures: WW1 was different
for the British, the Germans and the French.
 I could not learn about Italy and it was difficult to find information about our artists. I know that we had Futurism in Italy but I could not find paitings about WW1 which could be compared with the British ones.
For most people the war should end in a short time and men were encouraged to enlist as they should defend their country. Women  must have been proud of their husbands and children who went to war.
I liked the first part of the MOOC which dealt with the posters and we were asked to carry out our  research online  and to share what we had learnt. Our research was about  a sort of  propaganda that aimed at reaching men and women and the British hero was a man who decided to leave his family to go abroad and fight for his country. Women would remain at home and would wait for their husbands to come back home. What happened was a sad reality. Many died while others could not work and could not forget what they had seen in the trenches.
A second important point was the research about  books and films that  described the topic of WW1,
The MOOC has offered a lot of  interesting links to  online materials that we can exploit online and which we can share and use with our students.

Our padlet about posters and  propaganda offers an interesting activity of what we can  do with our  students: they can research information and then upload what they have found online and share it.
Padlet can be used from home and students do not need to register, it is up to the teacher to choose what  kind of padlet to design and to check what is shared on line. We can also decide not to embed the activity on the school website or blog and just work on it as a project. The link can be shared by students who will work from home and develop a collaborative project. They could also add more information and explain why they chose some images or posters.

This is our padlet :just have a look at it and think about the potentialities it can offer also for blended learning activities and project works.

For more links and information about  WW1  I particularly liked this website:

My great love for this topic is related to poetry in English and the so-called " War poets",  and if I had to work on the topic of WW1 I would choose the poems by W.Owen and  R.Brooke who present different attitudes as regards the idea of  war and  British patriotism.

A writer who I would like to remember would be Vera Brittain- a pacifist-  who wrote a book in which she presented how WW1 deeply changed her life. The title of the book  is   Testament of Youth.
You can read some extracts from her book by following this link  or you could watch the trailer of the film which was released in 2015.

I carried out a research online and was able to find this short film " The Collector" which is a masterpiece as it depicts the story of a soldier while he is at war and we see him while he thinks about the happy moments in his life.The man seems to be obsessed with things that remind him of his enemies and the ones who were killed but he will die too.  Other students chose some classical films  or books. You can find a lot of resources and most of them are  free and very usefull for online presentations.

THE COLLECTOR WW1 Short (S16mm) from Lorne Guy on Vimeo.

If we want to  work online and develop a flipped approach to teach we can find  many resources which are shared by many  educators . I found this infographic that can help us understand how this war marked the history of men and women at the beginnin of the twentieth century: slideshares, pinterest  and also pearltrees are good social marking tools that  can provide us with many interesting ideas for presentations online or if we want to embed them in our webpages.
I wish to thank the teachers in the course which I did because they were nice supporters in our course.
Thanks to the University of Leeds that ran it.

venerdì 1 gennaio 2016



How to continue in the  new year 2016 

Thanks to my  PLN I can now learn more online and study from home, share material online and have access to a lot of free resources.
Internet does not always provide you with correct information, you need to check and see what is right, what is wrong but a lot of teachers are getting more and more connected and they share " free material" online. My PLN is a community of teachers who are English mother tongue speakers, mainly, but I have also learnt from my colleagues in Europe while I was doing the MOOCs  courses thanks to some MOOC platforms  like Futurelearn European Schoolnet Academy  and many more.
I have been following a lot of educators, MOOCs providers and experts in new technology thanks to  Twitter
I have not started yet but I am going to start writing my  own materials online, maybe some e-books and  online resources which can be shared and  my students could use. This is the " magic" of the web and I have seen that blended learning and online learning are now entering the world of education  and also secondary school education in my country.

Tips for learning online as an educator
- Become a connected  Educator

- Use Social Media as an educator and also at school : your students are connected students so why don't you try to meet their interests and work with them?

- Develop your  PLN and share materials, experiences, anything that can help others develop new teaching and learning objectives

 Create your own materials and share them: think about education and topics related to education  and choose groups of teachers who are similar to you and then take part in the discussions and try to work on your own, in projects and continue learning!!  

Here are some examples of what other teachers have done and you can find and read online:
"Zen  and the Act of Teaching ebook "  by David Deubelbeiss


You can also find guides and materials for teachers written by experienced teachers, some interesting ones also about " the art of teaching": have a look at this book online which contains important ideas about how we can  make our teaching more " engaging".

This is my presentation  for a Lend meeting in my area where I presented my experience as an online learner and my ideas about  CPD. 

- Start writing a blog
- Follow webinars online: most of them are free and you just need to register, later you will get the links for the webinars and in some cases the slides and web links for further studies
- Bookmark important websites and blogs: I think that today education is changing but thanks to  social networks there are plenty of communities online where you can share ideas.  I check some blogs written by English language teachers and also experts in  technology and education. Most of them are in English but there are also good Italian educators 
- Register to MOOC platforms so that they will send you information about their courses 
- Choose Youtube and Ted videos  as important sources of information about ideas and new methodologies
- Learn about new tools and how to work with them online: every year there are MOOCs and many tutorials about web 2.0 tools also on  Youtube so that you will become tech-savy too.

This is  21st Century  Education  ...

What is 21st century education from Fred Verboon on Vimeo.