Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Little Bridge - interactive software for ESL/EAL

For anyone teaching English as a second language this is must have software.

I have used it in South Africa, with Xhosa and Afrikaans speakers. It worked both for experienced IT learners and those who were fairly new to learning through language software.

It is exciting and easy to use. The 3d animations are TV quality. The exercises are varied but fully supported with teacher and pupil books.

This is just great fun and fits alongside the company's other primary language software for French and German.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Twitter and Iran

My thoughts about the way the Iranian protests have become a "fashionable" trend.

The problem is we do not know what happened. The young in Tehran who have access to social media do not necessarily reflect the voting population. It is quite possible the election was won by the ruling party.

Similar things happened in South Africa. The people of Cape Town who showed cynicism about Zuma were the minority. He almost won his 2/3 majority because the rural voters supported him. Same in the UK, the vocal and media savvy Londoners may tell the world what the British think but the Celtic outskirts may have views diametrically opposed.

All the green overlays and the urge to retweet could be used to serve some awful causes. There are real examples of the Iranian government assuming Twitter identities and passing on false info.

It worries me intensely that people in the West have adopted the cause in Iran without having a full understanding of the history, the context and the issues.

Just having the ability to use Twitter does not automatically make you the Good Guy.

an interesting blog to read

The Dark Side of Twittering a Revolution BY Jamais Cascio

digital story telling - Inanimate Alice

or as the educationists call it - multi modal media!

There are lots of examples of great little animations or digital stories on the web but for many teachers it is hard work tracking them down.

I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the people behind Inanimate Alice, a really great example of online story telling that gets to you on first viewing. It has also thrilled learners all over the world.

It tells the story of Alice as she learns about life and technology. Music is grand, style superb. Different countries feature and it is available in several languages. Episode 1 is even there in Afrikaans!

4 stories so far.

I have to admit that the story gets less effective as you carry on through the episodes but the first one is really engaging. Some of the writing for the classroom is also a little "iffy" but a good teacher would be able to use this in their delivery very effectively. Learners who I have seen using it, love it. It is interactive and exciting.

But best of all? It is entirely free! Brief outline of the story below. The website also tells you how you can get involved.

'Inanimate Alice' tells the story of Alice, a young girl growing up in the first half of the 21st century, and her imaginary digital friend, Brad.

Over ten episodes, each a self contained story, we see Alice grow from an eight year old living with her parents in a remote region of Northern China to a talented mid-twenties animator and designer with the biggest games company in the world.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Monday, 1 June 2009

Teachers TV in the UK

Up until last year I guested on Resource Review as a "resident expert" !!! The channel is an amazing free resource and the programmes can be watched online or downloaded for class or staffroom use.

Several of the programmes I used in South African schools very successfully. The Interactive WhiteBoard guides were (still are?) great.

Well worth a look from anywhere in the world.

me (sort of...)

me (sort of...)