Friday, November 05, 2010

From darkness to a sparkling connected ELT community

From darkness to a sparkling connected ELT community Brasilia BRAZ-TESOL Key note by Claudio Azevedo blogger of movie segments had some knowledge about computers but was only absorbing information. He had the feeling he was a blood sucker. He wanted to learn about technology to share what he knew All of us had to adapt to technology : VCR, cassette players. Miracles do not happen. You have to take action. You cannot wait for the institution. Once you start doing something you start learning A blog about what? Blog about what you do best. You should be committed to provide information, be aware of trends, checking visitors, being responsible/accountable for your readers. Recognition
First from colleagues and later from a wider community. Recognition is what motivates us.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010


This week my laptop crashed again. I really need to get a new one. This did cause some troubles because I am a bit connected and dependent on it (not addicted). When this happens, I generally engage in other activities and find a chance to unwind a bit. I always have backups of lesson plans in external drive, so I always manage to go on without a connection. However, what amazes me is how can always maintain his/her connectivity no matter what happens. I feel that we are conneted to the web and not to the gadgets we use. The web is like an entity that is everywhere. It is always available and ready. Just last week, after some futile resistance and skepticism, I finally gave myself an I-Phone. As i write this post on this very gadget, i cannot help thinking on its unintended consequences, on the it is being by people that has not being anticipated by its creators. I really the idea of antropophagy in technology (humans assimilating technology and using in a sustainable benign and less consumerist way, like cell phones that used in for making money transfers without going through the banking system). In a week i am not using I-Phone as cell phone anymore (I removed the chip and put it  back on my old cellphone because my carrier was eating way my credits even i belied i was connected to a wireless network at home or at work)and 

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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Social Networking for Classroom

typepad network

photo credit: Ross Mayfield via photo pin cc

It's been already some time I have been ruminating about using social networking in class. Since Ning start charging for its services, I have been searching around for a replacement. Right now I am using This one has proven to be better than ning in many ways. I have set up some communities with my groups and I have been playing around with it. Just today I found out about schoology (a nice name for a service like this) through my twitter network and  decided to share their demo video with my blog readers. I am happy that there are so many free alternatives to ning. I will sure try this one with a group and see how it works.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

#bratelsol10 Tools and Technologies for Forming Communities (Michael Coghlan)

Right now, I am attending Michael Coghlan presentation at Braz- Tesol and instead of threads on twitter, I have decided to post a summary here. Hope you all like it.
The appeal of online communities is that it allows you to connect with people you already know, people you share similar interests, people you already know via a different medium, and you meet new people.
Online communities can also be used for professional development, connecting remote learners,  and modeling a new way of learning for the 21st century (lifelong learning or networked learning).
A result of the constant flow of information is that you need a gang to manage it. People spread information using so many different media that at the end of this presentation there will be a flood of posts that a gang is needed to filter and manage the information.
One of Mike's gang is the Webheads in Action (a community of internet enthusiasts that uses technology for teaching and learning). The webheads is a community that exists because of technology.
Before my battery dies, I will stop here and continue updates on twitter

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Celebrating Social Media Day

Today is social media day and 500 cities around the world are celebrating it. I have just checked the list and saw that Brasilia (the city I live in) is one of them. It is for sure a day to celebrate because it has to do with the development of tools that allowed users to move from passive consumers to producers of web content. As a language teacher and a citizen, I am happy to see the possibilities it creates for my classes when my students and I have moved beyond using the web to do treasure hunts. Now we can create our own treasures and share them with the world. The media becoming social is a bit like the fall of the Bastille of official, filtered, censored web. Before blogs, you tube, social networking, and so many other possibilities of publishing content, one could only have his or her voice heard online if  he or she possessed very advanced computer skills.  The so called social web has democratized the cyberspace allowing anyone to share their ideas in any way they choose with the advantage of getting feedback. Social media transformed the one way approach to publishing into a multi party conversation. The reasons why we should celebrate social media are many. I myself just wish some more people join us, social media fans, to make the cyber and the real world a better place.
José Antônio

Saturday, June 26, 2010

To tweet or not to tweet

Twitter has recently reached widespread fame and usage. It seems that everyone is twittering now. When I listen to the news on my car radio on my commute to work I hear the news anchor announcing the station's twitter url. Some banks advertise their twitter accounts as way of getting feedback from their clients. In class, I have observed that most of my students are connected to twitter. However, at the same time I see how people use twitter and I kind of understand why some object joining it and dismiss it as a useless tool, or just passing fad that will go away. They might be right, but while the hype lasts, some of us can get the best it has to offer: its capabilities for sharing, getting news, and keep connected to your friends and updated on your interests.
Twitter is for me like my daily news. The difference is that I get the news every time I turn my computer on. Besides that, I also get updates while I am working on it. Some people claim it is overwhelming and distracting, but so is everything in life. We are always filtering information whenever we read newspapers or magazines, surf TV,  radio channels or the web. Twitter is just the same. Besides being a source of daily/breaking news, it is also a way of sharing things I find on the web with the people that follow me. In this sense, it is a sharing button: a good way of spreading news other than sending an e-mail with a link to your friend without the need of a reply. Moreover, it is also a way of being ubiquitous (if this is possible) due to its integration features. Even in cyberspace, we cannot be everywhere, but twitter allows us to be in many places. I myself have connected my account to my posterous blog (which is connected to my blogger blog, tumblr, wordpress, and friendly feed), to simplybox and diigo (which allows people connected to my twitter see the things I bookmark), to facebook, and other services that I cannot recall right now or may feel a bit lazy to list them all (or might not want to make it boring for my readers). I see the later features as a good way to establish a reasonable online presence. To sum it up, in my opinion, twitter can be a great tool if it is used wisely.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The toys I play with

I have just got my computer back from the repair shop. I have had this one for almost two years now and I still intend to keep it for some time. It amazing how paranoid computer technicians seem to be. The repair guy reconfigured my computer and blocked almost everything. So, while I was trying to get around all the barriers I now had, I kept thinking about how web 2.0 fanatics enjoy being around computers experimenting with tools. I had a great pleasure in reinstalling my firefox browser and all the add ons I use. My nephew, who is very smart when it comes to computers, always asks me why I have so much stuff on my toolbar. I really love quoting, twittering, bookmarking, and so on. So, I spent a big part of this evening trying to get all my add ons to work. Some of my colleagues get really upset when things do not work they way they wish with their computers, I do too, but I end up enjoying all the hassle that comes along with it. I guess computers are my toys and i really love playing with them. I think once we grow up we have to find new toys. Some people enjoy fishing, others enjoy watching soccer on TV or live. I love working with computers and sharing my discoveries.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Learning with others

I have joined Diigo a couple of years ago and it has helped me a lot. With Diigo I feel more connected to my interests because I follow lots of with whom I learn every single day. I always open my Diigo e-mail updates and bookmark items my e-friends have shared. Besides that, I am always sharing whatever I discover with my network of friends. I guess that at the beginning I had the usual difficulties everyone has, but I am persistent  . Just now I learned some new things when I was trying to teach Lucia how to use Diigo (I never highligh, so I had to learn how to do it to teach her) . I have learned that on the web one never knows everything and we can always learn when sharing and teaching others. I really love the idea of offloading (storing knowledge on my friends) instead of downloading knowledge.  So, I take it easy and do not try to learn everything. I just learn what I can and think I need. The rest, my friends learn for me and I learn something for them in return.
I confess, I have never used Diigo in the classroom. I think the studetns I usually have are too young for bookmarking. I guess that with a group of adults, this would be more meaningful. I would teach them how to work in Diigo and would then create a group for them to share there favorites. From my experiences adults just love to discover that can get rid of the endless list of favorites they have on their pc when they bookmard things the old way.

That is all, I guess.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reflection of the week

I guess my students learn everywhere and they do it in many ways. They learn when I give them a conversation task to do, when they do a grammar based activity. They also learn while surfing the web, when they connect to peers and with their teachers.

The curriculum does not provide  much tech-richness. What we teachers need to do is to adapt our curriculum to include some tech-rich ingredients.

I have been using the internet with my students mainly to create virtual classes. I try to create spaces where they can apply what they aready know to improve their language skills. Although, I am mostly happy with my results, I still feel I need to do something extra to empower them, to connect them better, to enhance their learning with these tools.  I am still looking for ways of improving what I have been doing.

I guess what I am still trying to do is to turn my 21st classroom into a learning engine I would say that this is the philosopher's stone I have been looking for. I am sure I will find it some day.

I guess that despite the barrier of time, I am engaging my students. I keep trying and I like what I see.


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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

- Ethevaldo Siqueira - The Demassification of Information Society

This is a podcast in Portuguese. Something I like to listen when I am arriving at work (around 5 to 7 am) on weekdays. In this podcast Etevaldo Siqueira discusses the challenges involved in demassification of society in the information age predicted by Alvin Tofler. I think it is big challenge for us educators to transform our students into creators of critical content in the digital age we are living.
I totally agree with the parallel drawn by Tofler between the industrial revolution and the digital revolution in what concerns the massification of society.
Hope you enjoy listening and reading.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

BBC News - Mobile phones become smarter in 2010

BBC News - Mobile phones become smarter in 2010

Just checking out a feature in Google Chrome called blog this. It is a nice way of quoting things from the web and posting them to your blog.
This one about mobile phones becoming smarter is really nice. I do follow with great enthusiasm all the developments in mobile phones. Nonetheless the one I use is still very basic. Phone bills and smart phones are still too expensive for me.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

A quick guide to interactive YouTube videos (RT @russeltarr)

Check out this website I found at
I love using videos in class. One of my goals for this semester is start making some more videos myself. I am thinking of using puppets to deal with the issue of privacy and avoid exposing children.
I was really amazed when I found out about interactive you tube videos The article I am quoting from not only features some videos but also has a guide teaching you how to make them.
I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Twiducate socialnetworking for schools

I have really enjoyed using social networking websites with my students. I first started using 21 Classes  and had a nice experience with it. It had some limitations, though. One thing was the difficulty to embed other things into the pages. I liked to have all students in one front page from where they could access each other's blogs and explore the features they were so used to in their out of class social networks.
Next, I discovered ning. This one I have been using till today and I am planning to continue using this year. Ning is social networking at its best. Its features include forums, chat, blogs, photos, videos, integration with  twitter, and some more. It is worth exploring.
Just yesterday I found out about twiducate on twitter (actually I think I had seen it before, but just yesterday I decided to give it a try). It seems simpler than the other ones and a bit more complete than twitter for what I wanted. I will have a group of beginner students and I really did not want to use ning to avoid overwhelming them with so many features. I also did not want to use a blog because it would be very teacher centered. So twiducate seems like a tool that is not the complex and will allow all students to interact in one place.
I posted this screencast to give those who might want to use it an idea of how it works. I hope it is helpful.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Watching TV while surfing the web
I really love multitasking. I guess once you discover the wonders of the Internet, you just cannot help. Something I also like doing is watching TV. I know that web TV is becoming a reality in the US, but some of the services are not available to other countries. I was really happy when I found out about where you can watch TV programs from many countries around the world (such as this one where a storyteller entertains children with her story),

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2010-Horizon-Report.pdf (application/pdf Object)


The Horizon Report is an important report released each year on emerging technologies. It discusses trends and issues related to teaching and learning. It is really worth reading.