Using twitter in the classroom: Brave New World!

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I have been an avid twitter user personally and professionally for a very long time and since becoming a full-time educator I have benefitted from the platform ENORMOUSLY as a source of inspiration and way to connect with MYRIADS of fellow educating professionals worldwide. It truly is my preferred social platform. But not until now have I had the idea to use it for English class, thinking it might be too complex for 14-year olds to wrap their heads around. Still, I was intrigued by the idea and decided to try. After researching a bit on how others use twitter in class, I prepped a lesson around my favourite communication network. Here’s how it went … „Using twitter in the classroom: Brave New World!“ weiterlesen

Personalised learning is all around us – even at a Star Wars exhibition!

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(screenshot courtesy Star Wars Identities Exhibition: http://www.starwarsidentities.com/hero/en-ca/5712749a94e3d)

If you are an educator like me, then you know the feeling. Your “on” button is activated 24/7. Your teacher brain never really goes off. You not only devote hours in your “free time” to correcting, preparing and reflecting, but also find countless sources of inspiration in the things you experience outside of the classroom. You get ideas for lessons at the supermarket, while watching TV, gardening, playing music or during drinks with friends. I got a serious jolt of inspiration after experiencing the Star Wars Identities Exhibition yesterday at Vienna’s Museum for Applied arts. It was a fantastic demonstration of how personalising learning can provide something uniquely engaging.

„Personalised learning is all around us – even at a Star Wars exhibition!“ weiterlesen

Paper and the 21st century classroom

Do you have any idea how much paper you use in a school year? I found out this week. Our principal circulated a memo kindly reminding us to be mindful about printing and copying too many sheets. He invited those who wanted to know what their personal consumption was to get their stats from him privately. I mean, those of us who are active in education know the realities of teaching. There are worksheets, test sheets and forms, just to name a few instances of paper use. Exam papers have several pages, and get longer in the upper levels. And if you have several classes (each with 25 students) that means a lot of printing and copying, right? Unavoidable but necessary? How much paper should an 21st century educator use for the classroom?

„Paper and the 21st century classroom“ weiterlesen

Personalizing Learning

This is truly an exciting time to be an educator. These past few days and weeks have been a delightful crazy-and-busy blur. I’ve been privileged to travel and meet with educators and learners in different places and see how individuals are innovating left right and centre! This week I had the opportunity to sit in on a meeting at European Schoolnet in Brussels, where the Interactive Classroom Working Group has put a spotlight on Personalizing Learning. It was a compact, intense 2 days of sharing experiences and discussing strategy and ways of working going forward. How can personalized learning be fostered in the classrooms of European schoolchildren? What we saw and heard helped us to find answers to these questions.  „Personalizing Learning“ weiterlesen

How attending an Apple conference transformed my teaching

It’s been about a month but I am still glowing from what I experienced at the Apple Education Leadership Summit in London on 20 January 2016. It’s hard to describe what I saw and heard at the summit without using too many superlatives. It was extremely well-organized and coordinated. It was inspiring, eye-opening and transformative. It was future-oriented and full of practical recommendations. A meeting of the minds and hearts at the highest level. Following the ingenious motto: “Create. Change.” those who were there had the chance to reflect on what we’d like to transform in education and why. The focus was always on us educators being courageous, creative and innovative when we design transformative learning experiences for our students. As the eLearning and eLSA Coordinator at my school RGORG Anton-Krieger-Gasse I was lucky enough to be invited to this conference, which had a few hundred educators from across Europe in attendance. It was a single day in January, but it immediately impacted my practice and teacher persona, in primarily three ways.

„How attending an Apple conference transformed my teaching“ weiterlesen

Combining Challenge-Based Learning with Genius Hour to create Magic in the classroom

I hope you’ll forgive the extra long title to this blog post. I’m still full of good vibes after the 4th class English lesson this past Friday. Everything came together and worked better than I had planned, which is a welcome surprise especially since I tried 2 things I had always wanted to try but hadn’t had the chance to do before.

„Combining Challenge-Based Learning with Genius Hour to create Magic in the classroom“ weiterlesen

Moments that transform

Although teaching is really hard work I feel so privileged to have what I consider to be the best job in the world. We teachers live for the special moments. When you end a lesson where everything went well. Where you connect with the learners. When you leave the classroom where both you and the learners look forward to the next time. There were three special moments in my week last week but the one that gave me the warmest glow was an English lesson in my 4th year class.

„Moments that transform“ weiterlesen

Testing with iPads

This year marks the first where I have the chance to use tablets systematically in a classroom, in my case with a group of 14-year old English learners, so there are a lot of things that I’ve read about but hadn’t had the opportunity to try. This week in class I tested testing with the iPad for the first time. Here is what I’ve learned. „Testing with iPads“ weiterlesen

My thoughts on defining homework for today’s educator

The newly appointed president of the Vienna Board of Education has reportedly declared he would like to see schools without homework, no doubt causing many teachers’ eyes to roll. Homework remains a point of contention, a matter of fervent debate at all levels and in all school types. Many teachers view it as necessary evil, a fact of life, a given, without which learning cannot take place. Other teachers question its validity and efficiency, especially in the 21st century classroom, where the individual needs of students should be put first and foremost. You likely fall into one of these camps and have made your own experiences and observations. What does it look like from my perspective in the Austrian Middle School classroom?  „My thoughts on defining homework for today’s educator“ weiterlesen