British Council Bilbao teacher talk: Blogging

I’m looking forward to my trip to Bilbao this weekend. I’m going to be involved in two ‘Teacher Talk’ sessions at the British Council there, both on blogging, but one will have a focus on young learners and the other, adults.

The audience will be mainly Spanish state school teachers, and it’s estimated that there’ll be around 35 per session. If there anywhere near as enthusiastic as the teachers I talked to in Madrid or Barcelona  recently, then there could be a small explosion of blogging activity in the Basque country. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for…

I’ve never been to Bilbao before, and am looking forward to visiting. Top on the list, of course, is the (relatively new) Gugenheim museum. Oh, and if anyone can suggest a good place for tapas, please leave me a comment.

Tilt TV

Tilt is a great videocast site for teachers made by teachers.

 It’s a space where teachers can share ideas, learning resources, advice, etc. about using technology to enhance student learning.

They encourage teachers to send “text, photo, audio recording, video recording, link, or any other medium you’d like and it will become a part of a future TILT broadcast”

The email address to send stuff to is:

 Thanks to James Farmer at incsub for this


Bringing the Playstation into the classroom

Since the PS2 first came out I have occasionally thought about ways of using it in the EFL classroom. ‘Why?’ you might ask. Well, computer games appeal to so many teenagers I thought it would be motivating to be able to build a bridge between the classroom and their idea of fun.

Since then, I’ve tried various things out without much success – I tried playing an adventure game, moving a character through a virtual world and recording the results on video. Playing this back in the class, I asked for predictions. It was OK, but hardly engaging.

Other experiments followed – another one I remember was using screenshots of characters from the Sims as examples when dealing with vocab about furniture and houses, and this was successful as it generated a spontaneous conversation about the merits of the game as well being more engaging than the coursebook I was using at the time.

This was some time ago, however, and I hadn’t really thought about exploiting computer games in class. That was until now. I’ve come across the game Buzz, which is an interactive quiz show (the first is a music quiz) which comes with its own set of four interactive buzzers.

As soon as I started playing the game I was hooked, and I know it will appeal to a lot of the learners in some of my classes. It would mean taking the actual PS2 into the classroom and hooking it up to the TV, but I think it’d be worth it, and I’m just waiting for the right opportunity to do so.

Oh, and at the same time, I’ve become aware of the Sing Star karaoke games that are now available for the PS2, which is another excuse for taking this machine to class. I’ve already asked some students in some classes if they’d sing in English with a karaoke machine, and it might be a fun way to end a class nearer Christmas.

If I come across any more games that might be used, then its’ obviosly the time to start asking the school to buy its own PS2.

How come it took me so long…?

So, I now have my very own edublog and I’m wondering how come it took me so long to do it – I suppose I’ve been holding off as I’ve tried out lots of other blogging s ystems and have always gone back to Blogger, but this is definitely different.

I’m also ready for a change, especially since the spamming problems I’ve had on blog-efl. I’ve also noted that I’ve become tired with Blogger – I’m sure that’s why I haven’t been blogging much recently. It’s about time I had a change. For the moment though, I’ll run the two in tandem.