Bringing students to participate more effectively used to be something difficult, especially if we thought about those shy ones who would come to our classes and spend it all checking the time on their watches, when they did not ask us: “Teacher, what time is it?”. You then knew your class was terrible, but there are, also those students that even if you taught them upside down , they wouldn’t express any reaction.
That doesn’t need to be true nowadays, because that was a time when teachers really had to do magic everyday to have their students attention. Things have changed a lot and for the better, we now have access to a great variety of tools that can catch our pupils attention, have them participate and interact, get better and real learning results and even have fun.
Where can I find those tools?
One of the best ways to find these tools is, definitely, through Twitter. Twitter is not just a way to tell friends what you are doing, but there you can get in contact with teachers all over the world and learn from them what are the best technology tools up to date.
How do I find those teachers?
Start by logging up to Twitter. After you have your account, edit your profile and show people who you are. Then, you can search for people twittering about a hashtag, such as #ELT, #EFL, #ESL or other you might find possible in your area. You’ll probably find teachers that twitter about that content, so just open their profile and start following them.
You can also, look for them at edublogs. Once you’ve found a teacher’s blog you’ll probably find a link to follow them on twitter, just click the link and follow him/her.
What happens then?
Well, then, these teachers will get a message telling you are following them, and most of them will do the same, open your profile and start following you. You will now receive their tweets with great content on the Internet, links for good blogs and posts, invitations for Webinars and conferences and, amazing tools to use with your students.
You might also, be invited to participate in chats about teaching issues and learn more and more each day.
Some great interactive tools I got from teachers I follow on Twitter
AnswerGarden is great tool to provide interactivity among our students. You can embed it to a wiki or blog and ask them to answer as part of the homework. That will make them keep thinking of your class. They can use only 20 characters to define something or answer a question, so being concise is something important and it is a required ability nowadays. This is an example of a Garden we can create:
If you are tired of those PPTs, you should try PREZI. It brings and interesting cycling movement to your presentation, you can use pictures, videos, or links to make it interesting and customize it giving different directions, colors and fonts, creating an amazing and helpful tool. It is really easy to use, and you can also ask students to create their own Prezi related to the content you are teaching. Here is my first Prezi, which I intend to use at school with the teachers:
Teaching in a funny way is not difficult nowadays, but it is necessary that teachers leave their comfort zone and try different things. Stop being a teacher and become a lifelong learner. There is a fascinating world to explore and have as much fun as you can provide your students with.