TED talks

Good evening,


            Before I was admitted in the BEALS program, I took several English classes here in university Laval. All of these classes introduced me one at a time to a wonderful website: TED.  In case you don’t already know about TED, it is a website that presents videos, as YouTube does, but not in the same way. I think the best way to describe TED would be to quote one of my former teacher’s students: “It’s like YouTube, but it is intelligent.” I have to admit, it is a smart website, since it contains speeches from some of the brightest minds. Whether you are interested in knowing more about new medical breakouts, new technologies or, interested in any clever and fascinating speech, TED is worth knowing about. I really enjoyed using it as an ESL student and now, I am looking forward to using it as an ESL teacher.


            As this video explains, TED talks are actual material that a teacher can use to starts discussion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPnfK2_Bk9Y  In fact, not long ago in my ESL class, I had a project where I had to choose one of the 1000 TED talks and discuss it in a small group. I thought it was a great, and more importantly new, way to have students actively participating. Moreover, suggesting a weekly visit on TED’s website can stimulate students to find out about a subject that they particularly find interesting, and improve their understanding of L2 in the meantime.


            However, I acknowledge that the level of language used in TED talks is not necessarily easy enough for young students to understand, but up from the second half of high-school, I believe that it could be a useful material-provider for teachers who want to innovate. To give you an idea of how to use TED in classes, click on the following link. http://raichlefarrelly.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/102/


For an introduction to TED Talks, I recommend you this video.  http://www.ted.com/talks/joe_smith_how_to_use_a_paper_towel.html

 I especially liked this one since it is simple, not too long, and succeeds in opening people’s minds on how to make our world healthier.


            TED was for me a great revelation since it brought me to some incredible speeches that changed my way of seeing things, or simply made me laughed while learning on a certain subject. If it becomes such a revelation for only a few of a teacher’s students, I will certainly have a positive impact on their lives.


First Smart Board experience

Greetings everyone,

We live in an era where the technology makes increasing progress day after day. And, as a future teacher, I think it is my responsibility to stay updated on any new tool that could improve the quality of the students’ learning experiences.

I recently had the chance to use a popular teaching tool in my practicum 1 as I was doing my first teaching activity: the Smart Board. Since I had never pictured myself teaching while using anything else than a simple chalk and chalkboard, I never really paid attention to what the Smart Board and other technologies had to offer. However, as my activity went on, I was surprised of how it simplified the task that I wanted to do.

I must say, I consider myself only “okay” with computers. I witnessed or heard about many teachers’ stressful moments caused by a misunderstanding of a program or tool like the Smart Board. This is why, as I started my activity with the Smart Board, I was minded and prepared to fight against any machines’ rebellion. I didn’t need to! I was actually impressed that my freak out moments lasted not more than 2 seconds, mostly because they did not take more than 2 seconds to fix.

However, even if teachers can easily get excited about it, the use of Smart Boards, as Mark Miller said during his lecture last Tuesday, it shouldn’t exceed 10% of a teacher’s actual teaching time.

But, along with the fact that they are time-savers and easy to use, I found about some other situations where the Smart Board could be useful. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Integrating_Technology_In_K12/SmartBoards_in_a_Classroom

Although I have been bragging about my brilliant talent with the Smart Board since the beginning of the article, I do realize that there are serious downsides that come along with the tool. I read a blog article posted by a high-school teacher that I found interesting even though I do not agree on some of his opinions. http://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/we-dont-need-smart-boards-we-need-smart-people-jerry-brodkey/

His point was basically that Smart Boards are not necessary to give students good education. I agree with him, but my view of things is that as a teacher, my job is to make sure that students are learning as much as possible during my class. If Smart Boards can help me create an interactive setting to my classes, well, I’m more than open to receive that help, although it is not “necessary”. In fact, this article makes me realize that there are still fears towards technology in the teaching profession. Sure, technology could be scary at first sight, but when you learn how to use and control it, you can take advantage of it. Driving a car can easily be scary when you first learn it right? But don’t you still use it to get to work or to school faster every day? Like driving, technology is something that will help teachers getting from the point A to the point B faster and in a more efficient way with their students.


Use of Facebook for educational purposes

Hello everyone.

I’ve recently read about how social networks like Facebook or Twitter can be adapted by ESL teachers as a teaching tool with specific purposes.

The way I see it, one of a teacher’s main goals is to be able to reach their students. And these days, where are the students? Probably on Facebook.

As Mark Miller said in last class’ lecture, being available on Facebook (as a professional), posting work and/or additional information is an ideal way to reach students while keeping them updated in all times.  There are seemingly more chances that a student will see something posted on a Facebook group (even if it is related to school) before something posted on a school portal, no matter how wisely built it is. Furthermore, students using Facebook are given the opportunity to use a great chat system that simplifies group discussions.

For those of you who are interested in reading more about other possible ways a teacher can integrate Facebook to his teaching habits, this article shows probably most of them.(http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/06/ultimate-guide-to-use-of-facebook-in.html)

Also, since social networks are an actual and underrated part of today’s generation children and teenagers, why shouldn’t we give them the chance to learn how to use them responsibly? Teachers, being one of the principal real-life modal for students, should also become their cyber-modal, as some of them enter the cyber-world for the first time.

While this sounds quite reasonable, I agree that it might bring up many doubts and worries to people’s minds, and it should, In fact, I think that a great deal of attention should be put on making sure that teachers are aware that their role model for students continues and arguably amplifies as they switch from in front of a classroom to in front of their computers. However, for the purpose of this discussion, let’s think of all teachers as virtually responsible human beings.


Facebook, one of the most powerful communication tools, almost consists of a whole world by itself. And students, by subscribing on Facebook will have to choose what type of information they will be exposed to on an everyday basis. I think that a parental or educational figure should be available for them when they have to make such choices. The internet gives everyone the chance to express themselves in front of the whole planet, but sadly, it’s not everyone that has something pertinent or beliefs based on reliable research to say. So, in one hand, teachers that are in contact with their students on Facebook can guide them, showing them what one should pay or not pay attention to by posting relevant articles in the class’ group.

On the other hand, another crucial point concerning uses of Facebook for class, as raised by this article, (http://ctlt.ubc.ca/2009/01/30/facebook-and-education/), is that teachers, by asking their students to create a Facebook account, are implicitly asking them to submit personal information to a certain data base somewhere in the United States.

In overall, I think that the pros of using Facebook for educational purposes exceed the cons. In fact, I would sleep better knowing that someone is guiding my hypothetical children into the cyber-world, even if the cost is to put some personal information online. Because, let’s face it, they are rare those who are not on any social networks nowadays.

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