digital literacy

Classroom silence and digital natives

Svetlana Kandybovich recently wrote a post about allowing students thinking time. It’s full of useful ideas for the classroom and well worth a read.

Something else worth reading is ‘The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World’ by Laurence Scott (2015). I’m only halfway through, but it’s one of those social commentaries that has you nodding your head in agreement after almost every page.

One topic of interest in the book is silence. Scott dedicates a few pages to describing how, due to social media, the very notion of silence has changed. He states that ‘technological progress is, by all appearances, making life noisier…’ and suggests that the buzz of tweets, likes, status updates, etc, create some sort of ‘slipperiness between noise and silence…’. Even awkward silences between people are now filled with noisy, 4D silences in cyberspace when we hide behind our phones – something apparent the moment I walk into my adult classes! (more…)

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Digital Breaks – James Styring

I attended a useful webinar by James Styring the other week, entitled ‘Easy and motivating ways to use digital technology in the classroom. Click here to watch a recording of the webinar.

Overall, it was a very good presentation. There were lots of useful and straightforward tips for utilising the tech that students have at their disposal. I liked the fact that James made use of classic ELT activities (like ‘Find someone who’) and tweaked them to make use of tech in some way:

  • Find someone who has 7 of the same apps on their phone’s homepage
  • Find someone who has 2 of the same games as you
  • Find someone who has taken a picture on their phone in the same location as you
  • Etc

This is just one example, but it highlighted that things don’t have to be complicated. You can use existing activities, just personalise them using a tech element that’s ‘Generation Z’ friendly.

On a side note, that’s what I liked about Text Chat Activities by Mark Oliver (which I reviewed here). Familiar activities give the teacher more confidence to make minor changes…

Anyway. James’ best tip was to use ‘Digital Breaks’. He said the tip was from a British Council teacher from another webinar so, whoever you are, good suggestion!

According to James, ‘Generation Z’ get the urge to check social media apps on their phone every 7 minutes. Don’t fight against it – you want their attention, so schedule some digital breaks. I’ve started doing it. I allow students a timed break (2 minutes) every half an hour or so. Honestly, I’ve noticed that my teen classes focus more during activities. I was surprised, but they really do! Give it a go, let me know what you think.

Feature image from marketcloud.com

I’m writing a series of short posts in response to Martin Sketchley’s blog challenge. You can view his new blog here.

Lesson idea: Star Wars crawl creator

I got so excited about this that I had to post it up! I found this site today where you can create your own version of the Star Wars intro! It looks like this, and you can find it here…

starwars

It’s really simple to do – just create your own story, type it in and click done…

starwars2

My students are still loving Star Wars at the moment so this got tonnes of laughs. It’s perfect for creative writing. Enjoy!