Tuesday, January 31, 2012

After the 11 tools...

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to share and keep you posted about the things I have been using and exploring after the 11 tools training. First, let me tell you that I LOVE the diigo space and the diigolet tool is awesome! I am using this at home as well and I am already building my library with interesting websites and readings related to my class. I actually found yesterday this great blog from an Spanish teacher who is also experimenting with lots of technology in her class and posting back on the results she is having. So two thumbs up for the discovery of  diigo!
The second thing I wanted to share with you is http://www.xtranormal.com/ Although it said in the info they provided us that you needed to pay to publish, I decided to explore it and guess what? you actually don't unless the backgrounds or characters you use are too expensive or if you use your account more than once. So what I did was creating a video and played with it to see how it worked, then I planned a little project for my students and gave them a rubric of what they needed to do.
-First, I organized the groups as I had explained in one of my previous posts. I tried to level the groups, so in each group I had two excellent students that I knew could help with grammar and vocabulary, at least one geek (based on what they told me) a shy student and a student who is not doing that well.
-Then, I ask them to create an account and share the username and password with everyone in the group so they could have access to edit at home. The idea was that every member of the group had something to do and  in case the time given in class, was not enough, they didn't have to meet after school, just access it from home and do whatever needed to be done.
- I borrowed 5 laptops from 2 of my co-workers who happen to have a set of 5 laptops in their classroom. Students work half of the period on Thursday 1/19 and half of the period on Friday 1/20.
-They were asked to create a dialog that included vocabulary from Unit 3B as well as the grammatical structures studied in this unit. So they used vocabulary used to give directions, the present progressive, Commands and the direct Object pronouns. They movie needed to last at least one minute.
I let them know that we were not going to be able to work in class Monday or Tuesday, but we were going to use some time on Wednesday 1/25 after discussing out test that day. So, after Wednesday they needed to polish it of finish it at home.
Presentations took place last Friday 1/27 and here are some samples of what they were able to create.

We did find problems along the way, starting with the fact that the laptops used were not working properly, so my first period, wasted time trying to make them work. Also, some of the students were not able to publish because the characters they used were too expensive and the had gone over the free "points" they give you, after that you have to pay.
To follow up, I had students fill a survey talking about what they liked, didn't like and their opinions in these kind of projects. These are some of the common things I found:

1. They didn't like the fact that I made the groups. They want to be able to choose the people they work with.Many of them say they were upset when some students didn't do their share and were just asking: Are you done?
2. They complained the groups were too big, which is true, but what are we going to do with just 5 Ipads in class? how we manage that?
3. They wanted more time in class to work in the project.
4. Many of them expressed their preference for individual projects.
5. They found hard to work and manage the different input and opinions of everyone in the group. ( I think, good practice for life ;D)
6. " Attempting to keep everyone on task was a bit difficult"

1. " I was able to practice my vocabulary and grammar with this project"
2." I realized I actually know a lot more that I thought I did" ( I had a big smile when I read this one, as this is my idea of these projects)
3. " It was fun using technology"
4." This project brought us together. I made new friends" (comment from a very shy student in my class)

Anyway, this is my feedback on this experimenting process. I do intend to keep posting about my experiences and hope we all start sharing our ideas and experiences.

Peace Everyone!


  1. I just can't say enough good things about your blog! This post is a shining example of what 11 Tools is all about and is a HUGE success story. The proof is your results you talked about after the project. You progressed through the whole thing - but then I knew you would - you're a great teacher!

  2. Love the fact that you are taking the 11 Tools to the next level and really integrating technology into your instruction. Also love, love that you shared student products! I know they learned more than just about language skills through the experience!!