Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Oxfam's Cool Planet

Brought to the group by Antonio, this is the web site he proposed as a resource for designing projects in which children are involved not only in learning English but also in learning values.

Oxfam's Cool Planet is a website that teaches children about some of Oxfam's recipient countries, including food from around the world, children's stories from around the world, and the "Mapping Our World" teaching product.

It is designed to support educators everywhere in the world along with their students and make it as simple as possible for teachers to bring the global dimension into their classrooms.

Using the concept of "global citizenship", it aims to assist teachers in bringing the global dimension into their classrooms. The resources are designed to inform and empower young people to work for a more just, secure and sustainable world.

Many of the resources are organised by theme:
  • Recipies from around the world. Get cooking with some fabulous Fair Trade recipes.
  • Food. What do you think about when you go shopping? The look? A fair deal on the price? What about the people who produce the things you buy… should they get a fair deal too?
  • Mapping our World. This is Oxfam's free interactive whiteboard resource forteaching about maps, perspectives, and geography.
  • Milking. It is an interactive resource about small farmers and international trade designed to facilitate teaching 13- to 16-year-olds about fair trade.
  • Take action. Here are some ideas about how children can work with Oxfam to change the world. There are some really simple things they can do to help, or they can get together with their friends and plan something BIG! Whatever they want to do – it all helps to make the world a fairer and better place.
  • Around the world. Oxfam works in over 70 countries around the world. A guide about few of the countries it works in.
  • Children’s stories. Explore the lives of children from different countries around the world through our exciting photo stories!
  • What is Oxfam. Oxfam's aim, examples of Oxfam’s work, campaigns, and things we can do.
I think Cool Planet kidsweb is a very valuable resource, and we can get some very interesting ideas to develop projects in which Content, Communication, Cognition and Culture are all of them under the umbrella of Social Values.  


Saturday, 20 October 2012

100 Formas de Animar Grupos: Juegos para Usar en Talleres, Reuniones y la Comunidad

This is a resource material that has been developed to encourage participation in practice.

It is a compilation of animation techniques, icebreakers and games that can be used by anyone who is working with a group of people, either in a workshop, in a training group, in a meeting or in the community.

Teachers must use games for several different reasons, including to help children to know each other, increasing energy levels and enthusiasm, encouraging the development of co-operation or children think about a particular problem.

The games that help children to know each other and help to relax are called icebreakers.

When they look sleepy or tired, animation techniques can be used to get them moving and to give them more enthusiasm (stirrers).

Other games can be used to help children think about problems and can help solve problems that people may face when they work together.

Games can also help children to think creatively and laterally.

Although this is a material developed for adult groups, most of the games can be easily adapted to primary or secondary levels.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Contribution of Multilingualism to Creativity

The Contribution of Multilingualism to Creativity: "Creativity and innovation have been a key focus of attention around the globe in recent years. This is partly due to the need to develop hu...

“The major future challenges in the educational field are how to reform our learning systems to prepare our young people for jobs that do not exist yet, using technologies that have not been invented yet, in order to solve problems that haven’t been identified yet.” (Jan Figel 2009).

Read more at Cockroaches and Ladybugs blog.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Re-Thinking Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning (PBL) is not a question of "on or off", do PBL or not do PBL... It can mean different things to different people. There are a lot of variations (like in any other educational methodology) and any teacher can construct their own version just by adding or changing some parametres.

Peter Skillen suggest to consider some parametres and to study many of the great resources that are available to you and then create your own working definition and effective PBL practice. (You can find some of these resources below.)

The following diagram, enhanced by the critical eye of Brenda Sherry, can help you figure out what’s important to you and your students, just by sliding from one side to the other the level of each parametre to be considered in your PBL practice.

You could likely add other dimensions to consider (for instance, time management)  as you build your own understandings and beliefs!

Who is in control? Who is initiating the project? Whose passion is being honoured with the project? Who is setting the goals, timelines, and motivation? Are you scaffolding the students’ success through templates, calendars, checklists, rubrics or are you unwittingly stealing their locus of control and micromanaging them. Been there. Done that! Thought I was helping them by giving them lots of assistance!

Who is asking the question to be investigated in the project? The student or the teacher? Is the question a ‘deep, driving question’? Is it a ‘fat’ question or a ‘skinny’ one?

If the projects are collaborative in nature, you may wish to consider the amount of interdependence that students have with one another. Are they merely gluing their parts together to make a whole or do their conversations and co-creations lead to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts?

Is the content a rich, deep problem space or is it a more narrowly focused content area? Are there natural links to other domains that provide a context or is the content deconstructed to remove seemingly distracting and disparate information?

Are the students involved in constructing new meanings and understandings or are they simply retelling in their own words information they have found during their research? Have you built in mechanisms (blogs, wiki, vokis, public journal writing, etc.) so that student thinking is made visible, transparent and discussable or is most student process hidden and unavailable to others?

How authentic is the problem under investigation? Are students ‘being’ scientists, historians or geographers and so on, or are they ‘studying’ science, history and geography? How much is the project based in the real world of the student? Is it purposeful for them?

Great Resources for Project Based Learning

Chart: Effective PBL Continua by Peter Skillen & Brenda Sherry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

This post originally appeared on Jul 13, 2012 in Voices from the Learning Revolution, by Peter Skillen