30 November 2014

Using Google Drawing and Thinglink to create an interactive calendar

Creating an interactive, thematic calendar for language learners using Thinglink and Google Drawings.  

My objective was to provide an interactive "Calendrier de l'Avent" experience for my students. Each day, a student will click on a box and we'll explore the resource together.   

I have previously written about using Thinglink with students, but I would like to share a new idea that involves a bit of "app-smashing." 

App-smashing is when you use multiple web or mobile tools to create a final product. In this case, I used Google Drawings (in Google Drive) to create the base image of a snowy background and the gift boxes with numbers.  I downloaded the image as a JPEG and uploaded to my Thinglink account.
I could have used an Advent calendar from Google images, but I chose to create my own template so I can use it for further ideas.  

From there, I added tags with links to various cultural Web sites, videos, and interactive games. Thinglink is a "free" tool, but I chose to upgrade to the Educator account for $35/year. With this account type, a user has access to more icon types and is able to upload personalized icons. Teachers can create student accounts and provide users with passwords. 

This type of activity does not involve too much technology know-how, but you should know:
1. How to search, save, and upload images with Google images (or)
2. How to search and insert images while in Google Drawing.
3. How to resize and position images.
4. How to create textboxes and change the font color and size. 
5. How to download an image created in Google Drawing. 
Go to "File" and "Download as" and choose JPEG or PNG. If you choose PDF, you will not be able to upload it in Thinglink. 
6. How to copy/paste URLs (Web addresses).

Thinglink is an intuitive tool. Click on a space in your image, choose the icon type you prefer, add your URL to a video, image, or Web site, and save the tag. You may resize and move the icon as needed. 

Many teachers use the calendar idea to provide extra support for students, ie. "flipping" the classroom. Please let me know if you have any questions on how to create an interactive experience for your students. 

Bonne continuation! 

02 November 2014

#lefrancaispartout Défi Twitter/Instagram: Novembre en images!

Novembre en images! 
Twitter / Instagram Challenge

November list created by Kate Tidd - South Hadley High, MA

Interested in participating in a country (and world-) wide social media campaign to promote French language and communication? Invite your students to follow the hashtag (theme word) #lefrancaispartout on Instagram (pictures) and Twitter (pictures and text).

Each day of the month has a theme word. Students and their teachers post pictures that represent the word and add the hashtags so others can find the posts. 

For example: #horloge #lefrancaispartout is the image for 2 November. Take a picture of a clock and upload it to either Twitter or Instagram (or both!) with both hashtags. Some teachers are offering incentives to students who participate. Classes could work as a team to add the most images in a day. Pictures could be taken on campus during class or after school hours. 

Need more information about using Social Media with students in the World Language classroom? Read my article from the AATF National Bulletin: Using Social Media to Develop Communication Skills.

Requests for participants: 
1. Please ask your students to only use FRENCH in their posts. They may use Twitter or Instagram or both.

2. Remind students that this is an educational environment. Pictures and messages must be school appropriate. 

3. Be creative! Don't just Google a picture, create a scene!

4. Always check the hashtag feed before showing it in class. AATF cannot control who posts using this hashtag. It is possible that inappropriate images are included in the feed, but this can also be a good moment to discuss Digital Tattoos and Digital Citizenship.  

5. Know your audience! Discuss the challenge with your administration and/or parents if you feel that this activity would pose a concern. 

You may ask students to use their own accounts, but don't follow your students! 

You could create a class account with school devices. Students would all use the same account to post and you would have the option to delete any posts that do not meet your requirements.  

6. Set up ground rules with your students before they begin posting. You may with to create a class hashtag to help you keep track of your students who are posting. #mvhsfrancais is the hashtag my students use so I know who is participating. A student in my class would tag a picture: #mvhsfrancais #lefrancaispartout #horloge. 

7. To explore the posts from September through November, visit these sites:

#lefrancaispartout - Twitter search
Tagboard - Research ALL social media outlets for hashtags.