A “Message in a Bottle” Podcast

Podcasts are great!! I recently explored a few and found them to be GREAT listening comprehension tools for the classroom.  You can find podcasts to meet almost every level as well although I think they may be better suited for high school levels since most of the conversations in the podcasts are fluid and continuous which could be more stressful to 7th and 8th grade levels, (or lower!)

Daily French Pod is a great site which offers an array of podcasts with REAL native French speakers in them.  The few that I listened to all contained the same main French man, Louis as the main narrator.  You can tell he is truly French and he spoke very slow in review sections and reiterated vocabulary and used different terms to explain the given vocabulary. This is an excellent podcast site!

French ETC  is another site you can use to find interesting French podcasts, many of which are in the form of video so that provides a more alluring visual for the students.  I listened/ watch the Au Cafe  video and it was excellent!  The French was much faster however so this video may be better suited for an upper level French class but could still be used for lower levels if you greatly modified the lesson and instruction.  Edith Piaf, a very famous French singer sang in the background which could also be pointed out to the students during learning.

The podcast I chose to use to show an example lesson with is the Daily French J’ecris podcast. This podcast was only about 5 minutes long and contained some great vocabulary with one of the key phrases for teaching being “EN TRAIN DE”.  (In the process of…) This would be of course a listening comprehension exercise aimed at a high-school level French.  The questions could be modified depending on the level.  For my purposes, I am going to pretend this was a 10th grade class. For this activity, I would first explain in French what they would be listening to, a French man who narrates the situation and then a very short conversation between he and a woman discussing what she is doing.  I would provide follow along questions and fill-in the blank type questions for the students to complete while listening.  I would plan to play the recording at least twice.  The first time, students would be told to focus on listening and taking notes on the back of their sheet on what they heard.  The second time, students would attempt to answer questions, and fill in exercises.  The third and final time, if needed, would be played for students to finalize any missing information.  Some of the questions could be answered after listening, using knowledge they gained from hearing it three times and from their overall comprehension.  The follow-along questions would look something like the following:

1. Qu’est-ce que Marie fait au bureau?

__________________________________________________________________________________

2. A QUI est-ce que Marie veut envoyer (ce qu’elle fait) ?

___________________________________________________________________________________

3. Est-ce qu’elle va bien?

MARIE: Mais non…, j’ai  “____________  ______  ___________”

4. Où est-qu’elle va envoyer (ce qu’elle fait)?

___________________________________________________________________________________

5. Pourquoi est-ce que Marie fait ce qu’elle fait? Pour quelle raison?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Les expressions: Ecrivez les expressions semblables où nécessaire.

Définition: EN TRAIN DE-___(In the process of)__________

Que fais-tu? =____(Qu’est-ce que tu fais?)______________

Tu es sur(e)? =_____(tu es certain(e)?)________________

Je vais très bien. = ___(Ça va très bien)____, ____’J’ai toute ma tête.”__

Mettre= ___(Déposer)__________

La mer = _____(L’Océane)______

Comme ca. = _____(Sans aucun but)___, ___(Pour le plaisir)___

For the second section, I would explain to the students that they were to write in similar expressions that mean the same thing IN FRENCH.  The definition for “En train de” would be discussed as a class.

My main goals for this activity would be for students to be able to:

1. use their knowledge of French to comprehend what is being spoken in the recording in order to successfully answer the 5 questions.

2. use their listening comprehension skills in French to find like expressions of phrases or words. If they are unable to do so, I would hope they can use their knowledge of French to find similar expressions from their PRIOR knowledge in French, not necessarily the phrases mentioned in the recording.

3. use the expression EN TRAIN DE accurately in at least 3 sentences.

As homework, students would write THREE sentences using the expression EN TRAIN DE.

Depending on the level of the class, I may save the following follow-up activity for 11th grade classes but I do personally think it could still for for 10th graders:

Students would write a letter meant to be sent to an unknown person, just as Marie did, with the intention to put it in a bottle and send it off to the ocean.  Instead, this letter would randomly be given to another student in the class.  (I would put all the letters in a box and students would randomly pick one.  Students would be told to glance at it first to make sure they did not pick their own.)  I would also count to make sure that every student would get a letter.  If say two students did not hand in their letters, they would still be required to pick a letter but I would write letters myself to make sure there were enough letters for every student.

Later on, the class would read their letters from the unknown student aloud to the class.  Therefore, students would be well informed that these letters they were to write would be read aloud so they should be sure to do a good job on them.  As a class, we could openly guess who we thought wrote each letter.  It could be difficult, and the student who’s letter was being read aloud would NOT be required to admit it was their letter being read.  The directions for these letters would be pretty open ended.  They would have the leisure to write about any topic, (as long as it was appropriate) and pretend they were whoever they wanted to be, (They could pretend they were Leonardo DiCaprio writing this letter, as long as they did not put down their real name.) The letters would need to contain:

-The expression EN TRAIN DE
-At LEAST 8 FULL sentences. (For example: “Oui”, “merci”, “Bonjour.” “C’est bon” do not count as FULL sentences)
-Le Passe compose, (at least twice)
-Correct Grammar!!
-A signing off of sorts: They would not need to leave a name, but at bare minimum, they would need to leave “un inconnu” or “Une personne (ADJ.-amoureuse, contente, mechante, rigolo…etc…)”

They would need to print the letter and make TWO copies of it, one to be sent out anonymously to another student and another with their REAL name written on the back, for the teacher’s copy, (so the teacher could grade it).

I think it would be a really fun activity and a good way for students to practice their speaking skills when reading their letters aloud. I hope to do this activity one day and I will certainly be using podcasts in class for listening comprehension practices!!

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Flipping your Classroom and Rethinking Homework

I recently read an article about the Flipped Classroom and one on why we should rethink and question homework.  As discussed in an earlier post of mine, the flipped classroom is essentially reversing the typical lecture and homework elements in a classroom.  The “video lecture is often seen as the key ingredient in the flipped approach.”  Students would view a video or podcast created by the teacher at home before coming to class and the class time would be spent discussing the video/podcast and doing other hands-on activities.  The teacher plays more of the role of a coach or facilitator.  The class becomes a workshop of sorts where students can inquire about the video lecture.  There are various approaches to this type of classroom.  Some teachers may implement certain aspects such as having quizzes and homework online or the occasional video lecture where others could do a full immersion flipped classroom.

 

One advantage students have with a flipped classroom is the ability for them to replay the video lectures if they misunderstood something.  Students can pause, rewind, and fast-forward as needed.  Being able to pause and reflect on what the teacher said is something that may not occur in a classroom lecture.  Captions can be provided for those with a hearing impairment and the ability to control the pace of the video is of particular advantage to ESL students.  The teacher could also post online quizzes in which students could receive instant score reports after completing.   As there are advantages, there are also downsides.  One of the major disadvantages is the fact that flipping a classroom requires a great deal of preparation and extra work for the teacher.  The students may also be reluctant to spend so much time on schoolwork outside of the classroom.  This could also be tricky if the entire school has a normal classroom except your flipped one.  I personally think the entire school should be on board if the goal was to have a fully flipped room.  It was also mentioned in the Flipped Classroom article that students tend to complain about the “loss of face-to-face lectures, particularly if they feel the assigned video lectures are available to anyone online.”  The processing and delivering of the video could also vary depending on home, some having slower internet speed than others, which could be frustrating to some.   If certain students do not have access to the internet, an even greater challenge is at hand.   Overall the student-led feel and the change of role of instructors in a flipped classroom can be interesting to experience for any instructor.  I hope to test out a semi-flipped classroom for a given amount of time, perhaps for one or two chapters and see how the class responds, (as I stated in my earlier post on the (INSERT LINK TO PRIOR FLIPPED CLASSROOM POST)

The article about rethinking homework was an excellent and quick read that I recommend to all teachers to give a glance at.  The French teacher who wrote it made some excellent points.  She proposed the idea of making homework more tailored to a variety of student’s needs by giving options of homework assignments.  I think this is an intriguing idea and it really made me rethink the concept of homework.  It is true that this would probably mean a bit more work for the teacher, but what would be the result?  If students were to take homework more seriously if they had the choice between three options, I would say it was worth the extra work.  I believe in general giving students a CHOICE in the classroom is very important.  When students feel they can choose the “better” of the 3, personally for them, they may complete that assignment better than if they were to do another one that they had no interest in.  Some students may prefer multiple choice or fill-in type work where others could prefer written work, (personal writings, short paragraphs or of the like.)  Either way, the next day when going over the “homework”, the teacher could choose to go over 2 of the 3 and those who did not complete choice A for example, would just follow along and act as if this was an assignment being done in class, therefore they would still be expected to participate.  It could keep students on their toes wondering which homework assignments would be gone over the next day.  Depending on the day and what was accomplished, and if the material was new or a review, all of this would make a difference in the type of homework assignment/task it was.  If the material was being reviewed, the homework would expand their knowledge whereas a new topic would be reviewed in the homework.  It is too difficult for me to say how I would structure my homework as I have not yet had my own classroom, but one thing that is sure is that I would try my absolute best to keep it engaging, informative, and fun if possible.

Let’s Get Gaming!

I recently discovered a new term as it relates to education and lesson planning; “Gamification”.  According to Educause gaming, the result of this is “a diverse matrix of approaches that use gaming principles, fully developed games, or other aspects of “gameful learning” to increase engagement, enhance learning and explore new models of education.”   According to the article Archive wizards, “games are primarily valuable due to the emotional responses they evoke and the experiences they engender in their players.”  If the students can become emotionally attached to the situations and the players they are controling, they will be more likely to me intrinsically motivated to progress in the game.  It’s important to use a game that contains “meaningful challenges, battles, and conquests”.  Games with meaningful epic journeys that address “real human needs and emotions” may not be super easy to find for your classroom but I’ll be exploring different educational games in the next few days and I’ll have some feedback on that soon.

I feel the image below does a nice job of putting this new phenomenon into words:

One of the major keys to using gamification in the classroom is the idea of engaging and inspiring your students to develop competencies and skills useful to your subject matter without them realizing that they are learning such.  They would be figuring out how to succeed or break new grounds in the game at hand while simultaneously learning essential elements to your TL (target language) or to whatever subject it is you are teaching.  Students would be motivated to race against their peers or obtain higher scores than their friends.  One of my favorite quotes from the Educause gaming article is ” Game mechanics reinforce the fact that failure is neither a setback nor an outcome but rather an indication that more work is needed to master the skill or knowledge at hand.”  I love this statement because one of the problems LOTE educators face is students giving up because they feel they “can’t” pronounce the TL words nor can they properly form sentences.  One of their biggest fears is making mistakes or “sounding stupid” so as a result they choose to not participate or rarely speak in class.  This is absolutely one of my number one goals as a French teacher; to provide an environment where they do not fear error but are comfortable speaking and making mistakes and accepting correction.  I will be the first to admit that even I may not know every word in French and I could easily make a pronunciation or spelling mistake too.  The only way to learn and to improve is to try and make mistakes.

Some of the 10 Gaming genres to adopt in class discussed on this site include “Escape the room”, puzzle games, arcade, strategy, adventure, alternative reality, multiplayer…etc…I was particularly interested by the Escape the Room genre which I’ll be discussing in more detail in my next post.  In a few words, this game includes you gathering objects in order to escape the room at hand, a bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, etc…  The arcade game is very repetitive and so it is good for drilling in vocabulary for directions and colors.  As far as I can tell, most of the medieval, fantasy, quest or strategy games would be better off for upper level language learners.  Well, as you can see there are plenty of different genres of games out there that can be used in the classroom leaving you plenty of options depending on the topic you are covering.

It is true that some students may not be as successful as others with gamification in the classroom. Students who learn better by written, repetitive “normal” schoolwork may not thrive as much.  That being said, what really is “normal” schoolwork now a days?  With technology sweeping across our society like an electric tidalwave, the “norm” of teaching methods that we grew up with may soon cease to exist.  With gaming in the classroom, some teachers may find it difficult to meet the required learning objectives at hand.  The environment of gaming could lead to a loss in order and construct in the classroom, giving students too much freedom. It would be important to maintain an efficient learning environment while gaming.  All in all, a change in pace and varying repertoire of teaching methods is something I believe to be important for an effective teacher to keep her students on their toes and engaged. Perhaps students who normally aren’t very enthusiastic about your subject, but are however competitive in their sports outside of school, would be among those to excel greatly through the use of gamification.  It only takes a few weeks of testing it out to see how effective it can be with your students.

A Twitterful Classroom

Twitter, like blogging is a great tool for teachers outside of the classroom.  If this idea seems intimidating to you, check the Edudemic guide to twitter and the Educator’s Must-Have guide  to using Twitter for educational purposes.  On these two sites you will find an array of ideas for using this link to help improve communication with and between your students as well as all the many different outlets and things twitter has to offer.  You can communicate with parents through Twitter, post summaries of the day’s lesson, have students react to the lesson or day’s activity, they could ask questions to you through your class Twitter page, using hashtags, you can organize ideas and categories readings, you can create pop quizzes on twitter and do much much more…

One of the reasons I like the idea of using Twitter in the classroom is for the same reason I like blogging.  Students can ask you or the class as a whole a question that they may have been too shy to ask in class.  Students can also use it for homework if told to respond to my twitter post.  For example, I could post the following in French:

On a parlé de Renoir, un artiste français, en classe aujourd’hui.

  1. Qu’est-ce que vous pensez à lui et est-ce que vous aimez les œuvres qu’on a vues en classe?
  2. Interprétez cette œuvre. Qu’est-ce qui se passe, selon vous? (Make at least 3 observations.)

(We talked about Renoir, a French artist today in class. 1.What do you think of him and do you like his that art we saw in class? 2. Interpret the following piece.  What is taking place, according to you?)

Renoir – Le Déjeuner des canotiers.

I also like the idea of having students follow certain historical people.  My class could be required to follow Auguste Renoir for example and bring into class some interesting posts they read. Another simple assignment could also be for students to make a post in French using a tense we have been studying, the passé composé, (past tense), or the conditionnel for example.

If you wish to explore all the different Twitter lingo, Educator’s Must-Have guide is truly an incredible source.  “Twellow” for example, is finding twitter users based on a category.  “Twitterholic” is a way to find the most popular twitter users. To find twitter users within your community you can use “localtweeps”.  This “must-have” guide also gives tips for those who wish to present themselves as an authority in their domaine.  Being honest and sincere, opinionated but constructive, replying to other’s tweets and comments, using your real name and sharing your credentials are among some of the advice given.   If you’re an educator, don’t be afraid to use twitter to connect with your students outside of the classroom or for homework assignments.  It’s certainly different and at least something more refreshing and engaging than worksheets or book work!

Tweeters can be Teachers Too!

Twitter is more than a site about loading up on all of the celebrity gossip and letting the world know about your daily routines.  Did you know there exist twitter chats where you can discuss topics with others from all over the world interested in said topic?  You can do this through “hash-tagging” the name of the chat, for instance, #langchat. This is the chat I attended and I couldn’t believe how much information I gained from it.  Basically these chats are similar to you searching the internet for ideas or inspiration but instead of talking to Mr.Google, you can talk to actual people who specialize in this area you’re interested in, or perhaps just average Joes and Janes who have just as good feedback for you.  I found some awesome links that will definitely be useful to me in the future. I followed a few difference chats and gathered an incredible amount of ideas. I also checked out out the Diigo langchat for more inspiration.

Some of these links include: Bonjour Moggin -a cute site where students practicing translating English phrases to French.

I also found an interesting article about why you should  Pay attention in your language class

One of the chats I followed was on suggestions of what to have your class do on planned substitute days.  Here, I discovered a great website for teachers: Teachers pay teachers One of the ideas I liked was having students create a poster that represents a specific famous quote in French by a famous Francophonie, such as Victor Hugo.  There were so many great ideas on this site.  This goes to show that one link online can lead to several others.  Another idea I liked was the verb fortune teller:

demoVerbconjugatorfortunetellersize

I absolutely consider these chats to be a form of professional development.  There is some great resource-sharing that goes on during these chats.  You would most likely be talking with some real professionals as well. ACTFL frequently contributes to the chats and even posts dates and information about future or past conferences.  There are chats out there for everyone, whether you are a LOTE educator like me, in TESOL, history, science, technology, art history or in physical education.  I know this chat inspired me, hopefully you can be inspired too!

Give your Learning a BackFlip!

What does it mean to “flip leaning”?  To be perfectly honest, I have heard the term used a few years ago, but before investigating the Flipped Classroom site, I wasn’t really sure what it was.  Basically, it is the idea of bringing most of the classroom work to the online world and using in-class time for collaborating, more personalized interactions with the teacher, and hands-on tasks.  Lectures are relatively nonexistent and lessons are taught through viewing videos provided by the teacher, doing readings, and expressing opinions online.  The idea is that students are learning by doing.  The Flipped Classroom site is a great outlet for classroom-flipping teachers out there to collaborate and build ideas together,  When a teacher has a problem or is unfamiliar with the flipped classroom, he/she can post in a help forum or in their content page what the issue is they are having or to simply ask the general flipped community a question.
Flipped Learning

What is my personal opinion of flipped learning?  I can see this being successful if the entire school was on board with this learning style and if all students in the school had access to the internet and a computer.  Not all students will remember to make the time to do their work online at home if all of their other classes revolve around what occurs in the classroom.  I also think this type of learning environment requires students with a lot of intrinsic motivation and who are rather responsible. Furthermore, I believe this type of learning would be more successful at higher level classes, perhaps French 4 or 5 classes or even at the college level.  I can see using this flipped learning for a class project or special activity.  I would perhaps try this method to add some spark to the year.  I would let the students know ahead of time that for the next month, for example, we would be experimenting with moving the classroom to the online world.  All homework assignments would be online, such as writing blog posts or reactions to videos I would post.  I would use VoiceThread with the students for speaking and listening practice.  In class, we would discuss what occurred online and perhaps play some of the recordings or read some of the posts in class. At the end of the month, I would have the students take a survey of how they liked or disliked the change in classroom pace and depending on the results, I may or may not continue with the flipped classroom.  However, I do find it to be a very interesting idea and plan to try it one day.  I wouldn’t “flip” my classroom for the entire year but I would definitely give it a try.

The flipped classroom Would you flip your classroom?

A Learner is Like a Weed

Learners, like plants, have an unlimited potential to grow in their knowledge.  They start small, as a seed and with a healthy environment provided to them by their teacher, their peers, and their own individual motivation, they will one day grow into a plant.  In this post, I will be discussing what can be concluded from an article Digital Age Learning Theory and the following video on Human Nature and Learning.  According to Siemens’s article on the digital age, “Learning is a continual process, lasting for a lifetime. Learning and work related activities are no longer separate. In many situations, they are the same.”  However, he also states that knowledge can have a “half life”.  “The “half-life of knowledge” is the time span from when knowledge is gained to when it becomes obsolete.”   We learn constantly in every situation we are placed in, in our workplace, with our friends, in school obviously and when we make good or poor decisions, we learn from our mistakes. Therefore, we need to recognize that although our knowledge can and should continue to grow, it can also be lost should we neglect to further our knowledge.  The types of environments that allow us to further our knowledge can be key to our continuous growth.

Why did I use a “weed” as a symbol for a learner?  You may be wondering since weeds are generally thought of as negative and destructive.  On the contrary, weeds can grow faster than many other plants and when left to grow, they really can gain grounds and conquer all other plants around them.  Oftentimes, we don’t allow a weed to get that big, but if we did, I wonder how big it truly could grow.  In addition, when weeds are combined with other weeds, the land around them could very well be dominated.  Weeds love being around other weeds and they seem to become more powerful in quantity.  Do you see where I’m going with this when compared to the learner?  Learners have so much potential to grow when placed in an environment where they can grow and build off a combination of ideas.  As this blog centers on the power of the internet in the classroom, let’s imagine these ideas to be found online.  Where online? The possibilities are endless; we have blogs, facebook, twitter, pinterest…the list goes on.  As stated in previous posts, a key element to the online world in expanding our knowledge is that any type of learner can flourish there.  The timid weed who tends to remain planted on the outskirts of the garden may find his/her voice when only given the chance and replanted in a more relaxed setting where he/she can privately soak in the sun and drink in the rain.  This “more relaxed setting” being the internet.

As stated several times by George Siemens’s video post, humans “need to externalize; we can’t really have meaningful private dialogue” without externalizing our thoughts.  In order to “birth our thoughts”, we need to externalize them.  What does this mean exactly?  I personally interpret this as the fact that our human nature needs to have a place to express our inner thoughts and private speech that is outside of our verbal speech.  Artists are perfect examples of this phenomenon. They express their feelings, thoughts, and ideas through their artwork.  Learners need to express themselves outside of the classroom in a new environment, perhaps the internet?  He also makes the point that “many individuals together can better foster ideas in an external fashion in order to create something more meaningful.”  This statement connects nicely with my weed analogy. Together in abundance, learners, like weeds are more powerful and have more potential to create something beautiful.

Pinterest VS. DIIGO

I’ve had a pinterest account for quite some time and so have been familiar with it but by no means an expert.  DIIGO was completely new to me and have spent a few hours exploring it and figuring it out but have still so much t understand.  From a comfort perspective, I prefer Pinterest.  From an educational stand point, I think I still prefer pinterest as well. I find it to be extremely user-friendly and it is so easy to search and find interesting ideas and tricks relating to whatever your search of choice may be.  I adore viewing all of the different French-themed bulletin boards, posters, songs, quotes and ideas for a classroom setting.  It’s an incredible tool and I hope to use many of the ideas I’ve found on various albums.   My DIIGO and Pinterest pages can be accessed here.

Some examples of what you could find on Pinterest if looking for French education ideas include:

342b60a198fe38d6023d52f9c41a5325
I Love this poster which states the classroom “golden rules”.  

d2f268b8e00238cfb9033aa44b97aff4

This collage containes different ideas for reflecting on different artists’ works.  Students state the artist and the piece of work they choose by this artists and their opinion of it.

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All foreign language classrooms need posters with useful expressions in the target language, (TL). 

Honestly, I cannot be 100% sure how the “tagging” process works with Pinterest but I think depending on how you describe the image you post, the album name you organize it in; this will all reflect on how it can be searched by others.  It is extremely easy to search a topic.  The search “French” could come up with options as vast as cuisine, literature, the city of Paris to Educational tools using French.   DIIGO certainly has very organized tagging procedures.  The website seems to revolve around tagging.  You can list multiple tags for the links you share.  You can search a tag and find many different websites that relate to and contain this tag.

DIIGO is a great site to find links to topic you’re interested in and the resources available are amazing.  You can comment on other’s lists through DIIGO but you can’t seem to do the same through pinterest.  However, you can send posts/links/images to your friends on pinterest.  You can also follow other users through pinterest and be exposed to their postings.  Pinterest is all about sharing ideas through images and it is an instantaneous process to share and add pins to your own page.  Likewise with DIIGO only you are sharing links which usually include, blogs, websites, and useful resources to whatever it is you’re researching.  For both sites you are given suggestions of other images/bulletins/collages or links that might interest you depending on what it is you were searching.

I’m a full believer in “a picture states 1,000 words” and so this may be the reason why I prefer to learn through images, collages, and quotes rather than lengthy articles.  This also would explain another reason why I prefer Pinterest since its whole dynamic is based on images and collages.  I know for certain that I would continue to use Pinterest as it is a quick way to find something inspiring.  I cannot say for sure that I will continue with DIIGO but I do like having access to many of the links I have found.  How can one decide which sites to keep when organizing one’s educational links?  There are just simply too many!  This reminds me of Charles DeGaulle’s famous quote “How can one govern a country that has over 246 varieties of cheese?”

chevre DeGaulle

The Future of Education

What is the future of our education system? How has it developed and progressed throughout the years? Do most people realize to what extent it has progressed?  I can tell you, after viewing some of the videos provided in my LAI class syllabus that I do not even realize how much technology is changing our educational system.  I will discuss some of my feelings and reflections from watching the following two videos:  Future of Education and 21st Century Education in New Brunswick, Canada 

The prior was interesting because the people in the video were very “real” people.  They didn’t appear to be reading from a script or trying to sell anything.  They were just expressing their opinions and feelings on the internet world and how it is changing rapidly in our society.  I found the references to video games very appropriate.  I am not a fan of video games personally and I never have been despite the fact that both of my brothers were big “gammers” growing up.  However, a very good point was made about these games.  As stated in the video, children will pick up the game for the first time and more often than not, they will fail relatively quickly.  Despite the failure, they will pick it up and try again, slowing gaining more time and improving.  What does this tell us about our generation and children engaged in technology? They are capable of being self-taught.  Just like video games, students are able to learn the internet on their own.  There are so many resources out there that can tech you virtually anything on the internet.  Always wanted to learn to play the ukulele? With a simple google search and two minutes of browsing YouTube, you can teach yourself a new instrument with the click of a button. Learn the Ukulele  The internet provides information when you need to know it and you can “learn something when you have a reason to learn it.”

Colored pencil drawing of my brother at my grandmother's piano.

Colored pencil drawing of my brother at my grandmother’s piano.  I drew this in high school.

After watching a few youtube videos and finding a piano website where he learned to read notes, my younger brother taught himself piano.

Tim playing Piano at Shakespeare & Co in Paris

Tim playing Piano at Shakespeare & Co in Paris

The second video, 21st Century Education in New Brunswick, Canada was a rock and roll-esque video that did not include any people talking to you.  Instead the video was a read-along slideshow containing simple images and a simple message; The technological advancements are moving fast and we need to be prepared to incorporate such technology in the classroom!  The video transported us to the time when we “got up to change the channel” or the time when we “used a payphone”.  The idea here was to show us how far we have come in such little time.  Will students be using texting, facebook or twitter one day in the classroom?  People can even earn a salary online nowadays, not during precise work hours but in their free time. The internet provides us with international communication and collaboration.  I could one day invite friends from France into my classroom though the use of skype.  My students could one day speak with native French speakers in the comfort of their classroom, even though said speakers would still be overseas in Europe.

In summary, the Internet is the foundation to our future in education.  It’s available at our fingertips and waiting to be explored.