LET STUDENTS HEAR TEXT READ OUTLOUD: TEXT-TO-SPEECH EXTENSIONS

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TEXT-TO-SPEECH tools have proven beneficial not only for learners with diverse needs for support including dyslexia, hearing or speech impairments, selective mutism or pronunciation difficulties.  TEXT-TO-SPEECH tools also support learners wanting to improve  their literacy skills engaging their auditory intelligence or those who describe themselves as auditory learners.

Yes, the voices might sound synthesized and, yes, there is no or very limited emotion in the text read out. However, I still think that we should focus on what can be achieved with these tools rather than complain about their limitations. There are plenty of TEXT-TO-SPEECH tools including desktop downloads or extensions. Some require hightlighting the text to be read or pasting into special boxes. But, is it possible to have the text read outlod while browsing the web? Have a look at the three:

INTELLIGENT SPEAKER 

It allows you to clip website you are on and play the content. Listen to the recording (fast-forward to 0.20 sec if in a hurry ):

Unfortunately, the basic program gives you only 1 hour of listening a month so, maybe, it would be a good idea for some learners to invest in a Premium version and get the following:

  • Human-like voice and real-life emotions, breathing (if you want)
  • Automatic text detection on web and local HTML
  • 20 available languages
  • Google Docs, upload txt, docx, pdf
  • Synthesized audio is downloadable
  • Ability to listen offline (when was added online – we cache it)
  • Speed range which suits everyone 1

More on how to use the extension here.

qimono / Pixabay

READ ALOUD

My favourite text-to-speech tool. It’s very simple but sometimes it is the simplicity that wins. It reads websites and documents in different formats (pdf, doc). Unfortunately, you can’t download an audio of your recording.

Listen to the recording.

More on ReadAloud here.

Finally, TALKIE extension.

qimono / Pixabay

You need to select the desired text first. The program is fast and simple. The voice is quite nice to listen to. It reads websites and pdfs and word docs. It doesn’t read Google docs though. For £15.99 a year you can have Talkie Premium which gives you far more options such as a range of voices, speed or pitch.

Listen to the recording:

More on Talkie basic here.

Let your students choose!

 

 

  1. This is footnote https://intelligent-speaker.com/

CPD for busy teachers with MicrosofEDU

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MicrosoftEDU offers a number of courses (click here ) on a range of topics/areas. Some courses teach you how to use specific tools (e.g. OneNote here) while others offer a broader perspective and teach how to incorporate technology in your teaching practice. The courses last between 1-3 hours.

Here are some courses that I, personally, found interesting and useful. There are many, many more.

If you have ever wondered why there is a need for ICT in teaching and/or if you personally teach in the 21st century environment, try 21st CENTURY LEARNING DESIGN and learn about 21st century skills and how to develop them.

Definitely, one of my favourite: a 1-hour BUILDING GLOBAL CITIZENS course teaching how to engage students in working together on real world problems.

As part of global citizenship, DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP is a crucial element of 21st centrury education. Learn about it in just 30 minutes. Learn about three pillars of digital citizenship and how to prepare your students for living in a digital society. Click the image to get there.

Learn about the tools you can use to address a range of diverse needs and make your teaching inclusive HERE  and take an 1-hour course on DYSLEXIA AWARENESS (here)

There is much more MicrosofEDU has to offer:

  • Spend 90 minutes to learn about PROBLEM BASED LEARNING and how to encourage students’ critical thinking and collaboration while solving complex problems.
  • See how ICT can be used in class to teach about small and big ideas.
  • Take your students on a VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP with Skype.
  • Choose from a number of webinars HERE.
  • Watch quick tips videos HERE.
  • Use MicrosofEDU resources HERE.

 

 

 

CAN YOU DEVELOP ENGLISH THROUGH LEARNING ABOUT ART: How to start.

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HOW TO START A MODULE ABOUT ART

  1. The History of art in 3 minutes
  2. What are elements of art.
  3. What are principles of art.
  4. How to look at art.

HISTORY OF ART (in 3 minutes) 

 

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF ART watch a video by btsanglais

THE PRINCIPLES OF ART (by Lisa Marder ThoughtCo.)

or use the image of both by Beata

HOW TO LOOK AT ART

Analyse this fantastic infographics by Grant Snider.

check this worksheet  here

or use the visual by Beata

Watch and learn how to look at art with Khan Academy:

Use a presentation

“DRIVING QUESTION” – CAN IT DRIVE YOU UP THE WALL??????

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Sophieja23 / Pixabay

DRIVING QUESTION

“Start your Project Based lessons with a good driving question” – this is what you will find in every resource on PBL.  Hard as it might be to create, the driving question is paramount for project based learning as it provides its purpose and sets its context.  So, ask yourself, what you will be focusing on with your students. Is it trying to find the best solution to the problem? If yes, is it abstract and academic or practical and concrete? Is it provocative and leading to discourse? Is it expected to inspire discussion or present and/or establish claim? Will it be one question for the whole class/team or a number of individual questions related to individual projects?

Researching materials on PBL and the Driving Question might prove a really daunting task. So, for a start, why don’t you check out the the ones I found particularly useful, not too lengthy and really inspiring.

  • AN ONLINE COURSE: A couple of years go I completed a PBL course with School Education Gateway. Although the course concluded, you can still use the resources HERE.
  • A WEBSITE: An absolutely fantastic website You for Youth with tonnes of information about PBL, rubrics, worksheets and tools of different kind.
  • AN ARTICLE: An article “In search of the driving question” by Andrew Miller on Edutopia investigating a number of types of driving question and what we should remember about while creating it. 
  • A CHECKLIST (an many more) which you can find on Tony Vincent’s fantastic blog.  

 

Have a look at the visual which, hopefully, will help you remember what a good driving question should be like.

 

 

 

SCREENCASTIFY  FOR QUICK SCREEN RECORDING

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TOOLS FOR SCREEN RECORDING:

In the process of planning a class project on DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP: DOs & DON’Ts which involved designing visuals (infographics, flyers, posters etc.), I decided that some of my students might benefit from more assistance/advice on which tools/programs to use and how to use them.

As time was (and always is) of the essence (15 minutes between my classes), I prepared very short video clips demonstrating quickly and without elaborate explanation, how to navigate inside these programs, using SCREENCASTIFY.  

 

Please, have a look at the three short video clips done in no more than 15 minutes. No special equipment, no need for installing desktop tools. Just a chrome extension. FREE VERSION of the program.

And finally, a screencast (at the bottom) of you actually can do inside screencastify.

You can:

  • share (see the image) on Youtube or G-Drive
  • download your clip
  • get a shareable link
  • embed to any blog/website etc.
  • edit
  • let others post comments

A short overview from https://www.screencastify.com

What is DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP

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Digital Citizenship in plain English: norms, rules and regulations applied when using technology appropriately and in a responsible way.

See other definitions:

  • Digital citizenship is about confident and positive engagement with digital technologies. (….)”
  • “(…) the quality of a response to membership in digital community (….)”
  • ” (…) Digital citizenship empowers people to reap the benefits of digital technology in a safe and effective way(…)”

THE SEMANTICS OF DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP – elements, dimensions, pillars, core values, competences …… 

Digital Citizenship poster highlighting the nine elements of Digital Citizenship as defined by Dr. Mike Ribble, by Fractus learning https://www.fractuslearning.com

https://www.fractuslearning.com/digital-citizenship-poster/

Digital Etiquette electronic standards of conduct or procedure.
Digital Communication electronic exchange of information
Digital Literacy process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology
Digital Access full electronic participation in society
Digital Commerce electronic buying and selling of goods
Digital Law electronic responsibility for actions and deeds
Digital Rights & Responsibilities those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world
Digital Health & Wellness physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world
Digital Security (self-protection) electronic precautions to guarantee safety

 

The DQ (The Digital Intelligence Quotient) Institute identified eight core digital citizenship competencies constituting DQ.

https://www.dqinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/digitalcitizenship.png

Visit the the DQ Institute website here for more information and resources.

An absolutely fantastic website The Digital Teacher Cambridge features an interactive diagram of six areas: DIGITAL WORLD, DIGITAL CLASSROOM, DIGITAL TEACHER, DESIGNING LEARNING, DELIVERING LEARNING and EVALUATING LEARNING. Find out more about The Cambridge English Digital Framework for Language Teachers HERE.

PanJoyCZ / Pixabay

USEFUL RESOURCES: 

DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP AGREEMENT – three, FREE TO DOWNLOAD, documents  published by Global Digital Citizenship Foundation HERE.

And my favourite Be Internet Awesome Pledge by google. 

OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES: 

  • POSTERS on the wall with tips (available free for downloading and printing HERE)
  • Collection of POSTERS from commonsense.org
  • Free classroom poster: I am a digital age learner
  • Free poster (British Council)

 

 

 

E-SAFETY RESOURCES

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E-SAFETY RESOURCES

One of the numerous e-safety images posted by Google

A collection of e-safety images posted by Google.

THINKUKNOW

Are you a teacher? Or a parent/carer? Check this out! Thinkuknow is the education programme from NCA-CEOP, a UK organisation which protects children both online and offline. The resurces (articles, videos, games) are split into the target groups: 5-7, 8-10, 11-13, 14+, parents/carers and children’s workforce.

Thinkuknow has their own youtube channel featuring a number of excellent educational videos.

DIGIZEN

Issues such as social networking and cyberbullying are explored on the Digizen website. Plenty of fantastic resources such as lesson plans, stories, videos or activities. See the digital citizenship  glossary:

OTHER RESOURCES

CHILDNET INTERNATIONAL Childnet’s mission is to work in partnership with others around the world to help make the internet a great and safe place for children.
DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP  “Everything educators need to empower the next generation of digital citizens.”
DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP & SAFETY COURSE by GOOGLE  “(…) online course is designed for you and your students to learn how they can help create a safe and positive experience online.”
NETSMART TEENS

Helping young people to make safer choices online through videos, games and interactive comics.

BETTER INTERNET FOR KIDS
WEB WE WANT  Created by young people for young people and by teachers for teachers. Available in 12 European languages.

 

 

PDF splitter, merger, converter and ….. you name it :)

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IF YOU WANT TO EDIT PDF DOCUMENT

split, merge, convert word to pdf etc.

Excellent ONLINE  tools for editing pdf (splitting, merging, converting to word/jpg/ppt etc). I use them mainly for splitting pdf when I need specific pages of a document but the programs offer you many more features.

THE WINNER is (in my opinion 😊) https://smallpdf.com/

3dman_eu / Pixabay

My favourite tool.

the image taken from smallpdf.com

It’s proved to be very useful especially when I need just a specific page/pages. It does everything!!!!!! It features absolutely beautiful interface and  gives you a really good preview of the document so it’s easy to choose the pages. If you convert a pdf into word, it gives you a nice document almost identical to a pdf original. BUT! You’re limited to 2 DOCUMENTS PER HOUR. Or, if you want to be cheeky, you can use chrome for first to actions and then explorer or firefox. It really works!

ALTERNATIVES: 

If you don’t have access to other devices, you can use other programmes. They are FREE, almost as FRIENDLY  as smallpdf. And, they don’t have a lot of restrictions.

qimono / Pixabay

ILOVEPDF 

images taken from www.ilovepdf.com and https://www.iloveimg.com/

As it reads on the site, it gives you a full range of pdf tools. ” All are 100% FREE and easy to use! , split, compress, convert, rotate, unlock and watermark PDFs with just a few clicks”. When you merge a pdf, the preview is fantastic. The split preview is not as good though. Plus, you need to know the number of pages you want to split. And, surprise surprise, I found out today that there is a twin program for editing images https://www.iloveimg.com/ 

PDF2GO

IMAGE TAKEN FROM https://tools4me.tumblr.com/

 

Very similar to smallpdf. Basic version is more than enough. Although still relatively straightforward, it is a bit less user friendly.

 

 

 

PDFCANDY –  similar to pdf2go but offers more tolls e.g. htm to pdf or pdf protection. Click a video and see foryourself how robust this program is. 

CLEVERPDF

Its offer is more limited that the tools described above. Although it looks very simple and elegant, its split previews are not as good as smallpdf or others. Watch the video and see what it offers.