Category Archives: NC4 ESOL for EMPLOYABILITY

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.

 

FLIP YOUR CLASSROOM

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Before we go on a fully deserved summer break, please, let me share with you a couple ideas that you might find useful if you are thinking about enhancing your classes with the use of technology without spending too much time on it. On the contrary, you will save time doing that. And this is only a taster without going into detail how to use these programs.

HYBRID (or BLENDED) TEACHING/LEARNING is the answer.

 

Ask yourself a question –

What type of classes do I teach?

 

Class sessions take

place 100% in a traditional classroom. Technology is hardly ever used.

 

face
2face model

Class sessions take place in a traditional classroom,

but technology is used to facilitate activities, deliver content,

and/or assess students.

Web-Enhanced/

Blended model

Internet-based activities comprise more than 50%

of the content and instruction

HYBRID MODEL
Nearly all or all instruction, interaction, and activities take place online Online model

MORE HERE

The technique that works very well for both – hybrid and blended models, is FLIPPING a class. Instead of teaching them and asking to practise at home, you ask them to learn/get familiar with the content independently and practice will take place in class.  

Watch a short video explaining what a FLIPPED CLASS/CLASSROOM is.

There are tons of tools for flipping your lessons. I would like to encourage you to familiarise with the three. This is how I rate them but it is entirely my opinion. Plus, the more you practise with the program, the more you like or dislike it so these stars might look different in the future 🙂  

***** Blendspace

**** Google Classroom

** Tacck

I prepared the same set of tasks that NC4 students will have to do before our 1st meeting at college in these three programs. Please, ignore the content (dates, names of teachers, the quiz is short just for demonstration).

BLENDSPACE – this is what it looks like and you can access the class HERE.  It’s, basically speaking, the work that you want your students to do before a face2face class.

PLUSES:

  • You can attach document in Word, pdf or directly from G-drive as google docs
  • You can attach images in various formats
  • You can attach links to videos, images, documents without worrying about breaching COPYRIGHT
  • You can make short quizzes

More about BLENDSPACE

Google CLASSROOM – it is a bit similar to Moodle but more intuitive and more visually attractive.

Here is what it looks like – a 9-second clip

QUESTIONS – students will be able to post their answers and/or comment on other answers

ASSIGNMENTS – it’s basically what you want students to do as preparation for next classes or homework. You will be able to see who did and who didn’t submit the assignment. You will be able to comment on students’ work and give them grades/marks.

ANNOUNCEMENTS – it is basically speaking communication with students, passing messages, reminding of things

PLUSES:

  • You can attach document in Word, pdf or directly from G-drive as google docs
  • You can attach images in various formats
  • You can attach links to videos, images, documents without worrying about breaching COPYRIGHT
  • You can comment on and grade students’ work
  • You can schedule your posts (you can prepare them earlier and set the date they will be visible for students)

 

I’m still discovering new features of Google Classroom so maybe soon it will be a 5-star platform 🙂

There are a lot of google classroom tutorials so, please, watch this short clip to see what it offers.

TACCK – you can access it here

As you will notice, I couldn’t upload pdf or word documents. Also, when I tried to upload an image, I kept getting messages about no space.

It’s a brilliant tool for creating presentations for example. I’m still finding out about its features.

 

So, have a look and enjoy. And if this seems overwhelming a bit, why don’t you try creating your own simple flip using TEDEd. Find a video, create a series of questions and flip it!!!!! I haven’t used this program myself but I used mini lessons prepared by others. For example this one about pronouns me, myself and I  

Thank you,

Beata

PLANNING PBL LESSONS

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STEP 1 – Finding AUTHENTIC or SEMI-AUTHENTIC contexts for my students. I investigated the NC4 ESOL for Employability context. Examples in a mindmap here.

LIVING IN SCOTLAND SCOTTISH FESTIVALS PRODUCING A LEAFLET
DIVERSE SOCIETY PRODUCING AN INTERACTIVE POSTER
SELF-AWARENESS WHERE DO WE COME FROM? WHERE ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE GOING? CREATING AN INTERACTIVE MAP/TIMELINE OF YOUR LIFE
MY WELL-BEING PRODUCING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE INFOGRAPHIC
PREPARING TO WORK INVESTIGATING LOCAL BUSINESSES PREPARING A PROPOSAL
FINDING AN EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY APPLYING FOR A JOB
JOB INTERVIEW MOCK JOB INTERPRODUCING A LEAFLETVIEW
ESOL READING BOOK PROJECT CREATING AN INTERACTIVE BOOKSHELF
ESOL WRITING MY JOURNAL WRITING A JOURNAL
STUDY SKILLS WHY AM I CONSTANTLY BUSY? CREATING AN ACTION PLAN/PLAN

And a mindmap.

 

STEP 2 – CHOOSING AN APPROPRIATE TYPE OF PBL. More about types of PBL here.

CHALLENGE BASED: PRODUCING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE INFOGRAPHIC, APPLYING FOR A JOB, BOOK PROJECT

PLACE-BASED: PRODUCING A LEAFLET; APPLYING FOR A JOB

STEP 3 – FINDING APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY.

PRODUCING A LEAFLET EASEL.LY or Google forms
CREATING AN INTERACTIVE MAP/TIMELINE OF YOUR LIFE DON’T KNOW YET
PRODUCING AN INTERACTIVE POSTER THINGLINK or VOICETHREAD
PRODUCING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE INFOGRAPHIC EASEL.LY or Google forms
PREPARING A PROPOSAL VOICETHREAD  or padlet
APPLYING FOR A JOB word, cv generator
JOB INTERVIEW audio recording
CREATING AN INTERACTIVE BOOKSHELF don’t know yet; maybe PADLET
WRITING A JOURNAL PENZU
CREATING AN ACTION PLAN/PLAN MINDMUP or Google forms

LEARNING TO FAIL

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IF YOU’VE NEVER FAILED, YOU’VE NEVER TRIED ANYTHING NEW IN YOUR LIFE.

DO NOT GIVE UP. Help your mind to become a GROWTH MIND and build your confidence.

3 tips to boost your confidence  an excellent Self-Awareness video that might be used for listening comprehension, note taking etc.

An excellent article about the value of making mistakes.

 

 

 

 

SCAFFOLDING

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Go by tube!Creative Commons License

Les Chatfield via CompfightCreative Commons License Les Chatfield via Compfight

Learning to fail and  how to accept a mistake, learning from a mistake not to make it again is one of the ways to stimulate critical thinking, reflective thinking, divergent thinking etc 🙂 Nevertheless, encouraging students to “jump” into things without making sure you establish some scaffolding (visible or invisible) doesn’t seem a good idea to me. You need a certain level of guidance, modelling, prompts, to name a few, to  succeed. Everyone, according to their needs – so use their background knowledge as scaffolding, use teacher or student modelling or guided practice. Why don’t you use prompts, step-by-step instructions, graphic organisers to help your students build the new knowledge. The time will come, they will not need your scaffolding as they will build or use their own.

Everyone, according to their needs – so we need to know our student well and recognise what type of scaffolding their need. Maybe we should help them build their resilience?

Praise in public but criticise in private? It depends, in my opinion, on the context. I always say to my student – I don’t criticise you. I criticise your work. And it does make a difference as they accept this criticism, often public, as part of their own and other students’ learning process.

 

WHAT IS PROJECT BASED LEARNING

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So what is a PROJECT BASED LEARNING? According to The Glossary of educational reform, it refers to “any programmatic or instructional approach that utilizes multifaceted projects as a central organizing strategy for educating students. “. More here. 

According to Da Vinci’s school, PBL is a “learn-by-doing curriculum that integrates core subjects with real-life problems to be solved”. More here.

And on the Edutopia website it reads that “Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying.”

Watch the Buck Institute Video to get an overview of PBL.

Although the definitions my vary slightly, the key features of PBL are the same: real world connection and authentic or semi-authentic context, students collaboration, ownership of learning or multifaceted assessments.

John Henry and Mark Swiger put in very nicely in this wordle.

Watch this excellent video to find out what other features of PBL are.

 

 

 

THREE TOOLS FOR SPLITTING PDF DOCUMENTS

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  1. SMALL PDF  – good if you are in a hurry; no need to download anything; you can use it on your work computer. Also available as a chrome app for chrome users.

 

small pdf

How to split pdf and extract pages? Easy peasy, trust me.  Have a look .

My opinion: 5/5

2. I LOVE PDF –  no need to install a set up program; little bit more limited I think but also nice.

small pdf

 

My opinion: 4/5

3. SEJDA very nice layout; no need to set it up. Free to a certain extent (see https://www.sejda.com/pricing). Nice feature of converting A3 into A4 J

sejda pdf

 

 

My opinion: 4/5

 

A WONDERFUL TOOL TO CREATE LESSONS FOR FLIPPED CLASSROOM

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Are you fed up with teaching the same stuff for ages? Are you annoyed with students asking you umpteenth time how to write a report? Would you consider asking your students to get prepared for the class at home instead of spending precious class time on theory?

 

FLIPPED CLASSROOM  might be the answer.

I experimented with the tool called BLENDSPACE which allows you to create canvas with activities for blended learning (flipped classroom or project based learning). I played with the tool a bit and created a lesson about Personality  for the Self-Awareness unit I teach. You need to sing up if you want to see the tasks attached to the files, comment in the comment boxes or do the quiz but you don’t need to do anything if you want to have a quick look only.