EdTech and EPIK Teachers:
In all honesty, the Busan Office of Education has not told EPIK teachers much about what is expected of us during COVID-19's continued disruption, nor what to expect in terms of distance learning. Additionally, most Korean public schools are still deciding what are the best tools to use moving forward since, through all of March, we've been planning as though life would return to normal. I was literally just told by my school to make videos, PPTs, and interactive content kids can access at home. As a result, I have yet to test the following resources.
So far, these are some tools I've begun considering. I won't be mentioning Zoom or Google Classroom, as I'm sure most teachers have already heard of these.
I already have Adobe based video software, but with the need for simple, fast, and intuitive I'm here to promote wevideo.com as an alternative.
You can directly record video and media, as well as upload any necessary files. You don't need to download anything either and can begin creating your content online. The free version does include a watermark, and there are more advanced features if you pay.
This tool can be utilized by students for project-based-learning assignments or teachers who are recording their classes and want to give them a bit of a polished look. That said, recording yourself teaching using your webcam or phone will do the trick too, but WeVideo will help make your content look more put together.
I used NearPod once, long ago in my EdTech class for a graded assignment. Now, I've returned to see what it can do for me as all us teachers scramble to make our online learning as interactive as possible.
You can either make or upload slides (note: if you upload PPT slides, your animations will be lost) and intersperse these slides with interactive features such as video content, virtual field trips, quizzes, polls, draw-it challenges, matching cards, and other such assessments. In terms of slide features, you can also add audio for narration, upload photos, etc.
The layouts for NearPod-made slides are limited (1-4 elements at a time), but this is actually a benefit to students in the midst of distance learning. We want to streamline our information and make things as direct and step-by-step as possible.
Personally, I prefer to edit my general slides on Powerpoint as Microsoft has more range in terms of editing layouts, media, and audio.
Additionally, NearPod can connect to your Google Drive files for content when editing your slides, but keep in mind that uploaded file size maxes out to about 3MB. Another reason I prefer to edit in PPT then upload and integrate assessments.
Below the screenshots, I've also attached a video from a KICKASS middle school vlogger who explains how she uses NearPod. You can choose to make them live-lessons or student-paced with codes to access. Your students will need to log in using https://nearpod.com/student/ and the given code for the lesson.
Squigl is a content media creation platform that utilizes AI in order to take text or speech and transform it into an animation.
You can create a project then type or paste a script, which the AI analyzes for key words that we can adjust in the edit-page (add and or remove). You can also adjust which pictures Squigl had originally used, as well as the length of time spent on each key-word picture. I prefer using the expert version so I can just add key-words and choose squigl pictures myself.
Additionally, there is a feature to "squigl your PowerPoint presentation." First, you upload your PPT, and squigl converts each slide to an image while extracting any text. You then go through the same process above, creating scripts and recording audio for each slide that will then be used for generating a squigl.
Once finished, you can download the video file to be used elsewhere. As an ESL teacher this is a great tool for modelling key expressions with visual-cues for our learners. You'll find an example of a finished squigl file for my first graders' textbook listening (let's hope I'm not about to be hit by any copyright laws from Cheonjae workbooks for sharing this...).
Narrated and Gamified PPTs
Gamified PPTs are a staple for any EPIK Teacher. Just look at korshare. The only difference is moving these games' usability from many student-players using one screen in a classroom, to individual activities a single student can do at home.
But first thing's first, here are some useful YouTube guides on creating narrated and gamified PPTs.
Other useful tools
Chalk.com absolutely takes the number one spot for its convenient planning and analytics platform, Planboard.
As an EPIK teacher you're (often) not developing your own curriculum or grading, but you will sometimes have an after-school class wherein you'll have the freedom to cover whatever topics you'd like. Planboard allows its teacher users to backwards-map their entire semester for multiple classes; you can upload classroom schedules, rosters, record detailed lesson plans, attach necessary materials, and develop/track assessments both formative and summative.
My favorite feature is the platform's ability to copy and rearrange plans as the semester continues--whether a fire drill cut your class short or your co-teacher tells you she needs to take your Speaking period to prepare for an essay competition.
Planboard is a flexible alternative to physical teacher's planners, and conveniently pairs with a mobile app.
Sunday nights--even if I was out grabbing dinner with friends--I'd quickly check what I'd got planned for the week just to remind myself before the fire of a Monday. Now that Ms. Corona has limited us inside though...well...no more Sunday dinner distractions, I guess...
ANYWAY, the platform itself is incredibly intuitive, and includes a walk-through when you sign up.
A lot of visiting EPIK teachers are considering how to move our classes online when the whole point of us being here was to run listening and speaking classes. Some of us have been asked to arrange video-chatting with our classes, but my school has instead asked me to make videos and additional material rather than run any Zoom meetings myself. Right now, that means a lot of content creation: videos, assessment tasks, recordings, PPTs, so my above tools are skewed more to that rather than chrome extensions and video-conferencing.
And now that I've put everything together here? Off to make all these lessons....
Pedagogy and Reflection
We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience