Tuesday, 25 March 2014

What is a glog? is a social network which allows users to create free interactive posters, called glogs, under the motto poster yourself. A glog, short from for graphic blog, is a multimedia interactive image. Aparently, it is just a poster but users may interact with its content. Projet Glogster was founded in 2007, in the United States. Nowadays it is a social network with thousands of registered users, mainly youngsters. The user inserts text, pictures, photos, sound (MP3), videos, special effects and other elements in their glogs in order to create an online multimedia tool. Glogster is based on Flash elements, and the posters may be shared with other people, exported and saved in compatible formats or even published in a wiki or blog. Similarly to Facebook, Glogster allows you to create a profile, a network of friends and you will be able to comment your favourite glogs.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Beware the 'digital native' stereotype

found image @ Academia Marketing Digital
Technology teacher Mary Beth Hertz writes on Edutopia that teachers need to beware of the "dangerous" stereotype that all students these days are ‘digital natives’.  There are a lot of dangerous stereotypes out there. "Asian students are always better at math." "Boys are always better at sports." And perhaps the most dangerous of all: "The current generation are all digital natives." Hertz says that just because students know how to use technology doesn't mean they understand how to "create, read critically, use online content responsibly," and be respectful of others in the digital world. And those skills are necessary to be truly digitally savvy, she contends.
Mary Hertz cites a study in which the nonprofit organization One Laptop Per Child left pre-loaded tablets with illiterate children in remote Ethiopian villages. The children quickly figured out how to use the applications and began teaching themselves to read. Within a few months they'd overridden the software meant to freeze the desktop settings, and customized their devices.  But Hertz says this proves her point that being able to use technology does not make you proficient:
“Sure, we can place a tablet in the hands of children who have never seen a package label or a sign, and they will learn on their own. But what happens when and if those children become connected to the larger, global online community? It is not guaranteed that they will be ready to navigate etiquette and intellectual property rights on their own. “
Instead, Hertz writes, we should call students "digital citizens," which implies a more complicated relationship with technology—not innate proficiency.
She is not the first to argue that teachers cannot assume students know how to properly navigate the digital world. Jody Passanisi and Shara Peters said in Scientific American that students struggle with basic Internet searches, and a majority of teachers in a recent Pew Research Center survey said students need more training in finding credible information online.
Perhaps Hertz' claim boils down to semantics. Aren't 'digital natives' simply those who've only known a world in which electronic devices are the primary means of accessing information? The term brings to mind this video.

Source:  Education Week Teacher (slightly abridged and adapted)

Monday, 17 March 2014

Happy Saint Patrick's Day 2014

found pic @ Google Images
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated tomorrow, March 17th, the saint's religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink and feast--on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.
Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick's death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture.
Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. Interestingly, however, the first parade held to honor St. Patrick's Day took place not in Ireland but in the United States. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.

Originally, the colour associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick's day grew. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick's Day as early as the 17th century. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish, and the wearing and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the day. In the 1798 rebellion, to make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March in hopes of catching public attention. The phrase "the wearing of the green", meaning to wear a shamrock on one's clothing, derives from a song of the same name.

St. Patrick's Day around the World
Sydney Opera House lit up for St. Patrick's Day @ Wikipedia
Nowadays, people of all backgrounds celebrate St. Patrick's Day, especially throughout the United States, Canada and Australia. Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in many other locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore and Russia.
In modern-day Ireland, St. Patrick's Day was traditionally been a religious occasion. In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17. Beginning in 1995, however, the Irish government began a national campaign to use interest in St. Patrick's Day to drive tourism and showcase Ireland and Irish culture to the rest of the world. Today, approximately 1 million people annually take part in Ireland 's St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions and fireworks shows.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Suggestions and ELT Resources to celebrate St. Patrick's

If you want to tell everybody about this Irish ancient celebration, you can work out a couple of shamrock badges, mini-bags or bookmarks:

You can also write a limerick (a funny poem with five lines, which usually makes no sense). A limerick starts with, “There once was a …” or “There was a …”. The first two lines and the last one usually have 8 or 9 syllables. The fourth and fifth lines have 5 or 6. Here is an example:

There once was a teacher who was bad.
She made all her students very sad.
She was always mean.
She always wore green.
And she even gave tests to her dad.

You can also listen to some traditional Irish sounds:

Or get a bit more modern and listen to:

If you are a food lover, don't forget that your meal won't be complete without corned beef and cabbage. The most important is that you build a meal with a "green" theme: spinach, asparagus, any leafy greens, potatoes or rice with parsley, and a minty green dessert:

found pic @ kidactivities

To finish your day in style, don't forget the pleasure of a unique Irish Coffee...

found pic @ dinnervine

... and of course, your Saint Patrick's wishes:

found pic @ Google Images 

Friday, 14 March 2014

Happy Pi Day!

image credits: EDUTOPIA

Read here and here at T&L for further information about Pi Day!
And today we also celebrate Einstein's birthday!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Pancake Day 2014

photo credits: The Telegraph
Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday in Britain, is the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. 'Shrove' stems from old English word 'shrive', meaning 'confess all sins'. It is called Pancake Day because it is the day traditionally for eating pancakes as pancake recipes were a way to use up any stocks of milk, butter and eggs which were forbidden during the abstinence of Lent.
The traditional pancake is thin and crepe-like and is eaten sprinkled with sugar and a squeeze of lemon. However, serve as you like with jam, Golden Syrup, honey, chocolate spread, whatever takes your fancy. In some places pancake races are held, where participants run along tossing a pancake as they go.

photo credits: Nick Hopper
for Hemsley & Hemsley
Another name for Shrove Tuesday is Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, so called because of the tradition of eating rich food before fasting for Lent. The famous New Orleans Mardi Gras is celebrated on this day.
Here you will find a wide variety of ELT activities on Pancake Day that can be printed out and worked on with your class under the signature of Encyclopaedia Britannica, which has created a spotlight on the topic with colouring drawings, puzzles, games, crafts and even recipes and tips, so that you can cook a perfect pancake!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Brief History of Carnival

The word "Carnival" refers to the numerous festivities that occur in many Catholic cities every year prior to the Lenten season. These festivals often last several days or weeks and are widely popular celebrations of local history and culture. Residents and visitors prepare for Carnival festivities throughout the year. Revelers both young and old can enjoy numerous organized activities or party in the city streets with their families, friends, community members, and strangers.
Religious and Historical Significance of Carnival
Lent is the Catholic season that represents the forty days prior to Jesus' death on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which usually falls in February. On certain days of Lent, Catholics are supposed to abstain from eating meat as a physical and spiritual reminder of Jesus' sacrifices. The word "Carnival" likely originates from the Latin term "carne levare," or "to remove meat." On the day before Ash Wednesday (Mardi Gras or "Fat Tuesday,") many Catholics ate all of the meat and fat in their homes, and held large parties in the streets as one last celebration before the penitential Lenten season. It is a time when all social classes could disguise themselves, congregate, and forget their usual tribulations. Carnival originated in largely Catholic Southern Europe and spread to the Americas during the age of exploration and colonization.
Carnival Traditions, Similar and Distinctive
Carnival in Venice, Italy
Photo credits: flickr
All places that celebrate Carnival have generally the same activities, but each Carnival is infused with elements of local culture. During both and night, revelers in the streets listen to music and dance, eat, and drink. Many cities hold balls and masquerades. The main tradition of Carnival includes parades through the city streets. Many cities hold parades with floats, which are enormous, decorated vehicles that can carry dozens of riders, who often wear very elaborate, colorful costumes and masks. Parades usually have themes, which often parody current local political and social problems.

What follows are some of the world's most famous and popular Carnival celebrations.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
photo credits: myclipta
Rio de JaneiroBrazil is home to the world's most famous Carnival and what many people consider to be the world's biggest and best party. The basis of Rio's Carnival are the samba schools, which are social clubs named after the famous Brazilian samba dance. Samba schools are based in different neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro, and rivalry among them is fierce. Members work throughout the year to create the best themes, floats, costumes, and dance performances. Over the four day celebration, schools parade and compete against each other in the Sambadrome, a building that can hold 60,000 spectators. Millions of people also party throughout the city, even on Rio's famous beaches, Ipanema and Copacabana.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana is home to Mardi Gras, the most popular Carnival in the United States. Dozens of social clubs, called "krewes," parade through the streets of New Orleans over a six week period. The people on the floats or on horseback throw small presents to the spectators, such as beads, plastic cups, and stuffed animals. Revelers party in the city's French Quarter. Mardi Gras still occurs annually, even after Hurricane Katrina impacted the city in 2005.
Trinidad and Tobago
The two small islands of Trinidad and Tobago are known for having the best Carnival in the Caribbean Sea. Trinidad's Carnival has been influenced by African cultures due to the slave trade hundreds of years ago. On the two days before Ash Wednesday, revelers dance in the streets to the sounds of calypso music and steelpan drums.
Venice, Italy
Since the 12th century, Venice's Carnival has been well known for intricately created masks and masquerade balls. Throughout history, Venice's Carnival was banned numerous times, but since 1979, the event has occurred annually. Many events occur in the city's famous canals.
Additional Carnivals in the US
Although New Orleans has the most visited Mardi Gras in the United States, some smaller celebrations include those in:
·       Mobile, Alabama
·       Biloxi, Mississippi
·       Pensacola, Florida
·       Galveston, Texas
·       Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Shreveport, Louisiana
Additional Carnivals in Latin America
Besides Rio de Janeiro and Trinidad, many more cities in largely Catholic Latin America celebrate Carnival. These include:
·       Salvador, Recife, and Olinda, Brazil
·       Oruro, Bolivia
·       Buenos Aires, Argentina
·       Mazatlan, Mexico
·       Some cities in Colombia, Uruguay, Panama, and the Dominican Republic
Additional Carnivals in Europe
Many more cities still celebrate Carnival on the continent where it originated. These include:
·       Torres Vedras, Portugal
·       Viareggio, Italy
·       Tenerife Island, part of Spain's Canary Islands
·       Cadiz, Spain
·       Binche, Belgium
·       Cologne, Germany
Carnival Entertainment and Imagination
The activities of the Carnival season, developed over centuries from religious and cultural rituals, have become enormously popular in several cities around the world. Large crowds congregate in the streets to enjoy the extravagant parades, rhythm of the music, and colorful costumes. It's an exciting, creative spectacle that no visitor will ever forget.

Carnival Resources

·       Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
·       Carnival in Rio

in > Geography > Education (slightly adapted)