Testing video upload

I have just re-opened this blog to test the video upload from YouTube as some participants in the Open Webpublishing group mentioned not being able to do it. My  Wide Open Spaces blog is a private WordPress install on my own server, so it does not sport sometimes the same features.

So here is the process – logged in, checked the dashboard area and found a message from Donncha on Songs and Movies on WordPress.com

Well, this is valid for people who want to upload their own movies and songs. I´ll try this later. However, for YouTube, you are given a code…so normally, the only thing to do is to copy and paste it in here – must remember to switch the text from visual to code, or else it does not work.

So here it goes, copied the code from YouTube, switching text from visual to code and pasting it in there. Publish

Let me see what happens.

Nothing 🙂 because WordPress does not accept this kind of code?

So we go to the WordPress FAQ and check whether other people have had the same problem. Yes, here it is

They give you all the explanation.
So here it goes again, I had not taken the space out.


Wide Open Spaces

Please update your feeds!

Now that WordPress offers an import and export feature, I have moved all the content from all my blogs to Wide Open Spaces.

Open house. See you there !

I am going to make an experiment. I do not have Moodle and do not feel like going into the trouble of installing and learning how to operate one now, first because I do not like it and second  because it would take a whole semester for me to train my stds to use it. I took the decision to use WordPress as a personal learning space where my students will  include their own personal posts and also the work developed in class. I am also planning to use Flickr, social sites, podcasts and videocasts and bring them all together using an aggregator.

On the post pages of WordPress, we will have the personal sharing items, which will then appear in the Orchard whereas on the WordPress static pages, we will have more structured homework pieces, like presenting an article or an item done in class in a more controlled way. These will be also published on the web so that students not only keep a record of their work  but also practise to sum up a piece of reading by connecting it to other related Web content, embed links to extend the meaning, find photos to illustrate it, produce little videos…  We will try to make these page posts as open to comments as possible as well but they will not clutter the Orchard with repetitive class content.

 On the blog pages of my own class blog, I will try to model while on the static pages I will list the classes that are participating in the Exchange , post the instructions given in class for them to accomplish this work and their own class work. The idea again is to keep a record of the progression and to make ther colleagues aware of what is happening in the backstage. It is also a way to check how much of this is being incorporated to the students' personal  posts in the blogs.

My students are not at university level yet. They are from 13-17, are still learning the language and their parents have paid their bus fare to arrive at an expected destination (the baccalaureat) at a certain time.  They can get there as well by riding their own bikes, but inside the system we are today, many fear this may take much longer and will need a discipline and involvement they are not prepared to engage in.

 I will try combine both the bus ride and stops for some exercise. Hopefully, I can convey the idea that riding a bike is not only enjoyable and safe but will keep them fit and give them insights that would not be revealed if driven all the time. The new perspectives can be shared and further explored by contact with other people they will meet along the way.

Schedule for July

Although in July teachers in Brazil enjoy a month of winter holidays, there is work ahead. From 8th to 11the July, I will be attending the Braz-Tesol National Convention, both as a presenter (Networking the network) and the coordinator of the newly created EduTech SIG.

Leo van Lier from the Monterey Institute of the International Studies has accepted to launch our first event at the pre-convention on Saturday and some colleagues will  share their experience in integrating ICT in class. I would also like to discuss on this opportunity if and how adopting new technologies can make us better reflect on and understand the learning process and also help us and our learners develop our voice, autonomy and social involvement.

Then from July 13th to 14th, I have enrolled for the Winter School on Critical Literacy which will also take place in Brasilia  right after the convention. The objective is

  • to train a group of catalisers
  • to create a space for projects to emerge within the community
  • to provide the technical, theoretical and practical support for practitioners who want to work in this area.

I have not yet received word from IATEFL Chile whether they will be accepting my proposal ( International Collaboration Online) and sponsor my trip. If this is the case, I will be in Santiago from Tuesday 18th to Wednesday 19th July.

Now…this is only possible because it is holiday time so I am investing my own time  travelling and paying for my expenses. It is not easy for a secondary school teacher to keep updated and develop professionally. High schools boards not only do not have a budget for this but also have the general belief that teachers have nothing to say. 

Instead of having time (and being paid for it) to share information with peers and being allowed to choose what you feel like learning, you are there to control a classroom and be grateful for receiving occasional enlightement from inspectors or trainers during inefficient workshops removed from your practice and reality. More on this later.

I am the mentor for the Young Caucasus Project during this coming Easter week (April 9th to 16th) . The subject of languages, identity and intercultural competence is very close to my heart as I have been exposed to it all my life and this is why I would like to hear what you have to say.

I have discussed the subject with my senior students this week and given the same questions I will be posting on the project site next Sunday so they could reflect and write about them before they left on their 2-week autumn break starting today.

Some have written their own personal narratives to share with the students from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia involved in the project. Here are the links to their posts if you want to comment on them as well. I will be adding more as they update their blogs.

Please post your answers to Aiden´s students (Taiwan) here

This class will be active from February to October 2006.


English Next

To launch the recently published book “English Next” by David Graddol, British Council 
Sao Paulo organized a video-conference debate with a SP panel of three experts (Lynn Mario de Souza from USP, Claudia Costin , ex- secretary of Culture for the State of SP and now vice-president of the Victor Civita Foundation and Guy Gerlach from Pearson Education). A similar panel in British Council Rio led by Janaína Cardoso (President Aplierj) interacted with an audience of 25 people on both sides, who  was invited to join the debate and add other issues to the main points :

  • English is becoming less and less the property of native speakers. Language norms from the English speaking world are becoming less and less relevant as English becomes a component of basic education in many countries.
  • within a decade, the traditional private-sector market in teenage and young adult EFL learners will decline substantially leaving younger learners in schools as the only market requiring English teaching.
  • the competitive advantage which English has historically provided its acquirers will ebb away as English becomes a near-universal basic skill. As more and more people speak more than one language, the monolingual native speaker is faced with extinction.

It is an interesting study but I feel it is mostly seen through British and European lenses. In Brazil, we are still struggling with literacy in our own mother tongue at a very primary level  – students read less and less and many teachers  from both the public and private sector are not recognized for the work they do. Many are not properly trained to face the challenges of the 21st century. Claudia Cosin mentioned that the PISA survey placed  students of the Brazilian private sector (which covers the upper middle class and la crème de la crème) among the last  in an international ranking of more than 50 countries. PISA assesses

how far students near the end of compulsory education have acquired some of the knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in society. In all cycles, the domains of reading, mathematical and scientific literacy are covered not merely in terms of mastery of the school curriculum, but in terms of important knowledge and skills needed in adult life.

What I really enjoyed after the debate was meeting and chatting with people I had not seen from university years, way back in the 80’s :  Dr Heloisa Collins from PUC Sao Paulo and Betty Pow, coordinator for the Braz-Tesol Pronunciation SIG.  I also renewed contact with some teachers I met during the Hornby Summer School – Teresa and Alexandre.


Re-thinking Learning

Karla Lopez sent me a link to George Siemens’ presentation on Connectivism: Re-thinking learning.