Theodosis Karageorgakis

Theodosis Karageorgakis

IT Expert - Trainer - Educator - Engineer - CEO at educraft.tech

Friday, 05 October 2018 16:00

Blind Kahoots

So you have been using Kahoot! to evaluate students for a while now, but have you ever considered to implement Kahoot! when presenting a new lesson or concept?

Blind Kahoot Video

While many people create and play kahoots for review, formative assessment or to re-energise the class, others are using Kahoot! differently in a new approach called Blind Kahoot. Blind kahoots are designed to give every learner a chance to feel success and motivation throughout the game, and with long lasting effects. In a single game, you’ll be sparking curiosity about the new topic, laying the foundations for understanding increasingly complex concepts, and giving learners the opportunity to immediately and successfully apply their knowledge.

 Below are a few steps that you can have in mind while creating your own Blind Kahoots

  • Introduce the game to let learners know what to expect, and that it's about learning, not about getting all of the answers right the first time.
  • Use a "Blind" question (a question about something completely new to them) to spark curiosity, so learners are more receptive to the explanation.
  • Explain the answer
  • Reinforce using a series of questions focused solely on what they have just learned
  • Another Blind question prompts learners to actively listen to the explanation - this is a great opportunity to teach subtleties, exceptions to the rule or to build on what they have just learned
  • Reinforce with another series of questions solely about the most recent Blind question
  • Now use Compound Reinforcement to help learners consolidate everything they have learned in the whole kahoot
Monday, 24 September 2018 07:24

Mondly VR

If you tell me I'll listen if you show me I'll see but if you let me experience I will learn.

Lao-Tse 

mondly vr 4

Mondly VR is a new application by Mondly, which uses virtual reality to help students expand their language learning skills. What makes Mondly VR stand out is its language recognition ability. Users can take part in conversations with virtual characters in a variety of different real life scenarios. Those scenarios include talking to a taxi driver, a hotel hostess, a waitress in a restaurant a stranger at the train station and a few other interesting choices.

Inside the application

I was really shocked when I first found out that you can practice from a selection of over 30 languages. Obviously the first step is to select the desired language. After the language is selected you are supposed to pick the conversational situation that you would like to engage with.

Mondly VR learn 30 languages in Virtual Reality

The conversation begins when the virtual character asks you a question or makes a remark. Then, you are prompt with a series of answers in the language you have picked at the very first stage of the application as well as their explanation in English. As soon as you pick a suitable answer you will hear a voice which pronounces the answer. Afterwards your task is to repeat the answer. If your answer is detected as correct the conversation continues. Otherwise you are kindly asked to repeat your saying. Note though that the voice recognition mechanisms of the app are not flawless and need to be improved.

It is also worth mentioning that the level of difficulty between each conversation is different. For example it’s way easier to have a short chat with a passenger in the train, and harder if you are trying to reserve a hotel room.

choicevr

Level of interactivity and immersion

Although one shouldn't expect object manipulation by the user, it can be concluded that the level of interactity is higher than other similar applications, thus leading to a more immersive experience. After all immersive VR experiences are considered more advantageous compared to less immersive ones. In my opinion this characteristic of the app, along with the beautiful graphics make MondlyVR worth giving a try.

Specs and characteristics

Mondly VR is a paid application which is available for Android smartphones (inside a Cardboard obviously) and Oculus rift. You can read more about the application at their official site here 

Final thoughts

All in all, Mondly VR is a decent attempt to combine language learning with VR but certainly needs work in order to steal the show.

Τι είναι η παιχνιδοποίηση στη μάθηση; Πώς ενσωματώνεται η παιχνιδοποίηση στο νεο πρόγραμμα JUMP του εκπαιδευτικού ομίλου QLS; 

Παιχνιδοποίηση

Δεκάδες δραστηριότητες σήμερα μας εμπλέκουν σε μια διαδικασία συλλογής πόντων. Από την αγορά του πρωινού καφέ, την επίσκεψη στο σουπερμάρκετ της γειτονιάς, μέχρι την συλλογή πόντων για τα καύσιμα του αυτοκινήτου και τα ταξίδια μας. Τα προηγούμενα αποτελούν παραδείγματα παιχνιδοποίησης στην καθημερινότητα των περισσοτέρων από εμάς.

Η παιχνιδοποίηση (gamification) είναι η χρήση των μηχανισμών παιχνιδιού σε μη παιγνιώδεις καταστάσεις  (Detering, Dixon, Khaled, & Nacke, 2011). Με αυτό τον τρόπο γίνεται χρήση των στοιχείων που διέπουν τα παιχνίδια, ώστε άμεσα να βελτιωθεί η εμπειρία του χρήστη και να ενισχυθεί το ενδιαφέρον του, οδηγώντας τον εντέλει σε μεγαλύτερη αφοσίωση με το προϊόν.

 

What is microlearning? Can it improve students' engagement? Is it more advantageous compared to traditional ways of delivering content? Should microlearning be used in every single course? 

Wednesday, 14 February 2018 11:06

Language VR (Virtual Speech)

 

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Undoubtedly, virtual reality has been one of the most discussed topics between educators since the past year. Multiple applications try to exploit its characteristics in order to enhance students’ learning process.

VirtualSpeech is an application which through scenarios and a wide range of language situations, aims to use the virtual reality to teach foreign languages. Besides English the user can choose between the following languages: French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Chinese. Russian, Japanese, Italian and Korean are soon to be released.

 

 Originally the app was developed to help people learn English through simulations of the English culture and landmarks. The idea behind this was to create a more exciting way of learning in a virtual environment. Research shows that visual representations help in maintaining information and learning new vocabulary (Jones, 2010). In addition the use of images helps in making abstract ideas more specific to students.

 

 MAIN

Below are listed the categories that the user can pick from.

Experience Culture: Virtual Reality (VR) is the possible solution for creating genuine language learning environments in EFL countries for a variety of reasons. The most beneficial part of using VR is the creation of those situations that simulate the physical environment through digital representation (Chen & Chen, 2016). London, Cotswolds, Warwick, Cornwall and many other British places are available to visit.

Language VR VirtualSpeech Screeenshot

Vocabulary: The user is asked to locate various objects in beautiful and well-designed rooms. Despite the fact that we really liked this option it should be mentioned that the free version of the app includes only room.

RED vr language app vocab office

Audiobook Chapters: The user can choose to listen to renowned books such as Treasure Island or Alice in the Wonderland. Of course, it would be an addition if moving or static images could be added as to enhance the student's involvement.

Basic Tenses: The player interacts with different shapes and objects trying to put them in order while creating sentences. Each object represents a single word. At the moment the user can choose from Present Simple, Past Simple and Future Simple.

Numbers: A realistic space ship simulation game in which the player tries to maneuver his spacecraft to the right number. It's not just a language learning game, but it certainly enriches the whole experience.

Roleplaying Speeches: It is a fact that through virtual reality it is possible to simulate situations that would be either too expensive or unfeasible to perform (Dávideková, et al., 2017). On this axis the user can simulate a speech, an interview, make a reservation for a hotel etc. It is a fact that there is no feedback based on what is said, but this may have had dubious results and would certainly require some financial consideration such as the purchase of the application.

Rewards and statistics: Finally, it is possible to record some of the user's achievements which are earned after completing certain activities.

Language VR will help teach English language and culture by providing photorealistic virtual reality environments to students to talk, listen, interact, and ultimately play.

The application is fully compatible with Google Cardboard and is available for Android, IOS, and GearVR devices. You can find out more here https://virtualspeech.com/

 

Bibliography

Chen, X. and Chen, M. (2016). The Application of Virtual Reality Technology in the EFL Learning Environment in China. Proceedings of the 2016 International Conference on Sensor Network and Computer Engineering.

Dávideková, M., Mjartan, M. and Greguš, M. (2017). Use of Virtual Reality in Education of Employees in Slovakia. Computer Science, 113, pp. 253-260.

Jones, A.D. (2010). Science through photography. Science through photography. Science and Children, 47 (5), 26-30.

Sunday, 31 December 2017 09:23

Google Expeditions

Google Expeditions is a virtual-reality teaching tool. It gives students an opportunity to explore a variety of amazing environments and areas that they may never have the chance to visit in person. You can swim with sharks, visit outer space, walk through a museum, and more without leaving the classroom. 

There are over 500 Expeditions trips available at the moment. Everything from the Great Wall of China, to the Buckingham Palace, and even the outer space are available as destinations for your students. Each Expedition is a 360-degree experience that allows students travel to an amazing place while being guided by a teacher.

To join an expedition, each participant needs a Wi-Fi-connected tablet or smartphone. Teachers choose the content that they want to show to the devices connected on the same Wi-Fi network and can pause, play, or change what students see.

Virtual reality provides an interactive, immersive experience. Instead of sitting passively, students stand up. Instead of looking at one aspect of an image, they literally turn their heads and move their eyes to view angles of a scenery. Instead of remaining aware of their classroom environment, they are immersed inside of a virtual reality setting.

How to use in classroom?

Teachers can use Expeditions to supplement their current curriculum with VR field trips.

The teacher’s role is to ask questions, pinpoint important things on the tour, etc. Giving time for students to explore each scene first and then highlighting points of interest can help enliven the content for your students. It is also worth mentioning that extensive support materials are provided for each scene, such as leveled questions and pre-determined points of interest.

Hardware/Software needed:

A tablet

The teacher guides his students through the use of a tablet he is handling. The role of the teacher is to provide the students with the necessary information regarding the scene they are watching while still being in charge of changing the scenes. It should be time-saving and problem-solving if each expedition has already been downloaded before the lesson's begging. 

Smartphones

A mobile phone between 4,5 - 5.99" with a gyroscopic sensor must be placed in every single cardboard. It doesn't have to big something fancy. As long as it possess a gyroscopic sensor it will get the job done.

Software

Each device needs to pre-install the Google Expeditions app, which is free and can be downloaded to the mobile phone via the Playstore or iOS.

Internet Connection / WI-FI

A special advantage of Google Expeditions is that there is no need for the student's mobile device to be connected to the Internet but simply to the school's local Wi-Fi. All in all, no internet connection needed during the lesson as long as the teacher has already pre-dowloaded the Expeditions of his choice at his own device (ideally a tablet as mentioned before)

HMD ( Head Mounted Display)

The HMD is the device that will host the smartphone allowing the viewing of the 3D scenes that it generates.

There is a huge variety of HMDs out in the market ranging for a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. A solid option is the official Google Cardboard that can be bought from the official Google stores online and cost around 20 dollars. 

Verdict:

Despite its disadvantages (mainly in relation to the degree of limited immersion and the dizziness that can be caused to the user because of the prolonged use), the device seems to be an opportunity to integrate VR into the classroom's setting given the wide spread of smart phones and its positive elements. It is certainly a tool that would help boosting the students’ engagement  while at the same time helping them gain a better understanding of the lesson.

Saturday, 30 December 2017 09:43

Gamification

The gamification of learning is a modern, student friendly, efficient way of teaching and deliving content. This approach uses the elements and characteristics of video games to transform teaching in a way that will greatly affect students' engagement.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017 08:28

Nearpod

logoΝearpod is an extremely powerful presentation tool. It allows teachers to create digital lesson plans, share it with students during class, and track individual progress. Lessons are comprised of teacher-created slides that can include text, video, images, websites, questions, quizzes, polls, and assignments. Teachers can use Nearpod effectively in the classroom to support student learning in a variety of ways. Give students opportunities for interaction and immediate feedback by having them draw on a map, respond to a poll question, post to a collaboration board, or take a multiple-choice quiz. Besides, teachers can incoroprate virtual reality trips and 360° views into their slides using the build-in capabilities the Nearpod offers. By watching videos and reviewing notes students can review the key concepts of the lesson. In addition they are able to follow the lesson on their own devices at their own pace or teachers can lead a synchronized session where students can follow the lesson in real-time. This way the learners become active participants in their education while teachers get valuable feedback on student learning.

 

 

quiz results 

Nearpod augments the normal PowerPoint experience. Τhe presentation experience is enhanced by administering formative assessments to students as they work and allowing the teacher to monitor students as they take notes, draw or map concepts, answer quizzes and more. This is formal learning that uses the traditional classroom model and elevates it to include more interactive elements.

lesson list

 

How to use:

add content

To use this tool, the teacher must visit the Nearpod website and register.The teacher can either create the lesson from scratch or import an already made presentation in PowerPoint and then add the elements to enhance it. When satisfied with the created lesson, teachers can choose if they are going to lead the lesson or if students will complete the lesson individually. If they are going to complete it together, students will need to log onto the lesson by entering the lesson plan’s pin into the Nearpod app or website. If this option is selected, teachers will have the ability to monitor their students’ computer screens once they are logged in, which means whatever is shown on the teacher’s screen is also shown on the students’ screen. If students complete the lesson independently, they will be able to work on their own pace. If teachers include different activities and assessments, they will be able to view student achievement and work as students progress through the lesson. Teachers will be able to see student progress by clicking the group icon on the top left of the screen.

join lesson

Side note: Not all the content on Nearpod is free. A teacher may have to purchase a subscription to access all the content. However, the educator can still make and use a custom lesson with the students for free but some of the options are limited. Also, teachers are encouraged to use the “Explore” option to view lessons made by colleagues and then use them or modify them  for their own needs.

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According to Gee's evaluation criteria (2003), educational video games must be pedagogically driven and appropriate to promote learning. These criteria refer to the motivation given to the student when using the application or game, the potential problems he / she will be faced with and his / her level of interactivity.

Johnny Grammar's Word Challenge is an application suitable for Android and IOS devices. It is really beneficial for students who learn English and want to improve their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. The aim of the game is to answer as many correct questions as possible within a minute, with the user receiving badges depending on his performance (Grammar Guru, Word Wizard and Supreme Speller badges). By winning badges the player is placed on a leaderboard competing with other players worldwide.

badges

There are three levels of difficulty (easy, medium and hard) depending on the level of questions asked. In the vocabulary category there are 10 sub-categories related to food, travels, idioms, movies, hobbies etc. In the grammar category there are 12 sub-categories related to intentions, irregular verbs, auxiliary verbs, etc.

After completing quizzes, the application offers feedback so the user can evaluate the answers given. In fact, through this gamification process, the user indirectly aims at improving the cognitive knowledge’s capacity as this improvement will also lead to a better placement in the ranking board.

Assessing the "Johnny Grammar's Word Challenge" application with Gee's criteria for mobilizing the student, this game is structured in such a way that it makes the user feel that his action have a meaning (Gee, 2004). Problems in the application are well organized as there is a scaling difficulty so the learner can easily start from the lowest level of difficulty and reach the highest, making the challenges easily manageable (Gee, 2004). Another advantage is the immediate feedback given as the student quickly acquires an image of his level and knowledge. This is a valid update on the processes that should or have been applied, which serves in understanding and building new knowledge. After all it is widely known that people learn skills, strategies and ideas better when they see how they fit into a more general frame which is meaningful for them. In fact, every experience is reinforced when we understand how it fits into a more important set.

Bibliography:

Gee, J.P. (2004). Learning by design: Games as learning machines. Interactive Educational Multimedia, (8), 15-23.

Friday, 15 December 2017 18:19

Socrative

Socrative is a tool primarily designed to evaluate the learner. The application (response system) allows the educator to create several kinds of quizzes: Multiple Choice, Right or Wrong, Brief Response, etc. Those quizzes are accessible by the tutor who has access to view the responses of each student (Kokina, & Juras, 2017). There is also another option called “Exit Ticket”, which provides a direct insight into the students' understanding of the main points of the course. (Tretinjak, Bednjanec & Tretinjak, 2015).

Socrative is also a tool of gamification since it is a virtual environment which is full of challenges that pupils have to respond to. Unlike other applications it doesn’t embed a reward system but through its leaderboard option students can recognize their weaknesses and improve their knowledge. After a quiz is done, the teacher receives a report which records individual performance. Then the educator can share this report with the learners and process the results of their responses.


An other useful option is the “Space Race”. When using the “Space race” option, the answers are given by groups of students, thus enriching the group-work spirit and the element of competition between the different teams. As stated in an article by Ferrándiz, Puentes, Moreno, & Flores, (2016), Socrative allows group collaboration and competition. As a result the students become more motivated compared to the usual quizzes.

All in all, it can be said that the use of Socrative in class  strengthens the metacognitive processes of  learners while promoting learning at the same time.

Bibliography

Kokina, J., & Juras, P. E. (2017). Using Socrative to Enhance Instruction in an Accounting Classroom. Journal Of Emerging Technologies In Accounting, 14(1), 85-97. doi:10.2308/jeta-51700

Tretinjak, M. F., Bednjanec, A., & Tretinjak, M. (2015). Interactive teaching with Socrative. 2015 38Th International Convention On Information & Communication Technology, Electronics & Microelectronics (MIPRO), 848.

Ferrándiz, E., Puentes, C., Moreno, P. J., & Flores, E. (2016). engaging and assessing students through their electronic devices and real time quizzes. Multidisciplinary Journal for Education, Social and Technological Sciences, 3(2), 173-184.

 

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