Friday, 15 April 2016

Our first live chocotalk!

On Thursday 7 April, 19:00 Spanish time it took place an important event for us, our first live chocotalk! Being part of this challenge has been possible thanks to the work of @mjgsm and @chococharlas 

Chococharlas is a collaborative project that was created by a group of teachers to foster the participation of all the members of the education community. Our contribution to this project has been related to an important topic in education: how CLIL can contribute to having happier bilingual learners. 

In groups, we prepared the chocotalk during several days, thinking about what we wanted to say about CLIL and its benefits related to the topic. We also decided our roles in this task, agreeing that one of us would be the speaker in the live event, two of us would be the disseminators in Twitter and other social networks and three of us would be content curators, taking notes of all the interesting points that would be discussed in the chocotalk. 

Finally, we did the chocotalk using Youtube and eight classmates participated in the live event as speakers and one as moderator, while the rest of us were watching them. The moderator was Laura González @LauraGonGar5 and the speakers were the following:

Guillermo Lagarejos: @GLHmaster
Inma Caballero: @teacher_inma
Álvaro Gómez: @Alvaro_Gope
Celia González: @celiagon92
Lola Berral: @lolaberralraya
Neus Fiol: @nepeuspu
Patricia Madrueño: @patimasie
Rubén Peinado: @rpeinadog

The chocotalk was divided in four main parts, in which speakers talk about different topics related to CLIL.

The first part was focused on advantages and disadvantages of CLIL. One of the main ideas that was discussed by my classmates was the importance of working in a cross-curricular way, which was introduced by Rubén. Although some of them agreed that it is difficult to implement it at schools, as Guille and Patricia did, they also consider that teachers have to take into account that cooperative work among teachers is essential to connect our subject with others and communicate and share our ideas is part of our job.

Rubén also added that in secondary education there is only one teacher per subject, which makes more difficult to teach subjects in a cross-curricular way. Celia proposed that a solution could be to work with projects and that all the school community agree to work like this. 

Álvaro also commented that ICT are a great tool to keep in touch with other teachers and Lola and other speakers agreed and added that nowadays we have a lot of online resources to communicate with others.

Later, Guille introduced a drawback, telling that some experts say that working in an additional language affects negatively to the students’ mother tongue. Inma responded to this and said that at the beginning students can mix the languages but later they will have better cognitively skills. 

Guille also added that some people also say that children can feel stressful because they have to work in an additional language. He thinks that teachers must know how to manage their anxiety and Inma says that scaffolding is important as children can feel less frustrated thanks to this strategy. 

The second topic that they discussed was the social and emotional benefits of CLIL. Patricia started talking about this topic and she said that we have to motivate children and use engaging activities. She also discussed the importance of Krashen Theory based on language acquisition, which establishes that students have to be motivated to learn. 

Lola also commented that we have to take into account the needs of our students and Inma connected this topic with ICT, adding that teachers are dealing with a digital generation and we have to take this into account to plan our lessons, as adding visual contents can motivate them. 

Besides, Guille and Rubén introduced two interesting ideas. Guille said that children need a bit of pressure to performance properly in class, and Rubén commented that nowadays children have a lot of digital tools like mobile phones, television, tablets and so on and teachers should use these tools to attract their attention and teach to be critical citizens. Moreover, Rubén said and important aspect, that we are teaching humans so emotional intelligence is very important, even in high schools where students are teenagers and they experience a lot of changes and feelings at that age.

The third topic was ICT in the classroom. Álvaro started talking this time and he made a great point: it is more important what students do using tools than the tools themselves. In relation to this, Neus commented some of the tools we have been using in class like Animoto, Aurasma, Genially and so on. 

Celia, a great fan of using videogames as an educational tool, consider that videogames have cognitive, emotional and social benefits for students and mentioned Minecraft as an example of a great videogame that can be connected with geography, history and other subjects. She also commented that we have to be careful when choosing a videogames and she and Rubén added two more examples of videogames related to history: Total World saga and Crusaders Kings.

Moreover, I wrote a question in Twitter for them about how to manage time when using ICT in class with students. Inma answered my question and she said that people think that ICT are time consuming but she thinks it is totally the opposite. She explained that if you create a blog or website where you upload things that you have designed for students, they can manage their own time and if they need extra time to do something they can redo it by themselves at school or at home.

Finally, the last topic was e-projects, which consisted on commenting the different e-projects that each group is developing in class. As you can visit the speakers twitter account and their blogs to see their work in these e-projects, I’m just going to summarize the topic that each speaker presented to see the variety of topics:

-Neus: “What do you know about your neighbourhood?”.
-Lola: “Travelling around Europe”.
-Patricia: human body.
-Guille: animals.
-Ruben: history.
-Celia: “The Earth’ adventures”. 

In conclusion, the chocotalk was an amazing experience, very enriching for all of us, and we all want to repeat it again as it was very interesting to share our ideas and being so involved in the activity. I enjoyed watching my colleagues talking about our ICT and other important education topics and I felt very proud of their work. 

If you want to see our chocotalk, you can do it by watching this video:

Moreover, my group has used Storify to summarize some of the comments that we did in Twitter before, during and after the chocotalk. You can watch it here:

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