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Friday, September 1, 2017

Getting Back into Step for the New School Year!

As usual, the summer has slip-slided away before I could say "Jack Robinson" and I now find myself in September which means that it's time to hit the ground running! My first lessons are always a combination of becoming aquainted with each other while at the same time getting right to business. Especially in the 12th grade where we REALLY have NO time to lose! So I am sharing what I am doing in our first lesson with them, this coming Monday.

I have recycled a Prezi that I prepared a few years ago, inserting the main information that my students need to know for our first day. If you have been following my blog this summer, you'll know that I am now a fledgling YouTuber, so instead of ending it off with an inspirational talk from Ashton Kutcher, as I did last year, I have made a YouTube of MYSELF! 





A few days ago our Education Ministry and CEO of the MoE held a press conference, about the importance of strengthening English language learning, in general, with an emphasis on speaking, in our schools. Many of us already DO a lot of oral activities to encourage the kids to talk, but hopefully their official statement and all the initiatives that are flowing into the field as backwash, will make it even more wide spread. Since we are all aware of the importance of producing digitally savvy citizens of the world, I intend to incorporate the making of YouTube movies into my lessons this  year whenever I can! I have no doubt whatsoever that, among my students, there will be those who can teach us ALL how to make effective YouTubes! I am aiming to turn my classroom into  an English "Maker Space", encouraging my students to come out as "makers".  And what way better to get kids talking in English and making YouTubes, than by leading the way with my own example, right?

The Prezi is embedded in the front page of my class website, so all I will have to do next Monday when I walk into the classroom will be to throw it up on the board, and it's all there!  (Want to learn how to make a Googlesite for YOUR class? Check THIS out!)

Wishing you all an inspiring, creative, challenging new school year, for you and your students! If you want ANY ideas for your classroom (Back-to-School, or otherwise) remember to make your first stop in our new Portal ! Do you have a great Back-to-School activity to share? Please share it HERE!

Oh... and Ashton Kutcher get outta my way!

Digitally yours!

@dele 

P.S. 

Please subscribe here, to my blog, and to my YouTube channel, which is growing all the time, with (at least one) new movie each week including digital help and ideas you'll find useful! If there is anything YOU want me to blog or YouTube about, let me know in the comments!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Making your own Googlesite, in Ten Easy Steps

This is the time if year when teachers around the country (and probably around the Northern Hemisphere) are getting into first gear to get back into their classrooms. 

One of the things that are really helpful is to have a website for your class, where you can post the day's lesson plan, or homework reminders, or links to interactive activites you plan to do, or anything you plan to use for your lesson! It's a fantastic way to keep yourself organizaed and not have to go groping around to find that ellusive link.....

To share the link to your site, it's good to shorten the URL. In the webcast I showed the use of Google's useful webshorterner, where you just type goo.gl and shorten the link and/ or grab a QR Code, but another option is Bitly, which enables you to make up a more logical sounding shortened URL. (Hhmm... an idea for next week's YouTube! If I make a tutorial for that, I'll link it here.. or just subscribe to my YouTube Channel, and you won't miss it!)

Googlesites are still a great way to have your students do their projects for the oral bagrut, as I did in 2014 (with the old version of Googlesites). If you want to read about that, you can read about it in my blogpost from way back then!

So... have I whet your appetite? Well, it just so happens that, I have made a short video to encourage teachers to make a Googlesite!: 10 Easy Steps to Making a Google Site, and in case you don't follow my YouTube channel (yet ;-) I am sharing it here, as well. If you DO decide to make your own class site, share it here, and let us know how  you use it!

Please feel free to ask me questions if you have any, in the comments section below the YouTube. And DO subscribe to my channel where I am trying to ensure that no teacher gets left behind!




Digitally yours,
@dele

Don't forget to subscribe here, as well!


Monday, July 17, 2017

Collect files through Google Forms!

It's something that many of us have been waiting for: you can now collect files in GoogleForms. Did you know that?

As a counselor, I often have the need for teachers to share files as part of the information I need to collect in Googleforms. If you don't have Google Classroom, this can be a workaround for collecting assignments from your students (as attachments) with feedback (in the form).

There are different types of files that can be uploaded documents, spreadsheets, PDF, drawings, images, audios and more. They can be either WORD or Googledocs. And it's really easy! Come watch how, and help me celebrate my first video in this series on my new YouTube Channel: "Digitally Yours".


I also noticed another new option in Google Forms, which is checkbox grids (in addition to multiple choice grids, which have been around for quite a while).  Just as with the difference between checkboxes and multiple choice answers, in the checkbox grid you can mark more than one option per row, as opposed to multiple choice grids, which allow you to only mark one per row. 


But it's always easier to show you rather than just tell you - so have a look, below!



Please check out my new channel, give your feedback, suggestions, requests, and SUBSCRIBE! The more subscribers I have, the more videos I will be able to make to help YOU with what you need- so that NO teacher gets left behind in the digital dimension of teaching in 2017


Digitally yours, 
@dele


PS - don't forget to subscribe to my blog AND my new YouTube channel! Wouldn't want you to miss out on anything! :-)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Digitally Yours: A new YouTube Channel is Born!

Just a SHOUT OUT, because I am SO excited to invite you to my new YouTube Channel!
 

Many of you are already tuning in to my tutorials, but now , after having the thrilling experience of getting super-inspiring training in the YouTube Academy for Teachers, I have been convinced to jump into the deep end and open a dedicated YouTube Channel just for YOU. 

The theme is No Teacher Left Behind, and I plan to invite you into my home once a week, so I can share ideas for ways to take advantage of digital pedagogy and internet tools in the classroom. I have a ton of tips for you for classroom use as well as helping you keep track of stuff, work, collaborate and lots more! We can converse in the comments under the clips, and I will try to answer any questions you have. If you have special requests, I’ll do my best to work those in as well. 




I plan to start off each week with a new video! To be sure you don’t miss any of them and hit the “SUBSCRIBE” button!

Digitally yours, 

@dele

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

YouTube Academy for Teachers Blogpost - Day Three

It came to an end - as all good things must do (bad things, as well, but we’re happy to see the back of the the bad things ….. good things are those we would like to prolong….like the YouTube Academy.)

The final day of the YT Academy began by watching and critiquing some of the movies we produced for homework over the weekend. Unfortunately, we didn't have time for all of them, but we learned from each others' successes and failures.

After watching each others' YouTube baby-steps, we were transported to hard-core YouTubing with another super-inspiring YouTuber; one who has found her own way to grow a humongous following who bask in her “little peaceful crafting galaxy” of miniatures, despite the fact that her face never appears in her YouTubes. With 480,319 subscribers and 141,831,876 views, the intelligent and talented Helena has built a tiny empire on YouTube - PipeCleanerCrafts B, one which entertains children (mostly girls, I think)  who are enchanted watching her fingers as they build miniature worlds for dolls. She spoke to us about the different, calculated decisions she took. She explained why she decided not to include visuals with her face (although not including one’s face is known to be a detractor, statistically), which languages she presents in (and which she does NOT, and why), and how she runs her channel to take advantage of it to the max; making her passion work for her. Helena illustrated the influence of high-quality, successful competitors from whom to learn; and how analyzing each other helps them each to grow. Her channel is truly an admirable labor of love, and we were lucky to have her to share her odyssey with us.
Image may contain: 1 person, smiling
Photo by Keren Gottlieb Eis 
Anat Szekely continued in her ongoing task over the three-day YouTube Academy for Teachers’ adventure, to enrich us with the ins and outs of branding our channels, optimizing and promoting our movies using Search English Optimization (SEO).  She spoke all sorts of gobbledygook, and slowly but surely, ideas are starting to fall into place. Metadata, thumbnails (and the significance thereof), titles, using Trends and keywords, taking advantage of statuses, subtitles, end screens and finally: (drumroll) Analytics. This is an art in itself, one I need to play around with in order to get my head around it.  There are templates and tricks of the trade that are worth researching more deeply. For that I need time: time to experiment, time to get my hands dirty and time to digest.

The always-inspiring Liat Ben Rafael, (albeit without her adorable pooch this time) left her impression on us regarding branding (This Brand is Me).I believe it was she who shared the brilliant Oscar WIlde quote: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”   The most important thing for success is the person YOU are, the person YOU bring to YouTube, THAT is who people can identify with. And the message that resounded throughout the YT Academy days: watch other YouTubers, learn from them, try to analyze what they bring to the network, but in the end, we each need to find our OWN voices, our OWN messages. If we can bring ourselves to our audience, being passionate about what we want to convey, we have a chance of being noticed .

What I also realized is that there is an entire YouTube Universe out there about which I know only the very smallest speck.

These are the questions that Liat recommended we all go home, sit down and answer for ourselves in our quest for finding our inner YouTuber: our own personal brand-o-meter, if you will:




  1. Who am I?
  2. What are my values?
  3. What are my passions?
  4. What are my characteristics?
  5. What are my advantages?
  6. What are the weird things about me? (What makes me different)
  7. What are my aims? Motivations?
  8. Where will I be in 5,10, 20 years?
  9. Who am I?




Anna from Google Europe hungout with us after lunch to talk about the topic of Monetization on YouTube, further helping us pinpoint ways to draw audience attention.
Image may contain: 2 people, indoor
Photo by Keren Gottlieb Eis 
Asaf presented 10 Fundamentals of a Creative Strategy on YouTube:
  1. Shareability
  2. Conversation
  3. Interactivity
  4. Consistency
  5. Targeting
  6. Sustainability (this one is THE biggest biggie as far as I am concerned)
  7. Discoverability
  8. Accessibility
  9. Collaboration
  10. Inspiration - does this come from a place of genuine inspiration?


Image may contain: 4 people, indoor
Photo by Keren Gottlieb Eis

Finally, Bar Umansky - our dedicated unicorned GEG leader who could not participate in person, beamed in to talk about where we are and where we are headed as a community of YouTubers.  

There was so much to digest from these three days, that my head is still spinning; my heart still racing.

The three days ended with champagne and cupcakes; diplomas and tears. We were presented with certificates, and some tools of our new trade (tripod and selfie-sticks with remote controls) to give us a leg-up, and left with even more questions than we had before (which is a good thing - because without questions, we would never start looking for the answers).














Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing
Photo by Liron Cohen Aviv

I embarked on this journey, planning to open a channel of “Do Nows” or “Challenges” that a teacher can turn on at any time during the lesson, when they feel that their class needs a "brain break", to have students do a short, fun activity. I even created my sample YouTube clip for it, and am very proud of myself for being brave enough to share my abject failure-of-a-first-attempt, here:




I learnt SO much from doing this! After all, Google’s 8th Principle for Innovation is: 8. FAIL WELL “Failure is the way to be innovative and successful. You can fail with pride.” And I did!

The audio of the clip is awful, I talk as if I’m addressing 4-year-olds (which would be ok if my audience were actually 4-year-olds rather than teenagers), the horizon (line of the couch behind me) isn’t straight, the timer I managed to capture is traumatic, and most importantly - the MOST profound failure that came out of this- was that I realized that this is not something I am passionate enough about, or even experienced enough at. I SHOULD be doing more of these kinds of methodological brain breaks in my lessons, but I do not.

Producing this total failure gave me the opportunity to experiment with a few editing programs. I learned a LOT about why I need to buy a lapel mic (to hone in on what I WANT the viewer to hear rather than sounds of the fan/the air conditioning/ the snoring dog, etc.) and probably invest in some good lighting solutions. But most importantly - the very element that will tip the scales of whether or not this becomes an extended journey which I decide to take upon myself, or just a short vacation: I think I figured out my passion. But that will have to wait for my next blogpost.

I can’t close this without thanking all those a Google, but especially the trio: Yael, Anat and Bar, who made this profound learning experience possible for the 30 educators from all around Israel who were fortunate enough (and dedicated enough) to participate. Those 30 colleagues have become the best support group EVER!

Digitally yours,

@dele

If you missed the blogposts from Days 1 and 2, come visit my main blog page! And if you are interested in learning more about my YouTube channel-to-be, or Digital Pedagogy, please be sure to subscribe to this blog! :-)


Photo on camera by Liron from Google.
Photo of camera by Keren Gottlieb Eis

Friday, July 7, 2017

YouTube Academy for Teachers Blogpost - Day Two

Six forty five a.m. on a “vacation” day, and I was out the door! Some may say I am nuts, but for YouTube Academy, I’m willing to be diagnosed with whatever you want to call it. If not wanting to miss a minute of the second day of this three day wonder makes me crazy, then yep, crazy I be.

The day began with an incredible Israeli-born English teacher (from the private sector) who uses YouTube to teach English pronunciation. Hadar Shemesh started out very simply with a camera, and a “Hi I’m Hadar!”, which, over the course of the past 9 years, she has developed into her own business. Hadar produces a video a week, provides free content, encourages engagement, and builds community: a community who are the first to jump onboard when she offers a paid-for course!  By breaking words down, explaining what is behind them, sprinkling it all with aesthetics and humor, she produces winning videos to help people soften (or even get rid of) their foreign accents (providing American English is their goal…. and why wouldn’t it be? ;-). See for yourself at The Accent’s Way Magazine. (And if you have students who want to improve their accents, or if you are non-native English speaking teacher and want to work on your own without anybody knowing ;-) her free videos look really useful!)

Her main messages for us as potential YouTubers?
  1. Be yourself. (The internet abounds with YouTubers - don’t try to imitate anyone - figure out who YOU are, what you want to say, and how you feel natural saying it.)
  2. Target the content: know what message you want to convey, be sure it is focused and concentrated.
  3. Practice makes perfect! Make a 3-minute video every day. Look back at what you did the day before, appraise, improve.
  4. Engagement is the key. Build a community of followers and engage them with activities that encourage them to respond to your video.

After hearing Hadar, we began learning how to do the pre-production part of the task for the day, which was to be woven through the interspersed frontal sessions. Anat Szekely, Project Manager at Google, Tel Aviv, recommended key guiding questions to ask ourselves when planning a YouTube movie:

  1. What do I want to say?
  2. What is the topic of the movie?
  3. What is its aim? Is it for a trailer for my channel? Is it to teach something? To convince? Encourage?
  4. Who is the speaker? Even if several people are going to participate, there should be no more than one or two main people, in order to keep it personal.
  5. Who is the audience?
  6. What are the tools and capabilities I have at my disposal?


Then, in order to get our heads around that, we each wrote a short synopsis of about 3 lines, about our own project.

Since movies are made with Storyboards, which map out what the audience will see and hear, and in essence, plan how you are going to get your message across, we were asked to prepare one in order to make a movie for practice.

This is the storyboard that my group made collaboratively for our exercise:
Storyboard.JPG




Anat summed up this pre-production intro by suggesting best practices for how to tell our stories:

  • Catch your viewers in the first 5 seconds (or lose them!) Let your audience know what the clip is about.
  • Read your text out loud (what looks good on paper doesn’t always sound good out loud)
  • Seek out where it’s possible to encourage interaction with your audience.
  • YouTube is a personal media. Plan close frames to make it feel intimate - as if it’s just you and your viewer -  and speak directly to the audience IOW: look into the lense of the camera, unless there is an explicit reason not to do so, otherwise it looks weird (and weird is what we are trying to avoid - at least in public ;-) .


The final speaker of the day was the inspiring Diva of Israeli DIY:  Dana Yisraeli, who gave us an intensive crash course in how to film, edit and produce YouTube videos directly on our smartphones!


I am proud (and only slightly embarrassed…. because I don’t really get embarrassed easily) to present the fruit of our labors of the day (I have no doubt we will all look back and laugh at this someday)  



Credits: Meirav (who worked her magic with her editing experience), Irit (cinematographer and one of my all-time-favorite Google Ninjas to have around) Gil (who got there late but hit the ground running), Hanita (whose infectious laughter made it so much fun) Rania (who had to leave early but was an integral part of the process) and the always-ready-to-ham-it-up: yours truly.

Sending a big "THANKS" to the guest speakers, and of course, Anat and Yael Doron Drori for another stupendous day of YouTube Teachers' Academy!

And now I have to do my REAL homework for the next session - make the first movie for my new channel! Curious to see what it’s going to be about? You’ll just have to wait, I’m afraid! Be sure to subscribe to my blog, so you don’t miss it, and have a great weekend!

Digitally yours,

@dele

P.S. Do YOU have any suggestions for things you would like to get in a YouTube channel, and haven’t found yet? Something you feel would help you for your professional development, or with your students? I already have a pretty clear direction for my channel, but if you have a need and can convince me to do something else, I’ll consider changing!  Write your requests here, in the comments, or email me directly at araemer@gmail.com.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Traveler's Blog: YouTube Academy End of Day One

YouTube Academy - Day 1
Photo credit: Yael Doron Drori
 (that's me in the back, being too exuberant, as usual)


At Google, they feed you - all day long. When they’re not feeding your stomach, they’re feeding your soul and your brain. I’m making my way home with a full tummy and a full brain.

The CEO of Google Israel came to welcome us. Did you know that ⅓ of all the people connected to the internet are connected to YouTube? Or that every minute 450 hours of YouTube content are uploaded?! Every. Single. Minute. In fact, in one 8-hour work day, more content gets uploaded to YouTube from all around the world, than what Hollywood produces in 2 years! That’s what I found out from Barak Regev. And that he likes teachers.

Hagit and Uri from Edunow (הגיע זמן חינוך) spoke to us about the  qualities of content encourage engagement (quality, relevant, a little gossipy, short, honest, funny and provocative) and other tips for making content accessible, keeping in mind that which appeals to the heart as well as that which appeals to the head. Qualities which, by the way, are true not only for YouTube, but for other educational content, as well, in this age of sound-byte reality-show consumers.

After that we had hands on YouTube training from Anat Szekely, Project Manager at Google, who taught me how much I don’t know about YouTube, its potential as an educational tool for teachers as well as students. You Tube is ONLY A platform - but it gives you SO many tools!  And if we are always preaching to teachers to get to the kids where they “are”, then YouTube is where they are!  For our Gen Z students (in the rage of 13-20 year olds) surveys teach us that YouTube is a HUGE part of their lives. In fact, Anat told us that 95% of the kids in that age range responded that it’s THE app that they couldn’t live without!  We got tips about making a channel banner, (the sizing can be tricky) our channel name (should be unique - but not absolutely mandatory) and icon.  I never really noticed that there is an option for a Welcome video (which should also encourage viewers to subscribe) or the importance of the “About” section (not necessarily because subscribers will ever read it, but because it will be decisive regarding my channel’s findability in the search engine) and how to take advantage of Google Trends (only the very tip of that iceberg).

Betwixt and between, we met an AMAZING YouTuber whose life got changed by sand and YouTube (Ilana Yahav) and now travels the world with her art thanks to YouTube.



We also met Amir Ariely, Head of Creative at Google, who had the following insights for us:

  • Video is not evil
  • Unlike school, learning via YouTube is all about choice, putting the choice in our hands
  • Start with a question - what do you want to teach?
  • Keep it short
  • Keep it personal
  • Think visually  
  • Be generous (being humble, honest and frank)
  • It’s all about the content: bring what you know best  

I also got the opportunity to spend the day with people I adore and admire and to meet more whom I have followed from afar (one of whom wears pajamas; others whom I have heard of but never met - and even others whom I had never heard of but now am in awe of!)

And, of course…. we ate. Often and well.

So now, finally at home, with my belly AND head both overflowing, I need to go to bed in order to have the energy to get my YouTube channel ready for tomorrow - providing there is wifi on the train, since I have spent the little energy I had left after the long day and the train ride home, on filling you in with this blogpost - which may or may not start having more of my own YouTubes in the future!!

Digitally yours,
@dele

PS - I am SOOOOO lucky to be part of this group!!!!



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Traveler's Blog: YouTube Academy Day 1




Captain Kirk kept a travel log, to record and document his experiences on his extra-galactic  expeditions. So I'm not venturing out to where "no man has been before" (or woman), but I am embarking on a three-day journey with Yael and Bar and the other inspiring people at Google  who have been working hard to make this journey an inspiring one for those of us who have been lucky enough to have been chosen to join them.

People ask me if I work for Google.

No. I don't.

I don't get paid for any of my bloggingtranslatecompetitioncommunityleadinggoogletraining activities. Not directly, any way. I get enriched.  I benefit from it every time I say "yes", because ever since I first participated in the Google Teachers' Academy in Israel in 2011, the ride has always been fun, exciting and educational. And fun.

And all this techno-nectar that becomes infused in me, gets taken back to the field.

If you had told me 36 years ago that I would still be in the classroom, (never having taken a Sabbatical....ok - that's nuts, and something I would maybe change) still with a sense of purpose, curiosity, and energy, and that I would be choosing to spend 3 days of my summer "vacation" getting up at 5:30 to catch an 8:00 train into Tel Aviv, my response probably would have been: "Yea, right."

And  yet, here I sit, on the train making my way to the rooms with the glass windows on the 29th floor, with the metropolis spread out before us, and a galaxy to be revealed within, spending my days with enthused educators who have come to play together, to make learning wondrous!

Watch this space!

Digitally yours,
@dele