There’s only one week left to go until the final face-to-face meeting of Cohort 21 and I’m feeling a variety of emotions. On the one hand, I’m excited to see a bunch of people who have inspired me to push myself to try new things and leave my Luddite comfort zone. I’m really looking forward to seeing what others have done with the tools and options we’ve explored over the past six months or so. Similarly, I’m amped to share my successes and struggles in flipping my French classroom, along with some ideas for the future. I’m a little bummed that it’s coming to an end, but as the old adage goes: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
I’ve certainly got a lot to smile about. Through Cohort 21, I was put in touch with Ramesh, an entrepreneur who is starting up game-based online teaching and assessment software. I fell in love with his Memarden program at first site and when I tested it with my students, they loved it too. I haven’t had the chance to let them try it on their own but Ramesh just taught me how to input the students into the system so I’ll hopefully have them try it out before the first Cohort meeting. Since the business is just starting, there are a few kinks to be worked out but I’m very optimistic about the direction in which Memarden is going.
I’ve also had the privilege to participate in a couple of Google Hangouts, which are always a fun learning experience and often involve funny hats. From these, I’ve learned about special opportunities such as skyping other French classrooms and recording students oral presentations. They were also good for learning about how the Hangouts worked since I can see many uses for them beyond the classroom If you haven’t sat in on one of the Hangouts, check out this link to a help session to get an idea of what they’re like.
At first, it was tough to get the students to work on these quizzes but over time, their parents have really bought into it and now I get requests for more videos. I’m trying to churn out one every two weeks and now I’ve got a youtube channel with over ten videos. Many thanks are owed to fellow Cohort 21 member Sara Spencer for her guidance and encouragement on that front. However, I recently learned that the AIM program (gesture-based french teaching) has entered the 21st century and will be introducing a Student Portal with videos, exercises and games of its own in September of 2014. I’m not sure what it will cost but I feel like it would cover all the stuff I’ve been trying to do over the past six months. Yet another avenue to investigate, I suppose!
That’s where I’m at right now. Enjoy the long weekend and I’ll see you on Friday!