Emily Bryson ELT

Month: February 2021

Visual templates for engaging environmental discussions

I recently read Dan Barber’s ELT Footprint blog about giving your lessons a sustainability twist. It inspired me to create some visual templates to stimulate environmental discussions in the classroom.

A visual template is a tool commonly used by graphic facilitators to inspire workshop participants. It is essentially a technique which turns a plain flipchart or whiteboard into a visual prompt to guide and focus students’ attention. It uses simple iconography to represent topics and bold text to catch their eyes and imaginations. Put simply, it is far more exciting and inspiring than a boring old blank white space.

Take these templates on saving electricity or reducing plastic, for example. Students add their ideas using post-it notes, writing directly or by adding their own drawings. Prior to this activity, you could ask them to read or listen to some information on either topic.

In a face-to-face classroom, these templates can be pre-drawn on flipcbart paper and displayed around the room or passed between tables, carousel style. Students can then walk around or simply add their ideas when they have that template. The teacher can then facilitate discussions using the students’ ideas or students could use the ideas to produce some written work. The templates can be stored and re-used, or students could add their own drawings to them and the final piece be displayed on the wall.

In a digital classroom, the templates work well on a platform such as Jamboard, where students can add their own digital post-its, then discuss their ideas in a breakout room. If your learners have strong digital skills, you could give each a copy in a word document and they can add answers in a transparent text box.

When using this visual template about Energy Sources, as a dynamic receptive skills comprehension task, you could ask learners to read or listen to some information, then ask them to put notes of what they learned in the relevant section. You could later ask them to add their views on the advantages and disavantages of each energy source using two different colours of post-it notes. Then have a discussion about the topic and/or write about it.

Visual templates are fabulous as they can be used (and re-used) for many topics. Have a look at my previous post for ways you could map out learners journeys, for example.

If you’d like more ideas for embedding environmental topics into your lessons, I’m giving away 3 free lesson plans! Click this link to find out more. 

Would you like to learn to create hand-drawn visuals to stimulate student creativity and communication? Why not join my Online Course? Follow this link to find out more: www.emilybrysonelt.com/all-courses/

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Digital skills courses for ESOL learners

Even prior to the online teaching boom, I noticed that my ESOL Learners often had limited digital skills. In the good old days, I’d refer students to community libraries and educational organisations offering courses such as ‘Getting started with computers‘ or the ‘European Computer Driving Licence‘. These were popular with students, but have ceased during the pandemic. Now that learners need digital skills more than ever, I wanted to find free (or affordable) online digital skills courses in a variety of languages.

https://twitter.com/E_Bryson/status/1351239663458127883

Through various online searches, and utilising my online network, I found these courses. Thanks to everyone who contributed (you know who you are and you are all wonderful). I’d love to hear from you if you know of any more or if you can find translated links to these in other languages:

Microsoft (available in multiple languages):

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/digitalliteracy

 

Microsoft web apps training:

www.alison.com/courses/office-365-web-apps/content

 

Google:

English: https://applieddigitalskills.withgoogle.com/s/en-uk/learn

Spanish: https://applieddigitalskills.withgoogle.com/c/es-419/curriculum.html

French: https://learndigital.withgoogle.com/ateliersnumeriques

 

Open Doors Plymouth:

Some wonderful instructional videos in various languages:

https://www.youtube.com/user/opendoorsplymouth

 

Sarah Queen’s fabulous blog post about ICT in ESOL has some great links:

https://www.esolqueen.co.uk/2020/08/introducing-ict-to-asylum-seeker-and.html?m=1

 

Typing and mouse control skills:

https://www.typingclub.com/

https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/mousetutorial/mouse-tutorial/1/

 

The Department for Education’s Essential Digital Skills:

This programme offers courses in using devices and handling information, creating and editing, communicating, transacting, and being safe and responsible online. Suitable for A2+ learners living in the UK. 

Essential Digital Skills

 

Learn my way/Make it click:

Lessons such as ‘Introduction to email’ and ‘How to create a document.’. Suitable for B1+ learners.

https://makeitclick.learnmyway.com/directory

Learn My Way – Internet Skills

 

Computer coding/Code your Future:

I love everything these guys do! I even cycled to IATEFL in Liverpool to raise money for them a couple of years ago! They offer free computer coding classes for refugees and disadvantaged people: https://codeyourfuture.io/

Khaled, a graduate of Code your Future created videos in Arabic about computer coding: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbQpxSFueTnQz5peofVo4yg?app=desktop  

 

Accenture, Digital Skills: digital skills for work and life

This is probably better suited to Intermediate+ learners who are already relatively confident with computers. It covers digital skills for work, staying safe online and growth mindset. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/digital-skills-for-work-and-life   

 

MOOC list

Massive Open Online Courses are free and varied. Here is the link to search all of them. The courses are likely to change over time. https://www.mooc-list.com/ 

 

 

Do you know any more free online digital skills courses suitable for English language learners? Or (even better) in another language? Please share them via comments or tweet me.

Love my simple drawings? Let me show you how you can use them. Join my online course.

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