Last week, I was lucky enough to attend two career development sessions provided by The Language Show. Since many talks and events have been cancelled this year, lots of teachers, trainers and other educationalists are sharing their knowledge through online webinars – most of them are free, too!
The first one I attended was by #MFLTwitterati Joe Dale on using Bitmojis and Jamboard to spruce up your online lessons and I was so impressed. I found everything really engaging and he gave us so many useful links, websites, ideas and even better than those – he gave us plenty of names of people who were sharing their own ideas online!
We were sent the slides at the end of the presentation, and he told us that to begin with, but I still took lots of notes and googled ideas and people throughout the talk so that I had them ready to look at afterwards. I was buzzing with ideas and couldn’t wait to start checking them all out!
When I first created my professional Twitter I came across #MFLTwitterati and I was in awe of the people who were part of this ‘group’. The linguists. Like an elite club of people who were smart, dedicated and fascinating enough to speak more than one language and to teach them to our younger generations. I never went through with a Chinese teaching qualification, because I always thought it would ruin my love of the language. Some days, I do regret that decision. However, I still get to marvel at people who have taken those steps and can’t imagine how wonderful it feels to say you teach people another language other than your own!
Anyway, a few things I took away for Joe’s talk were
- Bitmojis are definitely still cool (yay!)
- Spending time to create virtual classrooms can help to engage young learners
- There are some amazing people online willing to share their creative ideas
I often jump on the social media ‘bandwagons’ (although, not TikTok!) and loved Bitmojis long ago when they were Facebook Bitstrip comics. They were hilarious! I kept my Snapchat installed just so I could use Bitmojis, despite their limited use in the beginning. I’m really glad they decided to make Bitmojis accessible via the keyboard and also the Chrome add-on because they really do add a little something to your work. Icons, reward stickers or just welcome pages. They’re great!
Something I had seen before were the Bitmoji virtual classrooms. Many teachers started designing them at the beginning of the pandemic and it was something that I never really had time for, or much interest. However, after Joe’s talk I decided I was so inspired that I just had to give it a go. It took a while, but I managed to come up with a first attempt and I really enjoyed it!
There are lots of people who have made free tutorials on how to create them, and also shared links of which websites offer royalty free images as well. My favourites were HERE (We are teachers) and HERE (Hello Teacher Lady). But, one thing that did shock me is that some people are selling these virtual classrooms for £10 each! £10! Are people actually paying money for a little designed classroom? Maybe I’m getting old…
He also briefly went through using Google Jamboard, which I was interested in hearing more about. Last time I tried it was due to Katy’s blog post HERE, and after giving it a go myself (HERE) I realised that I wasn’t interested in it, or I didn’t know how to utilise it effectively. Joe gave us tonnes of ideas on how to use Jamboard to encourage collaborative work amongst students, but I do think this would be better suited to young(er) learners rather than adults.
It’s not that I won’t try it again, because there were some interesting templates and ideas during this talk, but I’m just not sure if it will work for my students and me.
So, are you a Bitmoji addict like I am? Are you obsessed with using Bitmojis in your classroom? If so, I’d love to hear or see how you’re including them! Last year I made my own Bitmoji stickers (this took numerous failed attempts before I got them right!) but they weren’t quite suitable for my adult students and sadly they’re still in my folder.
How about Jamboard? Are you a fan? Again, I’d love to hear how you’re using it and if it works for your students. If you have a blog post or an example page, I’d be interested in having a look too!
Bitmoji addict? Jamboard lover? Let me know in the comments and let’s share some ideas!