Collaboration networking New Media literacies Reading

Social Reading?!

Kennst du das Gefühl, dass du ein Sachbuch lesen willst, es aber aus welchen Gründen auch immer aber nicht schaffst und dir vor allem wünscht, es zusammen mit anderen Gleichgesinnten zu lesen, um so auch richtig einzutauchen?

Mit folgendem Buch – ein Praxisbuch für Zukunftsgestalter – erging es mir so: Future Skills – Peter Spiegel / Arndt Pechstein / Annekathrin Grüneberg / Anabel Ternès von Hattburg (Hrsg.)

Den Begriff #socialreading gibt es schon eine Weile und auf Instagram habe ich vor Jahren mal den virtuellen und asynchronen Austausch über das hervorragende Buch The Innovator’s Mindset verfolgt. Doch mir fehlte der explizite Austausch und das Gespräch darüber. 

Digital Footprint New Media literacies Privacy

Privacy Settings – So boring?!

Have you ever wondered about what is behind “Yes, I agree” when you sign up for a new application or website? Let’s be honest, how often have you read the Terms of Use, the Privacy Settings or Data Collection and Copyright Policy of e.g. social media applications? I have never been a big fan of long legal documents. At the same time

How does that make me able to proactively manage my digital identity and property? The New Digital Citizenship – Empower Proactive Digital Learner

Classroom Design New Media literacies

Your own app – WHY not?

She is now 3 month old almost 4 month old, our little one. It’s a gift and I’m very thankful that I get to experience this journey. On the other hand I definitely miss my work at school and as much the professional input and exchange I always got from my colleagues, my PLN through Coetail, Twitter, etc. It’s time to get into it again at least online. Time will tell whether I can make it regularly but nothing wrong with giving it a try. Here I am again.

Photo Credit: César Poyatos via Compfight cc

Collaboration Connectivism New Media literacies

Twitter – No thanks!

Photo Credit: via

Since I’m using Twitter, other social media and tools like Flipboard for professional development and I’m experiencing the amazing benefits of it for my professional life I wish to use Twitter in school with/for students and the whole school community as well. Somebody said that the focus at school isn’t only content and concepts it’s more and more the fact that we are living in a connected world. Twitter, other social media, and so many other tools allow us to connect and collaborate with others in order to learn, to create, to invent, so solve problems, to support each other and a lot more. 

New Media literacies Reading

A Way to be a more Proficient Reader Online

I only read titles
Photo Credit: Daniel Teixeira via

Over the last several years I’m observing a change of my reading habits. I read more online than printed material. Often I’m rather clicking through a webpage than sticking to a text and read it from the beginning to the end. For professional purpose I read more nonfiction material online than ever. Sometimes I have the feeling that I read a lot but what did I get out of it? Where is the action? Do you know the feeling not to be that proficient anymore? 

Classroom Collaboration Course 4 Learning Landscape New Media literacies

Let’s reflect …

What does integration of technology actually mean in the context of education? Already a while ago educators (Technology Integration in Education) and also companies (Google in Education) started thinking about it.

The SAMR model explains the single steps very well. Here a video: SAMR in 120 Seconds.

How would I evaluate my own practice of technology integration? How did the use of technology change my teaching and learning and the learning of the students?

My teaching career in primary school started a little bit than 7 years ago. Before I had worked for a software company as a trainer and I guess because of that particular experience and acquired knowledge I started to use technology from the beginning of my teaching. Reflecting on my students and my own use of technology based on the SAMR Model, which I first heard of maybe 1 1/2 years ago, I can see three phases:

1. Phase:

1 desktop computer in the classroom &  very few desktop computers for the whole staff to share

Students, f.e.

  • write articles for a news paper of the field trip
  • create posters for announcements
  • use a dictionary
  • use certain programs for learning
  • create a photo story

Me as a teacher

  • organize files


At that time my students definitely mainly used technology just instead of a paper, a paper dictionary, colored pencil, traditional printed photos, and so on. I remember that it was important for me that the students get familiar and independent using the PC because their life is more and more driven by technology. If they don’t know a word, I want them to check it independently. The aspect of creating also played an important role, although I just substituted other tools. As a teacher I just used the computer to save files. That’s it.

2. Phase:

Laptop cart with bookable laptops for each child & my own laptop as a working tool

Students, f.e.

  • search for information
  • search for pictures
  • use feedback tools like VoiceThread
  • write / reflect on a blog
  • recording a story
  • creating a movie

I’m as a teacher, f.e.

–       Use assessing tools like Evernote


The second phase was already a huge change and opened doors for using the technology. Probably I still substituted but new features created new learning possibilities. Information we probably would have found in a non-fiction book but are they updated? Pictures we might have found in magazines but would have there be a possibility to change and edit them? Feedback can be also given orally or in written from but would it have the same audience, would it have left the classroom then?

As a language teacher the way of assessing changed. To assess oral skills I usually just listened to the students. How helpful is it now that I can record them, listening to it again to get a deeper understanding of the needs? Aren’t there way more possibilities to personalize the learning of the children? The tasks for the students were still very similar compared to the use of technology at the beginning with only on PC in the classroom.

3. Phase:

Laptop cart with bookable laptops for each child.
Six iPads for the use in the classroom. My own laptop as a working tool. My own iPad.

Students, f.e.

  • talk in Skype with experts
  • create with coding apps on the iPad
  • develop an own Wikipedia about a certain topic
  • search for / use information / pictures with the knowledge about copyright
  • create a book trailer to promote a book they like
  • create a world map to share fairy tails from a different culture on Google maps
  • show their deeper understanding by using apps like ExplainEverything
  • use GarageBand to compose music to a ballade
  • produce QR codes to provide more information


The change of the task for the children started here. Suddenly the students collaborated way more often or how would they have been able to create an own Wiki if not together? The students get the chance to meet and ask real experts or how could they all Skype to a real passionated writer of letters?

Above I wrote that the life of the children is driven by technology. Sure, they need to know HOW to use technology but they even more need to understand WHY to use one or the other tool. What is the advantage of using a particular tool? Is it easier to collaborate? Can I get meaningful feedback of others? Am I able to create something which will be a benefit for myself or others?

As a teacher I wish to personalize their learning and support the student’s needs; I wish to encourage meaningful collaboration locally and globally in the context of real-world situations and to get feedback of their actions; I wish them to be knowledgeable about how to search effectively to get the information they look for; I wish them to be able to visualize their deeper understanding and create something new. (History of Integration of Technology).


REDEFINITION like in the SAMR model described is for sure our goal. It requires a mind shift and an exciting way of learning. For my own learning I wish to reach that level. Coetail is again a great way to get support and to head to new dimensions.

Course 3 New Media literacies Presentation visual literacy

My story finally ….

This is your life.

It’s done. I felt the flow but even more I am feeling the relief at the moment. Somebody said: 1 hour per minute. Forget about it. It felt like ages. BUT: It was a great learning experience and I’m pretty sure I’ll will tell a story digitally again.




Photo Credit:
This is your life. by  Aaron Fulkerson

Here it is:


Let me tell you a little bit about the process:

It took me a while to decide what story I want to tell. Should it be something personal, something related to school or about my passion regarding technology, f.e. Evernote (next time …)? For the first digital story ever I decided to tell a personal story. I thought that is the easiest for the beginning.

Google Drive
Google Drive was again a very useful tool to start with the outline, to save the pictures and the document for the credits. Not to forget, the document for the credits has to be published to the web. Very useful.

Luckily I know iMovie already a little bit from work in school but I have never used it to that extend. It was the first time that I recorded my own voice, that I underlined the whole thing with a song, that I used pictured I found on the Internet.

The pictures I found mainly on Flickr or Compfight. Part of the pictures I took during my time in South Korea. I’m very thankful that so many photographers already licensed their work so everybody can share, use and even modify them. For the near future it is my plan to license my pictures on Flickr as well.
I was never really sure and I’m still not 100% how to cite in a proper way. I create a google doc, published it to the web and put the link at the end of the movie. Is this the best way? I’m excited to hear and see how other COETAIL members found a solution for giving credit.

Luckily YouTube launched a free audio library just recently. What I worried about most at the start the audio was the easiest job to do. It’s not to easy to find on YouTube but you will find it within the Video Manager and then Creation Tools.

I would love to use Digital Storytelling in school more often. Especially for language learner I see the benefit because they can express themselves through pictures and the spoken language. A little concern arises regarding time. I’m curious know and I will definitely inquirer more into it in future.

Classroom Collaboration Course 3 Design New Media literacies visual literacy

Great to visualize “Visual Literacy” in my mind!

It’s my 4th year as a language teacher at a PYP (Primary Years Programme) school now and I’m still learning. Sure, an online course “Making the PYP happen” 3 years ago got me into this curriculum but the real learning is happening in school and through constant (re-) discussion and reflection with colleagues.

During the preparation of the Parent Information Evenings amongst others we came across the “Strands of language” in PYP (Making the PYP happen, page 73). One of the strands is:

Visual communication: viewing and presenting
Viewing and presenting means interpreting or constructing visuals and multimedia in a variety of situations and for a range of purposes and audiences. They allow students to understand the ways in which images and language interact to convey ideas, values and beliefs. Visual images immediately engage viewers, allowing them instant access to data. Learning to interpret this data and to understand and use different media are invaluable skills. In the area of visual communication, students will learn to:

– understand, critically analyze and communicate information and ideas through a variety of visual media
– make informed choices in their personal viewing experiences
– use appropriate technology for effective presentation and representation.

In addition as one of the transdisciplinary skills I found in the same document page 22 the following:

Communication Skills

– Viewing Interpreting and analyzing visuals and multimedia; understanding the ways in which images and language interact to convey ideas, values and beliefs; making informed choices about personal viewing experiences.

–  Presenting Constructing visuals and multimedia for a range of purposes and audiences; communicating information and ideas through a variety of visual media; using appropriate technology for effective presentation and representation.

I think I was kind of aware of it that there was something written in the curriculum. But on the other hand I have to admit it was not there consciously enough regarding planning, teaching and learning. The readings this week make me more aware of the importance Media Literacy. The students should have “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and produce communication in a variety of forms“, because I wish them to be a “thoughtful consumer and effective citizen” (Teaching Media Literacy Yo! Are you Hip to This?). Or even more like Jerry Christopherson said:

A visually literate person should be able to

– Interpret, understand and appreciate the meaning of visual messages;
– Communicate more effectively by applying the basic principles and concepts of visual design;
– Produce visual messages using computers and other technologies; and
– Use visual thinking to conceptualize solutions to problems.

What does it mean for me as a teacher?

The slideshow of Terri Sallee gave me great thoughts and inspiration for my own teaching. The Unit “Cultures” in Grade 5 was a good start for me to get more aware of the importance for the students for their inquiry within the classroom and even more important for their life as a learner.
In the German advanced class we decided to integrate through a German aspect: areas of the German culture. Later as a summative assessment the students will create interview questions, speak to people from other cultures and compare between the German and the different culture.  After a tuning in and brainstorm of areas of culture in general, amongst other topics the students chose to inquire more into gestures. Their question was What gestures exist in the German culture and what do they mean? My goal was to get them aware that there are same gestures but the meaning is different depending on the culture you are living in. Therefor we have to pay more attention using those gestures.

Photo Credit: ..Lobi via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: ..Lobi via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: ~dgies via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: ~dgies via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: hmboo via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: hmboo via Compfight cc


Photo Credit: Timothy Takemoto via Google


Photo Credit: Jeremy Kemp via Wikipedia cc
Photo Credit: Jeremy Kemp via Wikipedia cc





To make sure that the students have a meaningful interaction with the pictures I wanted them to follow the visible thinking routine I see, I think, I wonder. It was important for me that first each student thinks by him- or herself and then shares with the elbow partner and the whole class. The students described what they see (I see), they read the picture (I think) and they questioned the picture (I wonder).

I could have done the gestures myself. By showing pictures I had the chance to get an idea of the prior knowledge of the students. During their talks with the partner I was able to observe the conversation.

The outcome of the whole class discussion was wonderful. It is the German advanced class, all students speak German fluently but there is a variety of culture and language backgrounds. They discovered and discussed the different meaning of the certain gestures with high interest because they could relate to their personal lives.

After a great discussions I gave them choices of non-fiction texts about other gestures. They could choose what they were interested in and practice the 5 key-words-reading strategy which was one of the language foci of the unit. Of course they also good a chance to share their understanding of the text later.

So far I concentrated on viewing visuals. Later towards the end of the unit, as soon as the students are going to prepare their presentation of the interview, my and their focus will change to producing and presenting visuals. It was not so easy for me to find really good and appropriate pictures which are free for use and share. My outcome – I definitely should contribute pictures I took more often.

Anyways … I’m excited to see how the students will visualize and message their understanding and I will try to support them as best as I can.

Course 3 Design New Media literacies visual literacy

Small little changes of design

Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication - L. Da Vinci
Photo Credit: Wesley Fryer via Flickr

In the article, Understanding Visual Hierarchy in Web Design, Brandon Jones says,

“Good visual hierarchy isn’t about wild and crazy graphics or the newest photoshop filters, it’s about organizing information in a way that’s usable, accessible, and logical to the everyday site visitor.”


What actually does it mean – usable, accessible, and logical?!

Isn’t it related to the design of a web page as well as to the content? What is usable for who?! What additional information does the visitor want and how can I organize them? What does the reader wants to access on top of the blog post itself? How does the website make sense and is logical?

After reading the article mentioned above I got a little bit clearer in my mind. But at the same time I realized how complex this topic is.

Personally I always liked and preferred the minimalistic and simplified approach. Too many colors, to much advertisement, and too many information at the same time overwhelm me. Therefor from the beginning I chose a very plain and simple template for my own website. And still I wouldn’t change too much of the design which made me think more about the content.

Following what I thought about the past week and the small little changes I made:

The banner

Why did I choose the picture for the banner of the website?
Like teaching and learning, swing dancing is my passion although I go definitely not often enough. My first dancing partner drew this picture for me and it will always remind me to do things in life which I feel passion for. For me dancing means learning, moving, inspiration, being a risk taker as well as a communicator, and of course enjoyment and lightness. The picture doesn’t tell anything about the content of my blog though.

Well, I had two options: changing the picture or changing the title of the blog. It was/is a tough decision.

Decision for now: Let’s dance through life! Learning is like dancing.

The posts

The way each posts is shown on the website is not optimal yet. I like the idea very much to see each post with part of the picture of the post, the headline, and a teaser. That is a way easier way to scroll through the page and choose what you want to read. I haven’t found the right template yet but I’m working on it. Maybe somebody has an idea?

Information about me

Like I found on some other websites (f.e. I thought it would be a good idea to introduce myself right on the first page. Being at the confrence #OERde13 this weekend in Berlin showed me again how nice it is when you can connect the great inspiration you get through faces. It becomes more real and personal. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just a little bit. Of course that brings me to my “About me” page which could be improved as well.

Tag Cloud

By placing the tag widget at the top of the side menu, I felt it provides viewers the possibility to  scan the page and they might get an immediate idea of the blog’s content. I have never been really sure about the tags widget and honestly I neglected tags for my own blog post (or Evernote) as well. That will change because I see now the advantage of the tags.

Visitor Counting

Do I really need this? Does the reader really need this? Or is this just my ego which needs some confirmation? It’s nice to know that people read my blog but I came to the decision that I rather want people to comment on posts and to show that way their thoughts and interest. So I disabled it.

Design is still a matter of taste for me although there are certain rules and researches which describe the reading habits of visitors of a website. I try my best to focus on the content support by the design of this blog. Of course feedback is always highly appreciated. Thanks.

Course 3 New Media literacies Presentation visual literacy

Risk the change and the challenge …

As a visual and interpersonal learner I prefer to inquire into something new first by myself to visualize a concept or topic and then second I need the exchange, the chance to talk about it with other people in order to let it settle and consolidate in my mind.

Traditional frontal lessons or presentations have never really worked for me because the auditory approach was not enough for me. That might change as soon as more and more people try to avoid that the audience dies by old style (Powerpoint-) presentations and risk something new.

Even though I know change is good and necessary I always feel like a risk taker, which is good and sometimes cost me a lot at the same time. Coetail (If you need a little bit of a push, go for it!), course 3, which is about Visual Literacy: Effective Communicators and Creators, initiated it again. The offer to jump to week 3 was just right for me again. Next week there will be parent information evenings and yes – we do Powerpoint presentations and nearly made our parents die by Power Point again.

Already last year I was responsible for the presentation and I changed the layout, the structure and honestly I thought it is not too bad. Well, thankfully I had to learn that there are even better and very reasonable ways to present. After getting into the readings and videos like

Presentation Zen Design (video)

Presentation Zen Blog

the idea which most kept in my mind was:

What is the story?
What is the most important to the audience on that day?

German as well as parents from abroad definitely want to get to know the structure of the German Department and us teacher. But even more important is that we want their child enjoy learning German and feel happy and safe.

I tried to follow the Presentation Zen Design ideas, even planed analog, cut out the unimportant bits, tried to keep it simple, want to surprise the audience (let’s see next Monday and Tuesday) and get them emotionally by choosing imagines which give you a hint and make curious at the same time, so our story will stick to their mind and they take home that we care for each individual child.




Two feedbacks I got already from my colleagues:

“Hopefully I won’t forget what I have to say!” – She won’t because she is a professional and passionate teacher who knows what she is talking about.

“Some pictures would distract me.” – Also interesting feedback from another colleague. We changed some visuals and decided to give the audience some time to look at the picture and to process their own thoughts before they will come back to us presenters and will listen to us.

It is a risk for different reasons but it is worth to risk – like so often in life!