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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


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Find the Hidden Treasure! (Digitally)

In order to make a location-based treasure hunt using augmented reality, all you really need are two things:

  1. a reason (IOW: questions you want the students to answer in order to learn any topic you want)
  2. pictures of recognizable things in the location where you are holding the treasure hunt.

Oh. And there’s a third thing you need: a subscription to Treasure HiT (which is free)

So that’s easy enough, right? That’s why I decided to use it!

Our school has an English Day each year for the 7th and 8th grades; this year it was about Australia. I wanted to do something technological, cool and fun!  

Treasure HiT is an Israeli-based app that lets you invent cool location-based treasure hunts (IOW: in order to get the questions you need to answer, you have to go physically to a specific location).



Using augmented reality, you add a layer of information, which is  accessed via a QR Code that gets scanned from within the app. (It sounds complicated, but really is quite user friendly!)

So the English Day works like this:

We have two of them: one day for the 7th grade and one day for the 8th grade (over 100 kids in each grade).

Each grade is divided into smaller groups (homeroom classes are divided in half or thirds) and made into teams of between 8-12 students. Teachers who are relieved from teaching those classes on those days, are assigned to the groups as chaperones.

Each English teacher runs a station that requires the participants to do something related to the theme. We try to have a wide variety so that all learners get to participate in activities that appeal to them (music, arts and crafts, puzzles, dancing and more). I like to do digital stuff (surprise!)

Treasure HiT:


For the activity I prepared that has the kids discovering popular tourist attractions in Australia, the participants needed to use their mobile phones, wifi, and, in the end, place the sites they found on a Google Map that I had prepared ahead of time and screened on the board.

Preparation:

  1. I registered for Treasure HiT (keep in mind that it can take a few days for the registration to be accepted).
  2. I collected information about different tourist sites on the internet, and found  short 360 degree clips for each (it’s not a “must” for your treasure hunt - you can make one with just Trivia questions - but I wanted to actually provide information).
  3. About a week before the English Day, I walked around school taking a bunch of photos of different places on campus that would be easily recognizable by our 7th and 8th graders, to serve as the clues that would be sent to their phones.
For example this drawing on one of our walls:

Saferoom Girl.JPG


or a sign in the cafeteria (which EVERYONE knows how to find)

Cafeteria bread.JPG


or just  a sign showing the building number:


Building 3.JPG



4) Then I started putting it all together:

You can download an editing guide from their site here.

  
In the classroom, the students divided up into groups of 3 or 4. Each group needed to use ONLY ONE smartphone for the game (they needed wifi and location set to “on”). Others could use their smartphones in order to translate words, if needed, or look stuff up on Google. Each group had to choose a group name and enter it, after joining the game with the game code which you get as soon as you make the game.

The program sent them a clue (a photograph) to lead each group to their first station. Once at the station, they had to scan the barcode (which I printed out from the program and hung up earlier that day). Once the phone read the barcode, it displayed the name of the tourist attraction, a short description of it, and a video clip. The multiple choice question they had to answer was about something they saw in the clip. (I used MC questions rather than open-ended ones because there were just too many possible answers. If you are setting a question with only one correct answer, you can use the open ended option.)

Since I set the program to start each group at a different station, they were running around in different directions. I made up more stations than could possibly be covered by one group in 20 minutes, so that TOGETHER the groups would cover ALL of the stations. The students were told to be back in the classroom in 20 minutes.



From this point on, I had 20 minutes to myself (because THEY were running around our campus discovering information about different tourist sites in Australia)!



20170524_130546.jpg

Once they returned, they had to copy the information gleaned from each site, onto post ‘ems, and stick them on a Google Map of Australia, which I had already marked out with the different sites they would be finding. (Note: IF I had been doing this with my OWN class, and we had a double lesson, I would have taught them to mark the places on a Googlemap, themselves, but we didn’t have the time to do that here.)

20170517_131048.jpg


There IS a support team, if you run into trouble, but it takes a few days for them to get back to you, so DO prepare this at least a week before you need it so that you can check it out, see if there are any glitches and get help if you need it.
The Treasure Hunt was GREAT fun, and I’m already using it for other classes / courses. So - how would YOU use this in YOUR EFL classroom? Share your ideas, below!

Digitally yours!

@dele