domingo, 23 de dezembro de 2012

TED, TEDx and TEDxUnisinos

I have been a fan of TED talks since I watched the very first one. I like them so much that a became an official volunteer for the TED Translation Project, a volunteer for TEDxLaçador in Porto Alegre, and the final paper for my MBA in translation was about the TED Translation Project. First of all, let me give a brief explanation about what TED and TEDx mean:
TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. 
TEDx was created in the spirit of TED's mission, "ideas worth spreading." The program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.
Many TED talks can be powerful and valuable to use as a tool to enhance learning. Therefore, TED launched TED-ED, Lessonl that are worth spreading, as a tool to support teachers and learners, to use the videos to enrich the teachinng and learning. Using the videos from TED and TEDx talks in the classroom or  flipping a lesson can be very meaningful to take a lesson beyond the limits of a school. My son's Science teacher has already made  use of this engaging tool. To get to know more, check TED-Ed webiste.
On November 31st, I had the opportunity to watch for the second time a TEDxevent here in Porto Alegre called TEDxUnisinos. The theme was Education( same as last year since Unisinos is a large private university in rio Grande do Sul). It was nice seeing different speakers with different backgrounds, nationalities, experiences talking about one theme: Education. The event was held on a Thursday different from last year that was on Saturday. Luckily, I was able to get a leave from my school to watch it. The event was bigger than last year's. This year was a large event for 1,000 participants. However, it was very well-organized.
The event started with Rafael Parente who holds an important positition at the Secretary of Education of Rio de Janeiro and talked about Educopedia, an oline collaborative platform, used at city hall schools in the city of Rio de Janeiro. After Rafael Parente, other speakers/teachers came to talk about their experiences as teachers who try to enrich their classroom through fieldtrips, songs, videos and project-based experiences. A director from a large private school talked about a guide her school created to help teachers, students, parents and community when using the social networks. Gustavo Reis,a math teacher, talked with a lot passion about being a teacher. Iberê Thenório talked about how we can raise students' curiosity through videos about science. His Manual do Mundo is fun and educational for kids and adults.  There were some international speakers as wellSara Elisabeth Ippel talked about a charter  school in Chicago called Academy for Global Citizenship and her project that teaching kids is much more than preparing them for exams and geeting high grades. It is worth visiting the school's website. The school's mission "is to develop mindful leaders who take action both now and in the future to positively impact their communities and the world beyond". Justin Reeves ,who is the the director of the NGO 10x10 Rising Girls talked about the project 10x10 Educate Girls. Educating girls is extremely powerful and it can really change the world. Last but not the least, I was really impressed and touched about a project called I.D.E.A em movimento developed by a group of 13-year-old girls  attending grade 7 at a private school in Porto Alegre. The project wants to help change the reality in the classrooms.  I like every and each one of the talks, they were all very inspiring. The videos of some of the talks are already available at the TEDxUnisinos webiste.The subtitles in English are not available yet but it is worth watching them.
I think this is my last post from 2012. Merry Christmas and Happy NewYear!!!!

sexta-feira, 2 de novembro de 2012

Education and Technology to build the future

On October 31st, I was able to attend some lectures at a conference (5º Congresso Internacional de Inovação) that was held in Porto Alegre at FIERGS. 
This was the introduction of the program:

Experiences of schools and teaching methods that stand out in the world, new teaching approaches, and education innovation cases. An innovating example of the use of technology in teaching is the "totally online school" that reaches millions of people and allows them to learn a wide variety of subjects free of charge. Classes follow pioneering teaching methods, use a clear, informal language, and make the most of the interaction with the objects on the screen. Dozens of countries have been translating the courses. In Brazil, NGO Fundação Lemann is providing the videos dubbed in Portuguese.

The first lecture was about Khan Academy,  Sundar Subbarayan from the USA who is " in charge of disseminating and implementing the Khan Academy methods in conventional schools. " I have known Khan Academy for some time because I have already helped my own kids and my students with the videos on Math and Science.I have also used the videos dubbed in Portuguese provided by Fundação Lemann. Sundar talked about how Sal Khan started with the videos and how they started to be spread all over the world.
Billal Musharaf also from the USA, who coordinates the global operation that translate Khan Academy into other languages, talked about their translation project. 

I think Khan Academy can be an effective tool that can be used in class as well as a tool to support students at home.
After these two talks, it was Andrew Hargreaves's turn to deliver his lecture: "Teaching in the Society of Knowledge" . His talk was amazing! He talked about improvement and innovation in Education.  He said that teaching for the knowledge society includes creativity, flexibility, adaptability, teamwork, networks and continuous learning. When he talked about education in Brazil he stressed out that there is no quality without equity; about the large achievement gap between students from poor families and wealthy ones. He pointed that technology , per se, is not the answer for the educational problem. It is a tool but cannot be used as the only way out. Finland and Singapore are examples of countries that are maximizing innovation and improvement in Education (two among the top-three PISA). Regarding Finland he listed some important characteristics: high-quality teachers, inspiring sociteal vision, hearing weak signals (early intervention), testing by sample,among others. I really recommend reading his website: It is really interesting.
The next speaker on the program was Rubens Alves who could not come to Porto Alegre. Celso Antunes, founder of the NGO "Todos pela Educação", who came do talk about Education in Brazil: Present and Future. His talk was impressing!  It was rewarding watching this 75-year old man telling funny and interesting anedoctes to illustrate what he wanted to say.
His website is a good source to learn more about his life and work:
Finally, Denis Mizme talked about the project sponsored by NGO Fundação Lemann that uses Khan Academy videos to support teachers in some public schools in  Sâo Paulo.

Great conference! Amazing company: Mara Rubia Lima and Thomas Lima. I would like to thank the Congresso Inovação organizers for letting me attend the panel (without paying for the whole conference) and my school adminstration team for letting me go to the conference on a school day.

Worth reading  article about Sal Khan at

You might also to check his TED talk:

domingo, 21 de outubro de 2012

Halloween is coming soon!

A good place to find interesting resources tocelebrate Hallowen and use with students is on Pinterest. I have just found some nice on ideas Edutopia Pinterest . I will share some of things that I will use this week:
A video from National Geographic about the History of Halloween:

The Skeleton Dance is also nice to use with younger kids. It is fun and it can be used to teach left and right.

From ESL library News:

10+ Wicked Web 2.0 Activities for Halloween 

You can find more ideas and resources at 
Pinterest Edutopia Halloween

Have fun!

domingo, 14 de outubro de 2012

Cities are big, noisy classrooms.

Isn't this true?
Cities can be large laboratories where we can be life-long learners:

"Cities teach us how to live with and learn from people totally unlike us, draw on the past and push into the future, and be entrepreneurial and resilient. No grades; just transformation."
Get to know The City 2.0

"The City 2.0 website is a platform created to surface the myriad stories and collective actions being taken by citizens around the world. We draw on the best of what is already being discovered by urban advocates and add grassroots movers and shakers into the mix. What's emerging is a complex picture of the future city--a place more playful, more safe, more beautiful, and more healthy for everyone."

Learn more at:

sábado, 13 de outubro de 2012

A Free-to-use Font for Dyslexic Readers

This blog was created as a part of my professional portfolio. During the last school year, my professional goal was to research about technology information to be used to enhance learning. I ended up doing that but not being able to update my blog as often as I wanted. I think it is time to go back and try to share here some of things I read and research everyday.
 October is the Learning Disabilities Awareness Month, a time to make people aware to children and adults with learning disabilities.Therefore, I think it is  a good opportunity to suggest something that will help children and adults with dyslexia.
According to the British Dyslexia Assciation, there are some definitions and descriptions for dyslexia. I picked one from there:

"Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills. It is likely to be present at birth and to be life-long in its effects. It is characterised by difficulties with phonological processing, rapid naming, working memory, processing speed, and the automatic development of skills that may not match up to an individual's other cognitive abilities.
It tends to be resistant to conventional teaching methods, but its effect can be mitigated by appropriately specific intervention, including the application of information technology and supportive counseling

Some recommendations are made to educators and administrators:

" high expectations for all learners with accountability measures that indicate how individual students are doing; early-childhood programs that prepare children for reading and identify young children at risk of having reading problems; curricula, instructional practices and tools, and assessments that are science-based and accessible to all students; and teacher training and ongoing professional development that incorporate findings from neuroscience as well as best practices for how to teach reading." (source:

Having all this in mind, some accomodations might be needed. One of them is the use of information technology.  There is a free-to-use font called OpenDyslexic, that can help people to read online. It is easy to download. There are other fonts for dyslexic people but they are paid fonts. This font, created by Abelardo Gonzalez,  can be an option for dyslexic readers.  
My sources: (and suggested readings)

segunda-feira, 5 de março de 2012

21st Century Student Handbook: Teaching Today’s Web-Centric Kids

A lot has being discussed about  teaching in and for the 21st Century. This aricle shares some advice from some schools in the U.S.A that are preparing their students for this inter-connected, Web-centric world we live in. It is a kind of a handbook that can help teachers to get some ideas from.

21st Century Student Handbook: Teaching Today’s Web-Centric Kids

sexta-feira, 3 de fevereiro de 2012

Finland's Formula for School Success (Education Everywhere Series)

Finland is the  top European performer on PISA. Finland Early intervention and sustained individual support for every student are keys to educating the whole child in Finnish schools.