Wednesday 6 July 2011

Whiteboard Experiments Continued...

Here's an update on my experiments with recording whiteboards. As I mentioned last time, I had come across something similar on David Petrie's teflgeek blog. Once I'd mentioned the coincidence to him in the comments on that post, he suggested using these photos as review material with my students on a blog or wiki, which sounded like a great idea to me.

I was going to create a basic site with Google Sites, but then realized that Evernote itself is pretty good at sharing content. All I had to do was put my notes into a new notebook and then share the notebook with my students. You can fine tune the privacy settings quite well, so I sent them individual invites without requiring a sign-in (as I don't know whether they use Evernote). Here's the result:

My whiteboards on Evernote

The fact that I knew somebody else would be looking at my notes also helped improve them, as I then made the titles more specific to jog my students' memories. They can now go through the lessons by date and find the area they want to focus on. Not a bad result, really.

What do you think? Can you suggest any improvements?

Monday 4 July 2011

Making Whiteboards Hi-tech

A couple of weeks ago, I began an experiment to keep a record of my whiteboard scribblings. The idea was to have a look at my thought processes after the lesson, and see if I could improve what I was doing. So far, I've been focussing on trying to capture good enough quality images and reflection has taken second place, but I thought I'd share what I'd learned so far.

How do I do this? I like using Evernote on my iPod to remember things for me, as I can synchronise it with my computer afterwards. It has an option for snapshots, so I use that to take a picture of the board just before I erase it. I should warn you – my students still find this kind of strange. Here's a typical snapshot:

My bad handwriting

It's not too bad, as I can get an idea of what we were talking about at the time. The good thing about Evernote is you can tag your notes and add more information to give you context. I tend to put the class name in there to help me remember which students this was for. It seems I'm not the only one with this idea, as I found a post the other day about using mobile phones with a similar result.

Later on, I imagine I could share these snapshots with my students or with other teachers at my school, but for now I can use them as quick reference before I teach this group again to refresh my memory of any problems. I'd be interested to know if any other teachers have had a similar idea and what their experiences have been.

Friday 1 July 2011

Gardner English Tweeting

Gardner English is now on Twitter. You can follow our username – @Gardner_English, or simply visit our profile at!/Gardner_English.