Sunday, 25 December 2016

Middle leadership development course assignment- Action Research- Part 1

Research question: What strategies can be used in the classroom to enable intermediate to advanced bilingual EAL students to reach and exceed their target level? 

Introduction
Middle leaders need to analyse different types of students’ data regularly, in order to identify students who need extra support. The groups are generally separated into students who are exceeding their targets, on their targets, working towards their targets and below their targets.  
As Head of EAL it is also quite significant for me to understand EAL students’ school cultures in their countries and help them adjust to the British School System.
In my research I wanted to look into why some of these students do not make accelerated progress and how we can motivate them to achieve more.    
I would like to call them ‘Invisible EAL students. The term ‘Invisible EAL students’ comes from the book ‘The Invisible Child’ that is written by J. Lee, D. Buckland and G. Shaw. They describe ‘The Invisible Child’ as
“… one who is unexceptional in identifiable characteristics such as attainment, ability, learning behaviour, attendance and social behaviour. An invisible child does not demand or attract special attention or consideration from the teacher, apparently working conscientiously and, in main, achieving standards of attainment which are noticeably high or low.” (Lee, Buckland, Shaw 1998, p 6)    

Aim
I want to investigate how subject teachers and EAL department can help these students better, so that they progress and achieve, even exceed their targets.
My findings will help to improve my own practise when teaching these groups as well. My aim is based on my findings, to collaborate with other teachers and help them to plan their lessons more effectively.

Information about the school
At present out of 890 students 344 of them are EAL. That would make approximately 39%. 65 of them are EAL beginners (Step 1 - 4) and rest of them are intermediate to advanced bilinguals. We have around 43 languages spoken in our school. The most spoken languages are Yoruba, French, Spanish, Turkish and Portuguese. Recently we have more students coming from the EU countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Poland.

How EAL department works
EAL team are present in the initial interviews in order to get to know new arrivals better. Majority of our students start on Tuesday the week after the interview. We spend 2 hours with the student to make sure that s/he has timetable, planner, equipment and we do the initial assessment. Hounslow’s REAL assessment papers are used to determine students’ level of English.
If students have Step 2 or below, we put them in our 12 weeks long KS3 EAL Induction Programme. This programme was developed by us 6 years ago with the help of Sofia Ali. It aims to teach basics in 12 subjects; London Unit, English, Maths, Science, Geography, History, PSHE, D&T, RE, PE, Art and Music. These lessons are 2 hours per week.
In year 10 students who are Step 2 or below join EAL option groups which are 3 hours per week, additionally they attend KS3 EAL Induction Programme to accelerate their level of English. They are still supported in core subjects; mainly in English and Maths.
The rest of the time students attend their classes according to their timetable and we continue to support them mainly in their core subjects; English, Maths and Science. The KS3 EAL 12 subject induction programme takes the students’ prior learning into account and designed to guide them into subject language intensively and as fast and effectively as possible.
Rationale of this type of teaching is for the students to achieve specific subject related academic language as a way of speeding up their progress towards what Cummins calls Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP).

When learning a new language Cummins explains that most EAL students develop BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills) before they can develop CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency). Generally speaking, children learning an additional language can become conversationally fluent in the new language in 2-3 years but may take 5 years or longer to catch up with monolingual peers on the development of CALP. However, this process could be accelerated with the appropriate teaching and learning strategies which include and integrate their previous knowledge of literacy in first language.

EAL students may also have different levels of home and community expectations and understanding of the education system and various support structures for learning and language development at home and at school. These factors are also important for progress.
Learners will be affected by attitudes to them, their culture, language and religion, ethnicity within and beyond the school and in the wider world. Learners’ social and cultural experiences will impact on their progress in language acquisition as well as on their cognitive and academic development. Baker points out that gaining belief, respect and social value from dialogue with others is not straightforward as there is unequal dominance, status and power in relationships. (Baker. C, 2006:137)

Jim Cummins also states that, the emotional significance of learning a new language in “subtractive” rather than “additive” circumstances is hard to overemphasise. If a child is a visitor of a country, language learning experience may be a very positive one which enhances his/her cultural heritage by adding another language to the first one. However, immigrants may not have the same positive experience when learning the new language.
Gibbons stresses that it requires more linguistic skills to use language for academic purposes than it does to use it in everyday conversation (Gibbons P.2002:1) Gibbons also points out that the EAL learners will have experienced a wide range of contexts in which they have learned to use their mother tongue, but a much more restricted range of contexts in English. (Gibbons, P2002: 5). If we dismiss this experience in first language and do not give them a focused English language support, they may easily fall behind compare to the native English speakers.



Saturday, 30 August 2014

Highlights from my favourite books-2

  • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
    I didn’t see the two young men step out into the road and bring the van to a sudden halt. I didn’t get a chance to answer their question, ‘Who is Malala?’ or I would have explained to them why they should let us girls go to school as well as their own sisters and daughters. The last thing I remember is that I was thinking about the revision I needed to do for the next day. The sounds in my head were not the crack, crack, crack of three bullets, but the chop, chop, chop, drip, drip, drip of the man severing the heads of chickens, and them dropping into the dirty street, one by one.
  • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
    There seemed to be so many things about which people were fighting. If Christians, Hindus or Jews are really our enemies, as so many say, why are we Muslims fighting with each other? Our people have become misguided. They think their greatest concern is defending Islam and are being led astray by those like the Taliban who deliberately misinterpret the Quran. We should focus on practical issues. We have so many people in our country who are illiterate. And many women have no education at all. We live in a place where schools are blown up. We have no reliable electricity supply. Not a single day...
  • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
    In Pakistan when women say they want independence, people think this means we don’t want to obey our fathers, brothers or husbands. But it does not mean that. It means we want to make decisions for ourselves. We want to be free to go to school or to go to work. Nowhere is it written in the Quran that a woman should be dependent on a man. The word has not come down from the heavens to tell us that every woman should listen to a man.
  • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
    In Pakistan when women say they want independence, people think this means we don’t want to obey our fathers, brothers or husbands. But it does not mean that. It means we want to make decisions for ourselves. We want to be free to go to school or to go to work. Nowhere is it written in the Quran that a woman should be dependent on a man. The word has not come down from the heavens to tell us that every woman should listen to a man.
  • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
    As we crossed the Malakand Pass I saw a young girl selling oranges. She was scratching marks on a piece of paper with a pencil to account for the oranges she had sold as she could not read or write. I took a photo of her and vowed I would do everything in my power to help educate girls just like her. This was the war I was going to fight.
  • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
    It was decided that the prize should be awarded annually to children under eighteen years old and be named the Malala Prize in my honour. I noticed my father was not very happy with this. Like most Pashtuns he is a bit superstitious. In Pakistan we don’t have a culture of honouring people while they are alive, only the dead, so he thought it was a bad omen. I know my mother didn’t like the awards because she feared I would become a target as I was becoming more well known. She herself would never appear in public. She refused even to be photographed. She is a very traditional woman and this...
  • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
    One of the girls in my class did not return to school that year. She had been married off as soon as she entered puberty. She was big for her age but was still only thirteen. A while later we heard that she had two children.
  • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
    Sir de pa lowara tega kegda Praday watan de paki nishta balakhtona O Wayfarer! Rest your head on the stony cobblestone It is a foreign land – not the city of your kings!
  • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
    LEAVING THE VALLEY was harder than anything I had done before. I remembered the tapa my grandmother used to recite: ‘No Pashtun leaves his land of his own sweet will. / Either he leaves from poverty or he leaves for love.’ Now we were being driven out for a third reason the tapa writer had never imagined – the Taliban.
      • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
        In Washington the government of President Obama had just announced it was sending 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan to turn round the war against the Taliban. But now they seemed to be more alarmed about Pakistan than Afghanistan. Not because of girls like me and my school but because our country has more than 200 nuclear warheads and they were worried about who was going to control them. They talked about stopping their billions of dollars in aid and sending troops instead.
      • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
        Rabab mangia wakht de teer sho Da kali khwa ta Talibaan raaghali dena Farewell Music! Even your sweetest tunes are best kept silent The Taliban on the edge of the village have stilled all lips
      • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
        I think everyone makes a mistake at least once in their life. The important thing is what you learn from it. That’s why I have problems with our Pashtunwali code. We are supposed to take revenge for wrongs done to us, but where does that end? If a man in one family is killed or hurt by another man, revenge must be exacted to restore nang. It can be taken by killing any male member of the attacker’s family. Then that family in turn must take revenge. And on and on it goes. There is no time limit. We have a saying: ‘The Pashtun took revenge after twenty years and another said it was taken...
      • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
        Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
      • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
        Women in the village hid their faces whenever they left their purdah quarters and could not meet or speak to men who were not their close relatives. I wore more fashionable clothes and didn’t cover my face even when I became a teenager. One of my male cousins was angry and asked my father, ‘Why isn’t she covered?’ He replied, ‘She’s my daughter. Look after your own affairs.’ But some of the family thought people would gossip about us and say we were not properly following Pashtunwali
      • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
        Usually politicians only visited during election time, promising roads, electricity, clean water and schools and giving money and generators to influential local people we called stakeholders, who would instruct their communities on how to vote. Of course this only applied to the men; women in our area don’t vote. Then they disappeared off to Islamabad if they were elected to the National Assembly, or Peshawar for the Provincial Assembly, and we’d hear no more of them or their promises.
      • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
        A famous poem was written at that time by Rahmat Shah Sayel, the same Peshawar poet who wrote the poem about my namesake. He described what was happening in Afghanistan as a ‘war between two elephants’ – the US and the Soviet Union – not our war, and said that we Pashtuns were ‘like the grass crushed by the hooves of two fierce beasts’. My father often used to recite the poem to me when I was a child but I didn’t know then what it meant.
      • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
        I knew as we got older the girls would be expected to stay inside. We’d be expected to cook and serve our brothers and fathers. While boys and men could roam freely about town, my mother and I could not go out without a male relative to accompany us, even if it was a five-year-old boy! This was the tradition. I had decided very early I would not be like that. My father always said, ‘Malala will be free as a bird.’ I dreamed of going to the top of Mount Elum like Alexander the Great to touch Jupiter and even beyond the valley. But, as I watched my brothers running across the roof, flying...
      • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
        In Pashto we love to sing tapey, two-line poems, and as she scattered the rice she would sing one: ‘Don’t kill doves in the garden. / You kill one and the others won’t come.
      • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
        The worst thing that can happen to a Pashtun is loss of face. Shame is a very terrible thing for a Pashtun man. We have a saying, ‘Without honour, the world counts for nothing.’ We fight and feud among ourselves so much that our word for cousin – tarbur – is the same as our word for enemy.
      • Tuba shared from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb
        I was a girl in a land where rifles are fired in celebration of a son, while daughters are hidden away behind a curtain, their role in life simply to prepare food and give birth tochildren.


Highlights from my favourite books-1

  • Tuba shared from Mindfulness: A practical guide to peace in a frantic world by Prof Mark Williams, Dr Danny Penman
    You can stop the spiral from feeding off itself and triggering the next cycle of negative thoughts. You can stop the cascade of destructive emotions that can end up making you unhappy, anxious, stressed, irritable or exhausted.
  • Tuba shared from Mindfulness: A practical guide to peace in a frantic world by Prof Mark Williams, Dr Danny Penman
    A flicker of sadness, frustration or anxiety can bring back unsettling memories, whether you want them or not. Soon you can be lost in gloomy thoughts and negative emotions. And often you don’t know where they came from – they just appeared, seemingly from thin air. You can become bad tempered, irritable or sad without really knowing why. You’re left wondering, Why am I in a bad mood? Or, Why do I feel so sad and tired today?
  • Tuba shared from Mindfulness: A practical guide to peace in a frantic world by Prof Mark Williams, Dr Danny Penman
    Mindfulness is about observation without criticism; being compassionate with yourself.
  • Tuba shared from And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
    A story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later.
  • Tuba shared from And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
    Abdullah turned his face up to the sky and wailed just as Pari came skipping back to him, her eyes dripping with gratitude, her face shining with happiness.
  • Tuba shared from And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
    Nothing good came free. Even love. You paid for all things. And if you were poor, suffering was your currency.
  • Tuba shared from And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
  • I found a sad little fairy Beneath the shade of a paper tree. I know a sad little fairy Who was blown away by the wind one night

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Excerpt from my MA in Education The Education Research Project 2- The role of social media in enhancing learning and teaching

Issues around Social Media

In my small scale survey, teachers expressed their concerns about on-line safety, privacy, protection of information and safety, viruses, giving access to strangers in a virtual environment, appropriateness of all information shared, things being in the public domain, unsociable use, child protection issues, technology glitches, minor tech problems, access to inappropriate material or an inability to control or monitor students, use of pupils’ image, access to inaccurate or untrue info, spammers, distraction from learning and lack of access for all students.        

Chapter 5: Conclusions and Recommendations
In my study, I set out to answer the question ‘In what way can social media be used in a secondary school to enhance learning and teaching?’ by applying my own experience of using Blogger and Twitter with the students, in addition to teacher-student questionnaires and conducting a focus group interview. Moreover, through extensive research I discovered new and diverse outlets of social media that I will definitely incorporate into the classroom in the future. My aim was to ease secondary school teachers’ concerns regarding the cyber world through exemplifying enjoyable, yet safe, Social Media-based teaching and learning activities.

Choosing the suitable social media is a very important decision when writing lesson plans and designing the tasks. In order to make sure all students benefit, it is made clear that social media tools should be used accurately and appropriately. Therefore, teachers should understand how to choose the suitable social media for different educational purposes (2013:17). Moore made a table which clearly explains about the purposes of social media tools. For analysis, synthesis and evaluation blogs, animation, clippings, games, mind mapping, podcasting, slideshows, video or video sharing and wikis can be used. IM, chatting, clippings, mind mapping, polls and surveys, Skype and VOIP, social networking are good for brainstorming. If you want to develop collaboration, then the same web sites can be used to create collaborative projects in groups. To communicate and share the knowledge, comprehension and knowledge building, feedback, information seeking, searching and consolidation, networking, object sharing, opinion building and sharing, presentation and dissemination of information, storing and managing information and visualisation can all be achieved through social media tools (2013: 18-19).  

The Internet and the Social Media are an undeniable reality of our digital world. According to Ahn, Bivona and DiScala’s paper, recent research on youths, new media, and education paint a stark picture of disconnect between students’ learning in and out of school. Students are self-directed, interest-driven and social when they are learning outside of school (Project Tomorrow, 2010). They state that young people today are increasingly learning with digital media (2011:1). Despite high student demand and interest, schools are still blocking access to these websites in order to protect students against various risks that the Internet can present. But how realistic and effective is this approach?  

Nowadays, children are introduced to computers and the Internet from a very young age. Parents like the fact that their children are competent ICT users, although they would like to ascertain that they are safe when using it.
In ‘The role of social media in enhancing learning and teaching’ I have covered the intellectual and academic benefits of Social Media, but there are further benefits of learning good etiquette when it comes to the Social Media. Students must understand the ethics of Social Media, and it is the duty of schools to teach good Internet conduct. They need to understand how to protect themselves from cyber bullying and other dangers of the cyber world. They need to know what plagiarism is and respect others’ copyright and Intellectual Property while protecting their own.
A recent article that I read was written by C. Thompson on Globe and Mail was called ‘The dumbest generation? No, Twitter is making kids smarter’. (Appendix 16)  (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/how-new-digital-tools-are-making-kids-smarter/article14321886/?page=1) C. Thompson claims that there is powerful evidence that digital tools are helping young people write and think much better than in the past. A. Lunsford from Standford University compared 877 ‘freshmen composition’ papers from 2006 to the papers from 1986, 1930 and 1917 and found that the average rate of errors had barely budged in almost a century from 2.11 errors per 100 words in 1917 to 2.26 words in 2006. He also adds that technology does not just make students better writers or more fluent, but also lets them communicate easily with others- their peers, friends and the world at large. Prof Lunsford stated that what made the online environment so powerful was that it provided a sense of purpose. Therefore students are writing things that have an impact on the world that other people are reading and responding to.     

Evidently, my study is small-scale and many further studies can be done with larger groups to find out the impact of Social Media being used as an educational tool. Nonetheless, in the face of a world where the future of education will increasingly depend on digital technologies, I challenge all educators to be bold and refuse to be intimidated. I call for a revolution of thought; a change in our traditional reproach of innovation. For if we do not continually develop our understanding of learning and teaching in progress with our contemporary realities, then there will come a time when the very notion of schooling itself will confront extinction. 

Excerpt from my MA in Education The Education Research Project- The role of social media in enhancing learning and teaching


According to Conole in Moore (2013:6), social media has the potential to free us from constrains of transmission teaching. Moore points out that social media are nimble, flexible, easy to use, and often very powerful. They continually develop. Students can participate easily and create own learning spaces. Dewey in Moore (2013:6) recognised the importance of these approaches a century ago and stated that;
 ‘There should be more conjoint activities in which those instructed take part so that they may acquire a social sense of their own powers and of the materials and appliances used.’

Social Media platforms put the students and learning in the centre rather than the teacher.
If used correctly social media can many benefits of using social media in education.” Moore says (2013:6). For students breaking up the material, identifying patterns and putting all back together to create a new or different meaning are the key features of higher cognition. Social media is good for teaching students about the issues of authority, legitimacy and authenticity on the web, and also encourages the judgement skills. Properly designed tasks support the traditional literacy and numeracy through the generation of text and arithmetic based teaching and learning episodes. Using social media teaches students to decode and interpret visual material. Social media can also be used to teach the role of media in shaping our society and culture. Through social media students learn how to create usernames, upload images, manage a profile and perform other basic functions on the internet (2013:7)

One important benefit of using social media is to teach students how to behave appropriately on-line (2013:8). I think this is a significant benefit to all students for they spend majority of their free time on-line according to case studies questionnaires and focus group interview.    

Social media is good for classroom management as well. The ones which have ‘wall’ functions (Home for Facebook and Timeline for Twitter etc.) provides teachers feedback opportunities to students. There are also archive and search facilities which allow teachers to intervene or track students’ work. Social media users do not have to be at school to communicate about their work. It saves time and cost for travelling. All parents who have internet access can easily reach teachers to learn about their children’s progress or to ask about any issues they want to know. Students can also submit their work through internet which saves the cost of printing out or handing in paper-based work (2013:9).      

In ‘Social Networking for Schools’, Baule and Lewis stated that ‘Social networking’ builds collaboration skills that students will need in the work places. Students are enthusiastic about these technologies and schools should capitalize on that (2012:9). According to these writers education should embrace new methods and tools in order to continue to compete in a much smaller world. The book’s aim is to provide the reader with a basic understanding of existing and emerging social networking services and how they can be harnessed to assist schools.  They state that social networks are the fastest growing part of the economy. If schools ignore the impact they would go against the premises of education’s role which is to prepare students for the society. Social networks also allow members to communicate effectively throughout the electronic global environment (2012:9).  There is an unintended consequence of social network use by students; it breaks down the barriers among school cliques. Majority of students seem to be more willing to work with others outside of their normal social circles online (2012:11).     

Summary
In this chapter I tried to explain ‘The Social Media and its use’, ‘Issues around Social Media’, ‘Overview of the Social Media Tools’ and ‘The Role of Social Media enhancing learning and teaching’.
All the writers and researchers in my dissertation agree that if used appropriately, Social Media is a very useful educational tool. It is important to be aware of the risks and take precautions in order to minimise the danger. Poore believes in using digital technology will enhance learning and teaching. 

Social Media was born around 2005 through evolution of the Internet and the next generation of the web called Web 2.0 (2013: 4). Baule and Lewis stated Social Media as “the assembly, or coming together of individuals in specific groups or communities “linking people to each other in some way. Social networking sites bring people together who people interested in a particular subject.” (2012:2). Bosman and. Zagenczyk in White, King, Tsang state that ‘Social Media’ is a widespread phenomenon focused on connecting, sharing and collaborating (2011:3). They think that Social Networking is a very important portion of the world and schools need to instruct students on how to use social networks safely.

There are significant worries around using social media. Ofsted has published ‘Inspecting e-safety in schools’ guidelines. It is crucial that schools know about it and put into practice in order to get ‘Outstanding’ from the inspections (appendix 2). It can be downloaded from (http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/briefings-and-information-for-use-during-inspections-of-maintained-schools-and-academies).
Department for children, schools and families has prepared two guidance booklets called Cyberbullying (Supporting school staff: Appendix 3) and Cyberbullying (A whole-school community issue: Appendix 4) (http://www.digizen.org/downloads/cyberbullying_teachers.pdf) that explains teachers about how to deal with Cyberbullying. It has been written by Childnet International for schools.
When using social media, it is important to check the privacy features and understand how to protect your posts. In all the web-sites above, they have clear explanations of how to send a post public or private. . It is also a good idea to use a good on-line anti-virus programme and do regular scans against spammers and viruses. 

There are 3 types of copyrights and IP (intellectual property), they are; institutional copyright and IP ownership, student copyright and IP ownership and third party copyright and IP ownership. You need to make sure that you know the content of the rights you hold in terms of copyright, and intellectual property; make sure you understand the Terms of Service that you are signing up for and its implications; have approval for posting content over which your institution holds; and speak to member of your school executive or legal expert if you have any queries. Otherwise you may be stripped or neutralise infringing content from the site (Poore, 2013: 203). You should be careful to choose a service that does not require students to hand over their copyright or IP to that service when they sign up. If you want to use third party material, it is necessary that you check for the copyright and IP issues. You may need to obtain permission from the copyright owner to use the material on your site. If not you are likely to bear some form of consequences. It is important to ensure your copyright and IP, as well.

The main social media sites available and includes: blogs, wikis, social networking (FaceBook or Bebo) and podcasts. There are also visual media such as; Video sharing (YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion), Photosharing (Flickr, Instagram, Photobucket), and Slideshows (Slideshare.net, Prezi.com), animations and comicstrips.
Twitter is one of the social media tools which allows people to compose short, frequent messages or ‘tweets’ up to 140 characters that are distributed by the Twitter network on the internet. You can follow and invite others, set up lists, send photos and Direct Messages (DMs). Because there are millions of tweets sent each day, to help people find them, members use hash (#) to tag the tweets about a specific topic. If many tweets take the same hashtag, then it is ‘trending’ (TT: Twitter trend). (Poore, 2013: 124-125)
 A wiki can be public or private, or on any topic. They are normally created by groups not by individuals. Wikipedia is the most famous example of Wikis. People can contribute to articles by editing or creating articles on any topic. However there are other wikis out there as well.     
Facebook is funded by Mark Zuckerberg. This is how they describe their mission: ‘Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.’  The users feel that they have control over the sites and features, and they use the tools such as; ‘like’, ‘share’ and ‘comment’. 
One of the most used Social Media sites is YouTube. It is excellent to find short clips about the topics we do in class such as: writing CVs, pollution, nature, bullying, PE, music etc. Others are Vimeo, Daily Motion and Vine. Photo sharing websites are Flickr, Instagram, and Photobucket. Slideshow and Prezi are the two of the websites that you can share your slideshows on-line.  Animations and Comicstrips are other websites to use to create characters and tell stories using these characters.    

Possibilities are endless but I have chosen the ones I have used or I am familiar with. Digital world keeps reinventing itself and it is quite difficult for teachers to keep up with all the latest gadgets.