Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week(s) (Feb. 23 to March 4, 2012)

March 5, 2012

I am behind with posting some of my favorite resources. Here are my favorite resources of the past couple of weeks, curated from my Twitter account.

Ed tech resources

Technology tools for Education Majors – Prezi

18 Free Screencasting tools to Create Video Tutorials – Web Design Blog

Seriously good resources for Screencasting – Timo Ilomäki ‘s Library

How to Build Rapport With Online Teachers – by Jennifer Williamson

Fluidsurveys – Online survey tool

7 Resources for Teaching and Learning Anatomy & Physiology – from FreeTech4Teachers

7 Strategies to Make Your Online Teaching Better – Inside Higher Ed

Literacy and languages resources

Teacher resources – Noodle Tools

The Best Apps for Learning a Foreign Language – Mobiles Please Blog

The 100 ‘Greatest Books for Kids’ – USA Today

Spark Enthusiasm – Movie and video resources for teaching Spanish

Livres audio gratuits à écouter et télécharger – Free audio books for teaching French – http://www.litteratureaudio.com/

English as a second / additional language (EAL) and related resources

Canadian Newcomer Magazine – Lots of resources and info for New Canadians

Understanding Different English Accents – Daily English Activities Blog

General education resources

40 Alternative Assessments for Learning – by Charity Preston

Differentiated Instruction – Teachers Offer Help and Resources – Teachers.net

30 Online Multimedia Resources for PBL and Flipped Classrooms – 21 Century Ed Tech

Social media resources

TweetChat – An easy way to follow Twitter chats

Related posts:

Dr. Sarah’s favorite news of the week (Feb. 6-12 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 30 – Feb. 5, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 23-29, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 16-22, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 9-15, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 2-8, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 25, 2011 to January 1, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 18-24, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 11-17, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 4-10, 2011)

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Share this post: Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Feb. 27 to March 4, 2012) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1hD

Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


10 Characteristics of Informal Learning

February 28, 2012

Before you ever go to school or take part in a Mom-and-tot program, informal learning starts the day you are born and continues on until the day you die. Here are the characteristics of informal learning:

1. Informal learning is never organized.

There are no set formulas or guidelines. Examples of informal learning include activities such as teaching your child the alphabet, or how to brush his or her teeth. There is no prescriptive program of study for this.

2. Informal learners are often highly motivated to learn.

Unlike the formal learning environment of school, informal learners are often eager and attentive. A teenager showing a friend how to find an “Easter egg” in a video game is an example of informal learning. The gamer really wants to find out how to achieve his goal, so he embarks on a journey to figure out how. His friend becomes his teacher.

3. Informal learning is often spontaneous.

Learning happens anywhere, any time. The learner is inspired to learn because of an immediate desire to know how to do something or understand a topic. Or an informal “teacher” sees an opportunity to share their knowledge or wisdom with someone else. For example, we were recently standing in line at the airport waiting to go through security. There was a family in front of us. The father, who was holding the hand of his young son, who was about seven or eight, used the posters on the wall of the security area to teach the boy to read new words. The boy sounded out the words and they talked about the content of the poster. This not only helped to pass the time during a long wait, it was a great example of spontaneous informal learning.

4. There is no formal curriculum.

There is no program of study or prescriptive methods. Whatever methods used are the one that the person teaching knows how to teach… often based on their own experience.

5. The “teacher” is someone who cares – and who has more experience than the learner.

Even the word “teacher” here is a bit of a misnomer because professional teachers all have credentials, certificates or a teaching license. In the informal learning context, those leading the learning are likely to be emotionally close to the person who is learning, such as a mother, father, grandparent or other caregiver. An adult child teaching an older parent how to use new technology is an example.

6. The world is your classroom

It is a myth that learning happens in a school or in a classroom. With informal learning, there is no classroom. Your home, the neighborhood park, the community and the world are the classroom.

7. Informal learning is difficult to quantify.

There are no exams and informal learning is difficult to quantify.

8. Often dismissed by academics and skeptics as being worthless.

Informal learning is often overlooked and not regarded as particularly valid learning. Some researchers and academics (though not all of us!) have the opinion that informal learning is less valuable than formal, prescriptive learning (due, in part, to the fact that it is difficult to quantify… and they believe that if it can not be quantified, it has no value).

Sarah Elaine Eaton education educator presenter keynote researcher Canada Alberta informal learning9. Essential to a child’s early development.

Learning your mother tongue is an excellent example of informal learning. Imagine if a child were not exposed to any language for the first 5 years. How difficult would that child’s development become? It is an experiment that, as far as I know, has never been done. It would be considered too risky and unethical. Everything a young child learns at home is informal learning, from how to brush their teeth to how to say the alphabet to good manners. Without informal learning, we would never be able to cope in a formal learning environment.

10. Essential to an adult’s lifelong learning.

Informal learning is a lifelong process. It does not end when a child enters school and the formal system “takes over”. On the contrary, children continue to learn at home. As we get older, we learn from our friends. As we enter the workforce, we learn from our co-workers. Into retirement, we still learn from friends and also from those younger than us. An adult learning to read and write from a volunteer literacy tutor is one example. A retired office worker learning from her grandson how to use an iPad is another example.

Informal learning is what keeps us vibrant, mentally active and interested in the world around us, as well as our own development. Just because informal learning can not be quantified easily does not mean that it is not worthwhile – or even essential to our development and growth as human beings.

Related posts:

Formal, Non-formal and Informal Learning (Infographic) https://wp.me/pNAh3-266

New Trends in Education: Formal, Non-formal and Informal Learning – Implications for Evaluation and Assessment

Formal, non-formal and informal learning: The case of literacy and language learning in Canada

Formal, non-formal and informal education: What Are the Differences?

Formal, Non-formal and Informal Learning: A podcast

Breathtaking Impact of Volunteers’ Contribution to Non-formal and Informal Literacy Education in Alberta

Formal, Non-formal and Informal Learning in the Sciences

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Feb. 6-12, 2012)

February 13, 2012

This past week, I was inundated with so many great articles and resources that to help you avoid getting overwhelmed, I’m dividing up my favorites of the past week into two posts: news and resources.

Here are my favorite resources of the week, curated from my Twitter account.

Ed tech resources

6 Sites to get kids excited about Google Maps – Fractus Learning

An app to create lesson plans – Tech & Learning

Web 2.0 Tools: Tools and Teacher Resources – 2Learn.ca

The Best Education Apps at FETC – by Stephen Noonoo, the Journal

Project-Based Learning for Digital Citizens – by Andrew Marcinek

Top 10 Free Online Tutoring Tools for 2012 – Edudemic

Literacy and languages resources

5 Keys to Snagging Reluctant Readers – Shelf Consumed

Open Source Language Education Resources – Yazik

ESL Literacy – Learning from Research: A Review of the Literature – Bow Valley College

General education resources

20 Must-Have Educational Resources For All Teachers – Edudemic

Social media resources

10 Tips for Creating a Social Media Policy for Your Business – by Jennifer Amanda Jones, Social Media Examiner

General resources that I thought were cool and useful

Starting and Managing a Small Business – Business Victoria (Note: Lots of great resources here for non-profits, too).

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone and Study Yourself Failing – by Joshua Foer

Pretty Good – poem by Charles Osgood

Related posts:

Dr. Sarah’s favorite news of the week (Feb. 6-12 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 30 – Feb. 5, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 23-29, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 16-22, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 9-15, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 2-8, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 25, 2011 to January 1, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 18-24, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 11-17, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 4-10, 2011)

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Dr. Sarah’s favorite news of the week (Feb. 6-12, 2012)

February 13, 2012

Sarah Eaton speaker education literacy keynote social media This past week, there were so many great articles and resources that came past my desk that I was almost overwhelmed. To help you avoid getting overwhelmed, I’m dividing up my favorites of the past week into two posts: news and resources.

Here are my favorite news stories of the week, curated from my Twitter account.

Social media news

German police use Facebook pictures to nab crooks – by Alice Baghdjian, Reuters

Employers, workers navigate pitfalls of social media – My Joy Online

Study: Why Do People Use Facebook? – ReadWriteWeb

Texting, social media prove problematic for teachers across the country – Laura Graff

What Schools are Really Blocking When They Block Social Media – by S. Craig Watkins

Literacy news

Caution: Not Embracing ‘Continuous Learning’ has become an Occupational Hazard – QELA

Newfoundland group wants literacy plan from the province – The Telegram

Wilsonville launches early childhood literacy program, putting free books in the hands of preschoolers– by Rachel Stark, The Oregonian

Language learning news

Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Sort Out Language – by Perri Klass, New York Times

Bilingual children gain better focus, literacy skills: York U study – Exchange magazine

Schools join forces to rescue languages – by Amanda Dunn, The Age

Finer points lost in Google translation – by Mark Abley, Montreal Gazette

Education news

The Future of Work for High School Grads – by Jordan Weissmann, The Atlantic

Why Pay for Intro Textbooks? Rice University Announces Open Source Textbooks – by Mitch Smith, Inside Higher Ed

Teacher retention a growing Alberta problem – by Jeremy Nolais, Metro

Technology news

How Computer Games Help Children Learn – MindShift

Study: U.S. gaming population has nearly tripled in three years – by Stephanie Fogel, GamesBeat

General interest

Speaking Up Is Hard to Do: Researchers Explain Why – by Elizabeth Bernstein, Wall Street Journal

Labour shortage becoming ‘desperate’ – by Barrie McKenna, Globe and Mail

Want People to Return Your Emails? Avoid These Words  – Mashable

The Business Savvy Behind Nonprofit Success – by David LePage, Canadian Centre for Nonprofit Renewal

Related posts:

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 30 – Feb. 5, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 23-29, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 16-22, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 9-15, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 2-8, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 25, 2011 to January 1, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 18-24, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 11-17, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 4-10, 2011)

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Share this post: Dr. Sarah’s favorite news of the week (Feb. 6-12, 2012) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1ev

Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 30 – Feb. 5, 2012)

February 6, 2012

Here are my favorite resources of the week, curated from my Twitter account.

Social Media Resources

The art of writing great Twitter headlines – Copyblogger

Social Media News

How brands can manage Facebook comment overload – by Jason Keath, Mashable

Tweet lightly: How social media could someday affect your credit score, insurance and more – by Geoff Duncan

Twitter’s censorship policy stirs up a storm – by Jessica Guynn

Honesty is the best policy: how to stop worrying and learn to love social media – by Marcus Body

The “cancelled future” generation has gone from apathetic despair to inspired action – Adbusters

Educational Technology

40 iPad Apps For Language Learners – by Sathishkumar

Audioliterate – Stream and download audio books – by Richard Byrne, Free Technology for Teachers

Technology Resources and News

Use Twitter to brush up on a second language – by Glen Gilmore, B2C

The worst Internet privacy scandals of all time – by Carolyn Duffy Marsan, TechWorld

Best apps and tools for serious photographers – by Kristy Korcz, GeekSugar

Why Game Designers Are Better Motivators Than Your Boss – by Bryce Christiansen

Literacy Resources

Valentine’s Day books to make your heart sing – by Gail Terp

Literacy and Language News

David Suzuki: Science literacy is good for society – by David Suzuki

Low literacy in Canada equals high costs – by June Striegler

Education News From Around the Globe

Teachers tell parents: ‘Raise your own damnded kids’ – by MamaMia

Teacher: I won’t ‘teach and shut up’ – by Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

“Coming out” at school – by David Weston, The Guardian

Britain’s (lack of) language skills are hurting international growth – Real business

Canadian Education News

Canadian schools ‘falling behind with e-learning implementation’ – Virtual college

Don’t shut disabled kids out of society – Andre Picard, Globe and Mail

Related posts:

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 23-29, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 16-22, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 9-15, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 2-8, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 25, 2011 to January 1, 2012)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 18-24, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 11-17, 2011)

Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Dec. 4-10, 2011)

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Share this post: Dr. Sarah’s favorite resources of the week (Jan. 30 – Feb. 5, 2012) http://wp.me/pNAh3-1ds

Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


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