EDU.VACATION 2023: It's a wrap!
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EDU.VACATION 2023: It's a wrap!

It was the beginning of summer and we were in Antiparos!
For four days, from June 14 to 17, we had the chance to attend four educational workshops and enjoy island life! Express Publishing and Myrsini Educational Centre joined forces to make this event memorable.
Myrsini, Jenny, Mike and Konstantina, our speakers, did their best to ensure that all the current trends are covered -from STEAM to Chat GPT- and prepared us for the year to come! 
Myrsini, Jenny, Mike and Konstantina, our speakers, did their best to ensure that all the current trends are covered -from STEAM to Chat GPT- and prepared us for the year to come! 
Let's dive into more details:  
On our first day, Myrsini Verdouka gave us a holistic approach to teaching English and life skills to our students. We completed not one, not two but six hands-on activities. We got into teams and:
  • created solar ovens to revise the target language related to the environment
  • practised prepositions using balloons
  • practised conditionals by writing our wishes and putting them in a bottle
  • golf-ed topic vocabulary
  • prepared a banana split and created a TV commercial about it 
  • consolidated word transformations using a parachute

Our key takeaways?
  1. Team up! Kids learn better when they are part of a group, so no one is left behind! The goal is to make even the least confident students participate.
  2. The teacher is there to facilitate and guide student learning! The students assess their work and evolve from passive listeners into active recipients!
On day 2, Jenny Dooley showed us how we can implement drama activities in our classroom! What did we do?
  • We got into a circle and played an alphabet game, to break the ice and concentrate
  • We played the ‘Who’s missing’ game to practice wh- questions and get familiar with the play and its characters
  • We drew on each others’ backs to practise articles and prepositions
  • We played the ‘I scream’ game to learn how to manage our voice tones
  • We performed mediation activities to facilitate the comprehension of complicated concepts

Jenny's tips for implementing drama in the class:
- Students lack empirical knowledge, so mind mapping is important! Dedicate time to brainstorming activities and encourage students to improvise! 
- Use chanting techniques: The class repeats one verse at the end of the lesson while the teacher keeps the beat of the lyrics. 
- Explain to students that there are no small parts -everyone's contribution is equally important.
- When students are relaxed they perform better: be patient and kind to your students, don't intimidate them. 
- Responsibility and accountability are important; It's important to assign responsibilities in advance and do things for them.

On day 3, we embarked on a whirlwind of learning with six captivating activities! Mike Kenteris had set a mission to:
  • teach us the fundamentals of AI and GPT,
  • show us how to use ChatGPT as our personal learning partner in our classrooms,
  • guide us towards creating our own differentiated, high-quality material with ChatGPT,
  • help us to develop effective strategies for designing prompts that generate high-quality material!

What were the most important lessons from this workshop?
  1. Learn, unlearn, relearn! As teachers, we need to invest in continuous learning development to prepare ourselves for an ever-increasing digital world.
  2. Use technological advancements as tools to supplement your lesson. Consider AI as your personal teaching partner that will help you create your own differentiated material!
On our last day, Konstantina Karamouta introduced us to STEAM learning (Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics) with five fascinating activities:
  • We carried out an experiment to see how harmful the pollution of the environment can be
  • We performed a bubble experiment and learnt about 'bending diffraction'
  • We built our very own airplanes using wooden sticks and toothpicks, and we discovered the importance of engineering
  • We unfolded the mystery of the Queen's missing dog, by working together to solve this logic puzzle!
  • We sketched a video clip and laughed our heads off!

Why was the STEAM workshop so valuable? These activities urged us all to become students for a while and engaged us in creative activities. We focused on exploring real-world applications of what is taught, bridging the gap between theory and practice! 


The workshops ended with us taking our certificates and throwing a farewell party by the sea!
 
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