Monday, December 3, 2012

Use Podcast In ESL Classroom

Podcasts -- audio recordings available online -- are relatively new to the K-12 classroom.  A podcast is in some ways comparable to a blog. While blogging is a kind of online self-publication, podcasting is a kind of online self-broadcast. The creator of a podcast makes an audio or video recording and posts it at a web address. The audience for the podcast listens to or views this “show” by downloading it to a computer or a portable MP3 devices. Some podcast websites also support listening online such as the PodOmatic.

I think Absolutely-Intercultural Podcast would be a helpful material for English teaching.  It focuses on human intercultural communication and is benefit of audiences to improve English while understand culture issues.  I will use the Podcast in ESL class which would be consisted of students from different culture backgrounds.

Use the Absolutely Intercultural 151--Australia Day 2012 as an example, this podcast talked about a national public holiday in Australia and invested some overseas students to compare national holidays in their motherland with Australia's. Students will be asked to listen the Podcast before class and prepare for the topics of class discussion: Which culture custom in Australia impressed you most  ? How about your national public holiday? How do you think about "mother and son were using several different languages even between them during an ordinary day"?  Students can use photos in Flickr or short video in YouTube to introduce their culture customs. I expect students' abilities of listening and speaking could be trained in this class, and intercultural communication would be encouraged even more. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Epals -- A Global Community where learners connect

EPals is one of the world's largest networks of K-12 classrooms. This system provides a safe and project-based platform for teachers and students to learn by connecting with other classrooms around the globe.

EPals allows teachers flexibility to design and launch their own ideas and curriculum at any time and to any extent. It fosters meaningful connections with teachers and students in other schools, states, or countries.

There are some ways to facilitate collaboration through ePals Global Community: sharing projects, writing emails, accessing content and lesson plans, both teachers and students could enhance their learning ability and technology skills on this network. Beyond that, this network is a great way to learn about diverse cultures and research global issues at the same time. ISOLVE: Global Peer Action Project is an interesting project which seeks to empower students across the world as they offer solutions to real, day-to-day problems encountered by the world's youth. Six graders from different countries would be required to come up with their problems, then they need to try to solve other's proposed issues. Many online tools would be used in the progress: Email, Skype, Blog and Wiki...The reasons I love this project are it enables students to think things out for themselves, and express their opinions in logical and organized ways. Students would be encouraged to learn about various kinds of lives and societies of other countries, it could help them have global perspectives.

The other project I explored is Collaborative Detective Story which is a typical create writing project. Students would decide how their own story goes on through brainstorms, and native speakers of that language would help make any grammatical and spelling corrections needed. Students would take advantages from that project to enhance communicating and writing skills, and be more creative.

Moreover, ePals provides interesting learning centers for users which include fun activities, discussions and games, such as in2books Clubhouse and News Now. In2books Clubhouse is a reading community in which students can share and discuss their favorite books, then choose their next reading. News Now provides opportunities  for students to write and report news releases all by themselves, students can participant into news reporting in their favorite areas covered world news, US news, sports, travel, and lifestyle. I am pleased to implement in2books Clubhouse in my teaching, students would be asked to join into it in order to carry out their after-school reading and write short reflections. Students should finish reading two books every month, one book they can choose from their favorites, and one book should be assigned by teacher. They can take part into the discussion of books online, and need to introduce the books or narrate the stories they have read in class. Through that  students could exercise reading, writing, and oral express skills.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Use GoAnimate for teaching

GoAnimate is a site that lets you easily create animated videos. There is a free version allows you to make the videos, record your voice, upload your materials and share the video just by clicking your mouse.

GoAnimate could be used for educational purposes, such as teacher presentations, student projects, tutorials, subject training, and much more. It could really engage students a lot, they would have fun when creating presentations, as well as learning the content. It is a effective self learning for students when they try to organize a presentation and follow certain guidelines.

I made the 30s film on GoAnimate within half an hour, it is really a time saving educational tool! I try to use this film to make student recognize some common types of dogs and able to speak out the names in both English and Chinese. I wrote the corresponding English names on each dog's picture by photoshop, then repeat it with Chinese on the next slide in order to enhance students’ memory. After watch the video, I will ask students to read after me in English and Chinese separately. Finally, I will require them to make their own short films to introduce at least five kinds of dogs or cats as homework, and give presentations with their films in the next class.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Use Voice Thread in teaching

Voice Thread is an interactive collaboration and sharing tool which allows users to create slides that sharing images,documents and videos. While other users would be able to add voice,text,and video comments into slides.

Voice Thread could be using in online teaching in practical ways. One of the greatest benefits of VoiceThread is the flexibility of the tool. Teachers can post their video or audio curricula in Voice Thread and require students to watch and comment the assigned one. It really benefits in language learning, because students have to express their viewpoints and communicate with others without any body language, they need to assure what should be talked about before pressing "record" button. And if they weren't satisfied with their comments, they have the chance to record over again till they are pleased with them.  

In addition, educators can use Voice Thread in many educational settings with students in general education, with students considered at risk, and with students with disabilities (Using Voice Thread to Promote Learning Engagement and Success for All Students).

I think there are six steps for teachers to use Voice Thread in teaching .

Step 1: Pre-Plan:think about the teaching topic and content.
Step 2: Prepare content: look for related materials for the class: pictures,              articles, and videos.
Step 3:  Prepare narration: think about how to give lessons on Voice Thread, how to narrate your course.
STEP 4: Make contents on Voice Thread: upload your pictures and videos, and record your lectures.
STEP 5: Ask students for participating in Voice Thread and making their comments.
STEP 6: Listen and evaluate their comments.

I have commented on Keri Sedita and Yu Xie's Voice Thread as if I'm the student in their classes. I like Keri's VT because it could be a introduction class at the beginning of a semester, students could be familiar with each other and talk about their favorite modes of teaching and learning. Students are required to introduce themselves and answer what made them choose to learn French and what sorts of  activities they would prefer in class. Teacher could be able to adjust teaching plan and pedagogy in time in accordance with the information acquired from students' comments.

 Yu talks about an assigned topic on her Voice Thread -- "Different Cultural Connotations of Animals", and uses the different meanings of dragon in Western countries and in China as an example to explain the topic. I have to say this is a special and attractive topic to let students be interested in cultural difference and connection. Students are required to talk about an animal that has different cultural connotations in their respective comments, I think they should collect materials and organize their thoughts before their talking, the whole process could deepen their understanding of cultural diversity.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Digital Storytelling On Bookr

Digital Storytelling is one of the greatest educational tools as I think, it is creative and makes learning relevant and significant to students.

I used Bookr to create two digital stories: Sleeping Pills and My favorite Pet, the first one is a reproduction of a humor story on a magazine, the second is based on my own story. I'll try to use the humor story to let students understand how repeat an existing story to others in a multimedia way: you can grab audiences' attention in a funny topic and vivid language and pictures.

The topic of second one was chosen from themes of short composition, I intend to require students to finish their composition in a fashionable and emotional method, which could be more touching than traditional words displaced on paper. In this kind of topics, students would be encouraged to use their own photos and videos to tell their story. Their storytellings could always be a effective communication pattern.

Digital Storytelling

In the new digital era, digital storytelling has been one of the most favorite classroom tool, and the affordability and accessibility of technology,such as Bookr, Bubblr,and iMovie. Digital storytelling is the practice of combining narrative with digital content, including images, sound, and video, to create a short movie, typically with a strong emotional component (7 things you should know about Digital Storytelling ).

As far as I know, digital storytelling can have a magical effect if it well done-- moving, enlightening, or entertaining audiences of any size (How to use digital storytelling in your classroom). In classroom, it can draw students' attention, strengthen their memories through the combination of digital factors and scripts; and promote students' creativity, engagement and learning through making digital storytelling works by themselves. British photographer, educator and digital storyteller, Daniel Meadows said that the beauty of this form of digital expression is that these stories can be created by people everywhere, on any subject, and shared electronically all over the world (The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling).

As a bilingual language teacher, I will use digital storytelling for both my lesson plan and students' homework. Firstly, I'll combine the text content with related digital factors and expand the scope of knowledge in storytelling. I can tell some personal stories help students learn about voice in a narrative form, as well as first person perspective. Secondly, I'll ask students to make their own digital storytelling on designed area, but they can come up with their own creative topics.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Serious Games: Third World Farmer

A serious game is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment. The "serious" adjective is generally prepended to refer to products used by industries like defense, education, scientific exploration, health care, emergency management, city planning, engineering, religion, and politics.( Wikipedia: Serious Games.)

Serious Games usually have to balance between being "educational" and being "fun". Third World Farmer presents itself as a greatly educational game, promising to teach the player the hardships of maintaining a family in a world full of corruption, war and diseases. But once played, it turns out that it's fairly easy to be successful. And that's exactly why this game is actually pretty fun for an "educational" game.

In the game, the player gets to manage an African farm and is soon confronted with the difficult choices that poverty and conflict can cause.I played it third times in small hours during a day, it really saved many trivial minutes!

The game rules are very simple and could be learned by students at almost any level. Students need to buy crops and other items from the left hand menu. Then they need to place them in the fields. Once they are done buying items, they press the play button and a year of game-play will pass by with flashing months. Then, with whatever money and resources are left, the player repeats the process until the player and his family die, or until the player becomes a successful farmer.

As an ESL teacher, I'll use the game to encourage students read background articles and watch videos, such as Third World: An Introduction in Youtube,and require students take part into discussion about related issues in class twitter. The learning objective is students could recite the information about third world issues in their own organized language. The way to access students' achivements is raising corresponding questions in classroom, such as such as "the story behind Third World Farmer" and  "how could developed countries help third world countries".

Escape the Room Game

Gamification in education involves applying game design thinking to classroom and out of classroom to make teaching more fun and engaging."Gamification is the application of game elements in nongaming situations, often to motivate or influence behavior.In academe, gamification typically employs elements such as points, badges, or progress bars to engage or motivate students in the learning process. " ( 7 Things YouShould Know About Gamification )

Why we want to use games in language teaching and learning? Language learning is not an easy work, learners have to maintain hard work over a long period of time,.Games could help and encourage many learners to sustain their interest and work. Games also help the teacher to create contexts in which the language is useful and meaningful. Even the most shy students could be drew into playing, learning, and collaboration.

Personally, I'm willing to choose Heart of TOTA, a flash game to support my ESL teaching. I played this escape room game four times and find it benefits the accumulation of vocabularies, speaking and writing practice.The language learning objectives would be students should remember those key vocabularies such as anchor,crowbar, stump, and know how use them in speaking and writing. At the beginning of class, teacher need to do some preparation: 1.divide students into three groups for competition; 2. list the key vocabularies in class twitter at least three days before. 3. prepare the walk through hint. After that, students will be required to remember those key vocabularies before class and review them with group members. Then, students could learn some walk through from teacher and recite it to their cooperators, each member is responsible for each play level. Three groups try to pass each play level as soon as possible. After the game, students will be required to talk about the game in classroom use the key vocabularies as much as possible and write reflection concerned in specific topics in class blogs. The winner would be the group which can pass the game in shortest time and use most key vocabularies in their talking. Teacher is the organizer and facilitator in the whole process, and also the technical supporter. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

How Use Twitter In and Out of the Classroom

Twitter, one of the well-known social media sites, could be a surprisingly useful educational tool. It gives students and teachers an easy way to communicate besides office hours and classrooms. With the use of hashtags (#), it becomes incredibly easy to find any interesting topic discussion or related information in twitter. Recently, more and more teachers create Twitter accounts or lists specific to a course, making it easy for students to follow and find each other on Twitter.

Social media in general can completely change the way that students submit and receive their assignments, using tools such as Flickr, YouTube and a blogging platform, like WordPress or Blogspot. Twitter can also replace many tools you already use such as mailing lists for announcements and discussion board for class content.

Send reminders

Twitter can be used to remind students about homework and assignments, and provide relevant information for their next class. Using Twitter on a smartphone ensures that students receive notifications and can keep pace with the latest class news. For example, teachers can use twitter as attendance reminder: for students who have trouble making it to class on time, send reminders before school to get them in the door earlier ( 60 Inspiring Examples of Twitter in the Classroom ).

Share articles and videos

We all know how share interesting links with our followers on Twitter. Teachers can use this to their advantage by tweeting interesting educational materials for their students to read or watch. Sending out a tweet to give students a reading assignment or videos is an instantaneous way to keep them prepared for their class ahead of time.
Twit TV is a useful tool  to share videos with students on twitter. Med Kharbach mentioned it in his blog: "this is a cool web tool that automatically plays trending videos shared on Twitter. It also provides some practical tools such as being able to search for videos based on region and topic or even skip the ones you don't like." ( Great Twitter Tools For Your Professional Development ). Teachers can raise questions and trigger discussion based on reading and watching assignment.

Teachers can collaborate

Teachers can easily collaborate with each other on Twitter too, exchanging ideas and teaching tools. With the use of a hashtag, it’s easy for any group of people to connect on Twitter so why not teachers? The search of related hashtags, such as #edtech, gives you instant access to links, thoughts and tweets from educators from all over the world.

Encourage creativity

Twitter can be used as a means to encourage students creativity in writing short article such as the micropeom. Twitter is the perfect tool to convey a concept or story with as few words as possible. It can also be a great way to put collaborative creativity to work. Students can create a story taking turns to contribute one line each.

Keep the discussion going

In a classroom setting, Twitter can be used to contribute to a discussion, and also gives students and teachers a way to keep the conversation going long after the class is over.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Social Networking Group: Learning with Computers

Social Networking websites provide the chances for any group member to exchange and update knowledge in a familiar way. Both students and teachers could do benefit from social networking online.

From my own self, I really want to take part into the group from Yahoo, Learning with Computers for several reasons. Firstly, this is a user-friendly group on website, people just need to have Yahoo ID can be easily join in it, no complicated operation and unfamiliar technology.I compared this group with another social networking website called Ning then consider Yahoo group is more feasible and convenient. Secondly, as an famous education group, Learning with Computers has attracted many language teachers and other educators, so that it provides a professional platform for teachers who are of differnet demands: fresh teachers can communicate with other experienced teachers; Chinese bilingual teacher can find TESOL resources from the forum-like group; Japanese teacher can have conversation with others from diversities cultures. Thirdly, there are some really effective links about educational technology could be found in Learning with Computers such as the blog for bi-monthly reflections and Diigo groups which are full of useful and essential scholar bookmarks. So based on there reasons, I am unable to hold myself back from this group!

A connected world

A learner is like a tree,why do I say that?

In general speaking, a learner has many common points with a tree. Firstly, the most important things for a tree are the root system and soil, a tree couldn't survive without them; in like manner,for a learner who need to build his/her knowledge system, learning would be the root and knowledge would be the broad earth. A learner could be called as "learner" because they must keep learning knowledge for a lifetime to follow and adapt to the change of the information age. A tree has to experience four seasons and born new branches and leaves, so does a learn who need to update their information and knowledge, because "Learning is a continual process, lasting for a lifetime, learning and work related activities are no longer separate;and many learners will move into a variety of different, possibly unrelated fields over the course of their lifetime." (Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, George Siemens, 2005).

Secondly, like the tree will live better in a forest which has abundant trees and richer soil, a learner always lives in a diversified environment and his/her learning is not entirely under the control of the individual. A tree in forest always coexists with other plants and some animals like vines and bees, similarly, "a learner is always learning with a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources."(Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, George Siemens, 2005). Through a Youtube video also made by Siemens, we know that "people use blogs, wikis and other social software to share information and connect with others, we could see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts through technologies. Different kinds of conversations make learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions."(The Impact of Social Software on Learning, George Siemens, 2007).

As the technologies are updating so quickly, we are all living in a connected world. So we have be a tree to find ways learn more from both circumstance and soil.

Monday, September 24, 2012

love teaching , love life

In this week I read an impressive blog named Interviewing Icha Sarwono,IndonesiaD in Vicky Lora's blog.The blogger made an interview with an Indonesian teacher named Icha Sarwono who is very active on social media and spread not only her useful teaching resources and skills, but also positive attitude of life all over the world.

After reading the blog, I came to be Sarwono's fans and followed her blog, then I found it is so much pleasure in the ELI teacher's career life. On one hand, She has rigorous requirements and high standard achievements on her profession, she's a really outstanding ELT teacher now teaching K2 class.On the other hand, she's a one hundred percent life activists.she like spending sparetime with children, pets(she has four cats),keeping eyes on fashion like many young ladies. She love cooking, also involve her class in cooking activity.

I have deepgoing understanding about what kind of characters more than professional skills of teaching in classroom should belong to a good teacher from Sarwono's life. Teacher should realize the importance of equality of communication, you have to put yourself in students' position and take their feeling into consideration all the time. If students treat you as peers or friends, you could say you have get 50% success. The other 50% success is knowing how inspire students through suitable means, as Sarwono said, “I think what we should have in mind when teaching young learners is that you cannot force them in accepting all you have to give at a certain time. They need time to bloom. We should know also that it is better for the kids if they can experience themselves rather than asking them to visualize.”

Monday, September 17, 2012

Revolution in Education

Internet will most likely become mainstream trends over the next decades, which have already permeated into every aspect in education.In the video <Social Media Revolution>, I get more understanding on how social media changed and changing our lives in depth through the statistical data:
  • If facebook were a country, it would be the world's
  • 3rd largest.
  • If Wikipedia were made into a book, it would be
  • 2.25 million pages long.
  • A new member joins Linkedin
  • every second

As Eric Qualman said,we don't have choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it. From the video <Educational Change Challenge>, I realize that every day could be the best way for students to be educated, and every method could be the most useful method for students to learn. What teachers have to do is let students could learn from not only classrooms, but also the whole world.

So how do we understand the "whole world"? Students couldn't overview the whole pages of 2.25 million pages in Wikipedia, couldn't understand every kinds of culture, but they have the opportunities to find information and knowledge in every aspects from whole world's websites, and connect to far greater numbers of humanity with greater intellectual capital. They could share information with each other even in long distance, could learn more diversity cultures in different groups of people, and could learn and teach in online interactive activities. Teachers could use activities and technologies that encourage students to share learning and resources, and form communities of practise. One example is the video <Networked Student> which was inspired by CCK08, a Connectivism course offered by George Siemans and Stephen Downes (retrived from the brief introduction below the video,), students use blogs, itunes and other SNS to build up their information exchange system, even teacher just plays the role as a guide and instructor in process, students have consolidated their forgone knowledge and accept many kinds of contents differ from theirs.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How can you use Weblog in your classroom

  In general sense, Weblog is an easily created, easily updateable Website that allows anthor to publish instantly to the Internet from an Internet connection.

  There are wide variety of ways to use Weblogs in schools:

  •   Class Portal: a great entry point for Weblog use is to build a class portal to commucate information about the class and to archive course materials. Many students really enjoy acquiring course materials in the faddish and convenient method. Parents also love the transparency and the ability to access class materials.

  •   Online Filing Cabinet and E-Portforlio:the class can go paperless as students simply post their work online for peer and teacher response.Firstly, students never misplace their work. Second, having all of their work organized in one place makes for some great opportunity for student reflection. Finally, work on a Weblog can be shared with others who might be interested or invested in the student's progress.

  •   Collaborative Space: Weblog creates spaces where students can collaborate with otheres online.

  From myself, I will be interested in using Weblog as the class portal and students' individual/collaborative working spaces, students would be expected to use 2nd language in Weblog at home or other places with internet connection.

  Two official learning standards met from ACTFL(National Standards For Foreign Language Education):

  Standard 1.1: Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions

  Standard 5.1: Students use the language both within and beyond the school setting