Sunday, January 29, 2012

Digital Tools - Listening Lesson Plan

My Listening Math 3+12=15


Adult learners at Intermediate level and above 

one 2-hour lesson 

By the end of this lesson, students will have
  • practised their listening skills by listening to an interview with a famous person
  • understood the basic steps in interviewing somebody  
  • written their own ten questions
enhanced their digital literacy by learning and recording themselves

The teacher asks students to discuss why famous people are interviewed and why public are interested in listening to their interviews. Then students discuss what questions celebrities are asked and what questions they might avoid answering.
Then students watch an interview on  and note down the questions they hear.  Then they listen to the interview again and note down the answers. They discuss the questions and the answers and act out the interview in pairs.
The teacher asks the students to think of a famous person and write 10 questions that they would like to ask the person. The teacher monitors and helps if necessary. Students work in pairs and comment on how appropriate the questions are and make changes if necessary.
The teacher collects all the questions and gives them out to different students asking them to imagine that they are the famous person being interviewed. Students need to prepare answers for those questions.
The teacher asks the students to go to . The teacher demonstrates how to record the answers. Students record the questions and answers and then change computers to listen to the answers of their peers and comment on them. 

The teacher must ensure that the computers and the headsets work properly.
Students might not understand the interview (prepare a transcript beforehand).
Students might not have any ideas for questions (teacher helps).
Some students might not be able to record (teacher helps).
Students might not have enough time to listen to their peers' recording and comment on it (the teacher sets the last task as homework, but the comments will have to be in written or recorded form).

Designing for Social Presence - Pre-Course Presentation

In general I prepare a voiceless presentation for my students before they have to start working on a Moodle platform or a wiki or a blog. However, the idea of making the presentation with a voiceover sounds more appealing.

At the moment I don't have any Moodle-based courses running so I thought of preparing a plan for a wiki presentation. I also want to give an outline of a plan for a VLE presentation, but at the moment I won't be able to produce the presentation itself.

Before the start of a course, I send my students an email with the link to the site they will be using and their usernames and passwords. Pbworks can generate it and for Moodle I just create a generic password which students can change when they first sign in. So my presentations will start from this point.

1. Welcome!
2. Follow the link in your email.
3. Sign in with the username and password provided in the email.
4. Click on the course name and type in the enrollment key given in the email.
5. Edit profile, changing password.
6. How to send a message if help is required or need to send a private message to one of the course participants.
7. News forum for off-class activities and working with forums in general.
8. Course layout.
9. What to do in the first week.
10. How to work with course wikis.
11. Good luck!

2. Follow the link in your email.
3. Sign in with the username and password provided in the email.
4. Edit profile.
5. Course layout.
6. Watch introductory videos.
7. Do the writing tasks on the wiki.
8. Comment.
9. Do the speaking tasks.
10. Read what others have done or comment on the peers' work.
11. Good luck!

You are welcome to comment on my plans. There might be something missing!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Designing for Social Presence - Motivating online students

The topic of this week's discussion is Motivation.

It is actually quite interesting to think about motivation for online students because in many ways studying online requires a higher level of motivation and a higher level of responsibility.

The following slideshow explains what motivates people to engage in online activities. The most surprising factor for me was to find out that people get involved in online activities to avoid doing work. :)

The following article from the University of Newcastle was really useful as I am really interested in tutoring online. It explains how to motivate students so that they complete an online course.

One of the pieces of advice on the site is especially of interest to me as once I experienced a problem with student involvement in an online course I was running: "You may find that students who are disengaged and who do not have a strong social connection with their fellow peers find it easier to withdraw from a course. Thus employ strategies that encourage students to interact with one another."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Digital Tools - Treasure Hunt

The first task was a challenge I have to say. Not really that easy to form an opinion about 12 sites within 30 minutes. I only managed to look at all of them (not very thoroughly) and bookmark them for further exploration.

I didn't spend much time looking at the sites that were for children as I don't teach children at all. So I just bookmarked the sites and moved on.

Number 3 was a fantastic site that I could easily use with my students. I have come across this site before but then forgot about it and was delighted to be reminded about it again.

Number 4 was news to me as I guess this is Nik Peachy's site and I follow his blog with great pleasure.

Number 5 is a very good site for me to use with my students (especially exam students) because in many cases they have serious spelling problems and I think listening and scripting what they hear will help them a great deal.

Number 9 I was not so sure about. I will need to go back to it again to see what else it offers apart from talks by various professionals on various subjects. However, I think the videos could be used as warm-up activities for debates on the same subjects.

Number 11 could be used for choose your holiday and further discussion and also for creating a video guide to your country. Could be very useful for online groups too.

Number 12 is a podcasting site which allows creation of podcasts, but as it mentioned the tool's similarity to Audacity, I got scared because the software frightens me to death. For online audio I usually use Voxopop and Podomatic and don't go near Audacity. :(

Thank you very much for the links! They were great! :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Digital Tools - Writing Activities Online

Apart from Collaborative Writing Tool sites, there are also other sites which offer practice for writing skills.
Among them are Word Clouds generating sites: Wordle and Tagxedo. I still don't see why they can be useful as they are not really engaging in my opinion. I might be wrong but I think that I could only use them to create word clouds to post those on an online platform with the key words of the week's lesson.

There is also a very useful website for practising spelling and it also gives an opportunity to create various vocabulary tasks: SpellingCity. It requires registration and allows saving vocabulary lists on the site for free. Great!

However, the sites that caught my attention were MovieMaker and Newspaper Clipping Image Generator. Both sites are useful for encouraging creativity in students and also improving their writing skills.
The MovieMaker has a set of setting templates and characters students can choose from and then they will have to write the script for the movie and share the link with their peers.
The Newspaper Clipping allows students to create their own online articles under a made-up name of a newspaper. When the article is ready all they have to do is click Generate and in a second they can read their article in a form of newspaper. They can also download the article and share it with their peers. Fantastic!

Web 2.0 Tools - Patterns of Participation

This week we have learnt a lot about online course participant behaviour and building for social presence. Very useful!

First we had a look at © G. Salmon's Etivities: the key to active online learning (2002), Kogan, Page 171

E-moderator response
The wolf

Visits once a week, lots of activity, then disappears again until next week, or even the week after!
Nudge wolf by e-mail to encourage to visit again and see responses that s/he has sparked off.
The elephant

Steady – visits most days for a short time.
Congratulate. Ask elephant to encourage and support others – especially mouse and squirrel.
The squirrel

Always catching up: completes two weeks in one session then disappears again for some time.
Nudge squirrel by e-mail to suggest life is easier with more regular access. Check on other commitments.
Provide regular summaries and archiving to enable squirrel to catch up easily and contribute.
The mouse

Visits once a week, reads and contributes little.
Check that mouse can access all messages. Check language difficulties. May need boost of confidence. Give specific role.
The mole

Inclined to post disembodied comments in a random way.
Try to include relevant comments from mole in summaries and invite responses. Needs support and e-stroking.
The rabbit

Lives online, prolific
message writer, responds
very rapidly.
Rabbit may need counselling to hold back and let others shine through. Give structured roles such as summarizing after a plenary.
The stag

Tendency to dominate discussion at certain times.
Invite stag back frequently. Offer a structured and specific role.
The magpie

Steals ideas without acknowledging.
Foster a spirit of acknowledgement and reinforcement of individual ideas. Warn magpie directly if necessary.
The dolphin

Intelligent, good communicator and playful online.
Ensure dolphin acknowledges and works well with others. May annoy participants who think it’s all very serious.
We then decided what animal we are regarding our own participation patterns and created a Glog describing ourselves. What a funny mix of animals we had! :)

Next we did some reading and discussed it.

And finally we watch an online presentation by Prof Curtis Bonk about Building Instructor and Social Presence which was quite interesting. However, there was a very big point missing in it: how to make online course participants interact with each other as I think student-student interaction is as important as teacher-student interaction. But the video was actually only about the latter.

Still very useful and interesting.

Digital Tools - Presentation Online

As I love teaching Business English, the tools that we had to have a look at at the end of Week 2 were of a particular interest to me.

As I discussed Prezi last week, I will not repeat myself here. I would like to talk about PhotoPeach and SlideRocket.

Having watched the presentations made using these three tools, I spend a long time thinking which one was the best and couldn't really choose one.

Compared with PhotoPeach and SlideRocket, Prezi has a slight advantage which is the feature of zooming in a part of a text or a picture as if drawing attention to it. However,  that feature is not going to make mere say that I would prefer Prezi to the other two tools. PhotoPeach and SlideRocket are also very engaging.

Last week when I asked my Business English students to prepare a Prezi on Negotiation Skills, they said that it was not difficult to use. Now I would like to introduce them to the other two tools and ask them to choose the one they like most and prepare another presentation.

Although when you have too many options, you spend a long tine choosing, I still think that having options is better than having none.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Digital Tools - Collaborative Writing

We were given quite a few links to various online writing websites where students can collaborate on their writing tasks to analyse.

The first site I looked at was ThinkFree. To be honest what appealed to me most was the name. I signed up quickly which was good, but then I started having problems with Java. Although I updated it, refreshed the page, restarted the computer, I still couldn't create a document because a message saying that I need Java to use the page kept on coming up. So I gave up and decided to look at it again later.

The next site I looked at was Bubbl.Us and I just couldn't sign up for it at all. It kept on telling me that there was a connection problem, but there was none that I could find, so I gave up again. My first two choices didn't seem to be very good. I will have to try this one later too.

As I had already had previous experience in working with Google Docs I did not want to us it for my task. Instead I wanted to get to know a new tool. So I checked out Entri and Success! Success! I managed to sign up for it and start using it straight away with no problems. :)  I liked the site very much: it's very straight-forward, not many buttons to get tangled up in. I don't think students will have any problems using it.

Next I looked at WriteBoard which one doesn't even need to sign up for. One can just create a title for the piece of writing and start using it. The only thing to do is to share the link to the board with the people who are supposed to be adding/editing or in any other way taking part in the writing process. Very easy! TypeWithMe is more or less the same kind of tool and doesn't require registration. Also very good!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Digital Tools - DreamDoze

This week we are asked to look at some sites which offer various story telling tools. I have looked at three so far: , , and .

I decided to choose dreamdoze for my next General English lesson. It is very fast and easy to sign up for (about 30 seconds) and the activity can start straight away as it doesn't ask to confirm your email address before allowing you in. Wonderful! :)

My plan is the following:

I am planning to have a lesson on predictions with my Pre-Intermediate group with listening and speaking. The lesson is about a man who goes to a psychoanalyst, tells her his dream and the psychoanalyst interprets the dream for him. The whole point of the lesson to revise Past Simple and Past Continuous, to be going to and will for predictions. I thought the DreamDoze would fit in quite well. After the main part of the lesson I am going to ask the students to sit down in front of the computers in pairs and think of a dream and type it in DreamDoze and post their dream. Then the pairs move to another computer and collaboratively interpret their peers dream and post the interpretation. Then they go to another computer and interpret the dream on that computer. At the end they vote on best interpretations for each dream.

I think my students will enjoy the activity! :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gamification - Week 1

The week was very fruitful. I am thoroughly enjoying this course.

First of all I loved Larry Ferlazzo's Blog where he has a collection of Interactive Fiction Game links. Having had a look at them I chose two: Move or Die and Ambition (10 episodes) because these games offer negotiation skills practice. I had already known Move and Die and had used it in one of my online courses, but I had never thought of using it in the classroom. I read Joe Pereira's Blog as well where he discusses uses of IF games in the classroom but still was unsure.

I didn't think it would be possible for me to have students play the game during the lesson as both games can take a very long time so I posted the links on our Group's Facebook wall and asked my students to give the games a go and maybe exchange some tips with each other later about what moves to make to complete the games.
I have to say I was amazed to see how involved the students became. They kept on posting tips and complaining about the game being difficult and impossible to complete. Then one of them managed to get to the end and told them all how to negotiate to survive and all of the students became really delighted and asked for more games.

I can say that these games were not only useful in terms of language but also in terms of their negotiation skills as some of them are studying Business English for their jobs.

Digital Tools - Week 1 Reflection

Week 1 is almost over and we are asked to choose one of the tools that we have been introduced to and design a lesson plan.

Well, the tools are as follows:

Edmodo   Animoto   Prezi

Having explored all the sites I became very interested in the opportunities that Prezi was offering. I am sure my Business English students will love creating presentations using this site.

What I am planning to do next week is to get them all in the computer lab and ask them to prepare a Prezi presentation on Presentation Skills as this was the subject of our last lesson's discussion.

Signing up with Prezi is not difficult at all. All my students have a Facebook account and they can all sign up using their Facebook accounts within just 10 seconds.

Next I will put them into pairs and ask them to look at a couple of presentations on Prezi to get some ideas about what the site does and what the presentations look like.

I will quickly demonstrate to them how they can make presentations and give them all 5 minutes to plan on paper what they would like to include in their presentation. They then will get down to preparing their presentations and I will be monitoring and helping if needed. I assume this stage will take about 20-30 minutes depending on the length previously agreed with the whole group.

When the students have finished I will ask them to look at each other's work and comment.

And finally they will be asked to find a video with a good presentation and also add it to their Prezi.

As homework I will ask them to prepare a presentation of how Prezi works and post their links on our Facebook group's wall. They can then watch each other's presentations and comment on each of them by adding descriptions of some features of what the others have missed.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Digital Tools Matrix

My first reflection is upon Technology Integration Matrix

I should reflect upon where I am nowadays and where I'd like to be according to my own educational context.

Well, I have to say the table is very detailed. It was quite difficult for me to decide where I am now, but it was quite easy to decide where I would like to be. 

I would like to get to Goal-Directed Transformation Stage as all my students are adults and are capable of taking the responsibility for their own learning.

Transformation Student
"•Students engage in ongoing metacognitive activities at a level that may have been unattainable without the support of technology tools. Students are empowered to extend the use of technology tools and have greater ownership and responsibility for learning."

Transformation Teacher
"•The teacher creates a rich learning environment in which students regularly engage in higher order planning activities that may have been impossible to achieve without technology. The teacher sets a context in which students are encouraged to use technology tools in unconventional ways that best enable them to monitor their own learning."

Transformation Environment
"•The setting includes access to a wide variety of technology tools and robust access to online resources for all students simultaneously."

At the moment I think I am at Authentic-Adaptation stage with my students. At least I hope I am.

Introduction to the Blog

I have decided to start this blog specifically for 2012 EVO session as last year I found it difficult to keep track of all the websites that I needed to visit and look at. Consequently I got totally confused and didn't manage to complete all the tasks as I had registered for 4 courses at the same time.

This year I am determined to complete all the three courses that I have registered for and to do so
I need a diary where I can not only reflect upon what I have learnt but also archive all the sites that I should look at during and after the course.

So this year I am doing Digital Tools with Purpose in the Classroom, Teaching and Language Learning through Gamification and Tutoring with Web 2.0 Tools - Designing for Social Presence.

Digital Tools

Teaching and Language Learning through Gamification

Tutoring with Web 2.0 Tools - Designing for Social Presence -

I think these are all the main pages I need to keep an eye on. :)