Category Archives: EVO 2012

Digital Tools – E-Book

The last task of this year’s EVO Digital Tools was to create and publish an eBook.

To be honest I started the task just to see what it is like working with the tool and I liked it. There are so many things that can be done with it in the classroom.

This is what I have at the moment: http://www.epubbud.com/book.php?saved=1&g=9ZTR894Z

Digital Tools – ReadThinkWrite

I am impressed by the lesson plan we were supposed to analyze this week. Very creative! It has also been very handy as my students (Advanced level) are going to finish reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini soon.

I would actually like to use some of the plays by Shakespeare in the future  but at the moment I would like to choose The Kite Runner as this is the book my students are reading.

I have asked my students to write out the names of the characters and the main events of the story. When looking through the lesson plan, I found the Stapeless Book tool, which allows students to create an 8-page book.  I thought this would be an ideal tool for them to keep all their notes there. (Although I like the Plot Diagram too, I think the Stapeless Book will allow them to compile all the required information in one place)

When their books are ready, I will ask my students to swap their Stapeless Books with other students and check if any important information or a name of a character is missing. In case of missing information, it is added and the book is returned to the owner.

Next I will send them the link to the Drama Map and ask them to choose first the Conflict Map to write about the conflict and then the Resolution Map (here I will go with the idea in the lesson plan) to decide on the turning point, change the decision taken by the main character and give it a resolution.

Then the students can compare their ideas and choose the best one(s) and give feedback to one another.

I think I still need to think this through to make sure that everything works well. So I can call this a lesson plan draft.

I will do the suggested reading and will also examine the Ideas for Happily-Ever-After Presentations more thoroughly and then post a final lesson plan.

Comments and suggestions are welcome! 🙂

Digital Tools – Read, Summarize, Publish

I loved this activity! What a wonderful idea to ask students to summarize their reading tasks and create a newspaper!

I summarized Combining Face-to-Face and Online Education and used Fodey to publish it.

Here’s what I’ve got.

Lovely, isn’t it?

Digital Tools – Lesson Plan 2 (Speaking)

This is my second lesson plan for my General English students.


DIGITAL RESOURCE 
CLASS LEVEL 
Adult Business English Learners at Pre-Intermediate level 

TIME FRAME
The task is going to be set as homework so it is not going to take any lesson time.

LESSON GOAL
By the end of this task, students will have
  • practised their speaking skills by recording their holiday presentations
  • applied the holiday vocabulary they have learnt at the lesson 
  • practised their listening skills by listening to their peers’ presentations
  • enhanced their digital literacy by learning how to record and by recording themselves


STEPS 
The teacher has to create a talkgroup on Voxopop before the lesson starts and invite the students to join the talkgroup. 
At the lesson students learn about presentation skills and listen to some interviews. Then they are given information about different companies and need to prepare a presentation for prospective students explaining why it is good to work for the company that they present. They present in front of the class and get feedback from peers and the teacher.
At home students need to prepare a similar presentation about the company they work for and record it on Voxopop. Then they are asked to listen to the presentations of their peers and leave recorded comments. The teacher also needs to leave recorded comments for the students. 

ANTICIPATED PROBLEMS
Students might have difficulties using Voxopop (prepare a screencast with every step explained and demonstrated and post it on the group’s Facebook wall right after the lesson). 

Digital Tools – Lesson Plan (Speaking)

All the tools I looked at were really nice. It was hard to choose just one.

DIGITAL RESOURCE 
CLASS LEVEL 
Adult Business English Learners at Upper-Intermediate level and above 

TIME FRAME
The task is going to be set as homework so it is not going to take any lesson time.

LESSON GOAL
By the end of this task, students will have
  • practised their speaking skills by recording their presentations and leaving recorded comments for their peers
  • applied what they have learnt at the lesson about presentation skills  
  • practised their listening skills by listening to their peers’ presentations
  • enhanced their digital literacy by learning how to record and by recording themselves


STEPS 
The teacher has to create a talkgroup on Voxopop before the lesson starts and invite the students to join the talkgroup. 
At the lesson students learn about presentation skills and listen to some interviews. Then they are given information about different companies and need to prepare a presentation for prospective students explaining why it is good to work for the company that they present. They present in front of the class and get feedback from peers and the teacher.
At home students need to prepare a similar presentation about the company they work for and record it on Voxopop. Then they are asked to listen to the presentations of their peers and leave recorded comments. The teacher also needs to leave recorded comments for the students. 

ANTICIPATED PROBLEMS
Students might have difficulties using Voxopop (prepare a screencast with every step explained and demonstrated and post it on the group’s Facebook wall right after the lesson). 

Gamification – Professional Development

This week’s tasks made me think a lot.

The general idea of the reading tasks (Play the Game, The School, Play the Game Because You Can,  Has the Gamification of Reality Already Begun?, Connectivism, Professional Development, The Educators’ PLN) and the video that we watched was that gaming will help to change the world and also that it gives teachers a possibility to develop professionally.

It is understandable that gamification has already started (having had a look at all the games throughout weeks 1-3, that much became clear) but what remained unclear for me was the concern that if we increase the play-time to save the world some time in the future, as Jane McGonigal says in her TED presentation, we might just never return to real life. So what is going to happen to the real world in the future? I might be wrong, but at the moment I just don’t see people wanting to apply the skills that they gain through games to real-situations. I will have to explore this notion further, as it interested me a lot.

In his blog posts Paul Braddock talks about The School Game that he is developing at the moment. The game is designed mainly for school teachers and is supposed to help them in their professional development. The idea is fantastic, in my opinion. I felt a bit sad that a similar game is not being developed for Teachers of Adult Learners. However, Paul said that some of the rooms in The School will be useful for us too! 🙂

Web 2.0 Tools – Videocasts

What we looked at this week was  Moderating forums.

The following was a very interesting statement:
However, motivating students to use the online discussion groups is one of the main challenges. It is often the case that the better performing students engage in the debates, whilst the remainder of the class either offer limited debate or fail to engage at all. This lack of engagement could be due to poor motivation, confidence or fear of embarrassment at posting a message that the student perceives will be interpreted as being stupid by their peers. It is therefore important that the tutor manages the online discussion and its progression to ensure that viewpoints are constructively received and further debate can be instigated.’ (http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/hlst/documents/case_studies/using_online_discussion_forums_as_a_learning_tool.pdf, accessed 14 January 2012)


Now how would I motivate a participant to take part in forums? What could I, as a moderator, do to make sure that everyone is actively involved in the discussion and is not just reading the posts passively? 


Having read the article from the University of Newcastle, I understood that what I need to do is to make the connection between the “student’s sitting in front of the computer” and achieveing his/her professional goals. But how? When studying online you don’t get the same feeling of a community as in a real class and you do not really feel  that you know the people who are teaching or studying with you.


The question was left hanging in my head when I looked at our next task: creating a screencast . First of all it would make it easier for participants to use the platform, and secondly by hearing the tutor’s voice they would feel the ‘human’ atmosphere too. I was not really happy with my first screencast of the wiki that I run for my students but I posted it anyway and promised myself to make another one shortly. 


The next day I had to help my students to record themselves on Voxopop so I created another screencast, which I liked more.


But I still think that seeing the tutor/moderator and other participants will make it easier for everyone to start enjoying the online learning process. Maybe asking everyone to introduce themselves with a videocast and then setting a group work activity for them to collaborate and complete some kind of task will make things better. I don’t know. I will need to try this idea and find out.  

DigItal Tools – Videocasts, Sketchcasts and Video Questionnaires

This week has been really hectic for me: so many tasks to do that I thought I wasn’t going to make it. But I seem to be coping well at the moment.

The more I learn about tools available for teachers on the Internet, the more I love it.

This week our first task was to create a videocast. We were given  two questions to answer and could choose either to record our answer with video or without one. I chose a video reply because this was something new for me.

The site is Record.tv and this is what I created. I am not sure whether my students will be comfortable with videoing themselves or not, but I am going to give it a try. I am going to ask them to do a reading task at home and then record themselves answering the “do you agree or disagree” questions. I think this will be an interesting task for them because in many cases if they disagree with each other, they start interrupting each other. This way they will all be able to express their opinions fully.

The next site I think will be very useful for my IELTS students. The site is intervue.me and it allows teachers to create questionnaires for their students and then have students record their video replies. This is my reply to the question “How do you celebrate Christmas with your family?” I could just type in the cue cards or sets of questions for the Speaking section of the exam and they could practise speaking at home too. Nik Peachy’s blog gives a very detailed explanation on how to use the site.

The last tool was Sketchcast which is a drawing and audio recording tool. I think it is more appropriate for children, but I might be wrong: adults also get excited about various new tools to use to improve their speaking skills.

I liked all the three tools and I am planning to incorporate them into my lesson plans as soon as I can.

Digital Tools – Listening Lesson Plan

My Listening Math 3+12=15

DIGITAL RESOURCES 

CLASS LEVEL 
Adult learners at Intermediate level and above 

TIME FRAME
one 2-hour lesson 

LESSON GOAL
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


STEPS 
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 http://www.youtube.com/show/10questions  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
 http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/3-unique-ways-to-record-edit-and-publish-your-audio_b980 . 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. 


ANTICIPATED PROBLEMS
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).


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! 🙂