Thursday, August 12, 2010

Go Padres!

I went to a Padres game last night with my dad so I didn't have a chance to try out glogster, but I did make a quick voki

Get a Voki now!

Today's presentations are going to be on ESL wow by Claire Bradin Siskin. She has about tons of experience with technology and ESL so it should be good. She's actually presenting now so I'll make this fast

After that there's a presentation from Chris (who's been active in all discussions thus far) who has used twitter to teach Spanish!

Can't wait!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blogging about Blogs

Perhaps this is considered meta-blogging?

Today started off with Ronnie Burt who works with edu-blogs now. Think of edu-blogs as a sort of teachertube of blogger (although I am sure they have a better marketing tagline). Most schools allow edu-blogs through their security filters when other blogs (like mine: would get stuck. Which makes sense, I remember when youtube was blocked in Korea for a week. My lessons were dependent on those videos, I had to run home download a program that would save youtube videos to disk. Transfer those to my mp3 player and then plug that into the computer to make it work...basically it would have been much easier if I had been using teachertube and not had that stressful ordeal.

We went over embedding (which I manged to work out when I used my personal blog) and review some of the other fun web 2.0 things the Internet has to offer

Glogster Which I've checked out before, but at the moment is a bit too graphic for me. Perhaps I'll play with this later tonight and post something tomorrow. (update: Dec 10 2011 I still am not a big fan of Glogster for me, but find it a great took to give to students)

Vokis are essentially speaking avatars. I had never really thought of implementing them into ESL before, but I think I am beginning to stir up some options. Will probably mess with this tonight as well.

watchknow Is sort of like a moderated twitter for videos. Moderators essentially keep a running post of videos they think you should watch. But the catalog is AMAZING

They have a category for English grammar!

Which is then divided into Beginning English Grammar, Active and Passive Voice, Parts of Speech, Sentence Structure, Punctuation, and Spelling. Talk about user friendly! You can also just run a search if you're looking for a specific topic.

So not only could I perhaps find a video I have my students watch as homework about a difficult grammar concept(or use it to brush up myself before the lesson!). I could give them actual authentic content for History or Science in English! Or have them watch a video on hobbies and have them try to replicate it with their own hobby using photostory 3! Really excited about this as I see it as something that can save me a lot of time I usually spend looking through youtube videos.

Wordle isn't a new concept to me (people use it in couchsurfing a lot) but for those unfamiliar: You basically go to the website and either copy and paste a bunch of words, or a link to a web page which has words (in this case I used my blog) and it makes a "cloud" of words. The more a word is used the bigger it is (so my blog is pretty student centered I suppose). It is nice to make one for students before a lesson and use it as a quick attention getter/prediction task.

Wordle: Blog you can mess with how things show up if you like (colors, font, orientation etc).
So the one above is the same as the one below (as far as content) it just has different preferences.
Wordle: different

A few more things and then I'll stop rambling :)

There's "Wall Wisher" where you can create a wall where people can leave sticky notes. I am not sure I really see the applied differences between this and a blog, but I suppose it would appeal more to visual and kinesthetic learners. For now I am envisioning something like this:

There's a theme (in this case regret) and students would need to post relevant videos, songs or stories. In case they need something to start I posted a song in L1 that they could refer to in the target language.

Vimeo is essentially a youtube (video sharing service) but it allows longer videos and seems to have stricter rules...I am not sure would have to look into it.


So many of these websites you just want to try out before you sign up, right (like a test drive BEFORE you buy the car)?

I was reminded of an older website I used to use It is used for free accounts online. Essentially you go to bugmenot and put the website you want to access. If someone has already gone through the hassle of creating a "shared" account you can just take that shared password and username to try the site out.

: This should NOT be used if you plan on using ANYTHING private. As you are using a username and password accessible by anyone ANYONE can access what you do within your account. But I usually use it BEFORE I make an account for a new free service (like Prezi) to see if it is even anything that I would be interested in joining.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Online class and some Linguistic fun stuff!

The first presentation started with Glen talking about his job. He's been a distance teacher for about 6 years. His students live in small villages where it is too inconvenient or expensive to get teachers, so he teaches from the computer.

He went over some ways that he uses eluminate with his students to keep it interactive and not just presentation.

Then we went through the basics of photoStory 3. It had gotten some great results from his students who felt that it was "more fun than writing an essay" (even though it still uses the same basic skills). So using some old photographs from Korea I put together a basic video.

Not fantastic, but I get how it can work with students. My one fear is that they may spend more time on effects than the language content. Sometimes we see this happen with pen and paper assignments. The artists make the fantastic elaborate posters with very little language content and the artistically challenged (me) do stick figures and gigantic paragraphs (theirs always looked so much better!).

Well I figured out what re-mix semiotic practices means! Thorne's presentation was really cool! You can still check out the recording and I HIGHLY recommend it. I'll actually try to make another separate post on it because it hits on some of the things I studied in Communications back in college so I'd like to be able to link to some Communication theories (which means it shall take a bit longer than the other summary/reflection posts).

Super fast

So...the things I've "made" using the new technology

I made a screenr of how to use primary pad

It is a big rambly, but at least I get my point across.

There's the primary pad we've been working on as a group. (You can see how we all could add to each other's work (in this case not much peer editing was done)

In the primary pad document we were advised to go onto voice thread and tell a bit about ourselves and what we learned

Soo, that's pretty much it today, we have Glen Cake giving a presentation on the "Online Class and Digital Story Telling through PhotoStory 3." This is supposed to give us the tools for storytelling such as how to integrate voice, images and text.

After lunch we have a recorded presentation from Steven L Thorn. This will go into uses of social media, "remix semiotic practices" I have no idea what that means, new media literacies, and multi-player gaming as settings for teaching languages.

That recording is already available here

Monday, August 9, 2010

Social Media in Language Education Part II Day 1

Well Michelle and Catalina seemed to mainly focus on the use of primary pad and voice thread for student collaboration. To help their students practice third person they were assigned groups from another school and had to describe

As a group students had to come up with sentences describing the duck. Now in this case they are 8th grade Spanish teachers so the sentences would be in Spanish. Since I primarily teach EFL my students would be doing this is English.
  • His name is Paul.
  • He likes to swim.
  • He hates to do math homework.
Primary pad is a type of etherpad. EtherPad was the first web-based word processor that allowed people to work together in really real-time. It was started by applejet and later acquired by google (I believe) but when they shut down the program they released the code for others to develop. I may be wrong, but all you really need to know is it allows several people to get together and brainstorm, peer edit etc. The other thing I really like about it is you can use the public version without logging in or registering!

Since students are working with one another they get all the positives of peer learning (team-building, greater psychological well-being, social competence, communication skills, self-esteem, higher achievement etc.)

Now, this activity gets them to practice reading and writing, but speaking is also pretty important. So the students also had to go to the link that the teacher had previously created and they would read the list they had created describing their duck. Voice thread seems pretty basic, it is just a way to have students record their voice over a picture and allow people to leave voice comments.

Their presentation is here

Finally Kyle Murley took the opportunity to show us around some sites on the web and we all brainstormed some possible applications of these different options.

Some of the things we went over:

Prezi: Essentially a gigantic white canvas where you can put images, text, etc that you can play with (rotate, make bigger etc). A decent alternative to powerpoint, but it will take me a long while before I figure out if it is really any "better." It still seems rather presentational rather than interactive. Regardless, it was still nice to be made aware of this thing I kept hearing about.

Twitter: Twitter is actually linked with screenr when Kyle spoke about it. I think that Thursday we will have Chris Brown talk about twitter more so for now I am going to skip any application and just talk about the concept. Most people are aware that twitter is a "micro-blog" which allows members to post 140 characters per entry. While many native speakers have to practice to get concise this is a pretty good size for people acquiring a language.

Flickr: By linking Flickr to an e-mail address you can have students e-mail (or sms) pictures of relevant vocabulary words or themes tagging them appropriately. This will give students a great base of pictures (meaning!) and since it is THEIR material they will be more motivated and passionate about the concepts you teach! GREAT!

Blogs!: It is also possible to send pictures straight to a blog! I know Blogger offers this as does flickr (through blogger). By just having a number or e-mail students need to text things so they avoid needing to have yet another log in and password and you still maintain control. There's more discussion on blogs on Wednesday so for now we'll end that train of thought.

Screenr: The great thing about screenr is it can post things directly to your twitter without even needing to start an account with screenr. If you have a twitter account that's all you need! YAY for one less password. Its basically a way to record what goes on your screen (and you can voice over) so you could do an exercise on "How to look for an apartment in England." A nice replacement to the usual, "How do you make lemonade?" I'll make an example later but for now that's a pretty good summary! I am really glad I found this and looking forward to tomorrow!

Social Media in Language Education Part I Day 1

On a lunch break from a Social Media workshop.

Teachers can use more than just books to learn!
"The goal of this summer's workshop is for each participant to walk away (or log off) with a new social media tool to use in their next language classroom. Along the way they will hear from language teachers using these tools, engage in discussions on best practices, theory, and global trends, and also meet potential partners for future projects. It is going to be an exciting and interactive workshop, so plan on diving into the technology without inhibition."

Thus far I've had the opportunity to hear from Evan Rubin and learn more about using Elluminate. It is essentially an e-classroom with screen sharing, microphone, webcam, private rooms and many more functions. You can create a free account which allows you to have up to 3 people working at the same time. For bigger meetings (like this webinar) you need to have a paid account, but for the present time it seems the free one should work fine! We also got an idea of where everyone tuning in was from and the diverse backgrounds we all had in social media. If anyone was unable to make it but interested you are welcome to view the recorded session here We were also given the link to Learn Central where all the participants will be able to log in after and keep in touch with one another and the ongoing acts of incorporating social media into our lessons.

Soon after we had a chance to hear from Nicole Naditz as we all reviewed the basic standards for teaching (and learning a foreign language). It was great to be able to review what the main goals of learning should be and the different ways we all accomplish that.Her recording is here

Next up are Michelle Olah and Catalina Bohorquez who will be sharing about PrimaryPad and Voicethread applicable uses for students beyond the walls of the classroom.
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