Friday, 23 April 2010

Week 3

This week I really felt we had a lot to do… and so much content to review and read…! But I guess I’m managing it, it`s already Friday and I guess I’m just missing one post on Nicenet, I`m going to wait for some more comments and then I`ll do the second one. Together with my schoolwork and the teacher training course I’m teaching, these have been (and I guess will continue to be!) quite hectic weeks! But it`s totally worth it!

As for Delicious, I had already come into contact with it, but hadn`t explored it properly yet. It`s a wonderful tool, especially when we have to work with different computers, I guess now I’m really developing my own database of truly important sites that can help me in my work. The more specific we are when we write the tags the more effective it will be, because, if we are not careful with the tags, and are too general it will end up being very complicated to select the bookmarks we need or are looking for, when we go there in search of something specific!
The articles about CALL for listening, speaking, or pronunciation skills, and the lesson plans were very rich and interesting and managed to highlight the importance of technology in my classes and how it could be helpful in improving my students' aural/oral skills. In fact I’ve been studying this carefully and I guess that, together with Randal`s lab and Real English, they all have given me pretty good ideas of how to promote listening and speaking. As I mentioned in my posts I`ve selected some activities from these two sites to use in my lessons, and I think they will be perfect for my students.

I`m already a fan of podcasting, and I’ve used podcasts from the books we`ve adopted in my school, I’ve also created my own podcasts and have helped my students do the same. Even though the texts they record aren`t perfect, far away from that, the students commit themselves to the recording and thus train and take extra care with their pronunciation! They even cooperate more often with their colleagues, especially to ask for the help of those who are better or speak English better! It is really worth it! I normally do this after I’ve corrected the written comments the students leave on the blog, and then I publish the recordings on the blog as well. The video casts are another of my, and I guess the students`, favorite ways of learning English, and the closer to real life they tend to be, the better, and don`t forget the use of films (the one`s we watch on TV or at the cinema), these can be even more motivating for the students and we can easily prepare some exercises based on them. In Portugal most English course books suggest films according to the topics we are studying and there are already those books which include activities and exercises based on parts of the films they suggest!

Now I guess I’ll continue to read some more of your opinions and experiences!

Let`s keep on learning, unlearning and relearning!


Thursday, 15 April 2010

Week 2

Week two came and I`m really enjoying it! I must say I was a bit suspicious about analyzing and exploring search engines and portals… I guess I’m a Google fan (specially the scholar part!), but now I see what I’ve been missing…! Noodletools really exceeded my expectations and Twurdy was a wonderful surprise, since one of the problems our students have when they search the web is not understanding what they find and therefore many times, simply copying without reading, so the leveling of the sites according to their proficiency is essential!

I focused on “Askkids” and I really found it to be an excellent website for my students, young learners, to find what they need in a simpler and more objective way.
Another thing I’ve valued a lot are Deborah`s Tech tips related to web searching, I am in fact going to pass them on to my students, since they lack this type of knowledge when they are online.

At the moment I`ve been talking about the technological world we live in and the Internet with my 10th grade students, so the research I’ve made with the search engines and the objective I prepared for our task were directed to this class. Probably next week I will expect my students to perform the activity for which I prepared the objective I shared with you, the mind map about the Internet and global communication. Then I’ll tell you how it went! I will probably also suggest them to try out “Twurdy”, which will be good, since I have different levels of proficiency in this class, and some of my students are easily discouraged, when they don`t understand everything they read.

As for the ABCD model, I think it is truly useful and objective and it really helps us to put our activities into practice, I confess I didn`t know this model and I think I’m going to continue using I in my lesson plans, even in Portuguese. Something else that really got my attention this week was the expansion of Bloom`s taxonomy to the digital area, essential for us as well, since it is no longer possible for a teacher nowadays not to include the digital world in his or her teaching practice.

Truly a rich week! I`m really learning, unlearning and relearning!


Sunday, 11 April 2010

Blog Assisted Language Learning

Here is the article a bout BALL I mentioned in my post, since it is no loger available on the web I leave it here for those who want to read it!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Week 1

Blogging… well, this is not new to me, but still it is the first time I’ve fully built a blog using blogger because up until now I have always worked with wordpress and It`s been quite challenging since the two are very different.

So, this week I’ve learned how to work with blogger but I think I’ll have to spend some more time exploring all its potential so I can create something a little bit more different… As for the readings I found some new interesting articles to add to my list of bibliography related to blogging, and I think the discussions about blogging are developing well and all the participants are enjoying very much discovering all the potential of blogs.

When I specifically think of our classes and the advantages working with a blog can bring, I immediately point out the fact that students get a real audience, since their work is published for the others to read, (classmates, friends and family and the rest of the blogosphere as well) This promotes responsibility on the part of the students who will, normally, be more careful with what they do in terms of the content and the structure they use, this way improving their English proficiency.
I`ve worked with 8th grade students using a blog with podcasts in class (if you like you can check it out here), because many didn`t have access to the Internet and some did not even have a computer. This was a b-learning system which had very good results since in the end I concluded that students not only improved their writing and reading skills but their listening and speaking abilities as well thanks to the production of podcasts based on the comments they had written on the blog, and in fact they had better final results.

Let`s continue learning, unlearning and relearning!