Friday, July 22, 2011
I liked the ICT in TEFL course. I learned a lot and I know that I am going to use this knowledge for my personal, academic and professional life. All the information I learned was very fruitful, but I also had to work a lot and suffered a lot to achieve the objectives of each class. I have noticed that being literate in ICT is a slow and hard process. It is time consuming working with all these 2.0 and 3.0 platforms and that is something we need to have in mind if we want to continue working or improving our skills in the ICT world.
I tried to do my best and so did my classmates. We have worked really hard to create what we have created. We sacrificed hours of sleep and other personal activities for this course and for that reason I think we have already passed it. I have learned a lot of things related to ICT. I have used and observed many interesting web 2.0 platforms and I am going to use them for my classes. I got fascinated by Second Life (3.0 platform) because it is a way where I can have fun and learn at the same time. I love blogs and wikis because people from all over the world can know who I am. I have tried to use these tools in my different workplaces and it has been a wonderful experience.
I have to confess that at the beginning of the ICT course my knowledge about technology was little. I did not even know how to create a group on FaceBook. But now at the end of the course I can do much more than creating a group in that social network. I am really proud to say that every day I am becoming the web head that I want to be.
I want to thank Professor Evelyn Izquierdo for all her help and patience during this course. She helped me a lot clarifying my doubts especially at night hours. Thanks for being a helping hand Evelyn. ;)
My final project is related to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). The main idea of it is to improve reading and writing skills in the students of Administration English III at the Maritime University of the Caribbean. It has been observed during the course and in their exams that these students have severe weaknesses at the moment of reading and writing texts related to their careers. The way to face this problem is to teach them some techniques to improve these two skills.
Administration students are experts using some 2.0 platforms. They use them almost every day, but most of the time for entertainment or fun. The social networks used to surf are: Face Book, YouTube, Badoo, Twitter, Mns, Skype, among others. For this reason, it has been designed a course wiki for them to improve reading and writing. This wiki is the web site which connects the teacher and the student. But not only that, it also connects face to face classes with distance classes because the wiki has exercises for the students and they have to do them at home and bring them in class to be checked by the teacher.
There are also some artifacts designed by the teacher for the students to improve the skills already mentioned. The wiki is one of them. The second one is my own voice recorded on Audacity, put it on Window Movie Maker and uploaded on YouTube. The second artifact is a combination of three 2.0 platforms (Audacity, Windows Movie Maker and YouTube). The reason of combining these platforms was to create an authentic material because that is the idea of the communicative approach being used at The Maritime University of the Caribbean. The main goal for the students to improve reading and writing is using real task situations through these artifacts. Students must create a video like the one the teacher made for them. There is going to be some training for them in order to use these tools. However, they already know how to interact and use wikis and YouTube. The training will be focused on Audacity and Windows Movie Maker that are two platforms very easy to manage and control.
This project is going to be applied for next semester (term 2011-II, from October to February). It is expected to last three weeks. At that time students will read and do all the exercises in the wiki. They will bring the exercises to their face to face classes. They will be given the appropriate training for some of the artifacts and they will show it to their other classmates in class. The video that they have to make will have a formative evaluation.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
1. Web-Based Lessons and E-Portfolio
A web based lesson is a common lesson plan that you have to design for your students in order to show them how and when they are going to be evaluated. Also, the scoring, the date and the objectives are reflected there. The only difference with tangible lessons is that web based lessons are completely digital or they can be a combination of traditional lesson plans with some online components.
2. Advantages of Web based lesson plans
A. A web-based lesson plan can be more dynamic and interactive than a traditional lesson plan because you can add it all the functions and tools that web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 can offer the user.
B. It also develops creativity in students. They love to work using programs, so they will feel motivated to do good works.
C. It also promotes critical thinking. They have to do research about a topic and then, on the Internet, they will compare their ideas with their partners. They have to check different authors too. They will find out that not all the information found on the Internet is good.
D. It promotes digital skills development. Nowadays young students are really good at using the Internet. They are called the native generation. But normally their ICT knowledge is related to social life and entertainment. With web-based lessons they can have knowledge of ICT focusing on educational purposes.
E. It improves teacher-student and student-students interaction. Some people say that technology creates a gap among people because they interact in a distant way. They don’t have physical contact and they can not show their real feeling. Sometimes they pretend to be a person they are not, for instance on Second Life (SL). That may be true, but technology also gets the two main participants in a classroom (student and teacher) get together. Students interact more efficiently in distance classes than in face to face classes because they do not feel intimidated with anyone or they know they have a lot of online resources available where they can get information in a faster and easier way.
F. It promotes collaboration. On the Internet students must work in group almost all the time. You can work individually, but there are some many platforms where you are frequently going to need help from others. Beginners are the one who need most of the help because they do not know what to do and they need a guide who leads the way.
G. You can use games in these lessons and this is something that students will be fascinated. That is what they like. That is the way they learn and share information with others. That is the way they make groups and interact with others. Believe it or not, they can improve their four skills using games on the Internet.
3. What does a web based lesson plan include?
This chart was taken from the class of web-based lesson plan of Professor Evelyn Izquierdo. As we can see in the chart above, we have to fill out the following information. It is the same thing that we do in a tangible lesson plan. The only difference is that you have different 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 platforms in it.
What are portfolios and e-portfolios?
A portfolio is a way to keep all your papers or research papers in a well-organized way where you can see the progress of your work from bottom to top (the bottom papers are the oldest and the top are the newest). That is the main purpose of traditional portfolio and e-portfolio. One of the advantages of the e-portfolio is that this information is always going to be presented in a neat way. Paper can get destroyed or damaged. I really like portfolio. I have made some traditional portfolios and just only one e-portfolio and I think it is a good way to keep your work and also to let your work known by others. E-portfolio is good for:
1. Integrating ICT into the traditional face to face classroom. Students can show what they do through an e-portfolio.
2. Developing tech skills. Students must write and read information first in order to add their personal information in their e-portfolio. They have to learn what a wiki is and all the tools that a wiki can have.
3. Promoting and developing group work. Students can create grupal e-portfolio.
What is the purpose of the e-portfolio?
It is important to clarify what your portfolio is about. The goals, objectives of your e-portfolio are also important topics to mention. It is said that reflections are the heart of a portfolio and it is true. That is the idea of it because in that way we know how much we are learning and we can also appreciate how we improve.
My Web-Based Lesson Plan
As it was mentioned before, a lesson plan must include different aspects in order to have a good class. That is to say, we need to know how our classes are going to be developed and in that way we can avoid improvisations. Also students can know what aspects of English they are going to study and being evaluated. My lesson plan contains:
Teacher: Adenis Raga
Class/Level: Administration students / English III / 25 students
Topic: Improving reading and writing through ICT for the students of Administration English III at The Maritime University of the Caribbean.
Aim: students will improve their reading and writing skills, especially, for ESP texts.
-To improve reading and writing through ICT for the students of English III of Administration at the Maritime University of the Caribbean. (UMC).
- To teach reading strategies through some web 2.0 platforms for the students of English III of Administration at The Maritime University of The MUC.
- To teach writing strategies through some web 2.0 platforms for the students of English III of Administration at The Maritime University of The MUC.
Materials: Computer, internet connection (wideband) and headsets.
Description of the activities: students will be asked to access Internet in order to visit the wiki called improvingskills at home. There, they have to read the information related to reading and writing, watch the videos, do the exercises and follow the instructions assigned per week. They have to bring the exercises to their face to face classes.
Name of web side number 1: http://improvingskills.pbworks.com
Rationale for this site 1: There are two reasons why I chose to work with PB works. First, it is easy to use and students are familiarized with this web 2.0 platform. Second, this web site is my course wiki called improvingskills. This course wiki is going to be used by my students of Administration, English III at the Maritime University of the Caribbean and they will enjoy all the benefits of a wiki. They can be users and also participants. The can watch videos and do exercises and the most important is that they can be in contact with technology related to education and English inside and outside classes.
Name of web side number 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAkXTQty8-Q
Rationale for this site 2: I chose you tube for many reasons. First, students love YouTube. They always use them to watch commercial videos, singers, programs among many others Medias. That is why they know how to use this web site. Most of them already have a YouTube account. Second, I integrated the recorder audacity with the windows movie maker in order to create an authentic material for students to improve reading and writing inside and outside classes.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
3D VIRTUAL WORLD
According to wikipedia (2009), "A virtual world is an online community that often takes the form of a computer-base simulated environment through which users can interact with one another and use and create objects. The term has become largely synonymous with interactive 3D virtual environments, where the users take the form of avatars visible to others." That means that a lot of people can interact at the same time. The benefits of web 1.0 and 2.0 can been used in these virtual worlds because they are 3.0 platforms. The idea of these virtual worlds is to make a realistic scenario where people can communicate, share their ideas and be whatever they want to be. There are a lot of virtual world, but the most common is Second Life (SL).
SECOND LIFE (SL)
It is a virtual world where you can do almost everything. You can fly, walk, run, speak and write to other people, create objects, teletransport, among many other things. In SL you are not just an user, you are an active participant in a virtual world. That is what makes 3.0 platform so special and attractive to people.
It is very easy to use SL. It was developed by Linden Lab and they created this 3-D virtual world because Philip Rosedale, known as Philip Linden got inspired by a novel called Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. According to wikipedia (2009), a commercial called The Ring "changed into the software application Linden World, in which people participated in task-based games and socializing in a three-dimensional online environment. That effort would eventually transform into the better known, user-centered Second Life. Although he was familiar with the metaverse of Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash, Rosedale has said that his vision of virtual worlds predates that book..."
The main idea of Second Life is to interact with other people in another different world. As it is named, you have a second life (your first one is your real one). It is a second opportunity to live other things, to share ideas and knowledge with other people. You can interact on SL using an avatar (a virtual character) that is also called resident. Most people make their avatars look like they are in their real life. Others make a total different avatar who does not have any similarity to her/him. It is not mandatory to have a male Avatar if you are a man or a female Avatar if you are a woman. You can also wear costumes or be naked among many other things.
LANGUAGE, TIME AND COMMERCIAL PURPOSES
The official language in SL is English and the official time is the one from The United States (California time zone). Even though, you can change the time if you want. It can be day or night if you wish. Everybody must speak English and write in English on SL. However, if they are in a group, or in a conference in another country, they can speak in their mother tongue. Other people can participate, but the only thing is that everybody must respect each other. It is a virtual world, but it is a world and people (even though they are virtual) interact there, so there are certain rules that must be followed, for example, it would be considered impolite to write in capital letters because that means you are yelling. If you are going to interact with other avatars, you have to talk to them politely. It is considered impolite to push other avatars.
Almost everything is free in SL. The money used there is called Linden Dollar that cost almost the same as an American dollar. You can get Linden dollars dancing, selling your own objects, attending meetings, etc. You can use real money in order to buy lands. You can use your credit card to convert real dollars to Linden dollars.
What are Prims?
Everything created on SL, even your Avatar, is made of prims. Prims are geometrical shapes that can be shaped depending on your necessity. You can give your prims specific animations through a code called “script.” This script can not only be adapted to your objects, but also to your avatars. Islands or places are also made of prints. There are some places that are restricted because a person has bought them or has created something there with prims and the owner does not allow everybody to enter to that place.
So far we have been discussing the funny, amazing, curious and entertaining aspects of SL, but it also has educational purposes. For example:
* Students can interact with other people from other parts of the world. This is fantastic for students who are learning English as a foreign language because they will have the opportunity to talk or write with native speakers.
* You can practice and improve your four skills with SL. You do not need to be in your classroom with your book, workbook and pencil. You just have to be an adventurer and be prepared to share with other people.
* You can meet famous people that will be difficult to meet in real life. That is an excellent opportunity for all the users on SL.
It is important for teachers to have in mind that Second Life is a virtual world where students can get exhausted easily, so the three steps that every class must have: warm up, body of the class, and wrap up must be done in an efficient way. Everything must be prepared in advanced and students must do what the teacher has already planned in order to fulfill the objectives or tasks of the class. We must avoid improvisations either in face to face classes or virtual classes.
Personal Opinion about SL
I used to think that SL was just another virtual world where you can just get fun and meet a lot of people, but now I have noticed that you can really learn a lot of things in this new world, especially, for educational purposes. You can do almost everything being an Avatar and if you are very well trained, you can do wonderful things. Sometimes it is difficult to assess and evaluate the four skills and the sub-skills in real class, but on SL it is so easy to do it and you can have fun at the same time. I love SL! I have an avatar on SL. It is called raskolnikoff1984. This is him:
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
According to wikipedia (2009) A learning environment "is a public or private destination on the Internet that addresses the learning needs of its members by facilitating peer-to-peer learning. Through social networking and computer-mediated communication, people work as a community to achieve a shared learning objective." That is to say, VLE is a designed information space that can be used for many different purposes, for example, educational web sites where students can be users and also administrators. The good thing about this is that students can co-construct their own educational space. They can have classroom activities, they can stimulate face to face classes with extra activities, and above all, they go beyond normal classes. A 3.0 platform that can wok as a VLE would be second life. Students’ attitude and achievement will change rapidly learning in these kinds of 3-d platforms. There are different VLE platforms. For example:
Alado Virtual Room
This virtual room offers different options. For example, you have chats where you can have discussions in groups. There are some rules at the moment of writing for these kinds of chat rooms. For example, you can write in capital letter because that means you are yelling. If you have a question, you have to write a question mark (?). If you want to speak using the microphone, you have to write mic. If you are writing and you haven’t finished, you have to write dots (…). You can also have forums; you can upload documents, videos and pictures. The best thing about these virtual rooms is that you can interact with your students in many ways. You can improve the four skills in that way.
This is another virtual classroom. You can have different rooms opened at the same time. It is very easy to use this room and the best thing is that you have many tools where you can create an interactive class. One of the problems of Illuminate is that you should not have more than six cams on. If you do, the platform gets really slowly. But you can use more cams that other virtual rooms.
As Illuminate, you can have different courses opened using this platform. Moodle is another educational site. It stands for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. It has been pedagogically designed for social on-line classes. It is completely free; you can be inside a learning community; you can share experience and learn about e-learning, teaching style, among many other things.
It is also a based educational platform created by teachers. It is very friendly and easy to use. I have used wiziq many times as a student and just once as a presenter. I made a presentation about mixed ability classes to my classmates and my teacher in the first semester on my master. The experience was really good because it was the first time I made a presentation on a virtual room.
My Personal Experience in my Wiziq Class
I had to make a 30 minutes presentation about my final project for the course Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) taken at The Universidad Pedagogica Experimental Libertador. The main topic of my project was to improve reading and writing skills for the students of Administration English III at The Maritime University of the Caribbean.
The experience on wiziq was excellent. I felt really good making my presentation in that virtual room. I have done it before and it was really good to do it again. I tried to make my online class as productive and interactive as possible, that is why, I interacted with the audience using the chat room and the microphone.
I thought I was going to be asked questions, but the audience just congratulated me at the end of my class. Wiziq is a really amazing web 2.0 platform in order to teach distance classes. You can really interact with the audience and you can improve the four skills in this virtual room. I hope I can continue teaching classes on wiziq and I also hope I can teach others to use it.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
1. Social network vs. Community of practice
First of all, I would like to say that I think social network or 2.0 platforms such as facebook, twitter, among many others are very important for our lives. We can be connected with everything with just clicking our mouse. Students love to know things as fast as possible and if they are learning interesting and updated information, they will acquire it even faster, for example, facebook.
In this session we discussed about social networks and community of practice. The former is a platform that allows a user to create a network, especially a social one, and you get connected with people who have similar ideas and purposes as yours. The latter is a group of people who join in a group because they have a common interest in a specific area. They share a common interest, for example, VenTESOL. I think that an Internet user can learn from both web pages. It just depends on what you look for.
Community of practice or COPs is very interesting because the people who are in these groups are really interested in sharing what they know to other people. They desire to interact regularly with others and teach them how to be better webhead, for instance. They encourage people to work with ICT in their personal and professional lives. We also discussed the word “lurker.” It is a member of a community who seems not to be interested in any discussions. S/he does not participate and this may happen for two reasons. First, this person is afraid of making mistakes in front of everybody. Second, this person has participated in previous editions and s/he just pop in and out from time to time to know what the discussion is about. They do not have time to attend all sessions.
2. What is a webhead?
A webhead is an expert using platforms 2.0 and 3.0. The first webhead experts using these platforms were called Webheads in Action (WIA). Webheads belong to a community and they feel like part of a family because they spend a lot of time to work together virtually. There are different communities where people can belong to and share their experience and knowledge. For example:
2.1. Venelt (VEN-ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING)
In this web page you can find all kinds of Venezuelan English teachers from different educational levels sharing their experience, questions and doubts.
2.2 Avealmec (ASOCIACIÓN VENEZOLANA PARA LA ENSEÑANZA Y EL APRENDIZAJE DE LENGUAGES MEDIADOS POR EL COMPUTADOR)
Venelt was created in 2006. Avealmec was created in 2007. This web page was created by teachers from different universities in Venezuela. The members who belong here are interested in training other teachers and everything related to ICT.
2.3. VenTESOL (VENEZUELA TEACHERS OF ENGLISH TO SPEAKERS OF OTHER LANGUAGES)
This web page gather teachers form Venezuela and other countries in order to share experience about ELT and leaning English as a Foreign or Second language.
3. Personal Learning Network (PLN)
So far we have seen how to interact with other people using 2.0 platforms, but there are other ways to share information in a faster way. PLN is that way because 21st century teachers can learn, share experience and ask questions and doubts with/from other colleagues. You can be really connected with other people and this is important for your professional life, you can meet people from other parts of the world, you can find out high school or university projects, among many other things. How can you do that? You can do it create your personal space using 2.0 platforms such as facebook or twitter. For example, I created a group on facebook called: Learning more about ICT. This is a private group just for my classmates of my master program. There they can share their experience about the ICT course we are taking this term and they can also watch videos related to my students and comment their ideas, doubts and knowledge. I am the administrator of that group and they are the users.
Monday, June 13, 2011
It is a video free software where you can create and edit your own videos. Windows Movie Maker is almost always installed on the PC and it is really interactive and very easy to use. You can add pictures, mp3 music, background sounds and special effect among many things.
The activities that can be done with these tools are infinites in the English classroom. Students can prepare their own role plays, dramatization and even presentations using the window movie maker because they can add their own recording using mp3 files. Also, they can use it to make presentations about whatever topic (family, food, etc). They can even sing songs and record them in mp3 and put them on the movie maker with some pictures and some effects too.
3. www.penzu.com: You can write whatever you want there. For example, notes, essays and even papers. You can have your e-paper there and send it to your teacher’s e-mail. I, personally,used penzu in another master course last year. I used to write my papers there and my students can also do it. It’s a good way to combine face to face homework with distance homework.
4. www.fonetiks.org: This is an on-line pronunciation dictionary which has nine varieties of the English language and nine other languages with pronunciation. It has pronunciation samples by over forty native speakers. This web page dictionary is very useful for students who always want to know the meaning of words and also the way they sound. I would use it in my class and I know my students will love it.
5. www.howjsay.com: It is a similar on-line dictionary with instant sounds like fonetiks. It is really easy to use and very helpful for the students in order to avoid mispronunciation.
6. www.googlebattle.com: This web page measures which of two terms has a higher Google rating by searching for term1 or term2 and then counting the hits of either in the returned top 100. For example, sex and abstinence.
WEEK 6: Podcasting - Voice tools and recorders
Podcast: A podcast is a kind of digital web where users can record audio and upload videos. Users can also modify what they create in a podcast. They can include new audio and modify background sounds.
Podcast belong to web 2.0 platforms because the owner of the podcast (the web head) and the different users can interact and share information.
Podcasts are divided into audio recorders (audacity) and voice tools (voki, pad-beam com, voxpop, mp3 file hosting sites, chyrfit, among others).
Audacity: Audacity is an audio recorder web page that is very dynamic for the users. We can record voices using this page and we can also add sounds and special effects. This tool is perfect for teachers to make their blogs and wikis more interactive for their students. It is also a good option for students who like to sing and they want to record themselves and pretend to be singer stars. Audacity can be used in face to face projects and on-line projects too.
According to the audacity web page there have been some changes and improvement:
- Control Toolbar renamed to Transport Toolbar. Input/output selection moved from Mixer Toolbar to improved Device Toolbar (on by default).
- New "Sync-Lock Tracks" feature (turned on in the Tracks menu).
- Equalization now supports importing and exporting curves. Noise Removal improvements including new option to isolate noise.
- Improved Automatic Crash Recovery with all project changes autosaved.
- New "Extended Import" Preferences for specifying audio file importers.
- (Windows and Linux) Close button now quits on closing the last window while File > Close clears to a new, empty project.
With these improvements the interaction among students and teacher can be better and knowledge can be learned faster thanks to technology.
Skype: It is a very useful web tool because it combines writing, listening, reading, and speaking. You have a chat where you can write a lot of information there. You can listen to other participants using an earphone. You can upload and download a lot of material that you can read and you can use a microphone to talk to other people. Nowadays the educational field is in a holistic approach. The more teachers apply the four skills in their students, the better readers, listeners, writers and speakers they become. Sky is a good option for students at any level.
Voxopop: I love voxopop because the main idea of this page is to improve communication. We have to remember that nowadays we are working in a communicative approach where students are the principal characters in a class and the teachers or facilitators just guide him/her to the correct way to learn. One of the problems about learning English as a Foreign Language is that we don’t practice our English with other people, not even with native speakers. In order to practice our speaking skills we can use listening tasks when we can imitate real task situations and voxopop provides that kind of bridge to bring social real life situations. Vaxopop is used by teachers all over the world to improve speaking. Voxopop is like message boards, but use voice rather than text and a have a specialized user interface. No longer confined to a physical classroom, teachers and students of different skills can interact from home, or even from opposites sides of the planet.
UNIT 5: Wikis
According to Erben, Ban and Castañeda (2009), “A wiki is a collaborative website that many people can work on or edit. This idea was originally conceptualized by Ward Cunningham in 1994; he named it wiki, which is a term meaning quick in Hawaiian. The computer program allows users to access the original postings and add or change content.” As we can see in this definition wikis are very interactive websites. They have many pages and users can create almost whatever they want. They can download pictures, videos, gadgets, polls, among others things.
It is important to highlight that blogs and wikis are 2.0 pages, but wikis are more interactive than blogs because they identify the users. Wikis have are very personal because you are like a kind of owner when you have a wiki. You can leave comments and also edit information. Wikis are important because they are constantly updated too.
What is wiki for?
According to Richardson (2006), “Wikis promote student-centered teaching in that students themselves have control over what is written and what stays on the wiki pages.” So teachers can promote this approach to the students. If the idea is that students have the central attention inside or outside class and the teacher is just a facilitator, then, wikis can facilitate that and one advantage is that students are much attached with technology since they are very young. So they can learn that computers can be used for learning purposes. Some activities that students can do using wikis are: forum, discussion, social networks, workshops, on-line presentations, among others.
Teachers can also design course syllabus, course content, course projects, projects for kids, among others.
Why a wiki?
Wikis are important because they are free, friendly and allow many users at a time, reading is available to everybody, the language is simple, they are easy to manage (upload videos and pictures, write comments), improves interaction with people you already know or even people around the world, they facilitate group projects, they improve teacher-students and student-teacher interaction, etc. Focusing on the educational field, students are free to create and edit what they want. And this is the idea nowadays. Students must create a real environment in order to learn English as a foreign language.
Wikis in the Educational field
Both students and teachers can use wikis for their own benefits. In the case of teachers, materials are very easy to upload and manipulate. Teachers can modify, edit and add more elements to the material, picture, videos, etc they are using. It is also easy to assess students’ skill. You can assess them individually and there is no risk of cheating.
In the case of students, they can work in their their computers directly, personalize their wikis, and add the information they want follow the teachers’ instructions.
Erben, T, Ban R, Castañeda, M. (2009). Teaching English Language Learners through Technology. Routledge. New York and London. (133-134).
Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
WEEK 4: Blogs
1. What is a blog?
According to Erben, Ban and Castañeda (2009), “Blogs are web logs or journals, posted to a website where they can be seen by anyone. Unlike a wiki, they cannot be edited, unless the owner activates the “comment” feature inviting responses from lectors.” So a blog is a web page that works as a public personal journal that can be used for people or company. The main idea of a blog is to share information to users. Blogs are not very interactive. In the quote above, it is clearly stated that blogs can not be edited by the users. It can only be edited by the owner of the page. Blogs are normally organized in a chronological way.
Blogs are important because you can show and share information about a specific topic. For example, I have two blogs. One of them shows my curriculum vitae and the other one my personal information. People from different places in Venezuela and even from other countries can know about my personal experience, my professional work and my research projects through these web pages. They can also comment them and we may be in contact in that way.
2. Different Kinds of blogs
2.1. Tutor blog: It is run only by the teacher of a class. All the content and the syllabuses are focused on information about the course, homework, assignment, lesson plans and extra activities, among others. In the tutor blog the teacher can add her/his personal information, reflections and work experience. The idea of this kind of blog is to stimulate language on-line and then to have discussion in-class about what they learn with the blog. It must be highlighted that tutor blog is about what the teacher wants to do with her/his course. That is to say, that this kind of blog is not interactive.
2.2. Class blog: This kind of blog is more interactive than tutor blogs because students and teachers are considered participants in that web page. They have collaborative discussions using the blog. It can be an extra-curricular extension of the classroom for the students because they can play, interact and modify a lot of things. They are like owners of the web page and they can not only receive information, but also add it. Some restrictions may be put by the owner about what kind of information they can upload in the blog. According to Erben, Ban and Castañeda (2009), “After drafting, editing, and peer-reviewing, groups present their findings on the class blog site. They can upload the pictures, video files, or audio files they have found. However, be cautious about copyright issues. If students are using their own family pictures, ask for parental approval.”
2.3. The Learner Blog: This kind of blog requires more time and effort from the teachers to run, but it is very rewarding for both the students and the teacher because you can record what you taught every day including homework and assignments that students must do. This is very beneficial for students because they can know exactly what to do (specially if they miss a class). And the teacher can use the blog as a course plan and the blog becomes a good summary of the course.
3. Other Educational Blogs used in ELT
Here we have some educational blogs that can improve classes:
1. www.livejournal.com: Live journal is a social media where people can interact with other people by offering a customizable journal. Here you can publish yourself as a community.
2. http://wordpress.com: Wordpress is a blog where you can start a blog in seconds without any technical knowledge and you can write your personal information, experience, and work there. You can evern write your own e-portfolio.
3. http://blogsome.com: This is another web page where you can create a blog.
4. http://spaces.msn.com: It is a collection of Internet sites and services provided by Microsoft. It is very used for internet users nowadays. It is specially useful for students and workers in order to be updated with their personal obligations.
5. http://360.yahoo.com: It is a web page similar to msn.
6. http://blog.ning.com: Another web page to create social websites.
4. Why blogging?
Blogging is a good way to write and share experiences comments and ideas about a specific topic. Blogging is important for educational purposes because it provides students extra reading practice outside classes. They not only practice their reading skill, but also writing and they do not even realize that. I have asked my students at The CVA if they read in their free time and they normally answer no. But when I asked them, “don’t you use web pages such as facebook or twitter?” They answer, “Oh well in that way yes I read and write a lot then.” So in that way they have fun and learn at the same time.
Blogging can be very useful because you can write on-line portfolios and this is really important because you can create a global link and people around the world can know who you are and what kind or research you are doing.
Erben, T, Ban R, Castañeda, M. (2009). Teaching English Language Learners through Technology. Routledge. New York and London. (136, 137).
WEEK 3: Web 1.0, web 2.0, web 3.0.
A. Web 1.0
It is the first on line work that was formally used in companies in order to show information about them. It was based on HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol). It was created for business. Nowadays, it is still useful for some organizations (just for information purposes). One of the main characteristics that does not make web 1.0 friendly for the users is that there is no interaction between the owner of the page and the surfers or among the owner, the surfer contributors and the surfer. The user just clicks bottoms and find out information by her/him own.
According to Wikipedia (2009) “The term Web 2.0 is associated with web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web.” It is the improvement of web 1.0, specially, because it facilitates communication. It is also known as social network. Web 2.0 is a dynamic web page that has taken into considerations the ideas and feedback of the surfer. That is why users are able to interact with the owner of the web site and also with the surfer contributors. Surfers have two functions now: first, they can use the web page (receive information). Second, they can also add information. They are like a kind of owner of the web side. Common web 2.0 web pages are: facebook, badoo, twitter, among many others.
If web 2.0 is dynamic, then web 3.0 is even more dynamic because you can be in virtual worlds. It is also known as semantic web. Communication is facilitated by an avatar (a digital character that represents you in the virtual world. Avatars can be people, animals, plants, etc) and you can simulate real life environments. In web 3.0 you can be creative and you can let your imagination fly. One of the most common webs 3.0 that is used nowadays for educational purposes is Second Life.
The technological development of web 3.0 generates web 4.0. Researchers expect that A.I (artificial intelligence) can be a real thing and not just a science fiction idea. They expect to have on-line agents which think, speak and communicate like human beings do.
WEEK 2: E-learning, definition and classification: Distance learning, online learning, blended learning. Current situation of ICT in TEFL
WEEK 2: E-learning, definition and classification: Distance learning, online learning, blended learning. Current situation of ICT in TEFL
According to Naidu (2006), “E-learning is commonly referred to the intentional use of networked information and communications technology in teaching and learning. A number of other terms are also used to describe this mode of teaching and learning. They include online learning, virtual learning, distributed learning, network and webbased learning.” In other words, E-learning is using any kind of electronic device to learn something. So you can learn from any kind of device. The good thing about e-learning is that you do not need internet connection to learn. For example, you can use your computer without internet connection and you can learn using programs and encyclopedias that are already installed in your desktop or laptop. E-learning is marvelous because it can be used either inside or outside classes, so you can learn new things everywhere.
E-learning is really important in education. According to the communicative approach it is really important that students learn in real contexts. Learning takes places through conversations and real interaction among people. That is why nowadays e-learning focuses on social software such as wikis, glogsters and Second Life web tools.
B. Distance education
According to Willems (2005), “It aimed to allow distance learners, who were generally adult learners in full or part-time employment to be able to study at a time, place, and pace that suited their convenience. The goal of distance education was to free these learners from the constraints of conventional residential educational settings.” As it was said by Willems we combine teaching methods with technology in distance education. That’s what teachers in all over the world have been doing for a long time. Distance education has its advantages. For example, there is no need of a classroom, you have all the tools that you need on the web (you just need a computer and Internet connection), you can study and work at home, you can learn and interact with people from all over the world. Disadvantages are: if you don’t have a computer or good Internet connection, that can be a very big problem, there is not face to face contact with the teacher and the classmates, if you interact with people all over the world, timing may be complicated.
C. On- line classes
You use technology to learn something new for academic purposes. It is very important to have Internet connection on on-line classes. Nowadays on-line classes are common in academies and even in English courses because these places want their students to learn English in
D. Blended learning
It is the combination of all the terms discussed above. It is my personal opinion to say that teachers and students must be connected with blended learning. Students and technology are already connected because they are native generations (they know how to use a computer when they are very young) and we, teachers, are immigrants generations (we just manage the old technology, but we want to learn more new things). So if teachers are always behind students in the matter of technology, we should work about it and prepare ourselves to be better webheads. I have tried to use technology in my classes, but I think to know more about it, especially for academic purposes.
Naidu, S (2006), E-learning, a guidebook of principles, procedures and practices. The university of Melbourne. Australia.
Willems, J. (2005). Flexible learning:Implications of “when-ever”, “where-ever” and “what-ever”. Distance 429-435.
A. Do you use ICT with your students?
Yes, I do. But I only use basic tools such as CD player, CDs, and video beams. I use smart boards at the CVA (downtown) and I try to use my own laptop for extra activities in class.
B. How often?
I use them almost every class.
C. What do you do in the technological area?
At the CVA I can create games and activities using the smart board. When teaching incompany, I just create extra activities invented by my own with the CD, CD player and my laptop.
D. How would you describe your local context?
My three jobs can have access to technology. CVA and Maritime University of the Caribbean have more access than Effective English Company. Students at the CVA and Maritime University of the Caribbean have more contact with technology because they interact directly with it using web pages and laboratories.
I have three jobs, so I must decide for only one place. I am going to focus my research at The Maritime University of the Caribbean. This university has several systems. For example, they have a platform called “SAID” (Sistema de Aprendizaje a Distancia) and “CAMPUS.” The former is a platform used to teach on line classes to students. The latter is a system which has many administrative functions: grades and assistance records are uploaded by the teachers there. Maritime University has also three OPSU rooms for the students and teachers. They can connect on the Internet for free. They also have a Multimedia room that is a special laboratory only used for the “Coodinación de Ciencias Aplicadas” (This room is more restricted than the OPSU rooms).
Students have Internet connection at the Maritime University. The university already mentioned has broad band connection. This connection has some limitations. For example, students cannot access at any social network pages such as facebook, badoo, etc. This prohibition was created to avoid students visiting non-academic web pages. They cannot use chat rooms such as msn either.
SAID can only be used to TSU students and students of “velero” course because they do not have face to face English classes (velero course is a special course taken by maritime engineering students in order to pass to the first semester). Teachers can use SAID if they do a “diplomado” in distance education that is given at the Maritime University.
E. What's the sudents' performance using TIC?
Engineering students know some basic infomation about technology. They know how to use computers, laptop and they know how to use internet for academic and pleasure purpose. They also know how to use 2.0 platforms very well. Platforms such as facebook, twitter, badoo, among others.