Welcome to my blog!

This blog attempts to keep up to date with CALL (Computer Assissted Language Learning) theories and PD opportunities.

Please let me know what you liked and or didn't like. I look forward to reading your comments!

Monday, March 2, 2015

I have started to do an online course called BlendKit2015. So far so good. I love that people are doing the course from all continents except Antartica - so far. : )

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Is Web 2.0 good for the classroom?

Web 2.0 is a word that represents the tools and resources that have developed in popularity in the last 5 years or so on the internet. They are such things as Facebook, Ning, Wikis, Twitter and a plethora of others. These tools and resources mentioned started out as personal applications, but then teachers started wondering about their potential for being used in the classroom and in online or even hybrid courses. Other sites that deal with developing online learning have played on the words Web 2.0, such as Classroom 2.0, a ning with some great place for digital dialogues about e-learning.

I think it's great to bring authenticly popular tools into lessons, because they can be very motivating for students. Authentic materials create powerful, meaningful tasks which increase intrinsic motivation and decrease Krashen’s affective filter at which point students can be more productive (as cited in Ducate & Arnold, 2006). Murray and Hourigan (as cited in Ducate & Arnold, 2006) also noted that authentic materials increase student awareness of the target language writing styles and registers, thus further adding to students’ skill sets. Bringing web tools into the classroom helps students develop multiliteracy skills that are needed in our multimedia society (Garrett, 2009).

Younger students especially like using them to complete assignments or talk about. That being said, it's important to note who your students are when choosing to introduce various 2.0 resources into your lesson. You won't usually have any trouble with the "younger" students, but older adult students may be new to all of these applications, so if you don't provide enough scaffolding and "how to use this tool" teaching, students are going to be frustrated, rather than motivated.

Another important point to look in regards to your students when choosing tools to use, is the issue of privacy. Web 2.0 tools are usually free and relatively unmonitored, because they can become big really fast, for example, Facebook. ESL students are considered to be a vulnerable group, due to language barriers but also potential background issues. Some ESL students are refugees who are running from persecution. People don't have to be running for us to take care; most people just really value their privacy and without the language to read and manuever all the privacy settings, ESL students can fall victim to identity theft and other annoying issues related to online communications.

The bottom line is that there are some great resources, like Nings, that can control who participates in the discussions and keep the community private. Instructors need to be diligent about which resources they choose to use in their lessons, and if they are, I believe that Web 2.0 tools can be good for the classroom.

Ducate, L, & Arnold, N. (Eds). (2006). Calling on CALL: from theory and research to new directions in foreign language teaching. San Marcos, USA: CALICO.

Garrett, N. (2009). Computer-Assisted Language Learning Trends and Issues Revisited: Integrating Innovation. Modern Language Journal, 90, 719-740.

ESL Library.com now has Podcasts!

ESL-Library is a website resource for ESL instructors that I have been using since at least 2005. It has lesson plans with a short pre-task warm up and reading, speaking, listening and writing activities(the main focus of the lesson will preclude which skill is used most. You do have to pay for this site, but you can see sample lessons before you pay. The site has evolved over the years, and continually updates the materials, for example, the Chinese New Year lesson is kept current with the correct animal year listed. The site has lessons for beginner, intermediate and high intermediate students. Instructors with low beginners could use the plethora of flashcards that accompany the lessons. Lessons include famous people, places and things, holidays, grammar stories, grammar lessons, idioms etc.

The latest development has been the addition of a blog link in the form of an RSS feed that makes short podcasts available to everyone for free(at the moment)once a week. You can use these in your class if the level is right for your students, or you could dirrect students to them. There are discussion starter lesson plan questions that go along with each podcast. You can access the podcasts by clicking on the "Free Audio Padcasts added every week!".

In terms of this site providing professional development, since March 2010, when the podcasts started, this site blogger, has also been providing links and information about PD opportunities, other tips of the trade and links to other good blogs and websites such as Larry Ferlazzo - Websites of the Day for Teaching ELL, ESL, EFL, Lindsay Clandfield - Six Things, Alex Case - TEFL Tastic, Shelly Terrell - Teacher Reboot Camp, One Stop English - Blogs

ESL Library with it's new blog is a positive demonstration of how online resources can change over time. PD for ESL instructors can be found on this site and blog. New teachers can learn lesson planning tips, and more experienced teachers can maybe get some new materials and pictures(not age specific, great for adults) to freshen up their repetoir. The addition of information about other PD opportunities in the form of conferences and ideas for teaching etc. makes this a great site for all ESL professionals.

Larry Ferlazzo's Blog

Larry Ferlazzo is a published educator who has won numerous awards for his blog. His blog is about education - in his title he says it is for teaching ELL, ESL and EFL, but the resources could be used in a variety of classes.

He posts links to a number of diverse websites everyday, which he gives a short summary blurb about what it is and how it could be useful. As well as websites, he posts articles, lesson plans, current events, etc. For example, the day the volcano activated in Iceland, he had links to the news that could be used in a classroom. Since the erruption, he has updated those links and organized them as the volcano continues to be of importance in world news. He has an archive of all his posts. The site also has an English Website section with numerous lesson plan exercises, videos and original productions that start at a beginning ESL level and continue to the advanced. One area also links to other websites that are oganized by themes such as shopping, animals, garden, etc. Topics covered also include other school subjects.

Larry's blog is a fountain of educational knowledge. Some days it's almost too much, but you know his materials are current and updated as he goes. He has a search function on his blog, which is quite general, so you would need to look around to find what you might be looking for. Otherwise he has quite an organized site through active, working links. Just be sure to check out which country you've been linked to, so you are aware of the potential cultural effects, and so your computer can handle the downloading requirements before you get too excited about an activity - do your due diligence. About his original videos in ESL section, they are meant for youth and young adults, but there are other activities that are ageless. The homepage of the blog is quite texty, so the instructor would need to give students embedded links to activities. I might sound negative, but I do think Larry's blog is a valuable CALL resource.

Larry's link is http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/

Larry Ferlazzo on "Future of Education" LIVE this Wednesday!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Larry, see blog posting above, is going to be a guest on a live session on Future of Education at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. It will go for an hour. It’s a free event using the Elluminate system so people can ask questions and share in real time using text or audio.

Future for Education is a Ning created by Steven Hargadon. It is a site with an interview series where the community is devoted to providing an opportunity for those who care about education to share their voices and ideas with others. It's a place for discussion on the important topic of: Charting the Course of Teaching and Learning in a Networked World.

The Future of Education is linked to a larger community blog called Classroom 2.0, which Steve also created. Live sessions in this community are opportunities to gather with other members of the community in real-time events, complete with audio, chat, desktop sharing, and sometimes even video. You are invited to join them for their weekly Saturday show with co-hosts Peggy George, Kim Caise and Lorna Costantini!

Classroom 2.0's website is: http://live.classroom20.com

Larry Ferfazzo's website with RSS feed is: http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org

Past CALL Conference - Access to recordings

"Upgrading Online" Conference

NorQuest College in Edmonton, Alberta and Bow Valley College in Calgary, Alberta had a "Upgrading Online" conference. While sessions were not directed towards ESL students, the sessions do give you a lot of information about best practices for online teaching and learning.

The conference was on March 25 and 26, 2010, but the link has been provided below to the conference and the recordings. The conference was done in the live chat rooms. If you want to watch the NorQuest College recordings, when you go to watch the them, you'll need to download Elluminate Live. For Bow Valley's recordings you will use Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro Meeting, which will download for you. The usernames and passwords are given to you with the links to the recordings.

Even if you don't watch the recordings, the handout for the first session provides a lot of interesting and useful links to articles and websites with great online teaching tips and information.

The following url will take you to the day and all of the recordings that were captured:


Please contact Margaret Wilson if you would like to know more about the conference and future events.

Faculty Development Coordinator, Centre for Innovation and Development, NorQuest College 10215 108 Street, Room 622A, Edmonton, AB T5J 1L6 www.norquest.ca
Phone: (780) 644 6053 FAX: (780) 644 6049
Chair, Alberta Network of Professional and Organizational Development (ANPOD)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Blog Evaluation for PD # 1

RiRi English Atmosphere's Blog (http://ririenglishatmosphere.wordpress.com)

This is an attractive, well organized blog to go to if you want a lot of good basic information on CALL. A couple of her blogs even give lesson plan ideas for the implementation of CALL in the classroom. She blogs about tips and pitfalls, history and theory. Her information is quite thorough, and offers the knowledge in easy to understand terms.

However, as all the blogs were done on one day, and there haven't been any updates on CALL since the first posting, I think this is perhaps a student who might now be finished with blogging CALL. Thus this site would not be good for ongoing CALL professional development.

That being said, this author has been blogging about other ESL topics of interest, such as English Education and Linguistics, and so for general PD as an ESL instructor, I may just follow this blog in the future.