Monday, December 3, 2012

Podcasting for ESL

In the past week, I was able to learn a little more about podcasting. I've never used podcasting before and it's rather new for me. I had really enjoyed being able to look through some of the sites and see the different subjects that were available for anyone to listen to. Lee Lefever's Podcasting in Plain English gives some good background and ideas on how Podcasting works and can become beneficial use for any classroom. For anyone who doesn't know what Podcasting is, it's a form of digital media used in an form of audio or video, similar to listening to the radio with having episodes based on specific topics.Podcasting is great for anyone to be able to listen to on the go. Weather it's for a topic of interest or a class assignment; it provides anyone to learn. Essentially anyone is able to create a podcast and share ideas and information. I had been able to listen to several Podcasts over the past week and one of the Podcasting sites that I liked was ESL Podcast. This site had several Podcasts based on specific topics on Daily life, Business, Health/Medicine, Travel etc. I think it can be useful for adult or high school ESL learners. I liked that everything when listening to the podcast was clear and specific for students to be able to understand. One of the Podcasts I listened to was English Cafe 373 which discussed topics such as the Chicago seven, and American authors etc. with several vocabulary words displayed while students would be listening to it. I can see how I would be able to use this Podcasting site for my own ESL classroom. I would have students listen to a specific subject and have them write about what was discussed in a podcast. I would also have discuss their own ideas and be able to ask questions if they didn't understand a particular topic. ESL students will be able to work on their listening,comprehension skills, and speaking skills. It would be useful to make it a classroom discussion for students to able to express what their reactions were to a particular Podcasting. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to be able to break students into groups and create a project where students would have to be able to create a podcast and discuss any topic that interests them, to be able to practice their speaking skills. Overall I really love the idea of using podcasting in class. I would even use it for my own learning, and the fact that I can use it through my ipod, phone, or mp3 is a plus for anyone that wants to learn on the go! It's a great way for global learning and be able to connect with other students and educators around the globe and exchange ideas.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Using Global Collaboration For A Classroom

This week I got the chance to explore ePals which is a global learning community for parents, teachers and students K-12. This is a platform where classrooms can collaborate on projects with other communities around the world. It is a safe learning environment to students to be able to communicate and share ideas. Student are able to learn about what is going on around the world, their cultures, language, and communication etc.I was amazed by how well organized and how many ideas and projects that are taking place. It's a great way for students and teachers to share their learning styles and ideas to continually make learning a fun experience! There are many themed projects and students and teachers are able to use the search engine if they're looking for a particular topic and are able to narrow down their search by country and language. What I like is the way it is set up in lining of the projects and describes them in a well organized manner by stating objectives and standards, activities, lesson plans, and resources to aid students in participating in these projects.

One of the projects that I stumbled upon while visiting this site was the Monster Writing Project, this one particular classroom in France was looking for another class to collaborate on this project with in order to improve student's reading and writing skills in English. Student draw a sketch of a monster and then write a detailed description of it. Their partner then reads it and attempts to draw the monster. Students are then able to look at the original sketch and match the drawing. Winners get their drawing displayed. I like that this is a project that can engage and motivate students to working on their language skills. It helps them build their reading, writing, and critical thinking. This would be something that I would enjoy using in my own ESL classroom one day. I would look into getting students to maybe share their stories of their daily activities or write about their favorite pet in order to get them to work on their writing and reading skills. Although the monster writing  project is one of the ideas that I really like because it really incorporates all the skills that student would need to work on when learning a new language. There are so many ideas and projects that teachers can use in their classrooms to motivate students to learn.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Making Photo Stories

So, for the second part of the assignment I looked into making photo stories. To make my photo story I used to Stupeflix which is a video making where you can share images, and videos with additions to use text and audio. I ended up using a free one time trial to make my video, it usually costs up $5 a month to get a plan and start making videos. I really enjoyed being able to use this tool  to share some of my photos on a trip to Paris. I wished that been able to use more than the 6 slides and initially tried to edit the video but wasn't able to do so in order to add more pictures. I can where this a great learning experience for students and teacher since it gives them a chance to explore the tools of the site and also share their interests and ideas. I can definitely see myself using this in my own classroom one day even with this particular slide that I've created and expanding it into a lesson about Paris and its culture and language. I think this something that can be useful in a classroom when discussing certain topics and making the slides engaging to be able to get students interested in learning a topic. It would be a great platform to use as an assignment for students, perhaps even splitting them into groups to work on a project and make a video based on a specific topic. It is simple to use in terms of making your own video which I like since it might be something that younger students might interested in using when participating in a classroom presentation.

Using Voicethread fo the Classroom

This weeks assignment was about using Voicethread and learning how to create my own assignments for a potential ESL class that I would teach. For example I chose to do an assignment for a 9th grade ESL class. I started off by giving instructions on how to leave a comment on the Voicethread and also what the assignment was about. I decided to start off everyone by introducing themselves, where they're from, how long they've been in the united states, what languages they speak, and if they have visited any places or have wanted to visit any place in the world. I wanted to keep it direct and simple and have the students enjoy the time of learning about each other and practice their speaking skills along the way. I didn't really have any problems creating a voicethread, although I did have to record several times just because I didn't really like how it sounded before! Voicethread is a forum for students and teachers to create and have discussions based on assignments and specific topics given out in class, it lets anyone the ability to record comments through video, voice, or writing. It also gives the creator of a thread to post videos or images. I think it's also an opportunity for teachers and students to create a digital story with having feedback from their peers.

 I had the chance to visit two of my classmates voicethreads Alicia's and Jinsoo's. Alicia's thread was an interesting topic to use for an ESL classroom to get students to describe their differences and similarities of their schools and learning experience with their own countries and the u.s. I have had some personal experience with that when I was younger before moving to the united states and found the experience to be valuable. I thing it's a great way to get students to learn about each others experiences in education and also for teachers since it might get them some insight on a students learning background. Jinsoo's was also a great way to engage students in expressing their opinions on a story. It is a great way to get a class to have a particular discussion on language and learning. So far, I've enjoyed this weeks in depth experience with voicethread. I would definitly use it in my own classrooms one day, its an easy way to create an assignments based of students interests and get them to have a fun learning experience.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


So, I've decided to use Bookr to create my short story. Bookr is a platform where anyone can create a story book using images through Flickr. I based it off my hedgehog named Henry and his activities of the day and his favorite things. The reason I decided to create this type of story based on a hedgehogs day is to make it easy and simple for younger students or L2 learners to be able to enjoy it. It might be able to give them some confidence in being able to create their own stories based on their interests. One of the things I liked about the idea of bookr is to be able to get a group of students together to work on a project and collaborate on creating a story. It is also a great way to be able to get L2 learners to practice on creating sentences by creating stories out of the images that they choose. While using bookr I thought that it was relatively easy to use and create a story and thought that students would really enjoy the process of being able to create and publish their own stories. With using technology tools in a classroom I always prefer for it to be simple to use for students, since I don't want them to feel overwhelmed or turned off by any assignments that include tools like flickr, bookr, blogging etc. I think this would engage students and motivate them to work on using their imagination and even practice on their vocabulary, reading and their writing skills.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Digital Storytelling in Education

Digital Learning Network by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Digital Learning Network, a photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr.

 Digital Storytelling is a gateway for students and teachers to be able to tell stories through images, text, and videos. According to 7 things you should know about digital story telling "Can be instructional, persuasive, historical, or reflective. The resources available to incorporate into digital story are virtually limitless, giving the storyteller enormous creative latitude." For example a great site that is a platform for digital story use if Flickr which gives you the ability to upload images and videos as well as search them in order to be able to post images in a blog. Flickr gives anyone member the ability to organize photos and videos so that they are easier to find. I think that with Flickr there are endless ways to be able to create and give students assignments. I definitely see myself using it in my own classrooms in the future, especially for second language learners. I've thought of giving students a chance to introduce themselves and tell a story about it a way to break get students to know each other better through the images that they share. It's also a great way to get students in groups and collaborate on a project. I see how important of a tool digital storytelling can be for anyone. It gets them involved in thinking about their environment and the the knowledge that they receive and share with others. Overall its a great way to engage students and teachers to use their imagination and be creative with their process of learning.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Games in an L2 Classroom

Since I have been talking about strategy games in my last post, I decided to play this online game called  Stop Disasters which its main objective is  to save lives  where a player would choose a scenario and try build and upgrade a community and house them all before a disaster occurs. A player is given a budget and a time limit on finishing their mission and housing the population and statistics are then shown after the game of what occurred in the disaster and survivors etc. I played it for quite sometime I failed on my first try. I think this type of game is a great way for students to build their strategic thinking skills and find ways to solve the problem of housing a certain amount of people in the game. As the game ends I like that it shows the newspaper and the mission report that the player can read to determine whether they've succeeded in housing the population. Although it's not one of those games that automatically works in terms of language context, I think it's a great game to use in a class or even outside of the classroom for students. I like that I can use it as a reading activity with the newspaper at the end of the game and have student discuss what their mission was for the game and what their end result was. It can even be turned into a writing activity where I can have students write a narrative of their experience of the game. I would ask them what they did to build the homes, hotels, hospitals and how they tried to achieve their goals in making the community safer from a type of disaster. I would also ask them the type of disaster that hit the community and how affected it. I think its important for students to have that kind simulating game where they feel engaged and interested in finishing a task. It gets them to learn about the different disasters and affects they can have in a community and provide a important discussion for any classroom.

Another game that isn't strategy but is I think is basic and simple start for students that aren't all too familiar with gaming is Rice. I've been playing  Free Rice  which as a game that donates 20 grains of rice to the world food program whenever a word is defined correctly. I've been playing this game for some time and has been a little bit addicting.What I like about this game is that it has different levels for students to work with and it is a simple and easy game to follow for students. It gives a chance for ESL students to stay engaged in the game by earning points every time they get a word correctly and contribute to donating rice to fight hunger. This can be a game that can be played in class or outside of the classroom. This is a great game for anyone to work on their vocabulary. This definitely a game I would use in my own classroom, especially working with students one on one with their vocabulary or even break them up into groups and who ever gains the most points in donating rice earns a badge or extra points towards their grade. It's a great way for students to work together and build their confidence in learning a new language. This game gives anyone a great sense of accomplishment in what they've learned and the fact that they've helped fighting hunger makes it important. As someone learning to be a teacher, I think incorporating games in a classroom can prove to be helpful as long as they aren't so complex that students have a hard time following the subject.