Monday, September 24, 2012

IPADS for Second Language Learners

So, this week I've read through several educational blogs for the mod4 assignment. One of the blogs that stood out to me and I commented on was languagemoments blog by Phil Wade. Because I plan to eventually teach ESL in the future and the fact that I had recently been curious on the use of iPads in classrooms, I read his  post Apps n' Dogme in which he discusses his experience in the use of iPads in a TOEFL class. He gives some good insight and tips on the apps that work with iPads and can be used for students to practice their vocabulary, speaking, and writing. There were two in particular, he mentioned he had used in his TOEFL class, that I thought could be useful to use in a future ESL classroom. The quizlet app can be downloaded on an iPhone or iPad where you can either  find or create lessons for students to work on. Another is scoopit where someone can curate any number of topics; such as the TOEFL links displayed with sites to practice tests and vocabulary tips and lessons etc. What I like about the iPads is it saves on making copies of handouts. Teachers can save teaching materials easily on an iPad. It can also be used to have students watch videos to practice on their speaking and listening skills. It's one of the tools that I'm looking forward to use in future classrooms. I have yet to try it out myself for  either personal or educational use. There are some great advantages to the tools an iPad provides. The free apps are helpful to some extent and it will engage students in working on practicing the language. The one thing that does concern me with iPads is students playing on it, rather than working on their lessons. There would need to be a great amount of supervision to make sure they're really working. Maybe an iPad could be helpful in using it to work with an ESL student one on one, where a teacher can focus on specific lessons that a student needs to improve on.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A New Age of Learning...

It's All about Paying Attention... These days we can all say that technology plays a big part in our daily lives. Whether it is for personal use or academic use we're constantly connected to the rest of the world. Whether we realize it or not technology is only seeping into our lives more and more every day. So why not take the time and use it to our advantage??? In the past couple days I've watched several of the videos that were suggested on the syllabus and about three videos really jumped out at me. It's not everyday that you fully realize that; wow look how far I've come in using technology!! But today seems to be one of those days that really made me think how much I use my phone and computer and boy do I use it a lot! I use to research and read my news online, watch videos, and connect with loved ones overseas. It's fascinating and exciting to think how many ways that it can affect our lives. In some ways it also brings a shiver down my spine because we seem to depend on it so much. All these videos  aim at the idea that we're entering or at least have entered an age of digital learners.  We have these powerful tools but don't necessarily use them to the full extent that they should be used. In Pay Attention its a message that is directed to motivate teachers to use technology to engage students in a class subject. It asks the questions of how can we use technology to help students create? How can we engage them in being motivated to learn. For them its about giving students and teachers the opportunity to learn to understand ,and analyze and create new ideas every day by using technology. And why not use these amazing and powerful tools as teachers to our advantage?

 Everyone has a different style of learning...  I can say for myself I'm definitely a visual learner, which is why I think for me technology has become a big part of my learning. There are plenty of students who are Visual learners, Auditory learners,  Read and Write learners and Kinesthetic learners. Technology can satisfy all of these learning styles. There are so many tools that we can use to learn from and we can teach students how to effectively use google,youtube, podcasts, itunesU, etc to research and gain knowledge on a subject. They can connect with other students around the world and discuss with them a particular subject they're learning in class just as in the Networked Student we are creating this community of connectivism. We are here to teach students to learn to differentiate between scholarly articles and facts against what is pure opinion. And that they someday can take all that they've learned and apply to the real world one day. I like the idea that we can create this anytime learning, where we can gain access to lectures and articles by some of the best professors in the world. I think that we shouldn't take these learning opportunities for granted. It is our job to create a balance in the use of technology in class and traditional teaching methods as well. I think as long as there is balance students will always have the opportunity to become well rounded individuals!

The Big Wake Up Call...Some may call this a social media revolution, and I guess in some ways it is. Anyone, anywhere can use their cellphones, ipods, ipads, laptop and create a blog, join a group, use the search engine, and connect with others worldwide.  And that is the beauty of technology, we can embark on new learning adventures everyday from wherever we are in the this world. The wake up call in this really, is that it affects our lives in so many ways, and we have to know that it can either be good or bad. It's our choice to take action and create an environment where we can use technology without having to completely and totally be dependent on it and learn to think for ourselves and use our imagination.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Several Ways I can use Blogging in a Second Language Classroom:

Reading Will Richardson's "Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Tools for Classrooms" gave me some pretty good insight for someone like me who is new to the world of teaching. I like that it allows students and teachers to fully discuss assignments and readings through blogging. It gives the students who can be relatively shy in class to be able to be comfortable in discussing their opinions and reflections on assignments in their blogs. As someone who was an ESL student I think I would have benefited from that. Since I myself was an extremely shy student, I was always nervous about speaking out in class and wasn't entirely comfortable in asking the questions I wanted to ask or even express my opinions. I do believe that there are students who are in the exact position that I used to been in and blogging presents an excellent opportunity for them to build confidence in their English Language skills. We also need to make sure that we create a safe online environment and educate students and parents on the safety uses for online blogging. Teachers and parents must supervise students since the internet is so open to the rest of the world. One idea that I liked from the readings for an ESL Classroom is posting assignments that would get students to work on their vocabulary and grammar. I would also get students to reflect on readings based on their English proficiency. They would be able to fully express themselves and their opinions. Another use for blogging is as a teacher being able to create additional links and sources (being able to connect with students with English as their native language) for students to use in order to work on improving their Vocabulary, Grammar, and Speaking skills. One of the sites that is helpful in determining NewYork State learning standards for ESL students that I think is helpful is NYLearns it explains the levels of standards for English as a Second Language from K-12 by using standard performance indicators, what grade level, and the subject area. I decided to post two standards that are used for English as a Second Language:

Standard 1: Students will listen, speak, read, and write in English information and understanding.
  • Students Learning English as a second language will use English to acquire, interpret, apply, and transmit information for content area learning and personal use. They will develop and use skills and strategies appropriate to their level of English proficiency to collect data, facts, and ideas, discover relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and use knowledge generated from oral, written, and electronically produced texts.
Standard 2: Students will listen, speak, read, and write in  English for literary response, enjoyment, and expression.

  • Students learning English as a second language will use English for self-expression, artistic creation, and participation in popular culture. They will develop and use skills and strategies appropriate to their level of English proficiency to listen, to read, and respond to oral, written, and electronically produced texts and performances. Relate texts and performances to their own lives, and other works, and develop understanding of diverse social, historical, and cultural dimensions texts and performances present.

  In general I like that it creates a "collaborative learning experience" that Richardson presents in the chapters. It's an excellent learning experience for both teachers and students and gives students a chance to get interested in a subject and fully immerse in their assignments and discussions with one another.