Category Archives: Internet

Reflections on a Course: Post 2 (Week 3)

It’s been a busy week in the course. We’ve talked about social bookmarking, listening skills and CALL. Thats’s a lot of food for thought!

photo credit: Frederick Md Publicity via photopin cc

Nowadays, knowledge in the Internet is being spread and disseminated via different channels (blogs, professional websites, forums…), but probably the most effective way to share this knowledge is through social bookmarking, which has become a paramount element in this big world of Internet. Users can build their own framework of sources of information out of different types of platform. Pure social bookmarking platforms like delicio.us or diigo let you create lists of favourite sites and store these lists in a referring library. The big issue is called tagging. Bookmark libraries can become massive lists really hard to manage. Tagging resources with relevant terms related help us search for the sites we need according to our needs (Secondary education, listening, ICT, interactives, edugames…). We only need to type the tags and the site will display those links that contain the tags we requested.

Other ways to share knowledge are sites such as Symbaloo (site where favourites are organised in visual libraries -webmixes- containing links of the same field or topic; Scoop.it is a service where users can build a page with brief posts where they mention a website or a resource, with an image, the link and a description. In most cases Scoop.it provides with a possible descriptive text that can  be edited. Tagging is also paramount when we want to find our “scoops” within the page.

photo credit: Fey Ilyas via photopin cc

This week we have also analysed the approach given to listening and speaking skills through CALL. The issue has moved between the use of speech analysis software, more focused on prosody, phonetics a more scientific approach of the learners pronunciation, and the use of websites whose main goal is to help students improve their listening skills through the comprehension of real English and “lab” recordings. Many websites offer scores of recordings covering different subjects and levels. Improving our listening skills through songs is also extremely relevant, and our old ways with the cassette or CD player have been replaced by websites where we can read the transcript as we watch/listen to the song and even do fill-in-the-gap exercises (Lyrics trainingBatlyrics).

We could conclude that all these different approaches make up for the feeling that ICT in language learning is here to stay!

A Good Suggestion for a Start

Here’s a nice strip from Educacontic with a good suggestion for those who would like to know how to put some things together in ICT and ESL:

1- Search the Net
2- Create a Podcast channel
3- Digital narration / Storytelling
4- Create a classroom blog
5- Put all these things together

These are probably some of the most popular ICT tasks and projects that teachers do with their students… it’s really important to consider 5 as a step forward towards a deeper involvement with ICT… this will surely rise as a richer and more engaging project for students… and teachers!

Memrise

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Memrise is a new application to improve our vocabulary skills. It has a very clear interface and encourages students to take up the challenge of learning new vocabulary through memorisation as words keep coming out on the screen in a caroussel…

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Those words we learn and practise start as seeds…

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…and these seed grow as we practise them and show our knowledge…

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Students earn points and are ranked in a social network interface… really catchy!! There are different languages available.

We can add new words and mnemotecnic rules to help other people learn the words.

A Counterpoint… Always Welcome!

This video from the Escapist portraits the negative effects of a too-game-biased environment. Everybody talks abouts games in education (I do!!!), games in everyday life, serious games, alternate reality games… maybe it’s time to stop and see the drawbacks as well! No need to mention that it is only a warning to over-users!! Games are a wonderful tool for our job!

Big City Small World

Here we are with some new wonderful stuff from The British Council. Now it is time for listening activities.

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Big City Small World is a series of listening clips related to a group of young people from all across the world who live together in London.

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Every unit deals with different topics and it contains different tasks which can be downloaded, printed and distributed among your students. You can optionally read the transcript of the audio as you do the activity. The topics are really catchy and up to date… very interesting drills basically created for teenagers and young adult learners.

Word on the Street

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Word on the Street is an extremely good website by The British Council and the BBC.

A series of chapters dealing with everyday situations with a set of definite sections which make students learn as they enjoy these nice clips.

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The episodes are divided in sections: Those which help learners to focus first on comprehension, where we can watch everyday situations dealing with different topics.

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These are followed by sections more focused on linguistic aspects which are exemplified with parts of the previous clip.

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Some brief explanations are highlighted on the screen in order to clarify those linguistic aspects that must be learnt.

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Finally, these clips are followed by some drills to help students evaluate what they have learnt in the episode.
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This website will really fulfill the needs of those students who need some reinforcement on their listening skills as well as those who want to use some good-quality self-access material. Great production and crystal-clear explanations. for those who find it difficult, they can also see the transcript as they watch.

Dipity

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Dipity is a very good timeline creator if you want your students to work with time, tenses or describing events or someone’s life. Catchy interface that allows you to create your own timelines and add images, video, audio and Internet links.
The working area is really user-friendly, and element integration is really easy. We can later share it through our usual social network.

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Destination Death

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Time for an online videogame. Destination Death takes students into a scary story where they are supposed to fight some strange aliens who have taken up the city airport.

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It is a game where objects must be used on other objects and the main character must ask the appropriate questions to the rest of the characters in order to save her sister from the fiendish aliens. It was created by the BBC for English speakers who learnt Spanish, French and German (Check these versions here).

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A good resource for ESO 3-4 and Batxillerat students… try to have them work in groups and take decissions together… and talk about these decissions with the whole class… oral skills can be thus reinforced with a catchy tool!

Protagonize

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Incredible website to enrich writing skills, even for those who want to go further into writing full length stories. Protagonize is meant for those who want to write a story and want to share it with the rest of the world, or just with a tiny bunch.

Collaborative stories have room here… start with an introduction and a first chapter, decide if this chapter can also be modified, invite people to a private writing party or just leave it open to everyone. people participating in the creative process can add their own chapters and maybe edit and modify the others… give instructions on what you want the other people (your pupils?) to do, or let their imagination wander free.

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A  very clear interface, maybe not very catchy for primary education, where you choose the kind of text you want to write. You can add an introduction where you can let out an idea of the story you are writing, or maybe the instructions for participants.

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Decide wheter the story you are about to start is going to be your own individual work (students could create their own accounts and therefore work on their stories on their own), or you want to start a collaborative story, whereby a group of people/pupils will collaborate in the creative process chapter after chapter.

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If you prefer to play as you write, if you want to create an adventure, click on Addventure and start a story which will branch out into different plots which will take the reader into different developments of the story…  probably extra work,  but extremely catchy and motivating!! Your pupils can make groups and each of these groups can create a development of the story you create, or each student of the group can develop the story they have begun cooperatively in a different way.

What are you waiting for? Sign up and start writing!!!