Category Archives: Media

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our listening skills through songs is also extremely relevant, and our old ways with the cassette or CD player have been replaced by websites where we can read the transcript as we watch/listen to the song and even do fill-in-the-gap exercises (Lyrics trainingBatlyrics).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!

Welcome Back!

Holidays are almost over, and a new schoolyear is around the corner. I’ll be ready to post new ideas and thoughts that may help you in your lessons.

Here’s a video for a start: Vicki Davis, a teacher in Georgia, USA, talks about the way she uses new media and new 2.0 applications in her classroom. It’s a short video from Edutopia, really worth watching. She’s not an English teacher, but she shows us the way into using all those tools and applications in our lessons. I would specially point out what she says about teaching these new tools: Sometimes she’s learning from her students as she’s teaching. This give-and-take concept can’t be neglected nowadays when it comes to building new projects. We can’t expect our students to ellicit everything out of inspiration or sheer practice, many things will still be in the teacher’s hands, but we can’t escape the fact that the future of project work in education and knowledge acquisition will be also based upon the process whereby teachers and students share the experience of learning.

Grammar Challenge

The BBC has a very good website where ELT students can check about their doubts when it comes to understanding grammar issues: Grammar Challenge

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Grammar issues appear listed and with just one click you find a page where an ELT specialist gives you a clear explanation on the grammatical point you need to understand, as well as clear written examples. Explanations can be downloaded as mp3 files so that students can listen to them on the go. It is quite suitable for intermediate/advanced students.
There is also a teacher’s section with ideas to get the best of this website in class.

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.

Text into beauty

Here are two examples of how we can work with short silent clips in the classroom: Vimeo has many high-quality video-clips which can be used in many different ways.

The first one we are showing here is a nice short clip of 2 minutes about the story of a seed. It is called “Seedling”:

Seedling from Lee Tao on Vimeo.

It would be nice to have our students describing what is happening, and predicting what will happen next… or, describing the characters appearing in the clip. I’m sure you can think of other possibilities!

The second one is “Paraphernalia”… a story of a girl and a boy… and a plane:

Paraphernalia from Sabrina Cotugno on Vimeo.

Why don’t you put text into pictures? The story is really easy to follow and there’s silent dialogue which can be easily completed… students can create a written dialogue or they can put voice to the clip! It is a very engaging activity which students will love.

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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