Reflecting Teaching and Learning

Friday, December 2, 2011

Week 10 A Final Word

Since I work as a coordinator/lecturer of distance and online courses, this Webskills course has provided me with appropriate knowledge and information regarding most modern technology tools which can be used for developing different skills students need and how to incorporate those tools in the lessons. It also has given me the opportunity to practice the knowledge and use the tools to find out how much it fits to my students and the environment. I have already been using technology and will be using most modern and most appropriate tools for my teaching and learning in the future.

Many thanks to the Webskills course for accepting me and giving this opportunity and my appreciation goes to Robert for guiding and assisting me with his invaluable comments during this journey to complete this course. Also, I thank all my course mates for sharing their experience and for their encouraging and constructive comments which helped a lot in my improvement and completion of the course.

Good Luck to us all and THANKS.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Week 10 Final Reflection



What topics were most successful or most useful for me?

The following are the main topics we have discussed during the ten weeks of the Webskillls course.

Week 1: Introductions; creating an Academic Blog (New to me and most interesting and consider most successful).
Week 2: The ABCD Learning Objectives Framework and Effective Web Searches (Not new to me and I have been using it before. However, some new search engines were introduced).
Week 3: Skill-building Websites for Oral/Aural Skills and Saving Bookmarks with Delicious. (Very good websites for Oral/Aural skills and creating bookmarks is another interesting and useful thing).
Week 4: Skill-building Websites for Reading/Writing Skills and Technology-enhanced Lesson Plans. ( Reading /Writing websites are very important for me and also learning how to incorporate them in the lessons as well).
Week 5: Project-based Learning, WebQuests, and rubrics. (project based learning is not new. However, Webquests and Rubrics are new and those two are very useful).
Week 6: Creating Student-centered Classes and Interactive PowerPoint (Both topics not new and power point presentations are normally used in the classrooms. However, there are new features learned in this course. eg the action slide and blank slide when making presentations).
Week 7: Learner Autonomy and the One-computer Classroom. (This is also a new topic and from this Webskills course we have got quite useful information when there is a difficulty having access to enough resources).
Week 8: Teacher Resources Online. (I did not get time to explore this. This could be of immense use for teachers and I will try and refer back to the information given in week 8 regarding this topic).
Week 9: Learning styles - technology connections. (Before this course I have got some information regarding learning styles).

I consider creating an academic blog as the most successful and useful topic as this can be integrated for any subject, topic and for different types of activities and in this course we have been doing posts on it several times every week and I love it. Also, I am going to start blogging with my students and use it in my lessons. WebQuests, are the second most useful for me regarding teaching and learning as students will be actively involved in the activities in a WebQuest. Websites for Oral/Aural Skills and Reading/Writing Skills are the next most important for me as a teacher. These websites are full of resources I can use while practicing those four skills especially like Randall's Cyber Listening Lab and I am really grateful for this Webskills course and Robert for introducing these to me. Delicious.com and rubrics are also two important things ad a teacher. Delicious.com allowed me to bookmark all the important websites we have explored in this course and creating rubrics using websites like rubistar is a really helpful and time saving tool for a teacher.

Which tools I will use in my classes.

I am very much determined to use the following tools, and integrate them in my lessons.
•Blogs
•WebQuests
•ANVILL
•Voicethread
•Google survey forms
•Google maps
•Nicenet.
•Interactive PowerPoint
•Web searching
•Project-based Learning (PBL)
•Websites for Oral/Aural Skills and Reading/Writing Skills.

What other tools might we have covered or would you suggest that we could have looked at?
•Hot potatoes
•Prezi - presentation software
•Moodle - course management system
•Voicethread - collaborative slideshows
•Storybird - collaborative storytelling
•Edublogs - educational blogging tool
•kubbu
•ClassTools.net
•xical.org

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Week 10, Discussion: Advice to Future Participants



Today a friend of mine called me and said she got a chance from this course. ( in fact I shared the link with lot of friends and requested them to apply.) So I have already started advising her on what to do and what not to do.

Do's
Decide a time specially for this course work and do it daily.
Have a good internet connection.
Try to explore the tools which are emphasized in each week.
Try to connect the tools to your teaching.
Always participate in the discussions and share your experience.
Remember the good manners when doing posts on the discussions.
Give yourself time to do all the necessary readings.
Do lot of research on the internet.
Download the readings on a separate folder.
Keep all the links where you can find easily (like delicious.com).
Be careful with the time difference if there is any synchronous discussion.

Don'ts
Do not wait until the last moment.
Do not skip the readings.
Do not try to be over confident.

Week 10, Levels of Technology Integration (LoTI) at COL



The LoTi Framework focuses on instruction, assessment, and the effective use of digital tools and resources to promote higher order thinking, engaged student learning, and authentic assessment practices in the classroom. These are vital characteristics of 21st Century teaching and learning.

The LoTi Framework is catagorised into Seven levels and each described in details. The levels are:

LoTi Level 0 - Non-use
LoTi Level 1 – Awareness
LoTi Level 2 – Exploration
Level 3 – Infusion
Level 4a – Integration: Mechanical
Level 4b – Integration: Routine
Level 5 – Expansion
Level 6 - Refinement

I believe my institution, Centre for Open Learning, falls in infusion level, level 3. At a Level 3 (Infusion), the instructional focus emphasizes student higher order thinking (i.e., application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation) and engaged learning. Digital tools and resources are used by students to carry out teacher-directed tasks that emphasize higher levels of student cognitive processing relating to the content under investigation. Teachers are using power point presentations for each lesson, with different URLs and audio and video clips. Students do research, explore some issues and do their own individual and group presentations and online chat sessions. Also, students write to forums and complete online exercise and activities. These activities are teacher directed.

The centre now has to focus on Level 4A Integration: Mechanical, in which students are engaged in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blog: Course Reflection


When I look back to the nine weeks I have spend with this course, not only my knowledge on technology tools have improved but I have done some practical work with them and I realized the potential of those technology tools and how to incorporate them in my teaching and learning. For this, I thank the Webskills course for giving me this opportunity and Robert for assisting and guiding us towards the correct path. Also, my heartfelt thanks to all my colleagues who has shared their valuable experience with me and commented on my work, which provided encouragement and enthusiasm to continue.

These are some of the article I have read regarding technology.

• Blogs and ESL class
• Web searching
• Digital Bloom's Taxonomy
• How to Write Clear Objectives
• Teaching aural/oral skills
• Developing Listening Skills with Authentic Materials
• Speaking lesson plans
• Multi-skill websites
• Reading/vocabulary
• Articles about using CALL in writing and reading activities
• Technology-enhanced lesson plans
• Rubrics and Alternative Assessment
• Project-based Learning (PBL)
• WebQuests
• Engaging Students - Technology
• Interactive PowerPoint
• Large Classes
• Learner autonomy
• One-computer classroom
• Make exercises online to use online
• Make exercises to use online or offline on a computer or to print out
• ANVILL
• Learning Styles/Multiple Intelligences
• Learning styles
• Voicethread

These are some of the tools I have tried
• Create my own blog at www.blogger.com,
• Completed a need analysis survey using Google survey forms
• Used Google maps to show where my place is and added some information regarding my country.
• Created a Social Bookmarking site on Delicious.com
• Create a rubric using rubistar
• Create a technology-enhanced project or WebQuest
• Created an Interactive Power Point Presentation
• Created ABCD Objectives for a lesson

These are also some of the tasks I have completed during this course.
• Continuously writing weekly reflection and updating the discussions I do on Nicenet.
• Preparing a technology-enhanced lesson plan
• Assessment, rubrics and project-based learning
• Create a sample lesson for a one-computer classroom
• Create an online course site or an exercise to use online or offline
• Contributed to the discussions on Ground rules for discussion on Nicenet.
• Participated in the discussions - comparing rubrics
How will I integrate what I have learned

I have already thought of integrating some of these tools in my lesson. For example, I have been using PowerPoint presentation for nearly all my lessons. However, there are features like blank slides and action slides which I have learned in this course and I will use that in my lessons. Also, I have created Voicethreads for my final projects and some students liked it very much, although many of them did not get time to comment. I plan to use those threads for my future lessons. Blogging and Nicenet are my favourite tools and I will use them for improving students writing skills and communication skills. Webquest is another tool I plan to use to enhance my students’ presentation and writing skills. In general, I plan to use all the tools, however, the ones mentioned about will be used most with the students.

I will continue to learn about these tools through the internet and through different Websites which gives information about technology and teaching.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Week 9 Discussion: Learning styles

http://www.open2.net/survey/learningstyles/

Technology can be used to enhance different learning styles in a classroom. There are different technology tools, gadgets and online learning materials. Teachers need to be active, creative, and innovative and determined to look for the most appropriate materials and tools and dedicated to use them in the class. The following list includes some o the technology tools I believe would work for me for different learning styles.

For verbal linguistic
Voice thread for Story-sharing creation, poems, essays, letters and for discussion and commenting. I have created some voicethreads for my final project and I liked it very much. I realized the potential of that for language learning and I believe it can be used to discuss, stories poems and essay. I will use this tool for discussion.

Story sharing sites- http://www.storywrite.co.uk/storyassessment.htm
Students can get instructions, share their stories and get others opinions. This would create interest and enthusiasm and would improve students writing skills.

Nicenet is also such an excellent tool for discussion. I have already been using the discussion forum and chat functions in Moodle. However, I found that when using chats in Moodle every response is on a separate thread. That means if you say yes to somebody, there is no way others would identify to whome you are saying 'yes'. You cannot response to that persons thread. But in the nice net it is like that. So, Nicenet has this function well built.

Bodily/Kinesthetic
Video production - skits, dances, sports, role playing, demonstrations
Animation - Macromedia Flash

I believe these two are interesting; however, I do not have much information on them.

Logical/Mathematical
Spreadsheets- is a software I have been using for a long time and gives a lot of ease to lots of small calculations when doing marks sheets and lists etc.

Power point presentation- this is the most important and most used software for me. it is immensely useful for our block tutorials when we need to present so much information within a short period of time and to keep students attention and interest on the topic.

Online data collection. I have known Survey monkey for some time and from this course I have learned and used Google forms to crate survey to collect data. these online forms are make your work so much easy and it can automatically illustrate the data and information on graphs and charts which saves lot of time.

Webquests. I got the opportunity to use Webquests in this course and I found it also an interesting strategy to use in my lessons.

Interpersonal
Blogs- I have created my very first blog during this course and I like it very much. I found blogs a very appropriate tool which will enhance and improve students writing and researching skills. I will be using it in my teaching in the future.

Comments are welcome!
Regards,

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week 8 Summary

This is the busiest week for me this year. I have been doing exam paper marking and marks finalization day and night. So, I am not able to give my best effort to the tasks assigned for this week.

After I have chosen my partner Deep to work on the peer-reading task, I have handed in my draft and am going to comment on his draft. Sharing and commenting on the partners project drafts can be a very enriching and a good learning experience which we could practice in our teaching as well.
Then I have shared the online tasks I have created on Voicethread for my final project. However, it seems that it is private and cannot be viewed. But I am trying to make it public. Here is the link:

http://voicethread.com/#u2113378

Pls. let me know if it works.

I have also created a survey form which I will use with some editing at the end of my project.

Here is the link:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/gform?key=0AlIDTa5Eb4T4dExROHl3VlFZNlkzNENILThHTmFzTEE&hl=en

I have also learned about ANVILL this week and I have created an account in this site but not able to explore much as I am really busy this week. This is a wonderful tool that would fit my students’ needs and I will also try to create some task on it as well. I am also happy that I was able to join the webinar we has with Jeff. It was also a good experience which gave us the chance to speak to our course mates and instructors. It seems that time flies when you are busy with something and with all these interesting activities this course is coming to an the end.

Voicethread for online teaching and learning

Here is a very interesting Voicethread about using Voicethread for online teaching and learning

http://voicethread.com/#q.b908650.i4963751

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Week 8 Task: Create an online course site or an exercise


I have created these online tasks for my final project.

a) What tool you used (please list the website) and what you created?

I have used Voicethread and created five threads for the students to comment using voice and writing. The address for my Voicethread is: https://voicethread.com/?#u2113378

c) The type of students who would use it?


These threads are created for my Study Skills students who are advanced level and need to improve their communication skills.

b) How you will use it in your teaching - please be specific?

These threads are used to improve my students communication skills. These also can be used for improving writing skills as students can communicate by writing and I have used the topics from the unit outline of study skills which are; note taking, referencing, essay writing, giving an introduction and exam preparation. So, they can be used to teach these skills as well. Some of these can be used in other grades/levels as well.

As my students are studying online and block mode they will do the work by themselves. They will listen to or read the instructions, go to the given websites, get information about the topic and tell the answer to the given questions using voice or if they are not able to do voice comments they can write the comments and other students and I can continue it as a discussion.
For those who have normal face-to-face class, these threads can be used as class activities or extension activities and also as homework.

d) How you will encourage learner autonomy with this tool?


As students will be doing this in their own time and by their own it encourages learner autonomy.

Websites used as resources.
Essay Writing: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/03/
Note taking Skills: http://www.esl-lab.com/tips/rent-apartment.htm
Referencing : http://gem.mche.edu.mv


Please try this link if you cannot sees the Voicethread.
http://voicethread.com/share/2311297/

Week 8 Discussion: Teaching with Online Tools- Moodle





At Centre for Open Learning, Maldives National University, we are using Moodle for our courses which are conducted in blended mode. These courses include two face-to-face tutorials sessions for each subject and all other works are online. All the learning resources are made available online through this system and students do most of their studies online. We also have synchronous and asynchronous discussions and assignment submission and giving feedback through the system. I love the LMS as it has got a user-friendly interface and there are varieties of feature you can use. Also you can embed other tools if you want.

What is Moodle? Moodle is an Open Source Course Management System (CMS) / Learning Management System (LMS). It has become very popular among educators around the world as a tool for creating online dynamic web sites for their students to manage and promote learning. Many institutions use Moodle as their platform to conduct fully online courses, while some use it simply to augment face-to-face courses (known as blended learning). it It can be used to make activity modules (such as forums, databases and wikis) to build richly collaborative communities of learning around a subject matter (in the social constructionist tradition). It can also be used to deliver content to students (such as standard SCORM packages) and assess learning using assignments or quizzes.

The above mentioned activities can promote learner autonomy and to use Moodle you need to install it on a web server somewhere, either on one of your own computers or one at a web hosting company. If there is any problem, Moodle Docs is a great place to start, especially the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages.

The Moodle demonstration site is a full Moodle site with some sample courses that you can try as a teacher, student or even an administrator.

Demonstration site: http://demo.moodle.net/

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Week 8 Discussion





This week’s discussion is on ‘Teaching with Online Tools’. We were asked to explore different tools and exercises and share our ideas on how the use of these tools might change the way we teach and/or the way that our students learn.
We have Jeff Magoto, the director of the language center at the University of Oregon, (and a very experienced EFL/ESL language teacher) with us this week. With Jeff we are going to have a synchronous chat session On ANVILL. Here are some information related to ANVILL taken from the discussion.

ANVILL was initially developed for K-12 foreign language teachers in the U.S. But now it's used by teachers all over the world, and EFL/ESL teachers are the second largest group of users (after Spanish teachers).
ANVILL tries to provide language teachers with a speech-based toolbox. The kind of toolbox where teachers and learners feel as comfortable working with speech (and other media) as they do when they word process, blog, or use a wiki or a ning. While our tools lack the pizzazz of commercial offerings, they have two advantages: 1) they're designed for language teachers/learners (in an Internet age, and 2) they're free.

ANVILL tries to have something for every language teacher, but it's probably of most use to teachers who want (and are able to) extend or enhance opportunities for spoken language practice.

For some teachers that means they use it as a space for student audio and video recordings, much like Voicethread or Wetoku. Others use ANVILL as a course website, that is, primarily as a container for other web-based resources (like those at CLEAR) or elsewhere. And, finally, other teachers (such as the two teachers mentioned in today's video below) use it a use it as a space for audio-video cultural exchanges or collaborations.


Wow! I need to try this!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Week 7 Summary of Discussion on Learner Autonomy

This discussion on learner autonomy has immensely benefited all of us. We have been motivated through the collaboration, reading and discussion and due to that our students have been motivated as well.

The following is a list of activities gathered from the readings and discussion by Courtney.

Activities that enhance learner Autonomy
* implementing daily/weekly diaries, journal entries, and/or blogs
* in class pair and group work where students interact doing jigsaws, teaching each other, making decisions, solving problems, interviewing, and having discussions
* class debates on different topics
* students creating and presenting power points
* students searching for information analyzing it, and presenting it to the class
* providing students with authentic English listening resources such as T.V. programs, movies, and news broadcast among many others
* incorporating music
*having students make their own vocabulary flash cards

I enjoyed the discussion and lets always be be autonomous teachers!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Week 7 Reflection


There are four tasks this week: a Discussion, a Project Task, and a course Task that I did on Nicenet, and reflective post on the blog. Week 7 was also busy and through discussion and reading I have got many ideas and strategies to use when teaching a class with only one computer and to encourage greater autonomy in my students.
Discussions:
Discussion 1: I read about learner autonomy (Thanasoulas, Sheu, Interconnections) and discussed what I have already been doing and what I could you do to encourage greater autonomy in my students, with and without technology. Then in
Discussion 2: Then I participated in the forum as I am using one computer in their classes, to describe how I use the computer in my lesson how it benefit all the students.
Task: Create a sample lesson for a one-computer classroom
I have created a sample lesson for a one-computer classroom on the topic writing summaries for Advanced Certificate level students (they have got this topic in their syllabus). I have posted this on the Nicenet and waiting for my colleagues comments.
Project Task 6: Suggest a partner for peer review
For peer review I have got Deep as my partner and when we complete our report, we will share it through the link give by Robert and comment on each other (draft report is due to the partner by Wednesday, November 16).
Blog: Weekly Reflection
I have been uploading most of my postings, comments and other work on my blog and commenting of a friend’s blog as well as this is something we have to do each week.

Week 7 Task: One Computer Lesson

My Lesson for One Computer Class

Students: Advanced Certificate level 20 students.
AGE: 20-35 years old.
Topic: Summary Writing (an article)
Duration: 1.30 hours
Resources: one computer, multimedia projector and texts for summary writing
Links:
Summarizing http://www.tnewfields.info/Articles/sum.htm
Sample Summaries: http://www.tnewfields.info/Articles/sumE.htm
Summary Ball: http://wvde.state.wv.us/strategybank/SummaryBall.html
Passages for summaries: http://www.englishforeveryone.org/Topics/Reading%20Comprehension.htm

ABCD objectives:
After listening the teacher explaining about summary writing (using the projector) (Condition) the students (Audience) will play the game Summary Ball (Behavior) and each student state at least two points (Degree).

Students (Audience) in groups will discuss and note down (Behavior) at least five points (Degree)they want include in their summary by looking at the text given to them(Condition).

Students (Audience) in groups will go online in the specified time for the group (Condition) read the sample summaries, and type their summaries (Behavior) and complete it in the given time (Degree).

Activities:
The teacher explain about summary writing (20min)using a slide show and then after that students play the game summary ball where the teacher throws a soft ball to one of the student and that student tells two points which are important for summarizing. (This will be for 10 min).Then students are divided into groups of 5. Each group is given a text of 400-500 words and they work in groups to note down the important points. A schedule is given to students the time for each group to go on the computer for reading the sample summaries and typing their own summaries. Each group take turns and use the computer and finish their summaries in the given time. (Each group gets 15 minutes total 60 minutes to use the computer).

Your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Week 7- Project Task: Find a Partner for Peer Reading -



I requested Elmira and Vinicius to become my partners, however, before I got an answer from them Deep has requested me to be his partner. So I immediately accepted and we are ready to start with our peer reading of our final project when it is ready. Right Deep!

Week 7 Discussion- Learner Autonomy

According to Dimitrios, learner autonomy is shifting the responsibility from teachers to learners and changes to the curriculum itself towards a more learner-centred kind of learning.

Students differ in their learning habits, interests, needs, and motivation. So, in order to encourage greater autonomy in students, we can try to create a friendly atmosphere where learners can get the freedom of studying by their own, get open and positive feedback, respect others ideas and take the responsibility of their own learning while the teacher acts as a facilitator of learning.

We can include learning strategies like different activities which involve critical reflection, decision-making, cognitive and metacognitive strategies, note-taking; repetition, resourcing, contextualization, self-report, diaries and question for clarification. Contextualization can be very important here it provides opportunities for the students to use what they learn in a meaningful context. Also diaries and expectation/evaluation sheets can play a huge role as they offer students the possibility to plan, monitor, and evaluate their learning, identify any problems and suggest solutions.

Of these activities I have been using cognitive and metacognitive strategies, note-taking; repetition and mostly expectation/evaluation sheets. I still need to use more contextualization activities and critical reflection in my lessons

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Week 6-Project Task 5: Begin to implement the change



I have started implementing the change related project two weeks back. I am using Voicethread and upload photos and (hopefully videos and audios) for the students to comment using voice and writing. This is to try and improve their communication skills. During week 1 there were some comments from students, however, in this week students have not responded yet.

I feel that this time of the year is not good to start such a project for my students. There are many reasons for this. My students are having their final exam this coming Tuesday to Thursday and as they are preparing for their exam they might not be getting time for this. After their exam they are going for their annual vacation of about two and half months. I have been contacting the students with email and sms and through telephone, however, the response for the Voicethread is very low.

Week 6- Discussion on interactive power point


I have done all the readings about power point presentations and got some very important information, like the ten best practice tips which I have been trying to practice.

1. Think about goals and purpose of handouts.
2. Minimize the number of slides.
3. Don't parrot PowerPoint.
4. Hold up your end
5. Time your talk.
6. Give it a rest
8. Mix up the media
9. Hide your pointer. Presenting with PowerPoint
7. Make it interactive.
8. Mix up the media
9. Hide your pointer.
10. Rehearse before presenting.

I normally use different media such as audio and video and photos, try to minimize the slides while I present and also do rehearse before my presentations. I learnt the setting of a Kiosk Show while doing a presentation for my faculties’ advertisement. From then I use that feature in all the advertising fairs. However, I have to agree that sometimes my presentations may not be very interactive. In fact this week after reading the handouts I have learnt how to add action buttons to a presentation. Adding action buttons are quite interesting and took me some time to learn. This will help me to make my presentations interactive. I am excited that I will be able to add quizzes, multiple choice questions etc to my presentation. Of the techniques listed in the articles to promote interactivity, I have tried Blank slide, ConcepTest, Think-Pair-Share and some more in my slide show created for this week on Online Learning which you can access from our class Wiki.

Week 6-Creating an INTERACTIVE Power Point




After reading about ways to create active learning lessons while using PowerPoint and viewing some examples I have created an interactive PowerPoint presentation on the topic Online Learning.

I have used blank slides, photos, hyperlinks of articles and videos, and other techniques to make my presentation interesting for the students. In my presentation I have asked the students to use ‘Think-Pair-Share’ techniques to discuss about what online learning is and then read about it from a given website, watch a Youtube video on the same topic. After that students do a small multiple choice quiz.

The most important thing I have learned this week is creating a quiz by inserting action button and this is quite useful for me. I will be using it in my future presentations.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Reflection of Week 5



During week 5 I have completed 4 tasks; creating a Rubric and Webquest, describing a technology-related change for my project, discussion on PBL and assessment on Nicenet and creating a WebQuest. I think it is important to note that this week we have done some practical work using the some of the tools introduced such as creating the rubric with RubiStar.

Creating a Rubric was the first task I completed and I loved Rubistar which has made work a lot easier for me. It is a great tool which can create rubrics so easily. I have created my rubrics for my study skills class which is Advanced Certificate Level 20 students on persuasive writing.

Problem-based learning (PBL) which we have discussed in the forum is a student-centered learning process in which the teacher acts as a facilitator providing appropriate assistance and scaffolding to the students. In PBL students will have the opportunity to be more interactive while working on different topics and more motivated to participate and to have a better performance. Rubrics also play a role in their learning.

The creation of the WebQuest was a challenging task and takes some time to learn. Then as my technology related change for my project, I decided to introduce Voicethread to my students to try to improve their oral communication through conversation and writing. You can access my Voivethread from the following link.


http://voicethread.com/share/2303788/

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Week 5-Creating a WebQuest




After reading about project-based learning and WebQuests, I have created a WebQuest on zunal.com on the topic 'Improve your memory Power' which is a topic in my Study Skills class. It was a nice experience trying to create it. I have found out that if I want a rubric I have to upgrade my account to a Pro which means I have to pay.
My WebQuest address is:

www.zunal.com/webquest.php?w=120058

Please visit and comment.

Regards,
Roza

Week 5 -PROJECT STEP #4: Describe a technology-related change



As I have been describing my students last week, I have selected 20 students from my Study Skills subject, in which they study writing skills, reading skills, presentation, note taking skills etc. Students are doing the course online and block mode where most of the work is online and they have block mode face-to-face tutorials. We use Moodle for our learning management system and we have synchronous and asynchronous discussion forums.

I have found out that we need to build students confidence and improve their oral communication as well as develop their writing skills. However, as Robert has suggested to me (thanks Robert for all the ideas and comments), in this project it will not be possible to focus on all these issues. Therefore, I thought of focusing my project on oral communication. To improve the students’ oral communication, I researched a technology tool which fits my students’ needs (as they are only studying online as the face-to-face blocks are already over). I have found out that Voicetread is an appropriate tool for the purpose which could enable students to add audio, video and text comments to graphics, videos and documents. It is a new tool for the students and if they can add voice and comment on the graphics, I believe students will find it interesting and most importantly very appropriate for practicing oral communication. I have already started the project and as students are at a distance plus they are preparing for the exam, I am a little bit worried about getting their full participation.

Pls. comment!
Thanks,

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Week 5- Problem Based Learning

According to Wikipedia, Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject in the context of complex and realistic problems. They work in groups, identify what they already know, and how and where to access new information to resolve the problem. The instructor acts as a facilitator providing appropriate scaffolding of that process asking probing questions, providing appropriate resources, leading class discussions and designing student assessments.

How can PBL be used to help motivate students more?

I have read the article “Less Teaching and More Learning" by Susan Gaer.
In that, she has mentioned that the project-based approach has helped to motivate students to learn language for a purpose and promotes community among class members. I found that this is true in my Advanced Certificate in Human Resource Management Subjects (I coordinate the course and design assessment with teachers’ assistance). For example, the assignment “Designing an Orientation Program” for Introduction to HRM students, students improve their language and expand support among group members. For the assignment, students are grouped and they have to visit different companies to get information other than books and internet and design the program especially for that company, write a report and present to it the class. Students are quite motivated as they get to interview different companies, divide the work among themselves and help each other in practicing the presentation. In the process their language skills develop and their friendship strengthens.

Week 5-Creating a Rubric

Just like Blerta and Vinicius have mentioned in the discussion forum, I also loved Rubistar which has made work a lot easier for me. I remember last semester making a rubric for my curriculum studies assignment. It took so much time for me. Rubistar is a great tool which can create rubrics so easily. It is simple and easy. Also the respective categories can be edited to adapt the criteria to the students' abilities.

I have created my rubrics for my study skills class which is Advanced Certificate Level 20 students. The lesson is persuasive writing and the topic is presentation skills. This is an assignment for the students and they complete it at home within 3 weeks and they will submit it online to the learning management system by due date.

The link to my rubric is:
http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php?screen=ShowRubric&rubric_id=2109752

My Rubric ID: 2109752

Week 5-Alternative Assessments and Rubrics

After reading the about assessments and rubrics the following is a summary of what I have understood.

Alternative assessments are performance based activities which helps language learning as communication for meaningful purposes. These methods provide learners opportunities to reflect on their linguistic development and learning processes. For instructors, it is a way to connect assessment with learning strategies.
Checklists are often used for observing performance in order to keep track of a student's progress or work over time as they provide an indication of whether a specific criterion, characteristic, or behavior is present.

Rubrics are a wonderful way to clarify expectations for holistic grading, such as for writing or speaking. Rubrics are divided into four categories. Holistic rubrics- an overall impression or rubrics respond to language performance as a whole. Analytic scales-are divided into separate categories representing different aspects or dimensions of performance. For example, dimensions for writing performance might include content, organization, vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics. Primary trait rubrics- the instructor predetermines the main criterion or primary trait for successful performance of a task, narrowing the criteria for judging performance to one main dimension. The multitrait rubrics approach- is similar to the primary trait approach but allows for rating performance on three or four dimensions rather than just one. As the reading suggests it is important for the Instructors to plan ahead and introduce alternative forms of assessment gradually or in conjunction with traditional forms of testing.

As Vinicius has mentioned this is a way of involving students in the learning process which will make the learning more meaningful to students. In my institution we have been using rubrics, mainly analytic scale, in most of our subjects. we also use peer evaluation in group presentations.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Reflective Summary of Week 4



The participants are supposed to complete 3 tasks during Week 4 as well and they provided useful information regarding language learning and technology. The first task was to read some of the given articles about ways computer enhance reading and writing skills and finding two or more specific web pages that would work for my class then discuss that in the discussion forum.

I read Three Extensive Reading Activities for ESL/EFL Students Using E-books (2004) by Mei-Ya Liang. It focuses on intermediate and advanced ESL/EFL students. The objectives of this lesson are to guide students to read authentic e-texts outside of the classroom and to improve their overall reading. From this reading, I have found ‘The Greek farmers’ strategies’, the classical argument as an interesting model I can use in my class. Also, I created ABCD Objective for a lesson to use this classical argument in my class.

As a second task I described my class and explained some issues that need to be addressed which are building their confidence, improving student’s oral communication skills as well as trying to develop their writing skills.

Creating a technology enhanced lesson plan was the next task. My lesson plan was on Essay writing for advanced certificate level and the duration is 2 hours. I had three instructional objectives for the lesson. The following are the techniques and activities I have included in the lesson:
1. A game: DeBono’s thinking Hats.-Discussion- Student centered activity
2. Drawing a concept map- Student centered activity
3. Analyzing the topic- Student centered and guided activity
4. Researching information- Student centered and guided activity.
5. Writing and posting the essay on wiki or blog- Student centered and guided activity
6. Commenting or helping other groups to edit the writing- Student centered activity
Web sites needed for this lesson:
1. Daily Motion
2. SlideShare
3. Custom Essay.Org.
4. Eslflow.com

In the discussion forum lot of useful websites are posted from different participants on computer enhance reading and writing skills and I have saved the ones that interests me. Also, I have found out a website which can create lesson plans online. LAMS, Learning Activity Management System, which can create a sequences of learning activities including individual tasks, group works and whole class activities.

Week 4 was a productive week!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

LAMS: Creating Online Lesson Plans




In case anybody is interested in creating online collaborative learning activities or online lesson plans, you can visit LAMS http://www.lamsinternational.com
LAMS is a tool for designing, managing and delivering online collaborative learning activities. It provides teachers with a visual authoring environment for creating sequences of learning activities including individual tasks, group works and whole class activities.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Week 4-Task: Create a technology-enhanced lesson plan

My Lesson Plan


Lesson Title: Essay Writing
Lesson Author: Roza Ibrahim
Grade Level: Advanced Certificate Level
Subject Area: Study Skills
Time Allotted for the Lesson: 2 hours

Short Description of Lesson:
First, students draw a concept map on essay writing. Then watch a video on Steps in Essay writing. After that, in groups, analyze the topic given and research information from the internet, arrange the information gathered. Then, access the website ( provided by the teacher) which explains how to write introduction, body and conclusion and also list of transitional verbs. Then write the essay and upload to their class wiki or blog which is created earlier. Then each group should at least comment another group.

Classroom Layout and Grouping of Students: learning will take place inside and out of the classrooms. The classroom should have computers with internet at least one for each group and multimedia projector and speakers. After watching the video students have to be in groups of 4 and from there they work in that group.

State Curriculum Standards met in this lesson:
I considered Advanced Certificate level as grade 12 level (ESL) The following are the appropriate indicator(s) and standard) that are being met in this lesson.

W.2.7. Write stories that include coherent plot development, characterization and setting.
W.2.8 Write persuasive compositions that structure ideas and arguments in a logical way.
W.2.9 Write expository compositions that include a thesis and some points of support.
W.2.10 Write descriptive compositions that include a thesis and some points of support.

National Education Technology Standards for Students (NETS•S) met in this lesson:

1.Demonstrate creativity and innovation
a.Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
b.Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
2.Communicate and collaborate
a.Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
b.Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
c.Develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.
3.Conduct research and use information
a.Plan strategies to guide inquiry.
b.Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
c.Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
4.Think critically, solve problems, and make decisions
a.Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
b.Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
c.Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
5.Use technology effectively and productively
a.Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
b.Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
c.Demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning.
d.Exhibit leadership for digital citizenship.
6.Technology Operations and Concepts
a.Understand and use technology systems. b. select and use applications effectively and productively.

Instructional Objective(s):

1. The students of the study skills class (Audience), using their previous knowledge and with the help of the teacher (Condition) draw a concept map (Behavior) on essay writing with relevant six points (Degree) within the given ten minutes.

2. The students, in groups (Audience), discuss and analyze the topic given (Behavior) using their previous knowledge (Condition) and decide on three key words (Degree) which they will use to search for information.

3. The students, in groups (Audience), arrange and choose (Behavior) the information they have collected (Condition) to the appropriate part of the essay in the correct sequence to make sense and cohesive (Degree).

Materials and resources needed for this lesson.
1. White board and marker,
2. Study Skills study guide
3. paper and pen for writing
Technology resources needed for this lesson
1. Computer –one for each student/one for each group
2. Internet connection
3. multimedia projector
4. Speaker system
5. printer

Web Addresses needed for this lesson:
1.Daily Motion
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xbdina_college-essay-writing-tips_school#rel-page-10
2.SlideShare
http://www.slideshare.net/ctomlins/writing-the-introduction-body-and-conclusion
3.Custom Essay.Org.
http://www.custom-essays.org/Essay_Structure.html
4.Eslflow.com
http://www.eslflow.com/transitionalconnectingandlinkingwords.html

Student’s Present level of Performance and Knowledge: order to complete the lesson successfully, the students must have prior knowledge and experience in constructing grammatically correct sentence, writing paragraphs, writing introduction, body and conclusion, they should have learned the techniques of searching using the internet and researching for information.

Instructional Procedures
Lesson Set:
A game: Using DeBono’s thinking Hats.
•Information: (White) - considering purely what information is available, what are the facts?
•Emotions (Red) - instinctive gut reaction or statements of emotional feeling (but not any justification)
•Bad points judgment (Black) - logic applied to identifying flaws or barriers, seeking mismatch
•Good points judgment (Yellow) - logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony
•Creativity (Green) - statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes
•Thinking (Blue) - thinking about thinking
Each student will be given a different coloured Hat and they have to discuss for a given topic. By wearing the Hats their thinking should be according to the colour eg. students with White hat only given the facts on the topic.

Techniques and Activities:
1.A game: DeBono’s thinking Hats.-Discussion- Student centered activity
2.Drawing a concept map- Student centered activity
3.analyzing the topic- Student centered and guided activity
4.Researching information- Student centered and guided activity.
5.writing and posting the essay on wiki or blog- Student centered and guided activity
6.Commenting or helping other groups to edit the writing- Student centered activity

Lesson Closure:
Discussion of the process for essay writing and the essays read to the class by the group.

Adaptations for Special Learners: It depends on what kind of special needs they have. Eg: for a student

Supplemental Activities: Extension and remediation:
For students who need more instruction/practice, easier topics could be given for them to practice at home and upload to the blog or class wiki.

Assessment/Evaluation: students will be assessed both formally and informally. Marks will not be given to the informal part (eg. DebonosThining Hat game). At the end of the lesson, students will be questioned about the process involved in essay writing and if most students can answer it will be considered as objectives achieved.
Formal assessment will be on the group essay.
Process in Essay writing(each step 1 mark up to 6 marks)
Topic analysis and information searching and group participation (marks can vary from 1-4)
Writing essay Content (4 marks)
Structure 2)
Grammar (2marks)
Spelling (2marks)
Total 20 marks

Students will be provided a written feedback through LMS or in class.

Student Products: A concept map and group essays.

Week 4: Project Step #3: Class Issue

At the moment I am teaching Study Skills for the students of Advanced Certificate in Management Course. This subject basically includes most of the skills students need to master in Higher Education like Presentation skills, note taking skills, reading and writing skills, referencing skills etc. These students come from different islands and their ages vary from 20 to 35. Our course runs in blended mode (face-to-face BLOCK mode tutorials and online classes using an LMS). Students are provided with study guides as well as the learning materials are online. There are weekly chat sessions and forums. Most of them have desktops or laptops and in some of the island the internet connection sometimes is a bit slow. Although there are 80 students registered in the course, I would select my tutorial students 11 male and 9 female (20) for this project.

It is a fact that communication skills is an important factor in achieving success in any field and I realize that most of my students’ needs to develop their communication skills. When we do class discussions, group work and presentations, some of them are very confident to speak up and express their views on different issues and some of them are not. I believe that students need more opportunities to practice communication skills. Also, though we have chat sessions, forums and other activities to practice writing skills still some students are weak in their writing skills and grammar which make them loose their confidence while communicating.

Week 4- Reading/Writing Skill-building

Extensive Reading Activities for ESL/EFL Students Using E-books

I have read Three Extensive Reading Activities for ESL/EFL Students Using E-books (2004) by Mei-Ya Liang. It focuses on intermediate and advanced ESL/EFL students. The objectives of this lesson are to guide students to read authentic e-texts outside of the classroom and to improve their overall reading. These activities can be adapted to other levels as well.

These three activities are designed to help students choosing books, reading and sharing and evaluating books and other resources critically. Students are provided 10 e-books of different lengths and varying difficulty and study guides as scaffolding for learning. In each activity, goals, procedures and study guide are provided in which the goals describe what the students would achieve from that particular activity while the procedure explains the steps to be followed by the students and the teacher. In the study guide section there are websites given for the students to access the readings (I found that some websites are not working) and after that students are expected to answer the questions provided on the Study Guide section. The evaluation activity leads students to higher-order thinking, applying, synthesizing and evaluating information from the online texts and resources and making judgments.

From this reading, I have found ‘The Greek farmers’ strategies’, the classical argument as an interesting model I can use in my class. The web site is:
http://www2.winthrop.edu/wcenter/handoutsandlinks/classica.htm
‘The Greek farmers’ strategies’, the classical argument model includes, the introduction, the narration, the confirmation, the refutation and concession and the summation. The site also gives suggestions and strategies for developing each section of a classical argument. This is a useful site for my students as it is a model for writing argumentative essays and in the university, students do lots of argumentative writings and debates. I have already added the site to my delicious page so that I can easily find it when I need.
ABCD Objective: Here is an ABCD objective I have created for a lesson to use this classical argument in my class.

The students of my class (Audience), after reading this classical argument model(Condition), in groups discuss and note down (Behavior) at least two points (Degree) they could include under each part of the classical argument, the introduction, the narration, the confirmation, the refutation and concession and the summation for a given topic (Condition).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Reflective Summary of Week 3




During week 3 creating a delicious page was the first task I completed. Creating the site was quite easy and very useful. This social bookmarking is a way to save our favorite web links and share them with friends. I have been saving my favorite pages by bookmarking them and I can access my own bookmarks from anywhere. Isn't that wonderful! You can visit and check my bookmarks on http://delicious.com/roza1. During the week I have also learned how to upload my picture with the help of my course mate Vinicius. Thanks Vinicus for that. In addition, I have discovered how to create a stack in Delicious page which will allow a collection of links built around a common theme. This will be of use when we need different types of information on a theme.

If you want to create a stack, you have to visit the stack tab on your profile page and click “create stack.” Then can choose the links, add some descriptions, pick images, and layout. You can also shuffle the order of links if you want. When every things set, then click publish to share your Delicious stack.

As a second task I read the articles about CALL for listening. I have read the article Developing Listening Skills with Authentic Materials by Lindsay Miller. The article is indeed interesting and as mentioned that listening has not received wider attention in the past given that it is the language skill most often used in everyday life. She has mentioned the process for helping learners develop their listening skills; Pre-, While-, and Post-Listening and how this process can be followed while using technology like Radio, TV and the Internet. Radio stations such as BBC World Service (BBC) and Voice of America (VOA) are constantly on-air and send programs, authentic and good for listening in class. After reading the article I posted my comments on Nicenet and on my blog as well. Then I visited websites for listening skills.
http://www.bbc.co.uk,
http://www.avoa. gov,
http://npr.org,
http://www.npr.org/programs/morningedition/,
http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=140949453&m=141229934I,
http://www.esl-lab.com/


The most amazing site I have visited this week is Randall's Cyber Listening Lab: http://www.esl-lab.com/. This is one of the few websites that includes pre-, during, and post- activities. Definitely I am going to use these sites well to develop my students listening skills and recommend to my friends as well.

I have also visited this interesting website Real English http://www.real-english.com which is devoted to teaching English, namely listening/viewing and speaking. It contains a set of lessons each of which relies on a video and a “while-viewing” task.

To comments on sample project reports I chose “Building Teaching Skills through the Interactive Web Project Report” by Aleyda Linares from Honduras. I selected this project as I thought it might relate to what I am going to do for my final project. I found that the learners and the setting were very well described with clear goals of the course and project. However, I wonder how much the project goals are measurable. When I studied the needs of the students I found that there were two goals which specifically relates to what I have thought for my final project.

Develop writing and reading skills to communicate more effectively in English.
Develop technology skills to enhance their English language skills.

By analyzing this project report I have got the idea of how our final project report is expected to be and I have learned many new things during this week as well.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Real English

Week 3


Thanks Felipe for posting this link http://www.real-english.com

I have visited this interesting website which is devoted to teaching English, namely listening/viewing and speaking. It contains a set of lessons each of which relies on a video and a “while-viewing” task. I also found that people visit this site because of these reasons:

• Focus on listening and speaking activities.
• Videos with comprehension exercises.
• Speaking activity: Possibility to record voice answering questions.
• Availability of movies of different topics and for different levels and ages.
• Instructions on how to take RealEnglish lessons are well explained on every page.
• Possibility to download and convert the videos formats.
• Quick downloading.
• Good quality videos.
• Sample videos using different dialects
• Some videos are subtitled.

According to the people who were involved in creating this site got the idea due their French students’ experience of having difficulty in normal conversation in the USA or the UK. My kids have the same experience in Australia in 2009. I believe, this is an excellent website (we) English teachers have to use as a resource which will benefit lot of people.

Comments on sample project reports from past Webskills classes


Just like Nur and Myriam I chose “Building Teaching Skills through the Interactive Web Project Report” by Aleyda Linares from Honduras. I selected this project as I thought it might relate to what I am going to do for my final project.
She has a class of 16 undergraduate students who are 19-30 years old and enrolled in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) program at the National Pedagogical University of Honduras.

She has explained her learners and the setting very well with clear goals of the course and project. However, I wonder how much the project goals are measurable. When I studied the needs of the students, in general it is what most learners need to develop a language. However, she has two goals which specifically relates to what I have thought for my final project.

Develop writing and reading skills to communicate more effectively in English
Develop technology skills to enhance their English language skills

She has mentioned that they have a language lab and because she was the in charge, her students got the advantage of getting time to work on the project every day. What I liked about her project is that she has started blogging with her students and the class blog being as an online resource to practice grammar topics. I believe it is an excellent way of improving language skills especially writing. She found that her students are motivated to learn grammar at the end of the project and I believe it is a huge success.

For my final project I had the idea of creating a blog and then dropped the idea as my students already use asynchronous and synchronous chat sessions in all the lessons and I wanted to integrate a tool which can enhance the oral skills as well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Teaching aural/oral skills

Websites for Listening Skills

Out of the given websites I have visited these sites http://www.bbc.co.uk, http://www.avoa. gov, http://npr.org, http://www.npr.org/programs/morning-edition/, http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=140949453&m=141229934I, http://www.esl-lab.com/

bbc.co.uk is a very good site with lots of news articles and other information and good for different level of students. I tried listening some news form the site. I felt that the voice was very clear and pronunciation very beautiful. This might be because British English is preferred in Maldives. I tried http://npr.org and it lead me to npr books. There are lots of interesting book reviews music reviews and author interviews. Book review is just what I am teaching in my class this semester so, I listened to a book review. Although I won’t be able to try it in class as my face-to-face classes have already finished, I am going to recommend the site to my students.
Npr books http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=140949453&m=141229934I

The most amazing site I have visited this week is Randall's Cyber Listening Lab: http://www.esl-lab.com/. This is one of the few websites that includes pre-, during, and post- activities. It's organized by topic and level with general listening quizzes, basic listening quizzes, listening quizzes for academic purposes, ESL vocabulary lessons, language learning life tips and long conversation with real/video. Most of these quizzes have three levels; easy, medium and difficult; but very few of them medium or difficult.

Also, I listened to A Day at School from general listening and found that it is good for grade 2 and 3 students . http://www.esl-lab.com/elem/elemrd1.htm
Then I tried Listening quizzes for academic purposes. It says in order to prepare for TOFEL those lectures; interviews and conversation could be used. So, I guessed it would be a good level for my students. I chose the difficult level and chose Space Radio Theater. It was wonderful and there were pre-listening, while listening and post listening exercises as well. Definitely I will recommend the site to my friends and I am going to use it as well to develop my students listening skills.

Teaching aural/oral skills



Developing Listening Skills with Authentic Materials

I have read the article Developing Listening Skills with Authentic Materials by Lindsay Miller. The article is indeed interesting and as mentioned that listening has not received wider attention in the past given that it is the language skill most often used in everyday life. However, for second language students this may not be the case.

According to the researchers, there is now a greater awareness among teachers to help students develop their listening skills. They believe that listening lessons should be in a real world context, using authentic texts. It is also mentioned the process for helping learners develop their listening skills; Pre-, While-, and Post-Listening and how this process can be followed while using technology like Radio, TV and the Internet. Radio stations such as BBC World Service (BBC) and Voice of America (VOA) are constantly on-air and send programs, authentic and good for listening in class. This is really extremely important information for me. Sometime back, when I was teaching listening skills in a foundation level class and was trying to get my hands on some good listening materials, I was not able to do that. I know where to find that now. Thanks to this course and Robert for including this kind of important informative readings and activities.

Although radios are easy to access, they are normally hard for the ESL learners to listen to and comprehend. This is because for the beginners non-verbal communication such as facial expression or gestures plays a very important role helping them understand the message. It is better for them to use a television or video in the classroom which allows the learners to access more information. So, they can now see what is happening as well as listen to the text. In addition, with the development of Internet facilities and CD-ROMs we are able to direct our learners to sites on the Internet where they can practice their listening. As mentioned in the article with younger learners’ interest to use their computer skills nowadays, the prospect of developing their language skills with internet facilities seems an attractive technique to these learners. By using the Internet and computer technology there are several authentic activities for the learners which will improve and develop their listening skills. In addition to this, it creates motivation, gives learners more autonomy over their language learning and connects the activities to the real-world.

Week 3-Creating an account on Delicious


It is Week 3 and I have started my activities by creating an account on delicious.Delicious.com or social bookmarking is a way to save our favorite web links and share them with friends. I created tags to organize them and find my links easily. Though I have got a delicious page on my computer which someone else has created for me before, I did not use it much and I did not actually have the idea of how to create a delicious page. I have been saving my favorite pages by bookmarking them and as mentioned in the readings the lists have grown long. It is also true that sometimes I wonder if the bookmarks are there when I use another computer. So, I have created a Delicious page now and I can access my own bookmarks from anywhere. Isn’t that wonderful!

After reading the information Robert has provided, it is really easy to create a delicious page. I registered and got a username and password. I have already bookmarked some of my favorite pages and some I often visit. I have kept some private and have shared most of them with others. You can visit and check my bookmarks on

http://delicious.com/roza1

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Place on Google Maps


View Roza's Place (Male' The capital of Maldives) in a larger map

Roza's Place (Male' The capital of Maldives)

This is Male', the capital of Maldives. Currently I am living in Male' which is about three square miles. The country boasts about 1190 small islands with dazzling white sandy beaches and crystal clear lagoons. Tourism is booming here and if any of you likes to visit you are most welcome.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Reflective Summary of Week 2

There were four tasks assigned for this week and one of them is discussion about search engines. As I have been doing my searches normally through Googles, Yahoo and Bing, it is interesting and rewarding to experience new search engines which are very appropriate and easy result providing. Some of the search engines are specialized for different types of searches for example if you are looking for videos the best and fastest engine is Youtube. I tried different sites like iSeek, Infomine- SurfWax and Intofobia etc. It is good that in some of the sites we can narrow the search depending on what we are looking for. I used to advice my students for Google and Yahoo and Bing as I did not have much information about some of the sites we are trying now. Definitely I will recommend my students some of those related sites in the future.

I completed the second task on ABCD model for behavioral objectives and found that it is not very difficult. I shared some of the objectives for my Study Skills class and found that sharing and discussing the objectives allowed us analyze and think critically about our own objectives as well. Also, following the ABCD style and Bloom’s Taxonomy has the advantage of creating objectives that will fit the students’ needs and different level of objectives.

I have also explored my Study Skills students and described their setting, detailed the technology they have access to for discussion on Nicenet. I have also explained their needs and my overall project goals to cater this need of the students.

In addition, like in the first week I have discovered new technology gadgets and have been sharing them on my blog. One of them is Voicethread. VoiceThread is a platform which enables a community of participants to add audio, video and text comments to graphics, videos and documents. It is really amazing! I also have experienced JupiterGrades which is an on-line grading system to keep track of scores in the Webskills class. This tool can keep parents/students informed about child's grades, assignments, progress, attendance and homework. Moreover, I have been researching and discovering the different gadgets and things I can do with blogging and this week I have learned to change the basic template into a dynamic, more attractive view. I have been sharing these experiences on my blog.

It’s a another great week!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

New Steps in Blogging






I have been researching and discovering the different gadgets and things I can do with blogging. At the beginning of this course, I created my first blog and with a very basic template. Later, little by little I am learning many great things I can do with blogging. I have learned how to insert photos, videos and today I have learned to change the basic template into a dynamic, more attractive view. In the Dynamic Design there is Classic, flipcard, magazine, mosaic, sidebar, snapshot time slide. Each of these gives a different view of the blog. Although I have learned this I thought I would not change my blog design yet.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

VoiceThread




I have been sharing some great tools I found while surfing the internet, which could enhance the teaching and learning process. This time it is VoiceThread.

VoiceThread is a Web-based application that bridges the gap between real-time discussions lectures or online presentations. It is a platform for teaching, learning, training, and collaborating. VoiceThread enables a community of participants to add audio, video and text comments to graphics, videos and documents. An author of a voice thread can allow participants access the Voice Thread either by providing a link to the web page for the thread or by embedding the thread in another web. The application is user-friendly and requires minimum technical ability.

These are some of the activities language teachers have effectively conducted through VoiceThread.

•Story telling
•Feedback from professionals
•Commenting on documents
•Media or performance critique
•Presentation of course material
•Learner Reflection on course.

For more ideas on how to use voicethread in your class
http://voicethread.com/about/library/

ABCD Objective

My Study Skills class for the face-t-face BLOCK I have 20 students 9 females and 11 males between the ages of 20-35 years. However, online discussions, forums and other online components go together with students from other centres totaling up to 80. So, I will refer my class as my Block tutorial group.
Objectives: The following three objectives are taken from a lesson on oral presentation for the above mentioned group. I have included the details of how they fit to the ABCD style (Audience-Behavior-Condition-Degree).

1.At the end of the lesson 99% of students should be able to describe (orally) the 3 phases involved in oral presentation.

AudienceStudents of my study skills class
Behavior – their behaviour is to describe (orally) 3 phases involved in oral presentation. This is an observable behavior, as we will be able to hear it.
Condition – in order to accomplish this learning, the condition is after the lesson, meaning after listening to the lecture and explanation from the lecturer students will be able to achieve the given objectives. Also, another condition is they will describe orally.
Degree – the expectation is 99% of the students will the degree of accomplishment of the objective and how much will they accomplish is describe (orally) 3 phases involved in oral presentation.

2.At the end of this lesson 95% 0f students should be able to identify and write in 6 techniques for making oral presentations more effective.

AudienceStudents of my study skills class
Behavior – their behaviour is to identify and write 6 phases involved in oral presentation. This is an observable behavior as we can see it.
Condition – in order to accomplish this learning the condition is after the lesson, meaning after listening to the lecture and explanation from the lecturer students will be able to achieve the given objectives. Another condition is it should be in writing.
Degree95% shows the degree of accomplishment of the objective and they should be able to write 6 techniques which is the level of accomplishment.

3.With practice more that 85% of the students should be able to demonstrate 6 techniques and give an effective oral presentation.

AudienceStudents of my study skills class.
Behavior – their behaviour is to demonstrate 6 techniques while giving an effective oral presentation. This is an observable behavior.
Conditionafter the lesson, meaning after listening to the lecture and explanation from the lecturer students will be able to achieve the given objectives. Another condition is it should demonstrate that while doing their presentation.
Degree –the degree of accomplishment is 85% to demonstrate 6 techniques which is the level of accomplishment.

Roza

FINAL PROJECT - Step 1, Describing My Class



This semester I teach a subject called Study Skills in Advanced Certificate in Management Course which basically includes most of the skills students need to master in Higher Education like Presentation skills, note taking skills, reading and writing skills, referencing skills etc. The students are between the ages of 20 to 35 and vary in their skills. The minimum entry criteria for this course is three London G.C.E.O'/Level passes. Students for this course come from different islands and lives in different parts of the country. There are about 80 students in the course registered in four centres.

The course runs in blended mode. Students are provided with study guides and a study plan with all necessary dates, face-to-face BLOCK mode tutorials and access to an online learning management system (GEM) where all the information for the subject including unit outlines, assignments, necessary dates, study guides and weekly readings are available. Also, announcements are made online and there is weekly chat sessions and forums where students and lecturers have synchronous and asynchronous discussions. Although the assignments are handed through the learning management system, we conduct face-to-face examinations and oral presentations as well.

Although there are 80 students registered in the course, I would select my tutorial students (20)for this project. There are 11 male and 9 female students. Most of them have desktops at home and those who do not have also manage to use a friends or cyber station for the asynchronous and synchronous discussions and other online work. The problem students face at the moment is the internet connection being slow especially in the islands.

When I analyze my students’ needs, some of them have poor communication skills. While some are very confident to speak up and express their views on different issues but most of them are not. One reason is that they have not got enough opportunities to practice speaking in English; especially the shy students do not use the chances they get to practice the language. Another reason is students are poor in their writing skills. We already do presentations and different types of writing in the class and in online forums/chat sessions. Hence, I believe in order to develop these skills students motivation and enthusiasm have be improved.

So, my overall project goal is to improve students’ communication skills through conversation/interaction and writing by embedding a different technology related tool in the lesson.


Roza

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

JupiterGrades

JupiterGrades

Today Robert sent an email to register to JupiterGrades program which is an on-line grading system to keep track of scores in the Webskills class. I have registered and spent some time looking around the site. I did some research and gathered some information. This is a tool o keep parents/students informed about child's grades, assignments, progress and attendance, homework, missing assignments, and so on. The system is completely secure, so no one else can view your student's personal information. I believe this is a good system specially for online classes and in my university, we use a system called IQWeb for the same purpose.

Roza

Week 2-Discussion on Search Engines


Discussion on Search Engines

This is the second week of the course and the participants are suppose to review different search engines,analyze them in terms of use, advantages and disadvantages for their own classes and post them in the discussion forum on Webskills Fa2011.

I have been using Google, Yahoo and Bing for most of my searches and today I used Noodletools’ and selected ‘Finding the Best Search for your Information Needs’ and tried lot of search engines that came up. I was looking for information on presentation skills. I tried Intute and Infomine- SurfWax, I seek education and Intofobia.

Most of these sites did not give me the result I was looking for. However, when I tried Intofobia, I got just what I wanted; articles on the topic, presentation slides, rubrics, school project presentations etc. I recommend this site for anybody who needs to get quality results and I am going to be using it in the future for my searches.

Roza

Monday, October 3, 2011

TextAloud


TextAloud is a very interesting tool I found while searching the internet. I believe it will be helpful for language classrooms. TextAloud lets you listen to text and documents on your computer. You can copy text from the clipboard, set up system wide HotKeys, or read in text from Word, PDF and HTML Documents. It can also create MP3 or WMA audio files which can be downloaded to your portable player . it has amazing lifelike voices! Hear it free on.www.NextUp.com. You can listen to the sample I have created a voice file and its amazing!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Reflective Summary of Week 1

The importance of reflecting on our learning and teaching has been emphasized by many educators. It is a part of our learning process. According to Biggs (2001), reflective teaching can enhance quality by improving on current practice removing impediments to good teaching.

When I look back on what I have done this week I am really satisfied as I have completed all the tasks assigned. With that I have learned new technology tools that can be incorporate to enhance my teaching. I have read the resources provided on the course website which assisted me to complete my tasks. Also, the discussions on Nicenet allowed me to get to know the participants of the course and incorporate my ideas to set the ground rules for our discussions. In addition, communicating my course mates through these discussions are fun and eliminated the feeling that I am at a distance.

Through this course I have discovered and experienced four technology related tools out of which blogging is the most thrilling gadget. Although it was a little bit complicated for me at first, I succeeded in creating my own blog (Welcome to Roza's Blog) which I am still improving by adding different gadgets to make it more, attractive, creative and informative. I feel that it is something which gives my presence on the web.

Another cool tool I have learned is Google maps. I have created my own map, marked my home and provided information about the place. The map activities and projects suggested for students in the wiki could be very meaningful for an English Language class. Google forms is also a small and useful gadget. It is a useful tool to help us plan events, give students quizes or collect other information in a convenient, streamlined way. When a form is send to recipients, their responses will automatically be collected in a spreadsheet with the same name. I have created a survey form and found that it can be quite valuable especially to collect students’ feedback about our courses which runs in blended mode.

It’s a great week!

Reference:

Biggs, J. (2001). The Reflective Institution: Assuring and Enhancing the Quality of Teaching and Learning. Higher Education, 41(3), 221-238.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Connecting Parents and Schools through Technology

Most schools in Maldives are very structured and organized instruction full of meaningful and complex activities and work which are assigned and submitted on a regular and reliable schedules, for example, vocabulary words on Mondays, definitions due Wednesday, spelling quiz on Friday etc. These schedules normally go on the bulletin board or as a slip to be taken home. Instead, if the schools can maintain a website with all the notices, schedules, school rules and other important information regarding the schools, it will be easy and more convenient. In addition it will be easier to get parents views and opinion regarding the schools' development in this way.

One of the barriers schools will face is the expense of buying web space and developing the web page. That problem is solved as there are free website builders. The following list is published in Top 10 Technology Tips for New Teachers, http://theapple.monster.com/

Wix www.wix.com
Weebly www.weebly.com
Bloust www.bloust.com
Yola www.yola.com
Create a classroom Twitter account (http://twitter.com) and invite parents to follow the class on Twitter.

Blended Learning


Blended learning refers to a mixing of different learning environments. It combines traditional face-to-face classroom methods with more modern computer-mediated activities (Reay , 2001; Rooney, 2003).

Why Blended Learning is Important to Maldives?
There are many reasons. Maldives consists of 1190 little islands and two-third of the population resides in the islands where the opportunities for higher education are minimal. Being tourism a major industry, many youth work in the resorts which prevent them from attending the face-to-face classes.

Centre for Open Learning (COL), Maldives National University, with a mandate of providing higher education opportunities for the disadvantaged, (people who are unable to pursue higher education due to immobility, family reasons, due to their job etc.) have been designing and conducting distance education courses since 1998. These courses are paper based and students are provided with study guides and study plans. Students basically study at home, complete the assignments and attend the exams which are conducted in the centres in the atolls and in Male’.

In 2007, COL started promoting the idea of blended learning, its suitability and its benefits, to the staff of Maldives College of Higher education (later transformed to Maldives National University) and the public. Due to the lack of knowledge in technology and technology related teaching among the public, the idea was not very convincing at first and there were impediment on the way. However, COL started its blended mode courses in 2009 with the free learning management system, Moodle. At present, there are five blended mode courses running and the result is fantastic. Also, COL is the one and only distance and open learning center in the Maldives. As COL is still in the very early stage of technology enhanced teaching, we need to learn from more experienced institutions and experts and incorporate more modern tools to enhance teaching and learning.

References:
Reay, J. (2001). Blended learning—a fusion for the future. Knowledge Management Review,4(3), 6.
Rooney, J. E. (2003). Blending learning opportunities to enhance educational programming and meetings. Association Management, 55(5), 26–32.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Week 1: Creating My Blog

As this is my first time to create a blog, I found it a little bit hard and lost at first. However, with the help of the guidelines provided, I am able to create My Blog.
I am very much enthusiastic about blogging and as the course progresses, I will try and use the tools to make it more creative and attractive. In addition, once I get the hang of it, I will introduce it to my students. This will be a great way to reflect on our teaching and learning experience.

Roza