Archive for February, 2011

When I was a high school student, not very long ago (hehehe), I had a very limited experience using learning technologies at school. The most my teacher of English did was  a very chick listening exercise using her cassette and cassette player ( I don’t remember their names hehehe). Which she only used in one single class session. Now, at home, I had a little more exposure to learning technologies because I was a very curious girl and asked my parents to buy me a “Learn at home” English course and, also, I used to listen to a lot of music in English; I always searched for the lyrics and  tried to translate as I could. So, at that time, I mostly used cassettes, CD’s, and movies to learn some English at home. But later, in college, I was asked to use not only emails, but online groups (Yahoo, Messenger groups)  but also blogger, wikis, and youtube. As I became familiar with all these tools, I started checking other websites and I found some great sites for learning languages but were very expensive; and sites for reading short stories which I used to improve my vocabulary level and reading fluency. I remember I used to read aloud everything so I could check (as well) my pronunciation and fluency.

As I teacher’s assistant at the IPC, we used Blogger and social networks such as Facebook to promote any activity we had at the department and keeping in touch with the rest of the students of our department. I am now trying to find the pedagogical use for all of these networks and online resources; because those are the ones our student’s use so it makes “their” job a little easier 😉

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Hello again! As I finish the secong module of “Leaning Technologies” I’ve found so many great tools to use in my language classes that I am almost ashamed of not knowing about them before! ‘Cause when we, language teachers, think of using online resources with our teenage students, we think of using the most popular sites (the most obvious choices) as we know that those are the ones more frequently used by our students. Nevertheles, we cannot ignore other online resourses that were created with the purpose of aiding the language learner and that might provide us (teachers) and our students with a wider range of opportunities and options to practice reading, writing, speaking and listening in a foreign language.

My favorite discorveries for online language teaching are Voicethread and Bubblr (as it was suggested in our course; Bubblr is a ver visually attractive resourse that can perfectly work to practice some grammar aspects in a fun way).

Following, there are two videos about using VoiceThread and Wikis in the classroom. As a student, I have already worked with wikis in different subjects. I still haven’t used them in my teaching practice but I wanted to show you this example because I know the effectiveness of this tool. Have fun!

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Rules for online behavior.

I cannot think of any form of interaction without an stablished set of behavioral rules. Every human group stablishes their own; wether consciously or not. Otherwise, it would be impossible to built a society at all. Consecuently, an asynchronic and distant communication demands a clear, easy-to-follow,  based on respect and collaboration set of rules.

This “etiquette” is very much needed especially if we take a look at the way young people communicate online which seems to be a communication based on self expression where little care is given to the effects their posts may have on their readers.

So, what I found most important about promoting the use of netiquette in our online courses (especially to our young students who seem to ignore these rules on and out of line) is that, in a way, we are promoting the foundation of a more respectfull society where online interactions matter as much as face-to-face interactions; where there’s respect for people’s opinions as well as the need for discussions and collectively problem solving.

To close this post, I am going to quote Gary Alexander’s words from the online extract  from his  A Communications Guide (1996):

“The main principle is the intention to come to a shared understanding or consensus. This means trying to understand other peoples’ views, see things from their point of view, and then find some conclusion which satisfies everyone, rather than simply expressing yourself, or worse, trying to impose your views on others.
Genuine consensus is also different from suppressing your own views in favour of a majority view. That way you lose one of the main benefits of a group, which is having multiple perspectives on the same issue….” (n.p.)

Have a nice day!

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