Tuesday, April 27, 2004

WKTO - A French interdisciplinary/international project

I have just received a link to a short video (in French) featuring Bernard Garcin and Mary Vernet from France explaining project WKTO (Cartable Electronique), in which my classes took part last year.

I was invited to lead an international class in this environment as from August this year and am looking forward to it. We want to do something on the media and then have the students publish an e-journal together. If you are interested in participating with your students, drop me a line.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Webheads at Tesol Arabia Abu Dhabi Chapter

I have just finished a 3-hour session online for the Tesol Arabia, during which Vance Stevens presented the webheads and what they do. We met at Learning Times. I was up at 2 am as there is a 7-hour difference between us...but had a nice cup of strong Brazilian coffee and the sleep wore off as we started interacting with the audience.

First, we put our pictures on the whiteboard, together with our names and origin: Damian from Greece, Agata from Poland, Doris from Venezuela, Michael from Australia, Phil in Hong-Kong, Elderbob and Chris in the USA, Kyi in Myamar. Then we introduced ourselves using the audio facility in the room and finally Vance projected some slides. You can have a look at what the room in Elluminate looked like - we were also using the webcams on Yahoo messenger.

The second half of the conference was a hands-on session when teachers interacted with each other either at Tappedin or in the Elluminate room at Learning Times. I pasted a number of photographs of Brazil I had on my hard disk and had also prepared a page introducing myself, but forgot to project it :-(

We had a lot of F.U.N. (Frivolous Unanticipated Nonsense) ...but now must go to bed and recover my sleep. The sun is coming out and I can hear the noise of the traffic outside.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Blogs in Language Learning

I must say I have not been actively blogging here lately...however, this is not laziness..I have a two-week autumn break from school so I went away for some days. I was also invited to write an article on blogs in language learning for the Tesol Essential Teacher magazine so I spent some time collecting information and working on it. I have combined information about what web logs are, how these CMS tools that provide them can help teachers maximize language use and some practical examples, links and reflections on how both, tool and genre, can be integrated into the foreign language learning/teaching framework.

I was a bit taken aback when I was told I will have to release the copyright of this article to Tesol. I have never published in a teachers' magazine before so I do not know exactly what this means in practical terms and what benefits/advantages/disadvantages there are for the parties involved.

I am somewhat uncomfortable with this situation. I have a vague feeling that by doing this, I am going against the whole blogging philosophy which is exactly the possibility of publishing independent content and sharing it through a creative commons licence. Although I know many members of the Tesol group may benefit from reading it, the article cannot be put online for a wider audience, which seems to me a bit of a paradox.

I have posted this question to Webheads in Action Yahoo Groups but nobody seems to be interested in the matter as I had absolutely no answers. I wonder whether some of you who read me would have some time to devote to my moral dilemma.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Students Making Exercises

My 8th grade students had much fun today learning their irregular verbs. Instead of giving them the usual exercises to practise or memorize the 3 columns and the translation, I asked them to make the exercises themselves using Mike Capstick´s Quiz generator for the Bankrupt Game . I posted the instructions on bloki, which they had to follow step by step. After completing their task, they saved the exercise in a quiz folder and played each other´s games. We ended up with 55 exercises produced and now they have many options to choose from, which will be put on the intranet, once I have checked them all.

I suggested they do the same at home, everytime they want to revise their verbs.

This kind of activity engaged them the whole 50 minutes, during which they were dynamically participating and creating something which is usually considered a boring task. I could also observe their level of autonomy while they dealt with written instructions. When playing the different quizzes later, they also made comments on their peers´ productions.