Sunday, November 27, 2011


Podcast makes your class more interesting!

The teacher can be the host/hostess by holding his/her own "show" with the help of podcast.  It can be a one-man show or deliberately design into an interview form.  Listening to the podcast is just like listening to the radio, it can train students' listening skill.  Moreover, it talks about one specific topic at one time, so students can catch the point easier.

Listening devices
Photo by abrinsky

I just found the podcast, Being Impolite in Conversation, a good material for teaching ESL students.  The host speaks slowly and clearly.  There is also a conversation demonstration between two people.  Both of they two speak in a slow and clear way as well.  Thus, the students can easily catch up what people said in the podcast.  Besides, the intonation displays obviously so that students can learn to follow it after listening to the conversation.  Moreover, the host in the podcast explains the vocabulary in the conversation.  The most common way the learners learn new words is looking up them in the dictionary, now students can change a method learning new words.  This trains their listening skill.

What if I were the teacher, I would ask my students to listen to this podcast carefully and ask them to pair work with their peers to demonstrate the conversation again.  They will be asked to pay attention to the intonation and the tone of speaking.  One thing I like this podcast is that students can learn something related to their daily life and can probably apply it in real life. 

There are a lot useful podcasts for ESL students in ESL Podcast.  Podcast is really a good tool for listening training!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Be open-minded

     The example, given in the beginning of the video, is a great one to explain how huge the influence the Internet poses to this world.  Nevertheless, I am surprised that the Brazilian is the third big population that uses Twitter.  I was shocked about the phenomenon that the world is actually not as global as we thought.  However, when I looked at myself, I suddenly realize that I am one among the people who concern the domestic news only.  The media should take responsibility for the result.

     Living in this high-tech society, people cannot live without the media.  The information we receive every day is mostly from them.  Thus, when they become less global, it shrinks our horizon toward the world as well.  For developing and underdeveloped countries, the media power is relatively weak compare to developed countries.  The world is still dominated by developed countries nowadays.

     With the help of Foko Club, students learn to use the Internet and blog and can then pose their own feeling and opinion of news in their country, Madagarscar.  Once it was published on the Internet, it has a great chance that more people will see, and have a better idea about this country.

     Yeeyan, a Chinese group with 150,000 volunteers, is doing an amazing and huge job.  They translate English articles to Chinese, so that people who are able to read Chinese can understand the articles, even if they don't know English.  This helps them to see the outside world.
I appreciate what these two groups do for this world.  Thanks to the invention of the Internet, we should be more open-minded.  It's time to broaden our horizon!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Make an ePal

     Have you ever had a pen pal?  Waiting for the reply from the pen pal is always exciting, isn't it?
     How about a pen pal from a different country, culture, and background?  ePals makes making a pen pal, or that's say "ePal", a possible thing!

Photo by ihave3kids 

     This is a helpful tool for language learns.  L2 learners can continue learning their target languages out of class as well.  Just click on the Collaborate column, and you will see ePals Classrooms, which are available.  This is a good way to make friends all over the world.  Besides, it is a option to do language exchange.  What if I were the teacher of a language class, I would ask my students to make an ePal on this community website.  I will not require them to show me their mails, which received from their ePals.  However, in order to make sure they are really doing this assignment, I will ask them to ask help from their ePals to send at least one postcard from their countries, so that I can be certain that students do make ePals on-line, and practice using the language.   There is one thing I regard important.  If the teacher plans to make this a task in class, it will be better if the teacher can help the students to check the ePals they choose.  This prevent them from beinig cheated or scammed.

     What is more, I personally like the Storrytelling part of this website.  It provides not only the guideline on how to tell a good story, but also some interesting links for the students to make their own stories.  All of the links are easy to operate, and there are various options for students to choose from.  It can be making an animation cartoon or write a story.  The teacher can take some teaching idea from this website as well.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Do it Differently

In the past, students learn things from the textbook.  Nowadays, it is an old-fashioned way doing that.  With the help of technology, teaching/learning can be more interesting and interactive!

Here is an example, which was made by me on Strip Generator.

What is Your Hobby? by chingwen722

The feature of this tool is that there are many scene, characters, items, and so on, for the user to choose.  Thus, the teacher can create his/her own work based on the need in class.  Besides, not only the teacher, but also the students can find it really easy to use.  Therefore, it is possible that the teacher assigns students to make one by themselves as homework.

I think the tool is ideal for teaching conversation.  Students can take roles in the comic, and practice speaking with their peers.  The teacher can set a goal on specific grammatical structure of phrase that s/he wants to teach, and ask students to practice using it.  Take the comic above, for example.  If I were the teacher, I will focus on the "What is your hobby?" sentence, and ask students to work with a partner to practice using it in the conversation. They also have to take turn playing rold A and B.  In this way, I can make sure that each person knows how to ask and answer this specific phrase.

Let's start using this updated tool in class!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Use Digital Storytelling Tool in a Language Class

Here is my self-made sample of digital storytelling book.

This is how I am going to use this in my class: First, show my students the process of planning a trip.  Second, tell them one of my experiences in planning a trip.  Third, ask them to plan a trip, and to write it down.

By showing them the words and pictures together, I believe that they will have a clearer idea about what the teacher is talking about.  Students can learn some travel-related vocabulary at this part as well.  Besides, for students, it is always good to listen to a lecture with lively material. After showing them the slides on Bookr, I will tell them one of my stories.  It could be either the problem I encountered while planing the trip, or what I have seen during the trip.  I feel that by doing this, the students can feel that they are really learning something useful and can be applied in their daily life.  Last but not least, I will ask them to write down their own trip plan.  This trains their writing skill, too.  What is more, they will be asked to do a presentation with the help of digital storytelling tool.  They can share their ideas with peers, and it makes the presentation much fun!

The objectives of this activity will primarily be improving the students' listening, writing, and speaking skill.  They will have to listen to the teacher's introduction of how to plan a trip first.  Then, to write down their own projects.  Finally, they will be asked to show their ideas with peers on the stage.

Tell a Story in a Digital Way

Digital storytelling, what is it?

Storytelling at West Lothian libraries
Photo by Scottish Libraries

The article, 7 Things You Should Know About Storytelling, states the concept of it: Digital storytelling is the practice of combining narrative with digital content, including images, sound, and video, to create a sort movie, typically with a strong emotional component.  It is also explained here (Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling) that "Digital Storytelling is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories."  Now we have a better idea about what is it, but for whom is the tool can be used?  The answer is "Anyone who has a desire to document life experience, ideas, or feelings through the use of story and digital media" (Center for Digital Storytelling).

     Since it is a computer-based tool, the language teacher has an easy access to it, and can apply it in the class to help the learners.  Through using the digital storytelling tool, students can easily combine what they have seen with what the teacher expects them to learn.  This helps students who learn with visual/spatial intelligence, especially.  Besides, with the help of this tool, it is likely that students will not feel bored because the pictures/photos can catch their attention if the teacher pick the suitable and attractive ones.  It is a tool for every level of language class.

Are you ready?

Let's tell a story!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Let's Tweet!

There are more and more tools, which can be used on teaching and learning, such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and so on.

I’ve heard about Twitter, a kind of microblog, a long time ago, but not until I learned how to use it and read the artile: How Twitter will revolutionise academic research and teaching, do I realize how potentially it can be used in teaching/learning. 

I personally feel that Twitter is suitable for students to turn in vocabulary assignment.  What if I was the teacher, I would upload a new word or phrase, and ask the students to write down its meaning and make a sentence.  Since every tweet is limited to 140 characters, and the answer to the assignment is going to be short, it would be a perfect tool to apply.

Besides, the function of @name of Twitter is a really convenient.  The teacher can directly reply to specific student and give suggestion or make correction, and s/he can make sure that the student sees the reply. This function can save time and make things easier.

What’s more, the hashtag function helps people to search a precise category they are looking for.  Once the students click on the hashtag, they can reply to the particular question directly, which makes it organized and time-saving. 

For teachers, they can receive the latest educational concept since they can follow educators on Twitter.  Also, they can reply to the tweet and have discussion with other education experts.  

You can learn more advantages and ways of using Twitter as a teaching tool by reading 28 Creative Wyas Teachers Are Using Twitter.