All posts by John Allan @mrpottz

Immersive Reader for Autonomous Reading Practice

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Introduction 

In 2018, Beth Beardall posted that reading advances learner grammar comprehension, vocabulary, writing skills, critical thinking skills and speaking fluency in the post Reading, Reading, Reading. Why it is so important!  One way to assist your learners with reading is to encourage them to use the Microsoft Immersive Reader tool.    

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Creating Dialogues Remotely

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Over the pandemic, several instructors have commonly requested assistance with recording dialogues for PBLA activities, assessments, reading practice or listening activities. In this post, I have detailed the steps. These steps focus on preparing a listening dialogue for a class activity. I am sure that many instructors and students have devised their own hacks for this issue, so if you have invented better methods, please add them to the comments below. 

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Extensive Reading for the blended learning class: MReader

Unsplash photo by Alexandra Fuller

Over the past six months, we have been piloting and refining a fully online, extensive reading (ER) program for the Avenue community using the Xreading program. See the Moving Forward with Extensive Reading in the LINC Context blog post for more information. Many LINC instructors have shown interest in a blended learning ER solution for students as they are now returning to their centres. In this post, we offer a potential solution and an invitation to a webinar for implementing and facilitating a blended learning ER program using the MReader tool. 

MReader

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Web Accessibility for Language Teachers

Educational digital accessibility is often viewed as a set of practices  dedicated that assist disabled individuals with challenges to participate in online and blended courses.  In fact, accessibility practices endeavor to more than eliminate barriers to education; they ensure that digital content is enhanced for everyone. Digital accessibility practices are something we all should practice because: 

  • they remove barriers to education and training
  • legislation requires accessibility across Canada 
  • many Canadians live with at least 1 disability 
  • they improve all digital resources for all users 
  • it is the right thing to do 

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Moving Forward with Extensive Reading in the LINC Context

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In 2014, I posted on the TESL Ontario blog “Encourage Extensive Reading with MReader.” Since then, I have been integrating extensive reading with language learners in different contexts. I have learned a great deal using extensive reading in face-to-face situations. However, as COVID has forced us all online, the new challenge is facilitating extensive reading in a fully online mode.

In late 2021, Sepideh Alavi, a member of the Extensive Reading Foundation Board of Directors and Avenue mentor, and I started an extensive reading research project on the Avenue system. A critical part of this study is a pilot test of extensive reading with literacy-level classes. 

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H5P Power Tools

Image Taken By: John Allan

H5P has become a buzzword since we adapted to online learning.  It has been touted as a way to integrate interactive, self-assessing, and media-rich learning objects into an online course. This is true, but many instructors quickly learned that even though H5P presents a relatively intuitive authoring method, the number of tools and associated options make this process overwhelming. 

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Advanced Moodle Activities

Image source: Pixaby by janjf93

Since the pandemic learning management systems have become a common means of hosting online content.  Beyond content, LMS provide security, accountability, feedback and various opportunities for collective and individualized learning.  The Avenue project is hosted on the Moodle learning management system.  Moodle arrives with a set of core activities that include:   Continue reading

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Good Habits for Managing Learning Material

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Introduction

Over the past months, thousands of language instructors across Canada have been unwittingly or intentionally taking on instructional developer responsibilities. They have been cobbling together, rearranging, and refining digital resources and activities from various sources to meet the needs of their students. Many instructors have been generating original learning resources to fill in gaps that appear while teaching online.

Usually, learning materials are prepared ‘on-the-fly’ to anticipate or adapt to challenges that arise from our classroom lessons. What happens to these documents? Often, they are forgotten on a computer drive and discovered on a slow day when you are considering which files to remove to free up hard drive space. These files are hastily named, filed, and saved, so they are lost.  Sometimes, it is too much trouble to save and properly file a document that is created just before your online class is about to start. If you are currently teaching online, I am sure you will agree with this! Continue reading

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Google Earth in your class? (Part Two)

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Last week, I talked about the application Google Earth and explained how it works. Check it out if you haven’t already! Today, I will discuss several possible activities and examples of ways to incorporate Google Earth into your language or immigration classes.
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Google Earth in your class? (Part One)

Photo by: John Allan

Google Earth is an application that some of us may have heard about or used for personal purposes. Unless you are a social science teacher, it is a sure bet that you have not tried integrating Google Earth into your language or settlement lessons. Whether it is used on the web or on a device, Google Earth is a very intuitive tool, and I thought it might be a good idea to raise awareness of some possibilities it can offer language instructors teaching fully online. Today, I will go over what Google Earth is and how to navigate the application, and in my next blog post, I will go more in-depth with ways to use Google Earth in your lesson plans. Continue reading

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