“There’s an app for that” ™ is a statement that is so common that Apple trademarked it. As consumers and instructors we all know that there are so many different mobile device applications or apps available to us through online stores. If you want to measure pollution in your location, download the Plume app. Do you want to talk to a friend? Use FaceTime. Order takeout? Just launch the Skip the Dishes app. Some of us have been trying out different language learning apps for the purpose of language teaching. Many of us use apps designed for purposes other than language learning with our students to foster learning. If you think about it, you may have used Whatsapp to communicate with your students or Tinkercad to create real objects or Haikudeck to make a class presentation. There are so many apps available it is difficult to determine if you are making an informed choice when choosing an app for your lessons.Continue reading
Last year in the post, Change the Routine Without Disrupting the Class – Take A Virtual Field Trip, I shared suggestions about taking students on virtual field trips. Since then I have been exploring different virtual spaces with students and my peers. It has been fun and rewarding. A few topics that we explored included: Continue reading
One of my courses specifies that students create a presentation on an educational resource and present it to their peers. The following is a model I’d like to share with you as a potential means of using a common theme with a final presentation as a way of promoting inquiry, research, collaboration, communication, planning, and writing within one term of instruction. The project comprises eight separate activities. Each activity involves the students practicing language and social skills in a variety of ways. These steps are detailed below in the section, Project Process. Continue reading
While working on ESP books for a technical program, I found that QR codes were a great solution to add quick links to additional resources. These resources included interactive activities, worksheets, images, videos, animations, graphs and further readings. I am not the first person to think of using QR codes for educational purposes. Links to fantastic resources providing a myriad of uses of QR codes for educators can be found in the additional resources section below. I am offering a few simple practices that you might consider to improve access to resources in your classroom, on your class website, or in your instructional documents.
What is a QR code?
QRs, or Quick Response Codes, were developed for Continue reading
Observing my students struggle with worksheets based on videos was quite frustrating. As all teachers do, I was thinking there must be a better way. After trying pair-work and modifying learning activities, I decided to look further into technology. I used Hot Potatoes and Adobe Captivate to place prompts and questions on the screen as the video played. The results were satisfactory but Continue reading
Presentations are ubiquitous in modern life, so it makes sense to include them as a component in ESL classes. In North American culture we have certain expectations about how presentations will be given. The format is low-context, meaning the presenters are making sure that they can be understood by the audience. The students in our classes not only require the appropriate language skills, they also need to understand how to format a presentation so that the audience can understand its structure. The following house analogy is one way to teach about how the format of a presentation gives it structure. This structure makes the content more coherent to the audience.
The introduction welcomes the audience to your presentation. It tells them who you are, why you are giving the presentation and, maybe most importantly, it shows them what to expect. It’s the first impression that the audience has of what will be delivered. Much like the front lawn or the walk way to your house, the first impression of the introduction adds value. Continue reading
Over the past months, I have been posting and providing professional development sessions on creating engaging and interactive learning experiences with video as the focus media. Tools have included Edpuzzle, ESLVideo, Ted Ed Lessons, TubeChop and Zaption.
Searching for and finding suitable videos or animations takes time and effort. Depending on your learning objectives, there are many videos or section of videos that may be beneficial. As with everything in education, one size does not fit all. It takes imagination, discipline and creativity to create engaging learning objects that meet your instructional requirements.
The majority of feedback after my webinars and workshops has been focused on where to find suitable videos or animations. The annotated list below is a starting point for teachers to explore video resources: Continue reading
I am always searching for additional resources to integrate assessment into courses. This past summer, I stumbled across Ted Ed. Ted Ed is a creation from the popular Ted Talks, non-profit, series of videos and live events. Ted Talks are currently inspiring, challenging and teaching all who spare the time to listen.
What’s in it for Teachers
Ted Ed Lessons allow anyone to feature any YouTube hosted video, not just Ted Talks videos, and build a lesson around the video/animation. The Ted Ed resource provides a simple process and interface for educators to create learning quizzes. There is no coding or technical expertise involved in this process. These digital lessons can be easily shared through social media or email and with some skill a lesson can be embedded into your institutional learning management system or your class homepage.
I have been working on my TESL certification for the past few years through part-time online learning. For my practicum, I recently had the opportunity to observe and teach in a level four EAP class. Writing this blog post has posed an opportunity for me to reflect on the practicum experience and comment on the foremost challenge I faced when moving from TESL student to TESL teacher: balancing the theory learned in the TESL classroom and the realities of the classroom to provide students with the best possible learning environment.
The Perfect Lesson Plan vs. The Clock
Since I have taught in the college classroom before, I was already aware of the challenges of time. Instructors are responsible for following a rigid course outline and syllabus, regardless of the specific needs of the class. However, I felt that this was an even greater challenge in the ESL classroom.
ESL students need ample opportunity for practice in order to master language use, and this practice requires Continue reading
Struggling to communicate, being misunderstood, or not being understood at all, is a very stressful and daunting feeling for anyone especially when it affects your lively-hood. The class I’m currently teaching is experiencing this very feeling. And although they attend ESL classes on a daily basis, their English comprehension levels are lacking.
This is where WorkPlace ESL comes into play. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this branch of ESL, it’s a program that was designed some time ago to help those who need specific language training in order to excel in the work force. Continue reading