At my current institution, I’ve been working with teachers, administrators and students trying to integrate technology into classroom learning. This blended learning approach expectation has led to some frustration. There have been so many promising tools,
ideas, and toys that have not met our requirements. On the positive side, we have been lucky enough to experiment with ample resources to try out a variety of edtech tools and techniques. Continue reading →
Hey now, TESL Ontarians! Have you ever wondered if your students have gone on to produce successful academic writing following their studies with you? This has been a burning question for me during and after English for academic purposes (EAP) courses / workshops I have delivered to university students over the past decade. As I mentioned in my last post, one of the more under-utilized strategies for promoting student success is the provision of resources
that can allow for students to take a more active role in their own learning. Inspired by work alongside L2 writing specialists and English language experts, I have some suggestions for useful electronic resources you may wish to share with your students in order to inspire greater academic writing autonomy and sustainability. In this post, I describe various e-resources Continue reading →
A MOOC or massive open online course is a course that is open to the public and is typically free of charge. MOOCs are available on the internet. They are offered by a wide spectrum of institutions including universities, colleges, for profit concerns, and diverse interest groups. There are thousands of courses available.
Why use a MOOC?
MOOCs are usually free with the option of a purchased certified credential delivered on the completion of course requirements. The cost of certification commonly ranges from $15 to $50. Many of us are experiencing limited budgets in the education sector. MOOCs offer the potential for career advancement or skills improvement without the need for requesting funds from your institution. Continue reading →
There are a plethora of videos available to instructors and many are excellent tools to use in the classroom. When learners watch a video in the ESL classroom, it can transform a subtle point of language instruction from abstract to concrete.
Learners not only process information with their rational minds, but also with their emotions when they watch and listen together. Exercising more than one domain in a learning situation assists in skill development (Bloom, 1956). Watching a character on video experience a situation simulates a real life experience for the observer promoting use of the Cognitive and Affective Domains (Bloom, 1956).
According to Gibbons, McConkie, Seo & Wiley (2009), using simulation in conjunction with supplementary problem solving materials that promote learner interaction with simulation 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.
I’m privileged to have been teaching newcomers for the last few weeks. It’s definitely been an interesting class, more so because of the extreme level differences in learning. Having a multilevel class can be quite challenging because you want to ensure that no one is bored and everyone is engaged.
Forming questions to match answers is a great way to challenge your students at any level. (Although I wouldn’t recommend this to first time English language learners). I’d say it works anywhere from from a high CLB 2 or low CLB 3 and up.
The usual Q & A
I’ve been working on getting my students to think about asking and answering questions, and up until last week, it’s been the usual — I ask and they answer – the same concept applied on their worksheets. They read the questions and answer accordingly.Continue reading →
Are you looking for a useful tool to facilitate collaborative work for your students? For the past year, I have been exploring the use of Padlet, a free online application that serves as a ‘multi-media friendly, free-form, real-time wiki’ (according to Padlet.com). This easy to use tool allows you to easily provide content for your students online and customize it in many creative ways.
In a nutshell, Padlet works like a digital bulletin board or canvas. Once you have created your free account at https//:padlet.com, you can create individual ‘walls’ or padlets on which you can place content. An unlimited number of users can contribute to a padlet at the same time, making collaborative work very easy. By double-clicking anywhere on the screen, you can insert text, video, documents, images, or other padlets. Your padlet with all of its content can then be shared with your students via email, link, or on social media. Continue reading →
As presented in my last post, Personal Learning Network Sources, a Personal Learning Network (PLN) can include numerous resources that assist communication, resource sharing and professional growth. I have found that one of the most challenging aspects of PLNs is organizing the content for efficient retrieval. As PLN resources are added or removed it becomes clear that arranging them is necessary to enable efficient access. A single starting page, or PLN home page, is a solution that I have found provides effective access to my PLN.
A starting page is the first page of your PLN based on the chosen tool. One example is using your Twitter account page, Twitter being the tool, as Anna Bartosik details in her post, How to Connect the Right Way: Using your PLN on Twitter. I use the tool Symbaloo as my starting page for my PLN. The Symbaloo organizer uses tabs, thumbnail icons and text to provide quick access to my PLN resources.
Below, I offer some PLN starting page options. Each of these possibilities embody their own strengths and weaknesses. As a language instructor, you may want to choose one of these options based on your experience with digital organizers, your personal technology skills and the quantity of resources in your PLN. Continue reading →
I was at a friend’s house the other day discussing the usual things moms talk about, when my friend expressed her frustration about her daughter’s multilevel classroom. I asked how her daughter is handling the setup, to which she replied: “She doesn’t think much of it because she’s in the upper grade of the split class. I don’t feel like she’s being challenged enough.” I wondered then how our ESL adult learners — especially the advanced students, might feel about their multilevel classes, should they happen to be in one.
Every class you teach as an adult ESL instructor can be considered multilevel to a certain extent. However, a true multilevel class takes place when there’s a substantial difference in learning levels in the same classroom, (e.g. levels 2-7). I’m sure some welcome the challenge; maybe even thrive on it like: “Who are you because we need to talk?!” While many others dread the thought of being in this situation, dealing with a multitude of learning levels.
While clearing out my cupboards, I came upon an old boxed set of classic books that I had bought for my children when they were younger. Rather than putting them into the donation bin, I thought they might come in handy in my level 3 LINC class. As it turned out, I found them to be quite a useful tool in the classroom.
I focused in on one particular student (I will refer to him as John) who I felt was just about ready to be promoted to level 4, with the minor exception of a weakness in his reading skills. He was an excellent, hard-working student, but he was lacking confidence in his own abilities.
I suggested that he take home one of these books and read a little each evening. The books are small, about 4 inches by 5 inches, and about an inch thick, with brightly coloured illustrations on the covers – not very intimidating looking. They are adapted Continue reading →