Category Archives: Technology

Change the routine without disrupting the class – take a virtual field trip!

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In the interest of planning a class field trip, I was reading Tara Benwell’s blog post, 25+ Field Trips for English Language Learners. She provides a variety of opportunities for live field trips. I am considering a few of these ideas.  However, I teach in a situation that has several obstacles to taking students on field trips.  Climate, cultural norms, transportation, scheduling, catering and budget can be issues in the Middle East.  I am sure that if you are reading this in Canada, you can identify with a few of these issues. Even if you do resolve the budget, scheduling, transportation, permissions and climate issues, then you are normally limited to locations 100km from your centre. Continue reading

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Synchronous Word Clouds . . . At Last!

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Not too long ago I created an activity with my students where I asked them to write three types of literary genres they enjoy the most. The task involved writing three words on index cards. I then asked them to meet in groups to share their words. Group by group, they would come to the podium and add their words on Wordle.net  – adding each word repeatedly at times and only once other times. At the end, I would let WordleTM do its thing.  The result was a collective word cloud that would visualize the commonalities among everyone in my class. Continue reading

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Thinking of facilitating a webinar?

image source: John Allan

If you are considering leading a webinar in the near future, I have some suggestions that might make your experience a little more enjoyable.  I was on the TESL Ontario Social Media Committee and became interested in the idea of running a webinar as the team matured and the range of session titles expanded.  I have to admit that I thought it would be a walk in the park as I have facilitated online workshops, meetings, courses and presentations before. However, the experience surprised me, as webinar facilitation involved additional features that required attention. Continue reading

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Add fun to your vocabulary lessons with Quizlet Live

image source: John Allan

Quizlet Live is the latest feature on the Quizlet suite.  This is in addition to current learning activities which include: flashcards, test, learn, spell, as well as two games: gravity and match. In May of 2015 I posted about the attributes of Quizlet from a teacher-developer’s perspective. More recently, Continue reading

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Focusing on Bring Your Own Device – or B.Y.O.D. – Resources

image source: John Allan

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

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E-tools to inspire greater academic writing autonomy among our EALs

young beautiful college student girl studying for university exam in stress asking for help under test pressure sitting on desk with book in youth education conceptHey 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

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A Clash of Technology and Needs

Confused elderly man looks at the computer
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The age of technology has arrived. It can be integrated, according to its pundits, into every stage of teaching the four basic skills: Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. Better yet, nothing beats technology for enhancing both teaching and learning, the pundits add. It’s the new transformative tool and game changer in the domain of education.

Selected studies on specific target audiences suggest that one particular app or another has indeed enhanced reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. On the whole, however, years have passed, and test scores and outcomes have not gotten any better with most technology assisted learning and its various applications. No one, especially me, seems to know which technology is best suited to a teacher’s goals and outcomes. There are, and I think everyone would agree, too many apps purporting to enhance both teaching and student learning. At the same time, studies on the efficacy of technology and second language learning are Continue reading

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Need PD, no budget? Consider a MOOC.

What is a MOOC?

image source: www.flikr.com
Image source: www.flikr.com

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

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TESL and QR codes

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A colourized QR Code leading to the TESL Ontario Blog site

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

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