I am currently part of the team working on Avenue, an online portal that is the right thing at the right time! It has been a pleasure to work with an amazing team of Canadian educators, administrators and developers to create Avenue under the management of New Language Solutions charity. This IRCC sponsored Avenue national learning repository for adult newcomers and language instructors launched in mid-August. The majority of Avenue’s courses, learning activities, resources, and training are focused on fully online teaching and training. Avenue is a timely solution for language and settlement instructors and students as LINC classes continue online. I consider Avenue the principle online resource for IRCC language instructors across Canada.
I recently created an online listening and speaking module about music. The idea came to mind as a way to make online learning fun, interesting, and engaging for students.
The module was broken down into four weekly sessions and accessed by students via Canvas, Padlet, Zoom, PowerPoint, Word, voice recording apps, and email.Continue reading
Since late March, many of our courses have been moved online, and synchronous sessions through Zoom have become a new part of our teaching lives. While testing various features offered by Zoom, I have realized that I really miss my classroom whiteboard, which was used for writing the agenda, teaching notes, upcoming coursework, classroom instructions, and conducting student interactive writing, editing, and speaking activities.
Although Zoom has a Whiteboard feature, I find it limiting, so I have replaced it with Google Docs. I have found this practice quite sustainable and a user-friendly approach to an online whiteboard. Here is how and why I combine Zoom and Google Docs.
- Sharing: I have created a Google Doc, named it “Whiteboard” and shared it with my students by placing its link on my Learning Management System (LMS). In every class, my students can click on the same link and find their class notes there.
- Organizing: I have organized my notes on the Google Doc by creating a table of contents, and the table of contents is organized by date of the class, list of planned activities, and by placing the newest notes at the top.
- Navigation: This way of content organization through a table of contents makes navigation absolutely efficient for both students and instructors.
- Agenda: My table of contents also plays the role of an agenda. As an instructor, I place my list of planned activities on the Doc right before the class starts just like when I used to step into my physical classroom welcoming early arrivers and writing my agenda. Now, my table of contents displays my agenda.
- Class Notes: Once the class starts on Zoom, and after I greet my students for a few minutes, I start teaching by sharing my screen and displaying my Google Doc “Whiteboard”. Since my list of activities has already been shared, I ask students to locate a certain activity. When I have my students’ attention on that activity, I can add more teaching notes to it, just as we used to utilize our whiteboards/ blackboards and share information.
- Interaction: Leading a more sedentary lifestyle at this time, it is now more important than ever to create an interactive learning environment for our students, who might be staring at screens for long hours every day. Therefore, for every assignment, I have a short teaching moment, and then ask my students to work on the activity.
- Watching: In the case of showing a video, I place the video link right in front of the planned activity, which has two benefits: It is quick for the instructor to locate the video link and play it right there, and it is already shared with my students for their own future reference.
- Reading: The same goes for sharing an article and having students read it. With Zoom’s Breakout Room feature, it is easy to place students in different groups to read and speak about an article. I can assign certain paragraphs to each group, or I can assign a different article to every group. Having all the links shared on one page for the whole semester makes navigating content a highly efficient practice. A little side note: I also use the Zoom’s chat box or the broadcast feature to share a quick spontaneous link or a message when conducting breakout rooms.
- Writing: In terms of writing, I can follow the same practice of assigning a page to a breakout room group, where students can write and edit their work. I am writing a whole blog post on writing and editing, coming up soon.
- Announcements: Finally, I share reminders, coursework due dates, and announcements right at the top of every class’s list of activities, which makes it easy for students to plan upcoming activities and assignments.
This combination of Zoom sessions with a consistent Google Doc link has been a well-received practice with my students. By placing your whole class on a Google Doc, teaching, learning, note sharing, and storing have become sustainable, organized, and efficient. I highly recommend it to all the educators out there who are trying to make their lives and their students’ lives easier, stay efficient, and make learning more accessible.
At the recent TESL Toronto’s T4T mini conference at York University, I was inspired to take 4C integration into my instruction to a new level. Specifically, I was spurred on by James Papple and Tabitha Lewis’s session called Connections to Learning through Makerspaces. They provided a myriad of potential activities that extend and enhance learning beyond what is expected in a language learning class. Tabitha and Jim highlighted resources that are available through the Brock University’s Makerspace room.
In Brock’s Makerspace, learning opportunities include tools to create high quality audio, shoot and edit digital video, create and edit images, print 3D models, create moving LEGO structures, scan objects into digital 3D models, cut materials with lasers, interact with virtual reality, record video against a green screen, control a Sphere ball with a smartphone app, build robots, paint 3D objects, and more.Continue reading
What is an infographic?
Infographics are a contemporary means of transmitting information on media platforms. They appear as printed or digital infographic displays at hospitals, airports, shopping malls and more, and deliver complex information in a visually concise format. The first infographics I remember were positioned in the corners of the USA Today newspaper. They drew my eyes towards them and informed me about trends, recent events or celebrities in many sections of the newspaper.Continue reading
Do you ever teach CLB 5 narrative paragraph writing? Do your students usually write something with pencil on paper that they later discard? Have you ever thought of using Storybird to engage and enhance writing skills or create a class anthology of stories?
Publish itContinue reading
“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
Have you ever thought about presenting a webinar? Do you have some ideas or successes you think would be interesting to others? Want to add some new tech skills to your resume? Or just would like to give it a try?
Make presenting a webinar one of your 2019 New Year’s resolutions!Continue reading
It was almost 4 years ago that I began my master’s program and started teaching at an amazing English department in addition to continuing my other part time job. It was then that I realized my organizational skills needed help.
I had to work with various LMS (Learning Management Systems) such as Moodle, Blackboard, Desire to Learn at school and at work. In addition to creating lesson plans, marking, doing research, attending meetings, and collaborating with colleagues for projects, I had to make sure that I Continue reading
Since 2001, the Electronic Village Online (EVO) has offered free, online courses starting in mid-January and finishing in mid-February. Facilitators and organizers volunteer their time and expertise to contribute to our profession. Participants learn through lecture, activities and peer discussions on relevant TESOL topics. Course facilitators and participants share fresh perspectives from their diverse experience and expertise. Continue reading