Category Archives: Technology

Revisiting WebQuests

webquestorglogo
Image source: www.Webquest.org

I am currently developing learning opportunities for blended learning courses with English as a Foreign Language students.  Over the summer, I have had a few months to add some motivating learning objects to these courses. One of my courses calls for a group project based on Internet research. Using the term research is a stretch in this context.  I think of it more as a guided internet search.   Continue reading

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Create Engaging and Interactive Video Learning Objects with EDpuzzle

EDpuzzle logo
EDpuzzle logo

I am currently developing blended learning courses with English as a Foreign Language teachers at a technical college. One of the challenges that we face is incorporating rich media such as videos and animations. Rich media can result in vibrant demonstrations, simulations and presentations.

Issues with Embedding Media into a Digitally Hosted Course

Creating or locating the media itself is obvious and could fill five blog posts. Beyond acquiring the media are concerns that these learning objects adhere to the institution’s fair use and copyright guidelines. As well, the learning object and its intended learning event must map to one or more of the course’s learning objectives. Issues of placement on a digital platform such as layout, colour scheme, skins, support features, and accompanying activities are a few of the elements that we negotiate when adding media to a course page.

Once the video is embedded on a digital page, I suggest adding interactive and self-assessment activities to transform the activity from a passive event into an active one. Continue reading

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Create Learning Objects Quickly with Quizlet

The Hook

image used with permission from Quizlet
image used with permission from Quizlet

Quizlet allows instructors to create or borrow flashcards, tests, and study games that can improve learning engagement and allow students to access materials at school, at home, or anywhere on their mobile devices. Quizlet learning opportunities are easily embedded into web pages, learning management system (LMS) courses, or social media offerings such as Facebook.   Continue reading

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Mouth-selfies Make Pronunciation Real

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image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Most EFL teachers savour a ‘teachable moment’ where, by plan or serendipity, some magic happens. Let me tell you a story about one of mine.

During the 7 years I taught in the Middle East, all teachers lamented the prevalence of mobile phones in the classroom. Sometimes, even, multiple phones during exams had to be removed from students under the protests of “We’re just sharing teacher….honest…..just sharing.”

Phones were a problem.  And as so often happens, problems are the source of an inspiration.  One day I got all 24 of my 17-19 year old male students around in a circle of desks and got them to explain to me, in English of course, all the features of their many varieties of mobiles or cells. All the new terms and features were written Continue reading

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Images with Impact: Accessing Images (Part 3)

white hand on images patchwork
image source www.bigstock.com

Images can be a great visual tool especially in ESL, but the process in making them technologically effective can be overwhelming. This post is the third and final post of a 3-part series of Images with Impact by John Allan.

 

Placement of Images

Word Processors are the most common authoring tool used by teachers to create learning objects or LOs. Generally, worksheets are the most common kind of LO. The Microsoft Word word processor offers two practical ways of positioning images in a LO.  The first is using tables.  Tables are a standard feature in word processors.  The image occupies a single cell in a document.  The table is then positioned within the documents as the instructor deems appropriate.

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Facebook Club!

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image source: www.bigstock.com

In May 2014, while volunteering at the TESL Toronto spring conference, I was lucky enough to see a presentation by Chris Harwood and Tracy Manning about their experiences implementing a Facebook-based Book Club in their EAP program.

Inspired by their talk, I decided to try this out with my students. It took some weeks of planning, and some trial and error with different books, but in the end it’s become a successful and popular part of my course!

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Images with Impact: Using and Referencing Images (Part 2)

white hand on images patchwork
image source: www.bigstock.com

Images can be a great visual tool especially in ESL, but the process in making them technologically effective can be overwhelming. This post is the second post of a 3-part series of Images with Impact by John Allan.

Copyright & Images

The best way to approach copyright with your images is to assume that the images are copyrighted by someone.

4 means of including images legally for your LOs are

  • purchase a license to use images,
  • locate images in the public domain meaning that they are on open repositories,
  • have expired copyright, or
  • as Kelly Morrissey posted on January 13, create the images yourself.

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The TESOL Electronic Village 2015

TESOL2015_logoThe TESOL International Convention is happening in my own backyard, and I can’t participate as I am working in Qatar.  I hope that my fellow TESL Ontario professionals have the ability to attend and participate in the massive spectacle that is the annual TESOL Convention.

I have had the good fortune to attend three conferences in person and a few more online. My favourite part of the conference, after the professional and personal networking, is the Computer-Assisted Language Learning Interest Section (CALL-IS) TESOL Electronic Village.  It is a place where one can Continue reading

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Taking the Tech-less Challenge

bigstock-Old-School-Classroom-5235439
image source: www.bigstock.com

I’ve been using, and embracing, technology in the ESL classroom for a few years now.  Working with Level  2 learners in a course partnered with a workplace experience, it was a natural fit.  I had a SMART Board from day 1, access to a computer lab, and training and support provided by LearnIT2Teach to set up a Learning Management System using a Moodle platform.  I also had free and dependable Wi-Fi in the classroom.  I have to admit, I had been getting spoiled.

Some of my colleagues had joked with me about what I would do if I were to be stripped of the technology that I used every day, or if my location were to change,  say, to a church basement or similar.  Then one day last November, it happened.  New location.  No SMART Board.  No Wi-Fi.  Continue reading

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Moodling – Part 2

Online Education
image source: www.bigstock.com

Review

I currently teach an Academic Preparation course, and as I wrote in my previous blog, last summer I set up a Moodle-based course site. The purpose of the Moodle site is to give students access to course material from home, as well as give them experience with using these kinds of sites, since they will most likely have to use them in whichever college or university they go to from my class.

Practical Moodle Usage

Moodle is an incredibly versatile platform, and there are a number of things it can be used for. If desired, an entire course or program could be run entirely through such a site.

My course consists of 3 modules of 4 weeks each. Each day, there are 4 classes (Vocabulary, Reading/Writing, Listening, and Speaking), so the content on the site Continue reading

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