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 →
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.
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!
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.
The 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 →
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 →
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 →
Images can be a great visual tool especially in ESL, but the process in making them technologically effective can be overwhelming. Images with Impact will be a 3-part series of posts by John Allan in order to give you researched information and the opportunity to reflect at each step.
Instructors and Images
Many instructors are expected to create their own presentations, worksheets, or online learning materials called learning objects (LOs) to enhance their classroom offerings. This situation is tricky since most LOs in the modern classroom include multimedia objects. For now, let’s focus on images. Image handling is a very common problem for instructors. This problem is especially onerous for instructors who may not have access to image editors, image repositories, or media design support. Continue reading →
It all started with Lynn Hainer. She’s a local councillor in St. Marys and a good friend. She’s also a bit of a techie. During her recent campaign, she asked friends to provide adjectives to describe her. I provided a few. The result was a word cloud full of positive attributes. I wondered if I could take this idea and use it in my ESL classroom. I decided to try it.
First, I asked my class to put adjectives on a white board that they could use to describe a person, both positive and negative. They came up with many. I added a few. We used them in sentences
to help define the meanings. For example, we discussed different ways to say that somebody was thin, such as slender and skinny, and that using slender was much more polite than using skinny.
Second, I gave them recipe cards. The students put their names on the top. The cards were Continue reading →
Technology and using it in the classroom have become a major issue in the last few years. Teaching online and using more computers and computer-based resources in the classroom are becoming commonplace in almost every school. One word that you may have heard in passing (or may have already been using in class) is Moodle.
I have been working with Moodle for almost two years, and it has the potential to be a great resource for any ESL class.
What is Moodle?
Moodle is a Learning Management System (LMS) platform that many education providers use to host either a few courses, a whole program, or a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)! Continue reading →