Category Archives: Uncategorized

TESL and QR codes

johna-qrcode_tesl_on_blog
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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Special Post: Leadership, Professional Development, and the Annual TESL Ontario Conference

Conference Concept. Modern Line Style Illustration. Multicolor Conference Drawn on Dark Brick Wall. Doodle Icons. Doodle Design Style of Conference Concept. Conference on Dark Brick Wall. Conference.
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Fellow TESL O members, it is almost that time of year where we get a chance to share our knowledge with each other and develop our skills as educators at the annual #TESL2016 Conference.  This face-to-face experience allows us to build our community of practice and share leadership in the field.  The conference might be in November, but preparations have already started! As we prepare for this conference, we ask, will you be a leader?

Leadership

One of the MANY benefits of TESL O’s annual conference is the opportunity to develop your own leadership abilities. Be a discussion leader by presenting or better yet, co-presenting an approach in the classroom that you have tested, a research question that you have investigated, or a tool that you have used and believe others can benefit from.  Be a creative leader by displaying a poster of your idea or tool. Continue reading

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Cool Tools – Collaborating with Padlet

http://padlet.com
https://padlet.com

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

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Can’t handle the truth?

image source:www.bigstockphoto.com
image source:www.bigstockphoto.com

Something that I have struggled with for the last ten years as an ESL teacher has been whether or not to properly inform my students about the implications of studying a new language. There seems to be a prevalent preconception among many ESL students that learning to speak English is easier than say, learning the subjects in a college level math course.

To many, abstract subjects like theoretical mathematics or computer programming are obviously more difficult than linguistic subjects. There may be some truth to this concept. However, these courses are often very specific in scope, last anywhere from thirty-two to ninety hours, and require students to simply “remember” and maybe “apply” what they learn. Even though it is a common practice to segment English language programs by level of ability, say levels 1 to 5, or like the CLB, 12 levels in total, these courses are often far from adequate in providing enough time to properly “learn” the content of these levels. Continue reading

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Organizing Your Personal/Professional Learning Network – Part 2

In John’s previous post, Organizing Your Personal/Professional Learning Network (PLN),  he discussed three types of tools for organizing your PLN start page. This post presents three more useful tools:

Curated Content
PLN_JohnAllan_blog_image
image source: http://www.classroom20.com/

For the purposes of this post, curation is defined as aggregated content that has been identified and vetted by a human curator.  You might choose to leave the searching, sorting, repackaging, organizing and publishing to curators.  Serious curators are area specialists who spend a great deal of time and effort to provide their networks with relevant content.  The majority of curated content is located, and shared on a casual basis by common social media participants on an ad hoc basis.  This can be seen daily on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.  Part-time curation is something that we do when we have a few spare minutes but the dedicated few that are professional curators are tremendous sources for up-to-date content.

Discovering a curator and trusting that they will curate relevant content that meet your professional requirements may necessitate determination and patience, but the results will be worth it.  Just imagine, someone else combing through dozens of sources and hundreds of items to repackage and present the most relevant to your on a daily basis. Continue reading

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Organizing your Personal / Professional Learning Network (PLN)

image001
Symbaloo starting page courtesy of www.symbaloo.com

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

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Relax, Reflect, and Renew!

Morning cup of coffee with mountain background at sunrise
image source: www.bigstock.com

Hello fellow readers!

It has come to that time of year again when we take some time to reflect on our past year or past school term and fill our thoughts with hopeful new adventures in the classroom – after all of the marking is done that is!

THANK YOU again to you all for visiting the site each week or clicking on an intriguing title from the monthly emails. Comments have been steadily picking up, and your thoughts, comments, and questions mean so much to our bloggers who take the time to create posts that will be meaningful to the TESL community.

We will be taking a break from blogging until the New Year and will return with our next posts appearing January 1st and 4th. We hope that weekly visits to our blog will be on your New Year’s list! Maybe there is a topic or idea you would to explore in the new year – why not send us an email and see if one of our bloggers can speak to his/her experiences.

As always, if you have any suggestions, an interest in blogging, or comments, please go to our Contact Us page and send us an email.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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Where are the videos?

Video. Concept icon. 3D image isolated on white
Image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Over the past months, I have been posting and providing professional development sessions on creating engaging and interactive learning experiences with video as the focus media.  Tools have included Edpuzzle, ESLVideo, Ted Ed Lessons, TubeChop and Zaption.

Searching for and finding suitable videos or animations takes time and effort.  Depending on your learning objectives, there are many videos or section of videos that may be beneficial. As with everything in education, one size does not fit all.  It takes imagination, discipline and creativity to create engaging learning objects that meet your instructional requirements.

The majority of feedback after my webinars and workshops has been focused on where to find suitable videos or animations. The annotated list below is a starting point for teachers to explore video resources: Continue reading

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Create Video Lessons with Ted Ed

www.ed.ted.com
www.ed.ted.com

I am always searching for additional resources to integrate assessment into courses. This past summer, I stumbled across Ted Ed. Ted Ed is a creation from the popular Ted Talks, non-profit, series of videos and live events. Ted Talks are currently inspiring, challenging and teaching all who spare the time to listen.

What’s in it for Teachers

Ted Ed Lessons allow anyone to feature any YouTube hosted video, not just Ted Talks videos, and build a lesson around the video/animation. The Ted Ed resource provides a simple process and interface for educators to create learning quizzes. There is no coding or technical expertise involved in this process. These digital lessons can be easily shared through social media or email and with some skill a lesson can be embedded into your institutional learning management system or your class homepage.

Continue reading

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