Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

POST COMMENT 5

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!

Categories:
POST COMMENT 2

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

POST COMMENT 9

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

POST COMMENT 12

Teach The World!

Retro camera on world map with word Travel on wooden table background
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

The ability to easily live and work overseas can be one of the greatest benefits of teaching ESL. For me, it was actually the reason I fell into the field!
If the travel bug has you, or if you’re just looking for new teaching experiences, there is a plethora of options for you out there (depending somewhat on citizenship, level of education, experience, etc.). Below is a quick breakdown of two common destinations for ESL teachers:

East Asia

China, Korea, and Japan are by far the most popular destinations for Canadian ESL teachers, especially for those with little or no experience. For many jobs, the only requirement is a bachelor’s Continue reading

POST COMMENT 3

One Milestone at a Time

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

This week we reached our 50th post from our Guest Bloggers and Occasional Bloggers on the TESL Ontario blog! We wanted to write a post to allow readers and bloggers to take a moment and take it all in.  Our first post was on October 6 of last year, and it started with the lines

“We are so excited and proud of this initiative which all started because of YOU, TESL Ontario members.”

We are still excited and proud of this blog, and our passion continues because of YOU, our TESL Ontario members.

THANK YOU to our bloggers, our commenters, and even our silent readers.  Over these past posts, we have engaged in meaningful conversations and opened opportunities for reflection of our own practices, and we are invested in keeping that going with your involvement.

Here’s to another 50 posts – and many more!

 

Categories:
POST COMMENT 6

A Time for Reflection

image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Another year has ended in my journey as an ESL teacher. As I look back, I realize the roller coaster ride it was.

When I started in September, I had two students in a higher, multi-level LINC class. On the first day, only one showed up. On the second, the other student was there, but the one from the first day wasn’t there. Let’s just say that on both days we spent a lot of time getting to know each other.

Continue reading

POST COMMENT 4

To Err is Progress

Learn From Mistakes Move Forward gears people marching, climbing
image source www.bigstock.com

Fear of making a mistake or asking a stupid question is a legitimate problem. Sir Ken Robinson in his TED talk: “How schools kill creativity” talks about how the education system makes people fear being wrong. This fear of being wrong can squash our creativity. If we always keep ourselves in check, so that we don’t make mistakes, we will never take chances. He states we need to be prepared to be wrong.

I often say to my students “There is no such thing as a stupid question!”  I’ve said this many times.  However, when I put myself in the position of student, I sometimes feel like my question might be stupid.

Continue reading

POST COMMENT 2

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.

Continue reading

POST COMMENT 3

Today Wasn’t Great

bigstock-Business-Woman-Customer-Servic-84197477Today wasn’t a great day in my EAP class.  It was very definitely Monday and more than one student had spent the weekend battling non-stop computer games; World of Warcraft is apparently an indefatigable foe.

And, something had convinced my students that grammar class was the best time to catch up on lost sleep. Nothing was going to keep them from their rest, not even the most fascinating facts about the present progressive tense.  So, I opened my bag of teacher tricks in hopes that I could lure them from Mr. Sandman.  If they engaged, we could all go home content at the end of the day.

I had them write on chalk boards, scribble on the white board, role play, and question each other with today’s vocab. I commiserated over the Raptors’ loss, arranged Continue reading

POST COMMENT 6