Create Engaging and Interactive Video Learning Objects with EDpuzzle

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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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Why We Do This

Recognition

I went to my last class this past Friday expecting my entire class to be present. Well, of the 13 who normally attend, only 5 showed up! I didn’t know how to feel about this. But no matter, I carried on with the lesson. To stay positive, I thought it was great that I could focus more on each individual. We had a lot of fun despite the lack of attendance that day.

The feeling in the room was certainly bittersweet. On one hand, I was happy to have my Fridays back to spend with my little girl, but on the other hand, it was kind of hard for me to leave these special individuals, whom I’ve come to respect and appreciate so much throughout the course of the past seven weeks.

If you remember from my last post when I discussed WorkPlace ESL (http://blog.teslontario.org/workplace-esl/), classes run Continue reading

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IPDP and the Joys of Scholarly Practice

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

What’s IPDP you may ask…It stands for Individualized Professional Development Plan. It’s the type of professional growth you sketch out for yourself – for your own growth. It does not include the type of PD your workplace or professional organization requires of you – the type you have to complete because …well…you have to. IPDP is like a box of chocolates. Continue reading

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My Way of Recognizing Count and Non-Count Nouns

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

I had taught the lesson many times.

You can count apples, but you can’t count water, so you say how many apples and how much water. You can count people, but you can’t count sand, so you say fewer people and less sand.

I’d go over and over the lists of nouns that were count and non-count. I could often see the confusion in their eyes. Yet, a simple question from a student changed the way I teach this concept and got rid of most of the puzzled looks.

The question? Continue reading

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Life Lessons (for Me) Through Education

bigstock-Portrait-of-young-serious-woma-52874536
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”   —John Dewey

I love this quote.  It’s so simple but, at its core, it embodies the vastness of what it means to be “educated”.  In its essence, education is so much more than desks or books or technology.

As the Winter/Spring term of my EAP classes at CultureWorks dashes to the finish line, I reflect on the ‘tidbits’ of wisdom that my students have imparted unto me.  I “teach” mostly young adults mostly, from many parts of the globe.  To be honest, teaching to an international audience is only part of what I do.  The bulk of my days are spent amassing an “education”.

My vocation is unique in that it inspires an environment of ‘give and take’, conducive to the search for truth.  Although there are countless aspects of my career that are fulfilling, I am most grateful that it allows me to be a lifelong learner, where the students are the teachers.

I’d like to share a couple of “truths” fashioned by two of my students recently.

Truth #1:  Experiencing life requires a good sense of humour.

We’re human.  We make mistakes. Foreign students like Lu will naturally commit a faux pas of the “cultural” kind.  A simple task such as grocery shopping can prove to be incredibly confusing.  For example, grocery carts in this city come in a few different sizes–small, large, and motorized.  Generally speaking, loading a small or large grocery cart with newly purchased edible goodies out to the parking lot will attract little, if any, attention; however, climbing Continue reading

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Have Fun With It!

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

A common piece of advice I give my students is

“don’t read the newspaper.”

Their hearts are in the right place – they want reading practice – but most of them have zero interest in the news and end up getting very little from their daily ritual of reading Metro on the subway.

If students are looking for extra work, it’s important that it’s something fun and interesting for them. My students are upper-intermediate/advanced. For the most part, their English is very good – most of the errors they make are small, basic errors like prepositions and collocations -so they just need practice rather than pouring over grammar rules.

What I tell them instead of reading the newspaper, is

“It doesn’t matter what you read, as long as it’s in English!”

Continue reading

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Centred and Balanced

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

What is student-centred learning?  There are many facets to this idea.  It can be lessons based on students’ needs.  It can mean choosing topics based on students’ interests.  But one of the concepts that is most commonly related to student-centred learning is learning through discovery.  When someone learns through discovery, they are given enough autonomy to interact with materials and consequently discover how things work (think figuring out grammar rules implicitly).  On the other side of the coin you have teacher directed learning where knowledge is transferred from teacher to student (think explaining how grammar rules work). 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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WorkPlace ESL

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

Struggling to communicate, being misunderstood, or not being understood at all, is a very stressful and daunting feeling for anyone especially when it affects your lively-hood. The class I’m currently teaching is experiencing this very feeling. And although they attend ESL classes on a daily basis, their English comprehension levels are lacking.

This is where WorkPlace ESL comes into play. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this branch of ESL, it’s a program that was designed some time ago to help those who need specific language training in order to excel in the work force. Continue reading

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About Reflective Practice

Young woman on a train writing notes
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

How many of us sit down at the end of the day and reflect on the lesson?  I mean really sit down and think about the good, the bad, the ugly, and the potential.  For many of us, I’m sure the intentions are there, but on a really bad day, we’re probably more inclined to pack up our things, get home, call it a day, and think “tomorrow will be better”.  In these moments, as much as with the great days, it’s important for us to reflect because reflecting doesn’t mean kicking us when we’re down, but rather it means finding ways to bring us back up and truly know that tomorrow will be better because today wasn’t terribly horrible.

Continue reading

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