Hey now, TESL Ontarians! Have you ever wondered if your students have gone on to produce successful academic writing following their studies with you? This has been a burning question for me during and after English for academic purposes (EAP) courses / workshops I have delivered to university students over the past decade. As I mentioned in my last post, one of the more under-utilized strategies for promoting student success is the provision of resources
that can allow for students to take a more active role in their own learning. Inspired by work alongside L2 writing specialists and English language experts, I have some suggestions for useful electronic resources you may wish to share with your students in order to inspire greater academic writing autonomy and sustainability. In this post, I describe various e-resources Continue reading →
The age of technology has arrived. It can be integrated, according to its pundits, into every stage of teaching the four basic skills: Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. Better yet, nothing beats technology for enhancing both teaching and learning, the pundits add. It’s the new transformative tool and game changer in the domain of education.
Selected studies on specific target audiences suggest that one particular app or another has indeed enhanced reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. On the whole, however, years have passed, and test scores and outcomes have not gotten any better with most technology assisted learning and its various applications. No one, especially me, seems to know which technology is best suited to a teacher’s goals and outcomes. There are, and I think everyone would agree, too many apps purporting to enhance both teaching and student learning. At the same time, studies on the efficacy of technology and second language learning are Continue reading →
A MOOC or massive open online course is a course that is open to the public and is typically free of charge. MOOCs are available on the internet. They are offered by a wide spectrum of institutions including universities, colleges, for profit concerns, and diverse interest groups. There are thousands of courses available.
Why use a MOOC?
MOOCs are usually free with the option of a purchased certified credential delivered on the completion of course requirements. The cost of certification commonly ranges from $15 to $50. Many of us are experiencing limited budgets in the education sector. MOOCs offer the potential for career advancement or skills improvement without the need for requesting funds from your institution. Continue reading →
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.
Hey now, TESL Ontarians! Recently, I have been teaching online and multimodal courses and I thought I would share with you an activity I have found effective when working both with ESL students and TESL pre-service and in-service teachers.
As someone who is new to incorporating (in any substantive way) digital tools into my teaching arsenal, I have slowly come to view activities that allow for taking advantage of students’ digital literacies as invaluable. I hope you find the second part of this two-part description of how to incorporate Web 2.0 technologies in our language classrooms useful and engaging. The first part of this series described how I have used video introductions as a way to build a stronger (e-) learning community in my classrooms (See my post dated July 18th). This second part describes how to incorporate students’ digital literacies when engaging with notions of identity and investment in language learning through production of Autobiographical Identity Texts (AITs). Continue reading →
Technology in Education is so hot right now! Since the technology boom of the mid- to late-nineties, high-tech gadgets have been creeping into the classroom and into our lives in general, for better or for worse. But, does educational IT really help our students learn?
Maybe, if it’s used well and for the right reasons. Below are several tips on effectively incorporating technology into your ESL class.
Prepare in Advance
One of the first traps many teachers fall into when attempting to use technology in the classroom is the lack of adequate preparation. Typical preparation for a course includes building and reviewing a lesson plan, creating or finding didactic materials and ensuring that all needed peripherals are in place. Educational IT, however, requires a little more attention. First, in heterogeneous classrooms, the students will have varying levels of ability with IT. The learning curve with new technology will be very different for the students involved. It is highly suggested Continue reading →
Hey now, TESL Ontarians! Recently, I have been teaching online and multimodal courses and I thought I would share with you an activity I have found effective when working both with ESL students and pre-/in-service teachers. As someone who is new to incorporating (in any substantive way) digital tools into my teaching arsenal, I have slowly come to view activities that allow for taking advantage of students’ digital literacies as invaluable. I hope you find this two-part description of how to incorporate digital technologies in our language classrooms useful and engaging. This first post describes how Continue reading →
Observing my students struggle with worksheets based on videos was quite frustrating. As all teachers do, I was thinking there must be a better way. After trying pair-work and modifying learning activities, I decided to look further into technology. I used Hot Potatoes and Adobe Captivate to place prompts and questions on the screen as the video played. The results were satisfactory but Continue reading →
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 →
I was recently assigned the role of a full-time supply instructor in an English as a Foreign Language department of approximately 70 instructors. “Take this on as a new challenge” was my first thought, and I haven’t looked back. Our EFL department has two divisions. These are the academic and the technical preparatory programs. I had not yet taught in the technical program and was interested in these students with different needs. I had always been curious about the technical program and was anxious to jump right in and teach.
We have just completed midterms and I have had a generous sampling of most of the courses that our department offers. I have benefited from this experience in more ways than I had anticipated. I have continued to learn about my peers, technology integration, institutional facilities, and most of all the students. Here is a brief overview of the things I learned:
Our college supports education technical technology through an environment of well stocked and supported digital learning options. It is interesting to see the varying degrees to which technology is being used by the staff and students. Student behaviour often reflects their instructor’s education technology routines. When I direct the students to use some technology, their efficiency indicates whether or not they use technology on a regular basis. I have been very impressed by those teachers who have integrated technology seamlessly into their instructional practice. Continue reading →