Saturday, 10 March 2012

Breaking News English

The front page








General information and functions for language classroom

Although it seems to focus on reading skill (from its explicit article 'Breaking News English'), it contains mp3 listening and grammar exercises are embedded. All exercises are built up in logical sequence: before, during and after reading/ listening to the news.

The link: http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com/

It is an up-to-date website, the recent news' articles and exercises are updated.

Suggested activities to do with this technology    

1. Reading comprehension
2. Reading test (since the material can be printed as PDF file)
3. Listening practice
Sample of exercise; listen and fill in the gap
4. News reading game (competition among groups of students or pair works)
5. Comparing news between this site and other commercial newspaper's site (i.e. BBC)

Advantages

The advantages of using this site is the students practice not only reading skill, but also catch up with daily news. They will find its usefulness and up-to-date article.

Since all of the exercises are written in logical sequences, so that the teacher does not have to reorder again and also can print out as a PDF file. Therefore, before using this material, the teacher only have to check the difficulty level of the passage, and select some interesting exercises which suits for the students.

Lastly, this site promotes authentic reading material where the contents are about daily events. It is worth noting that in real life, students will have experience reading or catching up news on the internet. Hence, this site is a good source to build up their critical reading skill.

Disadvantages and some limitations

There are two major considerable points to concern before using; one is the plain design template and another is the difficulty level of the text.

First and foremost, it is clearly seen that this webpage is full of text, and no visual aids (except some unrelated adverts!). Therefore, the students might get bored or overwhelmed by the text. Moreover, external links and ads are mixed, thus it is difficult to differentiate between the actual site and the irrelevance adverts.

Lastly, it is important to note that the language is quite difficult. I suggest, pre-intermediate or intermediate students are suitable and they also need to learn critical reading strategies alongside of the lesson.

Saturday, 18 February 2012


 Jing

General information and functions for language classroom

Jing is the best program for the students to get the authentic reflection from the teacher. For example, when the written paper is submitted, the teacher can correct and give feedback via Jing program. Instead of correcting it one to one in the classroom, the teacher can do it at home and spend 5 minutes for each paper.


Suggested activities to do with this technology  


1. giving authentic feedback
2. capturing videos or pictures for your presentations
3. assigning short-presentation for the students


The advantages

The advantages of using Jing is not only save the teacher's time but also the students can get the benefits from precise feedback. Because the teacher can point out for each sentence on Microsoft word and record the voice at the same time. Therefore, not only learning from visually but also auditory. It is very authentic similar to having the real classroom. But beyond that, it could be repeated as many times as they want.

Moreover, Jing can record the video (but up to only 3 minutes) in an easy way. The procedure in to click on the 'capture' the button and place on the video you want to record. By doing this, you can speak and point on the screen at the same time. In addition, it will be more interesting to show some videos on your presentation. For example;


video


                     The video is from Youtube, and was captured by Jing program.

Definitely, it can capture every picture from the screen. Therefore, when the teacher wants to share the screen with the students, the picture can be easily captured, saved and set to the students.

Lastly, public speaking is the most phobia of people around the world. But Jing could be the efficient tool for the students to do the short presentation at home via Jing and send to the teacher. By this tool, the students are allowed to show their record their voice and show the powerpoint presentation at the same time. The significant benefit is that the students will have a chance to redo or correct their work until they are pleased with it.



Disadvantages and Limitations

There are the differences of functions between paid and free-trial versions; length of video record, the price, and capacity of storage account. For free trial version, capturing pictures can be done, but recording is limited. I have tried to capture the video when I was using the trial version. There was an error on my recording. Later, I decided to go pro (go for paid version), and it can record easily (as shown for the video example above). However, it is cost 11.50 pounds/ year.


 WallWisher

 General information and functions for language classroom

This is the another site for the teacher to have a discussion with the students. This page can draw the ideas, opinion or any inquiries from the reticent students or shy students where in class, they tend to keep quiet!

Front page
It is not complicate to set up a topic and post it. First, go to the website http://www.wallwisher.com/ and click on the blue button, then follow the instruction: create the topic, choose wallpaper and post. The important function is that 'private' setting where all comments cannot be published without supervising from the board's owner (the teacher). Therefore, the teacher can control or limit the number of the posts. The teacher can either use it in the classroom or outside class.

Choose your background style
 

Suggested activities to do with this technology

1. Gathering ideas for a particular topic i.e. ways to save energy.
2. Asking questions
3. Reflecting ideas after class
                                              4. Sentence making competition (from the vocabulary set)

Post your idea


The Advantages

The post board is an easy tool to draw the knowledge and ides from the students. In addition, this strategy can lower the affective filter where students feel free to write as long as they want. Consequently, language acquiring is easier to reach. Moreover, it is good for visual learners since the post is colourful and the background is attractive.

Disadvantages and Limitations

The disadvantages occur when there is too many posts to edit. It can be a load work for the teacher to read and prove all the posts before publishing. Lastly, the imbalance of students' posting can occur: predominant students and speechless students.


Dvolver

General information and functions for language classroom

Choose the background
'Dvolver' is the link:  http://www.dfilm.com/moviemaker/make.html

From this site, short animation can be created. The procedures are easy to follow step by step. It is a colourful site and full of cartoon characters which can gain attention from young language learners.

Suggested activities to do with this technology

1. Self-introduction
2. Story introduction (the beginning or the climax of the story)
3. Guess who (where the students make their own character and the others guess who is he/she)
4. Class introduction (presentation of the brief class content)


The Advantages

The outstanding of the site is the moving animation which picture, sounds and motions are included. Therefore, it is a recommended site for learning short conversation; either monologue or dialogue. In this way, the students can practice their short and informal speaking through their imaginative and creative thinking.

Choose the story plot, two characters talking










Disadvantages and Limitations

There are some concerns for the improper characters which represent bad behaviours and background settings. Therefore, it is important to note that during the activity, the teacher should pick up those and point out the critical personalities and events. Also, it is not a very define animation, the mouth and the talk is not always match. 
 



WebQuest

General information and functions for language classroom
Webquest front page

WebQuest is the great site for students to research, read, and perform the task.This site promotes autonomous learning and collaborative learning where the students have a chance to work individually and in group.

WebQuest link: http://questgarden.com/author/members.php

After you sign up, you will see several examples and templates which you can use as your format.See the example,

The guided steps
For example, this task: The Stolen Laptop, this task aims at the students' role play with their peers. It is about theft caught where the students need to make a trial in a court to have a right judgement (since the principle has screened for the defendant at school.)


Introduction
Task
Finish introduction, then you are advised to create 'task' page, to write the procedures step by step for the students to achieve the final goal. 

Process and questions


Not only group work, but also individual research is required. So, after the students have group discussion, then they need to work on individual research to stipulate their role. It is important to provide a number of websites for the students to look up.





Finally, evaluation criteria should be made.



Suggested activities to do with this technology

1. Task-based activity (i.e. decision-making, narrative, personal exchange)
2. Project work (students create their own WebQuest)
3. Resources for searching information

The Advantages

This site promotes autonomous, collaborative, and student-centered learning where the students can decide and control the procedures of doing their work. Not only the students will be asked to do individual work but also required to contribute knowledge among group members. At the same time, teacher will act as a facilitator to help and answer any ambiguous areas which might take place during the lesson.

Disadvantages and Limitation

The account lasts for one year, therefore; you need to register again or go for paid version. In addition, technical problem can occur, unless you take time to learn how to edit and save the created information page after page.

Secondly, it is extremely time consuming because you need to be a very selective. There are a lot of low quality WebQuest online. Moreover, to fulfill your lesson objectives, it requires other resources for the students to investigate. Therefore, you need to keep your objectives in mind and find out some useful sites to fit in.

 

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Bubblr Presentation! new way of pictures presentation.

Bubblr

General information and functions for language classroom


This site name http://www.pimpampum.net/bubblr/ where it contains a lot of pictures from flickr (the largest site of copyright picture collections!). So you can use all pictures legally.

Search engine for the photos
It is an easy website to use by putting the key words then it will lead to picture archives. In addition, if you have flickr account, you can put your user name and that will show your pictures. Therefore, you can use your own pictures for the lesson presentation.

Moreover, this site also allows you to publish and share on other social networks: Facebook, Blogger, and Twitter.




Picture result

Suggested activities to do with this technology

1. Short presentation (i.e. Valentine's Day event presentation)
2. Descriptive writing (i.e. place description)
3. Grammar review (i.e. write sentences by using learned structure)


The Advantages

By using this site, not only presents the students a new way of presentation (besides power point!), they will also enjoy with a number of pictures instead of writing report words. Therefore, it is a good choice for the students to create some short sentences, and they can use it as a short note for their presentation.

Additionally, the teacher can assign homework for the students to work on and submit via email. For doing so, the teacher can reflect on it outside class, in other words, it saves classroom time.

The disadvantages and some limitations

There are some disadvantages in terms of spelling check, therefore; feedback is required here (when the students cannot be able to recognize the mistakes by themselves).

Secondly, prohibited pictures may show up randomly. Therefore, the teacher should be aware of this by checking before hand according to the topic. Also, the pictures cannot be filtered nor recreated in Adobe Photoshop. It is needed to be used as the original saved.

Lastly, the presentation will be only automatically publish in public.


An example of picture strips presentation:

A part of valentine presentation by me;)

http://www.pimpampum.net/bubblr/?custom=&id=35027

Friday, 3 February 2012

Wordle Fun!

Wordle

General information and functions for language classroom

This site http://www.wordle.net/create where you can create the a stylish word cloud.
This is the example of word cloud. The words were taken from this blog (the whole things which written here!)




Is it complicated to use? It is very easy to use, just paste the text from wherever you copy from.Then your words will jumbled up and appeared again as the cloud. In addition, from the list, any words can be deleted, therefore; it is suitable for a guessing game when the key word is omitted.




Suggested activities to do with this technology

1. History introduction (i.e. copy history passage and present as a word cloud and let the students guess it)
2. Song or film competition (i.e. relax game during class by guessing the song or film title)
3. Grammar teaching by jumbled up sentences and let the students try to make the correct sentences.
4. Vocabulary list, instead of a tradition linear listing, colourful word clouds may help and look more interesting.

The advantages

This site looks simple and easy to use, therefore; it is compatible for young learners and adult learners. In other words, it is adaptable for any learning age. Additionally, it can be applied in many stages of teaching for example, introduction for reading class, vocabulary review, or during the break of the lesson (have some guessing games). Lastly, the students can create their own wordle, and use their word clod as the material in class. For so doing, the students will have more motivation since their experience is being accepted/ respected by the teacher and peers.

Disadvantages and limitations

Since it does not provide various functions, therefore; the students might get bored after experience after experiencing for two or three times. Also, it cannot be saved in a pdf or jpeg format.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Sing a Song and get English!!!

Front page

General information and functions for language classroom


This website is http://www.lyricstraining.com/ where students can sing a song and learn vocabulary at the same time. It is quite easy to get started, just key the song title. However, the songs are labeled as easy level to difficult level. Therefore, the students can find one which match to their competency. In so doing, the students not only enjoy the singing but they also gain some words from the comprehensible lyrics. The missing word will be the 'need' of the students, and that leads to language acquisition (the students will remember the word because they 'need' to use it).

Suggested activities

1. Singing competition between groups
2. Listening material (i.e. pronunciation practice)
3. Dictation (i.e. write the words they hear)
4. Pronunciation practice
5. Idiom learning


The advantages

As the mentioned above, the students will enjoy the singing activity and they might find it is a useful site to learn vocabulary and idioms.

Moreover, it is believed that learners will learn better when they have intrinsic motivation. Therefore, the students can learn and remember the vocabulary or idioms which they find in their favorite song. Presumably, they will be able to learn more by themselves outside the classroom.

The Disadvantages and Some Limitations

When we use this site during the lesson, it might distract the class or draw the students' attention away from the lesson. Therefore, you need to be careful not to let this activity blow the main lesson away.

In addition, it cannot be stopped at the middle of the song. In other words, once it is played, you need to play until the end. Otherwise, you can cancel the game and only listen to the song.


Friday, 27 January 2012

Learning new words with languageguide.org

General information and functions for language classroom

This website is http://www.languageguide.org where you can present the students new vocabulary items. Not only English could be learn here but also other languages such as Japanese, German, Spanish, and Chinese.





The vocabulary is allocated in categories for example, body, food, and animals. It is very easy to access the website. First, choose your mother language.
Next, suppose that we want to learn vegetable vocabulary, then click on vegetable. The next page will be shown;


The audio will pronounce the words when you place on the picture. Therefore, you can listen and see the spelling at the same time.

Finish the word study, then you can test yourself by selecting the quiz types at the left corner;

You can either choose the options or the difficulty levels.

Suggested activities to do with this technology

1. Vocabulary competition (remember as much as possible)
2. Pronunciation drill
3. Writing sentences with the new vocabulary



The advantages

The students can learn from visuals as well as the spelling at the same time. Furthermore, the American pronunciation is being pronounced, therefore; it is useful for non-native speaker teachers to have a tool on the internet (so we do need other audio!). Lastly, the students can use this site at home as much as they want. Otherwise, we can assign the students homework in order to revise their vocabulary or study before hand.



Disadvantages and some limitations



However, according to the sensitive audio player, you might find it is too quick to pronounce words. Therefore, you need to be slow to place the arrow down on the picture.

Overall, it is a good site to build up vocabulary with the correct pronunciation.

Monday, 23 January 2012

My BrainShark, pleasant presentation is easy to handle

Tom and Jenny
 No More Presentation Phobia!!! My BrainShark

General information and functions for language classroom 

My BrainShark http://www.brainshark.com/ is a good site for presentation making. Powerpoint, podcast, video, and pictures could be uploaded and narrate the story at length 15 minutes. It is easy to follow the steps but first you will be asked to register. In addition, you are better to prepare microphone and earphone before you process your presentation.

However, not only can we make our presentation, but also we can look at other presentations. There are a plenty of examples in several categories. Therefore, when you finish making presentation, you are required to tag or label your types of document. In so doing, others can search for your presentations as their example. It is the floor of exchanging ideas and works.





Sample presentation

Suggested activities to do with this technology

1. Presentation with powerpoint and pictures
2. Story telling, create the story and narrate it
3. Listening practice, teacher read through the lecture, and students do the dictation or answer the question
4. Extra lecture class, where the students can learn at their own pace at home
5. Podcast lecture, where the students can download and listen to the lecture anytime and anywhere


Advantages

My BrainShark is a good tool for high potential presentation making with a low risk of failure. In other words, the user can achieve the task with a low afford. For example, the students can upload their powerpoint and pictures, then they can record as many times as they want (if they make mistake, they can redo again and again). Therefore, it is good for the students to practice their presenting or public speaking, especially, for the ones who have presentation phobia. Furthermore, the document can be deleted or added, and the background sound also can be attached.

Moreover, this site can be a channel where the teachers and tutors can share the information of the lectures or presentation examples. In other words, you can study from others' works or vice versa.

Finally, for the autonomous learners, they can study via podcast or powerpoint presentation at their own pace. For example, you might have an extra lecture or homework for them to review or preview beforehand, then they are asked to access My BrainShark to get the information. In so doing, not only can they repeat as much as they want but also we can save the classroom time.

Disadvantages and limitations

There are some limitations in terms of presentation time since we can have only 15 minutes for the recording, and extra gadgets are used: microphones. Therefore, you have to ensure that the learners have the necessary tools.

Lastly, sign up is required in order to upload the documents (i.e. power point slides.)