Sunday, May 1, 2011

Podcast and Education

Podcasting is basically the creation and distribution of amateur radio, plain and simple. It is the combination of personal, on, demand and cast. It has three main advantages: unlimited, subscription and gadgetry. First of all, anyone can do a podcasting with a microphone, a video camera, a computer, the internet and something to say. Secondly, through subscription, new shows could be saved automatically. The only thing you need is a receiver which could capture the shows; then, you can watch the shows whenever you want and at wherever you like. Thirdly, you can download the podcasting from the computer to your mp3 or any other portable devices to take it with you.
Podcasting can be used in education. First of all, Teachers can use it as a message board to announce upcoming events, interviews, reviews, and whatever else might be of interest.
Also, teachers could record and publish daily practice lessons that students could listen to at home. Minor Medical Injuries gives us an example about how teachers integrated podcasting and English learning.
Third, Teachers could have their students do oral presentations, interviews through podcast.
Enlighten by the ESL podcast Minor Medical Injuries, I would incorperate podcasting to the answer about my students questions. That means, I would collect my students questions every week (grammatical, semantic or pragmatic questions), and I would answer these questions with podcast because the class time is limited. And perhaps I have two sections with different students but the same teaching stuff, then I don't have to repeat my answer twice and all students can share more questions and answers.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

ePals on Education

ePals is a free network that connects students, teachers as well as parents all over the world. It is a Global Community of collaborative learners, teachers, and academic experts in 200 countries and territories. It also provides Connections to students, classes, and school districts worldwide that are safe and secure. Moreover, it is the safe and protected solution for linking classes, schools, and school districts globally.
I have created an account and scan the teacher forums, student forums, family forums and the project forums. In these forums, I saw questions waiting for answers, and projects waiting for participating and cooperating. For example, in the teacher forums, I saw an ESL teacher, in Portugal, wanted to have his/her students trying video conferences with ESL learners or native speakers, in order to enable the use of the language in a real context. It is a very good activity and I would like to participate in my teaching. Another example is, when I was scanning the student forum, I saw a student’s question that whether Harry Potter or the Twilight Saga more suitable for off-class reading. Some native students recommended the Twilight Saga because it is more American and some people voted for the Harry Potter because it is more interesting and the author has a better control of English. One more thing, I saw a parent sought an English pen pal for her daughter from other countries.
Therefore, in my future teaching, I could use ePals to connect my students and myself to the world. I’d like students to communicate and change experience with people from other countries and regions. And for me, I could participate in funny projects and ask questions to other TESOL teachers around the world.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Flickr in teaching

I made this photo book with Bookr. I think it could help my teaching about the “There be sentence”.
I’d like to share this photo book with the class, show them pictures, and let students make sentences with “There be…” to say something about these pictures. As I have already given sample sentences, it would not be very difficult to students. In class, students are asked to discuss what in the market orally. After class, the students would be assigned to work in groups and make their own photo book to introduce a place. They could describe what are in the summer beach. They could also talk about what are in the garden in the sunny spring. The students could acquire new grammar knowledge by making photo book, which is a more communicative way. If the teacher focus only on the linguistic items the class would be very boring.

Creative Commons License

The Rainbow Connection by Ani-Bee
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

As we all know, copyright protect your creativity against people you don’t consent to. You automatically won the copyright to anything you created. However, sometimes full copyright is too restrictive. What if you want to make contributions to others’ creativity and what if you want your works are shared by other people? Therefore, we come to the Creative Commons License. The Creative Commons License provides free copyright licenses you can use to tell people which parts of your copyright you are happy to give it to the public.
By answering several questions, the Creative Commons will choose the suitable license for you.

There are several types of licenses:
Attribution means:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work - and derivative works based upon it - but only if they give you credit.
Noncommercial means:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work - and derivative works based upon it - but for noncommercial purposes only.
No Derivative Works means:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.
Share Alike means:
You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Twitter for Teachers

As I am not a tech person and I am not sensitive to the trend, although I heard about twitter long ago, it is the first time I have experienced the twitter and realized its benefits.
So how twitter can benefit to teachers? First of all, twitter is a discussion board which gathers teachers from all over the world, other educators in other areas and people from other specialties. They come up with fresh ideas, exchange opinions, give suggestion and leave comments as well as reflections. I followed Greg, an ESL teacher in Taiwan. Because he had tweeted a topic that how to bring fun to class, I learned a great many of good ideas and funny methods to make my class more interesting. Second of all, as the saying goes “no one knows everything, everyone knows something, all knowledge resides in humanity”, we can ask questions and get answers on twitter. People you followed and those who have followed you can see your question and contribute some ideas. Then you will gather an idea pool, how fantastic! Third, as we follow those people we are interested in and people who follow us share more or less common interest with us, we act as an information filter for others. Rise versa. Last but not the least, retweeting and replying a tweet is like creating a conversation. By joining and engaging in the conversation, we create a positive spiral of social networks. It flows like this:
Accumulation      value
contribution      reciprocity
In sum, twitter works as a personal learning network for teachers, it links to good websites, tools, books, it gives space for people to ask questions and get answers, it offers an opportunity for people to share ideas, opinions and suggestion, and it always leads you to topics you like and are interested in.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blog - A good way for teachers

why teachers should not blog and why I do is a thoughtful and interesting post. It is an reflection on why he blogs after reading a student's letter to the teacher.
Here's an excerpt of the letter :

You see… you don’t teach English. You teach kids. Flawed, messed-up, never perfect, wonderful, amazing kids.
Every child you denigrated has something wonderful about them, even when you didn’t see it.
Every child you insulted has worked hard at something, even if it wasn’t on the assignment you wanted them to work hard on.
Every child you mocked has aspirations, even if they don’t match up with the ones you want them to have.

I thought a lot after reading this post. When I was a student in China, none of my teachers had teaching blogs. Actually, they did not encourage students surf the internet at all, because they thought students are too young to control themselves, thus students would spend too much time playing games or chatting online. That becomes my belief gradually because I was raised in that culture. However, I begin to think that teachers need a way to reflect what they have learned from teaching and from the students' feelings and behaviors, to share ideas and thoughts with other teachers and students and to show who they are in their blogs. As a Chinese student, I thought with typical Chinese logic in the first semester after I came to the States. I respected my teachers but do not have any involvement with teachers after class. I worked very hard to reach my own expectations which I thought would also be my teachers’ expectations. I was very tired in that semester. I knew my teacher’s blog but I never viewed it because I think blogs do not have any influence on learning or on teaching. One day, I accidentally opened my teacher’s blog, and to my surprise, I found that my teacher is a very lovely lady, although she is a little bit tough in class. She has a bunch of ideas about teaching, she posted reflections about her teaching, and she does not have such unreachable expectations to students as what I thought before. After that, I dare to talk with her after class and ask questions during office hours.
In sum, blog is a very good way for teachers to challenge, reflect, show themselves and communicate with students.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Social Network Group

      Classroom 2.0 is an open, free and community-supported network which welcom everyone who is interested in web 2.0 and social media in education.
      First of all, I found that it offers special help for beginners. Therefore, if people who are interested in online teaching but do not know how to do, then they can seek help from the group. Secondly, it has a lot of activities, such as comment on an educator's website. Then members can learn through visiting others' blogs. Third, it has links to famous educators who would give suggestions online for certain questions.
      In sum, classroom 2.0 is perfect for teachers who is interested in social media in education.