Sunday, July 17, 2011

Web-based lessons and e-portfolios

What is a Web-Based Lesson ? It`s a lesson that in some way incorporates a web site or many web sites. A web lesson can be a traditional classroom lesson with an online component. Some advantages of web-based lessons are: Can be used for multicultural exchange purposes, develop creativity, Promote original activities and critical thinking, Promote collaboration, Fit to any target language level and student`s age, Improve teacher-student and student-student interaction, etc. A Web-based lesson plan includes: Date-Teacher- Class Level- Topic- Objectives- Web sites used- Name of web site 1- URL- Rationale for selecting this site- Name of web site 2, teacher preparation- Steps for learners- Description of pre-computers classroom activities (preparation)- Description of computers /online activities- Description of follow up activities. What is an e-portfolio ? It`s a purposeful collection of information and digital artifacts that demonstrates development or evidences learning outcomes, skills or competencies. The process of producing an e-portfolio, usually requires the synthesis of ideas, reflection of achievements, self-awareness and forward planning; with the potential for educational, developmental or other benefits. ADVANTAGES OF e-Portfolios: Developing creativity- Increasing student`s Motivation- Promoting and developing group work- Developing Tech Skills- Fostering Content- Integrating ICT into the traditional Face to Face classroom. My REFLECTION: Today I had the new experience of being a teacher in WIZIQ. My class was public therefore, any person around the world, with a WIZIQ account could attend the class. Apparently, an error when I set the time class, made me enter to the virtual classroom when the time was about to finish,so I had to programm a new class some minutes later. Once the problem was solved, I would say that I enjoyed the experience of having the control of the class, that means, the control of audio, video, Mouse, slides, windows chat, etc. While you are teaching the class, you should have a look to the windows chat, to check if somebody is asking a question or making a comment. WIZIQ is a very useful and versatile web based tool, to teach not only a Foreign Language but also any academic topic. I`m planning to use WIZIQ for my English classes for now on.

3D Virtual Worlds - Second Life

Second Life is a three-dimensional virtual community created entirely by its membership. Members assume an identity and take up residence in Second Life, creating a customized avatar or personage to represent themselves. The avatar moves about in the virtual world using mouse control and intuitive keyboard buttons. Second Life’s virtual world also includes sound; wind in the swaying trees, babbling brooks, audible conversation, and built-in chat and instant messaging. Residents buy property, start businesses, game with other residents, create objects, join clubs, attend classes, or just hang out. The rendering of Second Life is remarkable, making it an instant guilty pleasure. Avatars may take any form users choose (human, animal, vegetable, mineral, or a combination thereof) or residents may choose to resemble themselves as they are in real life, or they may choose even more abstract forms, given that almost every aspect of an avatar is fully customizable. Second Life Culture comprises many activities and behaviors that are also present in real life. A single resident account may have only one avatar at a time, although the appearance of this avatar can change between as many different forms as the Resident wishes. Avatar forms, like almost everything else in SL, can be either created by the user, or bought pre-made. A single person may also have multiple accounts, and thus appear to be multiple Residents (a person's multiple accounts are referred to as alts). MY REFLECTION: Second life is something completely new for me, I didn`t even now that a virtual world like that, exist. My first experience at SL was a little bit frustrating because I didn`t download the Advance mode, therefore I didn`t have the full menu version to do important things such as: Flying, Jumping, Taking Pictures, etc. Because of that, I couldn`t follow some instructions that some of my classmates could. I realize that SL is a very modern, original, versatile, powerful and ingenious virtual tool but, on the other hand, I admit that I have to read a lot about the different purposes, Educational objectives and applications of SL , to figure out the real connection between English Teaching and Second Life. I hope to use this virtual world with my students, in a near future.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs)

Among the most known and useful Virtual Learning Environments, we have Moodle: Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. Moodle supports small and large learning communities, e-learning in schools and enterprises, different learning and teaching styles. Moodle has several features considered typical of an e-learning platform, plus some original innovations (like its filtering system). Moodle is very similar to a learning management system. Moodle can be used in many types of environments such as in education, training and development, and business settings. Some typical features of Moodle are: Assignment submission-Discussion forum-Files download-Grading-Moodle instant messages-Online calendar-Online news and announcement (College and course level)-Online quiz-Wiki. WIZIQ. When you think about what make a program a Web 2.0 Tool, certain characteristics come to mind. User Centered Information Sharing Interaction Collaboration Video Sharing These characteristics all apply to WizIQ. WizIQ has changed education. They have led the way in the free virtual classroom as well as other Web 2.0 tools for teachers and students alike. Some of these tools include networking, content library, profiles, tests, etc. Since WizIQ is solely an online education, they focus on actively participating in the technology networking. Reflection. I have used WIZIQ since the very begining of this Master program, but my experience has always been as a student and now, I have a new challenge; take the role of a teacher in WIZIQ. Even though I have done a couple of presentations in this virtual environment, now I am supposed to have the control of everything during the whole class, That means, the chat window, the audio, the presentation of the class itself, answering questions of the attendees, etc. If Wiziq has been a friendly virtual environment for me as a student, I think that it should be the same as a teacher.

Social Networks, Communities of Practice, and Personal Learning Networks

Social Networks are websites platforms that allow people get connected. When it comes to online social networking, websites are commonly used. These websites are known as social sites. Social networking websites function like an online community of internet users. Depending on the website in question, many of these online community members share common interests in hobbies, religion, or politics. Once you are granted access to a social networking website you can begin to socialize. This socialization may include reading the profile pages of other members and possibly even contacting them. The friends that you can make are just one of the many benefits to social networking online. Another one of those benefits includes diversity because the internet gives individuals from all around the world access to social networking sites. This means that although you are in the United States, you could develop an online friendship with someone in Denmark or India. Not only will you make new friends, but you just might learn a thing or two about new cultures or new languages and learning is always a good thing. As mentioned, social networking often involves grouping specific individuals or organizations together. While there are a number of social networking websites that focus on particular interests, there are others that do not. The websites without a main focus are often referred to as "traditional" social networking websites and usually have open memberships. This means that anyone can become a member, no matter what their hobbies, beliefs, or views are. However, once you are inside this online community, you can begin to create your own network of friends and eliminate members that do not share common interests or goals. I joined to Facebook three years ago, and I have found many friends, former classmates, relatives, etc. I haven`t used facebook for academic purposes but recently, I created a group named "Teaching Reading through ICT" in which I have posted some interesting links and pictures, related to Reading Comprehension and Cognitive strategies. It has been a satisfactory experience so far. Next term, I think to take advantage of these group with my students at Unexpo. Communities of Practice It is a group of people getting together because they have a common interest. It`s a group of individuals participating in communal activity and experiencing, continously creating their shared identity. The most known communities of practices related to the educational field are: Avealmec, Ventesol, Venelt, Eltnet, Wikieducator, Edtech, etc.

Videos and other useful Web 2.0 tools (Moviemaker)

In this session we learned about different web 2.0 tools such as: Moviemaker and Voxopop. First of all we have to say that Web 2.0 enables: 1) Socialization, because the students can use the language and skills that they are learning, to build networks and develop relationships in the real world. 2) Collaboration: The students can work together with others, to construct and share real knowledge.3) Creativity: They can create original products, which will have a real audience.4) Authenticity: The tasks and activities they do and the people they communicate with, are real and motivating. 5) Sharing: They can share what they create and learn from each other. MOVIEMAKER. It is a simple tool that enables you to create your own animated cartoons, by selecting from a range of characters, backgrounds and scenarios, and adding your own dialogue text bubble. The movies can then be sent by e-mail or embedded into blogs or websites for others to enjoy. My reflection about Moviemaker: After having a practical session, I was asked to make a video using the Moviemaker program and then, I had to upload the video in my youtube account. The elaboration of the video, took me several days, because first of all, I had to chose a topic related to English teaching, and then I began to search and select the images that I wanted to use on my video. Doing my video, I found that Moviemaker offers a wide variaty of options, to make a video that closely reflect the purpose of the user. The transitions and effects of the program, allow the user to customize the images in an easy way.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Podcasts, Voice Tools and Audio Recorders

A podcast is a pre-recorded audio program that's posted to a website and is made available for download so people can listen to them on personal computers or mobile devices. What distinguishes a podcast from other types of audio products on the internet is that a podcaster can solicit subscriptions from listeners, so that when new podcasts are released, they can automatically be delivered, or fed, to a subscriber's computer or mobile device. Usually, the podcast features an audio show with new episodes that are fed to your computer either sporadically or at planned intervals, such as daily or weekly.
Podcasting describes the process of using audio files to deliver syndicated website content to a digital audience. Basically, in podcasting, you create audio files that are available on your website, which people can then download to their iPods or MP3 players and listen to. “Podcasts” are delivered through RSS (Rich Site Summary) feeds; users subscribe to various podcasts which are then checked regularly for updates – just like blogs.
So podcasting is essentially another medium for delivering syndicated web content to your users. About’s Linda Roeder calls podcasting “blogging with sound”. And like blogs, services are being developed to help podcast fans find and sort through the ever-growing number of available podcasts. iTunes now has a podcast feature; sites such as allow users to find and subscribe to podcasts and even create podcasts of their own.