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.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


DEFINITION OF WIKI. Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly. Wiki is a Web site that allows users to add and update content on the site using their own Web browser. This is made possible by Wiki software that runs on the Web server. Wikis end up being created mainly by a collaborative effort of the site visitors. A great example of a large wiki is the Wikipedia, a free encyclopedia in many languages that anyone can edit. The term "wiki" comes from the Hawaiian phrase, "wiki wiki," which means "super fast." Advantages of using a Wiki. A Wiki is: Good for writing down quick ideas or longer ones, giving you mor time for formal writing and editing. Instantly colaborative without emailing documents, keeping the group in sync. Accesible from anywhere with a web connection. Your archive, because every page revision is kept. Exciting, immediate and empowering-everyone has a say.


What is a Blog ?? A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.” Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in cronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominantly. According to Wikipedia a blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”. A blog comprises text, hypertext, images, and links (to other web pages and to video, audio and other files). Blogs use a conversational style of documentation. To put it as simply as possible – a blog is a type of website that is usually arranged in chronological order from the most recent ‘post’ (or entry) at the top of the main page to the older entries towards the bottom.
Blogs in Education Blogs provide a communication space that teachers can utilise with students whenever there is a curriculum need to develop writing, share ideas and reflect on work being undertaken in the classroom. From an education perspective the availability and ease of use of blogging software makes creating blogs a viable classroom activity and a means for teachers to communicate with other teachers. Pedagogy & Blogging. B E N E F I T S Potential benefits as identified by learning specialists Fernette and Brock Eide’s and cited by Will Richardson in Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Webtools for Classroooms. • Can Promote Critical and analytical thinking • Can Promote Creative, Intuitive and Associational thinking • Can Promote Analogical thinking • Potential for increased access and exposure to quality information • Combination of solitary and social interaction. U S E S Following is an extensive list of ideas of how to use blogs in the classroom, excerpted from Anne Davis’s EduBlog Insights. You might like to create a reflective, journal type blog to… • reflect on your teaching experiences.   • keep a log of teacher-training experiences. • write a description of a specific teaching unit. • describe what worked for you in the classroom or what didn’t work. • provide some teaching tips for other teachers. • write about something you learned from another teacher. • explain teaching insights you gain from what happens in your classes. • share ideas for teaching activities or language games to use in the classroom. • provide some how-to’s on using specific technology in the class, describing how you used this technology in your own class. • explore important teaching and learning issues.

Webtools: Web 1.0; 2.0; 3.0

According to what we discussed in our Webtools session; Web 1.0 are personal or institutional sites based on http (hypertext mark-up language)to publish information. They are static web pages designed with frames and gig buttoms, and with a reduced need of being updated. According to Wikipedia Web 1.0 is a retronym which refers to the state of the World Wide Web, and website design style before the Web 2.0 phenomenon, and included most websites in the period between 1994 and 2004. Web 2.0 Web 2.0 facilitates communication, information exchange and colaboration under a dynamic environment where users participate in the design and production of the site. Readers are active and participate generating information and constructing knowledge. Wikipedia’s definition, “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform”. Web 2.0 encourages creativity, communication and networking among the internet users. It is the read write networking platform where the internet users will be able to interact and communicate among each other.
Web 3.0 According to Todd Lucier (2009) web 3.0, refers to a supposed third generation of Internet-based services. that collectively comprise what might be called ‘the intelligent Web’—such as those using semantic web, microformats, natural language search, data mining, machine learning, recommendation agents, and artificial intelligence technologies—which emphasize machine-facilitated understanding of information in order to provide a more productive and intuitive user experience.what might be called ‘the intelligent Web’—such as those using semantic web, microformats, natural language search, data mining, machine learning, recommendation agents, and artificial intelligence technologies. . . According to some Internet experts Web 3.0 will allow the user to sit back and let the Internet do all of the work for them.[67] Rather than having search engines gear towards your keywords, the search engines will gear towards the user. Keywords will be searched based on your culture, region, and jargon.[68] For example, when going on a vacation you have to do separate searches for your airline ticket, your hotel reservations, and your car rental. With Web 3.0 you will be able to do all of this in one simple search. The search engine will present the results in a comparative and easily navigated way to the user.

The Current Situation of ICT in EFL

E-learning comprises all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching. The information and communication systems, whether networked or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process. The term will still most likely be utilized to reference out-of-classroom and in-classroom educational experiences via technology, even as advances continue in regard to devices and curriculum. E-learning is essentially the computer and network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge. Another definition of e-learning is: The delivery of individualized, comprehensive, dynamic learning content in real time, aiding the development of communities of knowledge, linking learners and practitioners with experts. Distance Education. Distance education is defined, as a formal educational process in which the majority of the instruction occurs when student and instructor are not in the same place. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. Distance education may employ correspondence study, or audio, video, or computer technologies. Distance education is the practical subset of education that deals with instruction in which distance and time are the criterial attributes; that is, student and teacher (and other students) are separated by distance and/or time. Virtual learning. A virtual learning environment (VLE) is a set of teaching and learning tools designed to enhance a student's learning experience by including computers and the Internet in the learning process. A VLE is a virtual classroom that allows teachers and students to communicate with each other online. Class information, learning materials, and assignments are typically provided via the Web. Students can log in to the class website to view this information and may also download assignments and required reading materials to their computers. Some VLEs even allow assignments and tests to be completed online. Blended Learning. The New South Wales Department of Education and Training (2002) provides a simple definition: Blended Learning is learning which combines online and face-to-face approaches. Kurtus (2004) states: Blended learning is a mixture of the various learning strategies and delivery methods that will optimize the learning experience of the user. Classroom training sessions, Computer-Based Training (CBT) via a CD-ROM, Web-Based Training (WBT) can be combined as a way to train the learners. WBT can be on demand or at a specific time with an instructor and other students involved.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Digital Literacy

The notion of digital literacy is not new. Indeed, arguments for «computer literacy» date back at least to the 1980s. Yet as Goodson and Mangan (1996) have pointed out, the term «computer literacy» is often poorly defined and delineated, both in terms of its overall aims and in terms of what it actually entails. As they suggest, rationales for computer literacy are often based on dubious assertions about the vocational relevance of computer skills, or about the inherent value of learning with computers, which have been widely challenged. In contemporary usage, digital (or computer) literacy often appears to amount to a minimal set of skills that will enable the user to operate effectively with software tools, or in performing basic information retrieval tasks. This is essentially a functional definition: it specifies the basic skills that are required to undertake particular operations, but it does not go very far beyond this. Digital literacy is much more than a functional matter of learning how to use a computer and a keyboard, or how to do online searches. Of course, it needs to begin with some of the «basics». In relation to the internet, for example, children need to learn how to locate and select material – how to use browsers, hyperlinks and search engines, and so on. But to stop there is to confine digital literacy to a form of instrumental or functional literacy. The skills that children need in relation to digital media are not confined to those of information retrieval. They also need to be able to evaluate and use information critically if they are to transform it into knowledge. This means asking questions about the sources of that information, the interests of its producers, and the ways in which it represents the world; and understanding how these technological developments are related to broader social, political and economic forces. I found many definitions of Digital literacy but I realized that authors do not have a unique position about it. Probably fifteen years ago, it was easier to define what "Literacy" meant. Perhaps if we had said that literacy was the ability to read and write, we had been right.
The internet, computer games, digital video, mobile phones and other contemporary technologies provide new ways of mediating and representing the world, and of communicating. Outside school, children are engaging with these media, not as technologies but as cultural forms. If educators wish to use these media in schools, they cannot afford to neglect these experiences: on the contrary, they need to provide students with means of understanding them. This is the function of what some authors call Digital Literacy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Welcome Message

I am Edgar Leon. I got a bachelor degre in Education English Major at Universidad Simòn Rodriguez. Currently I am working as an English teacher at Unexpo Luis Caballero Mejias in La Yaguara. I teach ESP to Engineering students of three different Majors: Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering.