MyGrammarLab is a 3 level English series that takes students from elementary to advanced level grammar through a unique blend of book, online and mobile resources and provides grammar practice for internationally recognised exams.
Fantastic integrated learning course covering all levels of grammar. Student resources include a book, mobile apps and online learning forums. Contextual based grammar activities have a strong foundation in situated cognition, and the combination of these three resources really helps develop the learners' grammatical base. Many of these tools are designed to be used entirely by the student in an independent learning format, and while this is certainly beneficial for lifelong learning skills, the program would benefit from the inclusion of personalised feedback, either through peer or teacher feedback. This would allow to tool to become both social constructivist, as well as supporting cognitive apprenticeship. Students would gain from the social guidance of their peers and also the scaffolding of teaching instruction. Teaching though this tool would gain much with the addition of a forum or class wiki, pushing the artifact from the modification level to the redefinition level.
This presentation tool has the ability to be combined with a vast array of other e-learing tools to push learning into the transformational level of SAMR. The ease of use means great functionality for ESL students and the capacity for inter-classroom collaborationis great.
The ultimate mobile English pronunciation aid, for students and teachers. Sounds helps you study, practise and play with pronunciation wherever you are. Interactive phonetic chart and self-study practice of pronunciation.
Pronunciation is a particular weakness of many Asian students and as it is considered a fairly specialized and individual issue, it is largely left out of ESL curricula. Macmillan sounds presents activities for students to learn the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), particularly in terms of sound recognition.
The Macmillan Sounds app fits in a theory of cognitivism by building on the auditory knowledge that students currently possess. In the beginning stages of language learning, students focus on what is understood and known, and disregard other elements in order to make sense of the language. Gradually, as learners process aspects of language and they become understood, they become automatically understood and processed, and the learner focuses on processing new information, until that, in turn, becomes automatic. (Segalowitz and Hulstijn, 2005). Automaticity in pronunciation can be both highly beneficial and equally detrimental. When learning, students often perceive themselves to have competently developed the pronunciation of certain English sounds, when in actual fact, they have not. This can result in automaticity where the learner then disregards certain knowledge because it is assumed to already be known. Macmillan sounds allows them to work on the pronunciation of English words in a way that may break this automaticity, and allow the learner to re-learn the correct pronunciation.
This tool immediately jumps to the transformation level of SAMR as it allows for significant improvement on classroom activities, such as one on one attention, immediate feedback and pronunciation in your pocket.
In order to move to the redefinition level, a social aspect and production practice would be highly beneficial. Recording software could be included in the app so that learners can record themselves and playback their recording against the original. Being able to directly compare your own pronunciation by recording is infinitely valuable for learners as the sounds the produce and hear in their head can differ dramatically from the recording of their actual utterance. Allowing users to share their pronunciation with other learners would also allow for peer and teacher feedback, creating a social element to the tool.
Segalowitz, N., & Hulstijn, J. (2005). Automaticity in bilingualism and second language learning. Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches. 371-388.
The capacity for this is incredible especially for remote learners. Less useful for me considering the National Museum makes for a great excursion, but the technology does offer a great experience for off shore language learners.
This activity is one small component of a comprehensive workshop on essay writing. The activity: Essays: Structure 1 is the second set of activities directly relating to essay writing. The activity begins with a large section of text explaining the difference in types of essays and variations in structure. After reading the text, students move on to the tasks that relate to the information. It should be noted that the information is still visible while the student completes the task. There are eight tasks that revolve around essay structure and include matching activities, re-ordering and information identification.
SAMR: Substitution and Augmentation
The tasks all sit primarily in the bottom two levels of the SAMR model: Substitution and Augmentation. The tasks themselves appear to within the substitution level of the SAMR model as each of the activities is a direct reflection of pen and paper activities within the classroom. However, there is a functional improvement. Students are able to check their answers and are notified immediately of correct/incorrect answers. In a classroom setting students would also be given a chance to check their answers, but this would not happen until all others had completed the activity. The functional improvement here is the ability to go at the students pace, not the pace of the class.
This activity reflects a more an objectivist learning theory. For objectivism, knowledge is key and the role of the teacher is to transfer knowledge to the students, who then in turn memorise and reproduce the knowledge they have learnt (Lee, & McLoughlin, 2011). Here, knowledge of essay styles and structures is disseminated, students memorise the information, then complete tasks that engage the knowledge base.
Constructivism, according to Jonassen (1991), relates to how learners construct knowledge based on their experiences and existing knowledge. The task begins to move into a constructivist model, as students then construct their academic reality based on the tasks, however there is little room for activity engagement beyond receptive skills as students do not have the opportunity to practice writing or recieve feedback.
Additionally, if we take into consideration the students’ context, many of them would be beginning their studies into academic English, and hence it would be highly pertinent to apply Kift’s (2010) transitional framework for first year students, which highlights different areas of focus in order to support first year learners, including transition, diversity, design, engagement, assessment and evaluation and monitoring.
The activity itself, while useful for learners to move at their own pace, is very isolating. There is no ability for questions, discussion or comparison. It would be beneficial to add to this activity with a discussion forum so that learners are supported in the activity, both by the teacher and by other learners. This pushes the activity into the modification level of the SAMR model and engages the constructivist learning theory. Knowing that many language learners come from a completely different educational paradigm, it would be beneficial to include a comparison activity. The discussion forum could contain a thread for comparisons, where students are encouraged to highlight both similarities and differences in the essay structure and style of the western educational paradigm and the their own culture. The development of this activity covers the transitional and engagement elements of the First Year Education framework, allowing student to engage with their teachers and peers in meaningful activities and allowing student to appropriately transition from one institution to another.
To take this to the redefinition level, we could include a class wiki for essay writing. The class would be given access to a wiki with a skeleton outline of an essay that includes the essay topic and key areas to be covered. The students contribute to the development of the essay by adding evidence and student voice, and leaving short comments discussing why they selected the evidence. Students are allowed to edit other students’ contributions, leaving a comment as to why the change was made. This engages learners in the actual process of writing an essay as a collaborative effort, learning from stronger students and developing areas of weaknesses whilst being supported by teachers and peers. This supports the assessment criteria of the First Years Education framework by supporting learning tasks that build in complexity, the next stage of which would be to write an essay on an individual level.
Jonassen, D. H. (1991). Objectivism versus constructivism: Do we need a new philosophical paradigm? Educational technology research and development, 39(3), 5-14.
Kift, Sally M., Nelson, Karen J., & Clarke, John A. (2010) Transition pedagogy : a third generation approach to FYE : a case study of policy and practice for the higher education sector. The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, 1(1), pp. 1-20.
Lee, M. J., & McLoughlin, C. (2011). Web 2.0-based e-learning: applying social informatics for tertiary teaching. Information Science Reference.
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This is a great artefact, and also relevant to the TESOL context. For academic preparation classes we often have in-class source evaluation activities, and often the easiest answer for students is "just use peer-reviewed journal articles". However, Mary has acknowledged a great point, which is that great sources are all over the internet and most certainly should not be limited to what we traditionally think of as trusted sources. I can see my students working on these lists as a class and advising each other on why they are/aren't trusted sources of information.
An addition for the TESOL context would come in the way of bridging the gap between the learners' previous context and the current educational paradigm. By opening up a dialogue between learners of different countries we open into a cognitive flexibility learning theory, where we are sharing ideas of source evaluation definted by different contextal criteria.
There is huge potential for gamification, particularly within EFL contexts (where English is not the native language of the country), as it opens up English communication to a global audience, connecting students with native English language speakers and speakers of all language proficiencies and accents. Depending on the game, students can develop all four macroskills (speaking, listening, reading, writing), and do so with the guidance of their peers, supporting a social constructivist learning style. As Justine mentions, these tasks allow for a complete redefinition of tasks, making gamification highly transformational within the SAMR framework.
Students create individual or class image banks to record the vocabulary they study in class.
This series of activities can take on a great blended learning approach and gives students something a little bit different to do both in and out of the classroom. Students could be sent around the campus to take photos of objects, places and spaces that they do not know the vocabulary for. This would be great to do in the first week of class, as it gets the students exploring the campus together. From there, students can come back to the class and share their photos with the other class members to discover the vocabulary items. Once the photos are on Flickr in their sets, the group responsible for the photo should write a definition for the vocabulary as the picture description. Finally, students from other groups can post comments underneath where they use the vocabulary in context.
von Glasersfeld (1989) states that constructivist learning theories view learning as an active process whereby the learning engages in meaningful tasks to create learning experiences. The activities presented by One Stop English are constructivist in nature as they allow students to observe, collect data and compare their data with other students as well as allowing for discussion of knowledge and experience.
Jonassen (1991) describes contextual based learning as the crux of situated cognition, asserting that learning is best aided by associating knowledge with context. These activities fit with the situated cognition theory of learning and are useful for the contextualised learning of vocabulary in their environment. Learners are allowed to collect real life examples of vocabulary that is unknown and discuss the meaning with their classmates.
With regards to the SAMR model, this series of activities (with the inclusion of the follow-up activity) sits at the modification level. The learning of vocabulary is significantly enhanced with the technology, allowing for groups of learners to create and share personalised visual categories of vocabulary.
Thanks to the location services on Flickr, student can geotag the image’s location. When a class has geotagged all photos with the set, the collection of photos can form a vocabulary GPS treasure hunt, and classes can share their treasure hunt, as well as learn from other classes vocabulary collections.
Jonassen, D. H. (1991). Objectivism versus constructivism: Do we need a new philosophical paradigm? Educational technology research and development, 39(3), 5-14.
von Glasersfeld E. (1989) Constructivism in Education. In: Husen T. & Postlethwaite T. N. (eds.) International encyclopedia of education. Supplement Volume 1. Pergamon Press, Oxford: 162–163. Retrieved from: http://www.vonglasersfeld.com/114
In the realm of grammatical development, textbooks would occasionally make use of pictures and diagrams to represent aspects of grammatical knowledge, but more often than not grammar has been taught as lengthy explanations of form, meaning and use. To the average learner, grammar is possibly the dullest aspect of language learning, so being required to read through and understand grammatical attributes of language could be a tedious process.
The parallel structure infographic takes a dull topic, simplifies it, adds easy to understand visuals, and creates a handy review tool for when students don’t wish to pore over textbooks to remind themselves of the basics. Infographics allow for the development of visual learners and this infographic sits at the modification level of the SAMR model; it significantly develops grammatical learning and recall of information by making it interesting, simple to understand and easy to communicate.
Bringing this to the redefinition level of the SAMR model is easy with the help of the free infographic creation tools that are widely available on the internet. Two notable sources are http://infogr.am and http://piktochart.com however there are dozens available with a variety of themes, some free, some with a fee. After the introduction of the parallelism infographic, students could be divided by level of understanding of a particular grammatical form. Within the group, students compile their existing knowledge of the grammatical form along with examples and exemptions. From here the group chooses a template (group decision making skills) and discusses how they can visually represent their ideas (discussion and politeness techniques). Once completed, the group then shares their infographic with the other students (ownership of knowledge and creation) and other student are invited to comment on the understandability of the infographic. This activity now follows a constructivist pattern, allowing students to develop with and from each other based on their experience and existing knowledge.
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