45 webtools here to explore in the form of an e-book The tools have been categorized under four literacy skills i.e. reading writing, speaking listening for ease of reference. It's a matter of filtering through and selecting what suits the personal needs of your students in a specific teaching / learning context.
A couple weeks ago, I was sitting in an English Department distance learning committee meeting, where my chair, Rick Reagan, said something that really caught my attention: "Many students just have to realize that online learning is not an immersive experience like face-to-face learning is. It's mostly asynchronous and on your own."
What caught my attention was the idea that f2f is immersive; although subconsciously I recognized such, I never thought of it in those terms. What makes the f2f classroom immersive? It seems to me there are at least three things: real time interaction, spatial proximity and manipulation of objects with others in that space.
However--and you know where I'm going with this, don't you!--we shouldn't settle with a lack of immersion for online students.
Some interesting points here about immersive learning and how it compares to distance learning. As a distance learner and an educator who teaches English via Skype and Second Life, I feel it's important to make tools accessible to students that enable some form of synchronous communciation . This could be from their own personal learning environment e.g. Google Hangout or Facetime. I also encourage tools such as Google Drive where realtime collaborative work can be engaged in so that my one-to-one students still have a sense of belonging to a community of practice, even when the ties are artificially formed as opposed to joining up with special interest groups of their choice.
I have found from personal experience, that distance learning groups tend to develop stronger links if both synchronous and asynchronous forms of communication and interaction are accessible and are put to use effectively.
Teachers what about using audio tools with your students for speaking and listening practice? This is just one example here i.e. Voxopop. I find it useful for archiving my students' progress; for pronunciation practice; oral exam practice and digital storytelling etc. As it's an asynchronous tool, students can dip into it at any time and I can analyse their recordings before the next lesson.
Designer Lessons is an EFL blog created by two English teachers, George Chilton and Neil McMillan, who share different lesson plans. With topics like ideal housemates, mobile technology, social media, freedom, happiness, among others, there are plenty of original lesson ideas you can adapt to suit your students' needs.
How do teachers make informed decisions in relation to a balanced use of technology in the classroom? Where can new teachers become better informed about best practices for technology use in the classroom without becoming overwhelmed and discouraged by the overload of information?
Some interesting points and useful tips here for teachers regarding recycling language and revisiting texts. Thornbury makes the observation that often in texts books each unit covers a different topic which means that new language is being introduced and language from previous units is not being repeated or reviewed. This is where we as teachers can introduce other resouces that help bind all the topics and also use five minute activites to recapitulate on language that has already been introduced in order to revive it.
Look up words in the Visuwords online graphical dictionary and thesaurus to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Produce diagrams reminiscent of a neural net. Learn how words associate.
PicLits is useful as a resource for writing and speaking prompts. Explore the gallery or create your own. There are images with and without captions. Also helpful for those doing exams. Select a pair of images and practice using comparative adjectives to compare and contrast similarities and differences.
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