Activity Picture Prompts for Discussion

Here are some slides which show a variety of activities to elicit conversation in your language classes. Ask your students about what they see. Use these slides to talk about clothing and different kinds of equipment needed for the activities. (Are they count or non-count items? Describe them.) What different kinds (and levels) of skills are needed to participate in these activities? How are these skills acquired? (Are there any similarities to acquiring language skills?)
Are these activities common where the students come from? Did they participate in them “back home?” Have them talk about an event they participated in. (This is how I found out one of my students was actually an Olympian!)
What about now? Do they engage in these activities in their adopted homes? Why or why not? What are the benefits? What are the difficulties? Are there health benefits to participating in these activities? What are they?  Would they recommend that other people try them? Are these skills for careers or hobbies? (What’s the difference?) Are there opportunities for professionals and amateurs to participate?
Your students can bring a picture of a hobby, sport, or activity that they enjoy participating in and meet in groups of three or four to discuss the different pictures. The group can then select one of its members to present it to the class. Or, turn this discussion into a writing (blogging) activity or an oral demonstration presentation to put into a vlog. Students can tweet the links with an image to their online presentations. The possibilities are endless!

Profiles of Life and Learning on Glogster EDU: A Follow-up

At the beginning of this past fall 2010-2011 semester, I posted my plan, Profiles of Life and Learning on Glogster EDU, for using Glogster as a tool to summarize and synthesize student learning in my advanced ESL class, and I promised that I would display their final glogs at the end of the semester.  However, WordPress only allows us to post individual glog links rather than the actual glogs, so I decided to post them all first in one blog (Blogger), and then give you the link to that blog.  Why Blogger?  I chose Blogger for several reasons: 1) Blogger makes posting the glogs very easy for me; 2) there’s easy access for my students because they already use gmail accounts for their school email and can use that address for Blogger; and 3) comments are easy to make after each glog on Blogger.

I presented Glogster EDU to the students early in the semester with a minimum of instruction and gave students a total of four communication prompts throughout the semester. They were told to vary their forms of presentation on Glogster either with writing, an original audio recording, or a video tape of themselves responding to the prompts and that they would have approximately 30-50 minutes of class time each week during the semester to create a glog representative of themselves and their language and creative skills.  Students were required to seek answers to their glogging questions first by going to their classmates instead of me, which worked very well for all concerned. Additionally, I made myself available via email as well as for one extra hour most days after class to offer extra help either with their language or presentation efforts.

The end result of this semester-long assignment was positive.  The last two hours of our course were dedicated to the student presentations of their glogs. Students joyfully commented on how much they enjoyed learning to use this technology, i.e. downloading video and pictures and uploading them to their glogs, doing Internet searches especially for videos about their homeland, and using this technology to present themselves and their work in a creative and artistic way. But, because the semester ended only too soon, I promised the students that during semester break, I would compile, publish, and email them the final presentation of all the glogs, and that I would review their work with them during the break or early next semester if they so wished. I published all the glogs whether they were finished or not, since each offered information for us to learn from.

Was it worth the class time and the effort, and would I repeat this assignment again? Absolutely, but I would probably be more adamant about having them make their own video and audio recordings in addition to their writings. I would definitely plan on once again offering extra time and assistance to my students after class as it minimized the anxiety level of the technology novices even though they truly did get most of their technology help from the other students.

Once again, here is the display of our glogs.  I hope you will enjoy the students’ work and in return share with me how you use or plan to use Glogster in your ESL/EFL classes!

Using the Flip Cam

Well, here’s my first attempt at using the Flip Cam I bought myself last week as a present.   I decided to make a movie of my students!  I wish I could say I that I did it all in just a few minutes…but, I can’t.  Putting the movie together and adding background music was really pretty easy thanks to the Flip Cam software, but after waiting about 45 minutes for it to upload to our Facebook page, it was essentially rejected because it took forever to load.  Humpfff!  Then, I tried to upload it to Teacher Tube.  Again, after about 30 minutes, no luck, I assumed, because if its size.  So, I decided to edit it to make it shorter.  I realized that it was pretty long, but I just loved watching the students and didn’t want to delete anything, especially not the “bloopers”  which showed everyone’s personality, good sense of humor, and beautiful smile.  Once I had begrudgingly cut off about a minute and a half of the video, I still had trouble uploading it to Teacher Tube, so I decided to say the heck with it and go to YouTube, which was actually my first choice. I had originally decided against using YouTube as the platform for the video because I knew that students could not watch YouTube videos on the computers at school due to the large amount of bandwidth needed for that.

But, at last, it’s done and posted on our MATC ESL Facebook page for the students and here on this blog for you.  I learned a little about videoing and about not talking while videoing (yes, that’s me with the mid-western accent you’ll hear not so much in the background).  I also learned a little about editing using the Flip Cam software and more about uploading video to Facebook, Teacher Tube, and YouTube.  So, it really was a good day’s work.

I expect to continue to have a lot of fun with this camera, and I hope the students will, too.  I know they’ll enjoy seeing themselves and sharing the videos with their families and friends.  I’ll try to find creative ways to integrate more student videos in my classes, and I hope the students will also find ways to incorporate video in their class projects, specifically on their final projects on Glogster.  (See Profiles of Life and Learning on Glogster EDU.) Who knows what else we’ll come up with?  But, you can count on following our progress here on Web 2.0 for ESL!

Just a footnote:  I showed my classes the video today, and it was quite a hit!  Besides watching the students enjoy this learning event on video, I was especially happy to hear other students ask  the question, “What class was this in?”  I like my students to be happy learning and to feel good about spending what precious little time they have away from work and family, on campus.  And, yes, I have watched this video at least 100 times because it makes me happy as well.

Profiles of Life and Learning on Glogster EDU

This semester my Advanced ESL adult students will summarize and synthesize their learning by developing a glog on Glogster EDU to profile their lives and learning, which they will present to the class at the end of the semester as a final project.  If they will allow me, I will then post their glogs on our ESL website (ecampus.matc.edu/southesl) to share with the other students as well as a sample or two in this Web 2.0 for ESL blog to share with you.

I’ve taught this course several times now using Side by Side Book 4 as our textbook.  Of course, as all teachers, I do something different each semester, but this semester I’ve decided to hit hard on the use of technology to enrich and supplement student learning.  And, I have to say, my class seems thrilled albeit a little intimidated.  They are happy to have the opportunity to develop better computer skills, explore new Internet tools, and express themselves and their recently acquired English skills in new, creative and challenging ways, but some are wondering if they will have the ability to pull it off.  Because I am requiring the use of so much new technology, I have made myself available to this group of students an extra hour after each class for help or practice with the tools.  I am fortunate to have an hour to work with them after they have finished their courses for the day.

I’ve started off  this project by getting each student his/her own account at edu.glogster.com.   I requested and received 25 subaccounts attached to my account, one for each student and one for my own “test student.”  The test student I created to check my instructions to the students by being able to sign on as a test student and see the site through a student’s eyes rather than only seeing the instructor’s page and guessing what the students “should be able to see” on their own pages.

Glogster EDU then sent  nickname codes and passwords for each student in a “message” on my Glogster EDU Dashboard.  I missed this the first time around, and when I didn’t receive the message as an email, I thought I had to assign passwords to my students.  This was a false step that I was able to rectify easily with the forgiveness and cooperation of my students.  Once I realized what I had done and after testing the new “codes” on my “test student account,” I assigned each student an account, gave each a typed copy of their userid and password, and asked them to test the codes by signing into their accounts.  There was only one problem associated with the codes, and that was in deciphering an “l” from a “1.”  If the students were successful at logging in, I asked them to transfer the userid and password info onto a form I had given them at the beginning of the semester to record all userids and passwords needed for different web tools used in my class this semester.  Then their first assignment was to take a few days to explore and get to know Glogster EDU and its tools, sampling the different tools and options, picking out “walls” and perusing the many different glogs already created and published.

The students will be receiving a “creativity prompt” for each chapter we cover during the semester, and I expect each item to involve either written or spoken English and an artistic presentation of the prompt.  I expect it to involve a video, picture, drawing, or other type of image with either audio or an article attached.  Each prompt will involve a grammatical structure or structures presented in a specific chapter, and will be graded on the correct structure usage and creativity of presentation.  The prompts will revolve around life and learning in their homeland and here in the United States.

This is their first prompt:  Compare your life before coming to the USA to your life now in Wisconsin.  Use past tenses to speak/write about what your life was like for you in your homeland and present tenses to talk about what your life is like now in Wisconsin.   You can use video, photos,  drawings, music or other media to illustrate your comparison.  I’ll be looking for correct English usage and a creative method of presentation on Glogster EDU.  Have fun creating!

Related Reading :  The 12 Days of Technology-Day 11: Glogster

Detailed Tutorial on Glogster EDU – Online teaching and learning tool

Glogster on Slideshare (a tutorial)

5 Traits of the 21st CenturyTeacher

The 12 Days of Technology-Day 11: Glogster

On the Eleventh Day of Technology my PLN gave to me-Glogster.  When I first heard about Glogster, I thought, “What a bizarre name!”  With Glogster, you create glogs.  While I still think the names are somewhat bizarre, the tool is not.  It is an amazing and powerful tool for developing interactive posters, allowing for creative displays or presentations that can combine traditional learning with music, text, pictures, and even video.  Students can integrate media they love into their work to make projects uniquely their own.  To protect students from unseemly content, Glogster created the EDU portion of its site.  There students can still make their learning dynamic, and they can safely share it locally with classmates and globally with other English language learners and even with their family and friends back home.

So why would I, an ESL instructor of adult students, have my students use very limited class time to work with Glogster? I’d use it because Glogster is a simple-to-use web tool that allows my students the opportunity to explore, learn, and dialog about technologies integral to 21st century learning, technologies they will need to understand and benefit from if they plan to continue their education; additionally, for my students who are parents, they will be better prepared to assist and support their children’s learning.

What skills will they learn with Glogster? They’ll need to upload media including pictures of their own or from sites such as Flickr or Picasa, they’ll embed self-made or downloaded video from YouTube, TeacherTube, or SchoolTube, they’ll record themselves speaking and embed the audio in the glog, they’ll search for information to post on their glog using Google Scholar and they’ll create text using Microsoft Word. When they’re finished with their poster, they will link it to the department’s student Ning page to share with their community of learners.  Will this help them in their quest to communicate more effectively?  Will it be worth our precious class time?  You bet!

Following this article are links that have been shared by educators to get us started using Glogster:

Detailed Tutorial on Glogster EDU

Glogster Tutorial

How to Use Glogster

Glogster

SJCCTeacherResource Wiki

Glogs: Virtual Online Posters

H1N1 Glogster

Glogster EDU-SchoolTube

Extreme Makeover: Web Addition