Friday, 17 February 2012

.Learning chocolate,-a new way of learning vocabulary

What is this?
To access this website, click here->learningchocolate

Learning chocolate is a revolutionary vocabulary-learning website. The words on this website are divided into different categories systematically. For example, the picture below is some words concerning airplanes:
What's great about this website is that it not only provides the spelling of the word, it links the word directly to a certain component or a subject, making the meaning of the word obvious and self-explanatory. Also, when you click on the word, you can hear the pronunciation of it.

Why is the content good for language learning?
1.The words provided in a certain picture are more or less related, so the students to memorize them more effectively and systematically.
2.Spelling and pronunciation are both available.
3.It is specially ideal for young learners to use to help them remember new words.
4.There are some follow-up quizzes to ensure the students understand and remember the new words.

How might you use it in a teaching context?
1.Give students handout of the words and the meaning in advance, and use a picture like the above in class to check if the students remember the meaning of the words.
2.Familiarize the students with a certain group of words, ask them to do the matching exercise to check understanding.
3.After going through a certain group of words, give the students a dictation test.
4.Do the fill-in exercise after requiring them to memorize the words in class.

1.Most of the words are very simple. so the target student group can be quite restricted.
2.The captivating pictures might distract the students, especially the young ones.
3.The words are separated from sentences.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Great Breaking News English

What is this?

To access it ->breakingnewsenglish

Breaking news English is an absolute phenomenal website which provides us with thousands of readily available lesson tailored for EFL teaching context. More importantly, all those great lessons are free and a new lesson is updated every 3 days.On top of that, all the lessons and listening recordings can be downloaded for free in no time!

Why is the content good for language learning?
1.All the lessons are created based on the latest news and information, which can surely appeal to the students.
2.It can spare the teachers huge amount of time preparing for a lesson, thus allowing the teaching making better use of the preparation time.
3.There are loads of different kinds of exercise, aiming of enhancing students English from different aspects like speaking, listening, reading and writing.
4.Some of the exercise are fairly collaborative, thus making the classroom's atmosphere more interactive and relaxing.

How might you use it in a teaching context?
1.Choose a chunk of exercise from the lesson related to a certain topic for your class to do some warm-up activities and brainstorming with the students.
2.Expanding students vocabulary by giving them exercise of matching synonyms from a certain lesson on Breaking News English.
3.Engage the students into pairs or groups to do some of the reading exercise together.
4.Assign the students to work in groups to design a unique lesson based on the pattern on the website. In this way, the students have to understand the text thoroughly.

1.It can be extremely time-consuming.
2.The text form is a bit humdrum and can be pretty boring for the students if they have to do it every time.
3.There are not much pictures or other visual attractions in the lesson.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Technology, Entertainment and Design--the Fantastic TED

What is TED?
TED, short for technology,entertainment and design, is a fantastic website which offers free daily-updated speeches concerning a wide variety of interests, ranging from education, science to family and art, etc. This website is dedicated to publicizing the most innovative and stimulating ideas worth spreading.

Click here to access TED:->ted

Why is the content good for language learning?
1.The wide range of topics covered in TED really boosts students' interests
2.The language in the presentation is fairly formal and can cater to enhancing students' command of scientific discourse.
3.The multimedia typed resource could readily appeal to the students
4.Every single TED video is a perfect peace of learning resource for honing speaking and listening skills.

How might you use it in a teaching context?
1.Play a chunk of TED video in class to practise students' extensive listening skills. Ask them to summarize the story.
2.Play a chunk of TED video before starting a certain topic, brainstorm with the students and activate their schemata.
3.Play a chunk of TED video and ask the students to take notes while listening, let them translate the content into their mother tongue. This is especially desirable for English majors.
4.Assign the students to do some homework research using a TED video to help them better illustrate the points.

1.It can be quite difficult for students who find English learning already boring.
2.Subtitles are not available.
3.Students have to cope with various accents.
4.It might be fairly time-consuming.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Mailvu-a terrific tool to send video message in no time.

What is this?
Mailvu, click to access->mailvu

Mailvu is an amazing website which allows you to send video mail immediately after you record the video. In plus ,it is extremely user-friendly. As long as you have a camera and microphone, be it built-in or external, you can make a video in no time.Then you can send this video message to your friend's email address without the need to upload it.

Why is it good for language learning?
1.With mailvu, the teacher can give direct oral feedback to students.
2.Students can listen to the feedback video from the teacher again and again to practice listening and speaking.
3.Students can send a mailvu to the teacher, forcing them to practice their oral skills.

How to use it in a teaching context?
1.Divide the students into groups and encourage them to exchange video messages via mailvu after class as oral partners.
2.Engage the students to use mailvu to a self-introduction and send it to the teacher for feedback.
3.Ask the students to record their monologues and spot on their own pronunciation and grammar mistakes occur in their utterance.

1.Videos can't be downloaded, which means internet access is required upon every view of the video.
2.One might feel uncomfortable speaking in front of the screen and thus perform not as good as in real-life conversations.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

How could you use Wallwisher with your students? by Russell

How could you use Wallwisher with your students? by Russell

The above picture is a screenshot of what happened with wallwisher in Russel's ELT class.This page is totally going crazy!!! AWESOME STUFF!

To access wallwisher, please click here  ->Wallwisher

What is it?
In my knowledge, wallwisher is a website where you can create an open forum, or in this case, a wall,to allow the public or a particular group of audience to have some multimedia discussion for free! Also, it is totally user-friendly and steps to get it started are self-explanatory.

Here are some possible approaches to Wallwisher to facilitate teaching :
1.Since it allows anonymous posts, the teacher can ask the students to give criticism and suggestions without giving students any pressure.

2.Organize some nice warm-up activity like brainstorming if the classroom is fully equipped. The students can provide their ideas and make their own contributions simultaneously.

3.The students can ask any questions or share whatever they think useful related to a certain lecture on this particular wall and the teacher can answer them by posting a new sticky. What's more, sometimes what the students provide online may help the teacher better reflect on his or her teaching.

4.When assigning the class into groups, each group can have their own wall and all their discussion and research results can be shown online. The teacher can supervise several groups at the same time without the need to move around.

1. In my perspective, it only suits for groups less than 8 people, otherwise the screen will turn into a complete clutter if everyone performs actively.

2. Due to financial restrictions, not in every context the students have their own laptops.

Make your own movies and spice up the classroom


The above video is something I accomplished within 10 minutes and it only shows one of the many possibilities you can do with "dvolver moviemaker".

This is definitely a fantastic website for teaching, or as Russel puts it, a blessing for technophobias. With this website, everyone is capable of creating their own little movie and livening the classroom up. You will just need to follow a few steps as shown below: here ->Dvolver Moviemaker " make a movie"

3.Select a background and a sky. This stage is where you can be creative and make your movie beautiful.You can take the audience's features into account. eg: if the majority are girls, maybe something pink and red will be well-received.
4.Decide the plot of the movie, a rendezvous or a pick-up? It's your choice. As a language teacher, we can use these options  both to give grammar instructions to the students or assign the students to work in pairs to create their own dialogues, reviewing what they have learnt from class.
5.Select two characters for the conversation. There are actually some really funky choices of this part. Sometimes, an ugly character might better catch the students attention in class, especially the naughty little boys. Still, the teacher should always take the audience into consideration.

6.Create your own dialogues. This is actually the most essential part of this tool concerning language teaching and learning. In this phase, the teacher might type some conversations and make them more appealing to the students by virtue of the help of animation. In plus, students are able to present their own unique conversations drawing from the lessons they had.However, there are two major limitations of this website : a) Chinese can't be typed on this web. b) each line contains 100 words at most.
7.Adding background music. This is my favorite part since you can add different charisma to different teaching context each time with different background music.
8.Naming it. The last thing you need to do is to give a title to your video and leave your name as the author. Then everything is done.

9.Share it with your friends. Within 5 minutes, a short piece of interesting and lively movie is all done. Now you can share it with your friends by simply adding their names on this page and clicking the "send" button.

1.Students might get distracted by the colorful images and background music rather than focus on the language points.
2.It can get pretty boring if used too many times in class due to its predictability.
3.Chinese typing,which is quite necessary sometimes, is not allowed. 

Friday, 3 February 2012

How to apply wordle to our teaching

To access wordle, click here->WORDLE

Brief Introduction of Wordle:

On the official website, Wordle is defined as a “toy for generating word clouds”. Wordle is useful for:
  • gathering and collecting ideas
  • making vocab exercise less boring
  • highlighting the key points in a conference
  • greeting with more visual aids
  • depicting creativity and novelty

How to create a Wordle

In general, wordle is very user-friendly, except the fact java needs to be installed before it's available.In terms of the detailed operating steps, we can take a look at this:
  1. Steps to create your own wordle

Also,a lot of customization is possible with wordle, be it the change of font or choice of color. All this can be accomplished with the buttons on the top.

As to how this fascinating website can be adopted to my future teaching, I also have some interesting ideas.Since I plan to be a teacher specializing in IELTS and TOEFL, it should be very helpful with the writing class. For intance, I can select the sample compositions written by the examiners and transform them into wordles. The most frequent words, in other words, the words with the biggest size in the pictures would be most obvious and salient on the screen. In fact,those are the ones students should really bear in mind and try to employ themselves in their future writing. It is advisable to draw lessons from the examiners' writing style and word choices. Moreover, by looking at the colorful wordle pictures, the classroom atmosphere would be definitely liven up a bit.

Another possible proposal here:
If the student finds one particular article difficult to understand, he can "wordle" it and try to figure out the new words that appear most frequently in that text. This might help him better understand the meaning as well as capture the gist of the text..

One more proposal according to Max:
Try it with the listening practice: Before listening, wordle the text and show the picture to the students, asking them to make up their own versions of stories independently firstly. In this case, their schemata will be already activated when they listen to the actual text and the listening exercise stands to be more interesting and to some extent, encouraging to the students.

In conclusion, with wordle, vocabulary is so much more than a mere torturing and painstaking exercise. Everyone can have his or her own wordle and make the best use of it.