My own Moodle site

A Moodle site has been created to my own use with teaching and learning. It’s named FELT – Facilitating English Learning and Teaching at http://felt.hanu.vn.

I created and am running two courses: EDO post activities and EAP presentation.

Things are going well. Hopefully I can integrate the use of Second Life into this platform soon.

Happy 馃檪

Please leave some comments as to how to teach with Moodle and Second Life together.

Cheers

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List of viable technologies for my context

Moodle: is used by most of the departments at Hanoi University, but many of them use it as an announcement board, not as an LMS. Will talk to some lecturers from Business and Tourism Department about their experience as they are using its learning functions for their courses.

Second Life: combined with Moodle, it can be a great online classroom. The thing now is to learn all of its functions to organize a class there, then to design a course.

Evernote: Good tool for organizing life, work and study. Will introduce it to students.

A flipped classroom with ESLvideos: used for term 3, English for specific purposes. Students will watch videos, answer questions, read notes, and use class time for discussions and presentations.

Augmented Reality: to make the learning happen outside the classroom. Students will read, listen or watch videos to learn about an object, a place.. as they go from one location to another. Especially good for tourism students. New experience would motivate learners. E.g. Layar, String, Wikitude… Read more about it.

Stixy: good for speaking, grammar, writing; individual, pair, group work;

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ICT to enhance Vietnamese teachers’ motivation for self-study

group project

Some more ideas:

take part in one or more communities of practice – reading & writing blogs/tweets, discussing in forums, participating webinars, building an online identity

watch TED videos to be inspired, by Sir Ken Robinson for example, or videos about Crowd-sourcing, Plato’s cave…

redefine values/motivation factors/goals: maybe just to be useful, to be part of a community, to have an identity, to build something visible, contribute, learn & grow…

tb cont’d

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About Dalsgaard’s article: Social software: E-learning beyond learning management systems

In his article titled “Social software: E-learning beyond learning management systems”, Dalsgaard presented some e-learning tools including weblogs, social bookmarking tools, and wiki. The features, functions, uses, etc. can be found in the slides posted by Stephen and Edith on Blackboard. In terms of their benefits for my Vietnamese students, blogs can be used as individual tools to practice their reading, writing, organizing ideas, critical thinking, etc. whereas, as a collaborative tool, wiki can be used for their group projects.

Dalsgaard also questioned the role of LMS in promoting learning as its use is limited to administrative purposes and thus it does not provide students as much freedom to explore and learn as expected. His argument is true for students who are self-motivated with high autonomy for study. However, LMS may be a solution in the Vietnamese educational context where academic freedom is not a real motivator to many students because of the mindset and practice of teachers as a key factor in students’ success. From my observation, my students usually need a push, or several pushes, to start and keep their ‘study engines’ running. They need clear task objectives, deadline and marks/evaluation from their teachers rather than setting their own study goals or plans, and use the available tools and support to achieve them. As a teacher, I would want to see evidence of my students’ learning processes to make sure that they are using their study time learning something, not surfing entertainment or social-networking websites for fun only.

Besides, why not using a system in which both LMS and social softwares are possible, or using both at the same time? Teachers would have the level of management they want and students have the freedom they like. Then the questions can be narrowed to: To what extent teachers/administrators practice their control over students’ learning processes? Again, LMS or social softwares are tools only. Whether they can serve their purposes well depends on the course designers and/or users (teachers and students).

I like the idea of social constructivism presented in the article because I also believe in “self-governed and problem-solving activities” to enhance learning. The more authentic the activities are, the closer the approach of learning to English as a second language. Contents in this case will drive structures. And I’m happy that there are so many social softwares to facilitate such approach.

Questions: How can I combine blogs and wiki to facilitate English learning and teaching? The LMS of Moodle provides both wiki and blogs for each course created for students to enroll. Is Moodle an answer?

Synthesis:

Important:

“Every organization of e-learning depends on the chosen pedagogical approach. A discussion of the educational potentials of social software, and other tools, needs to be approached from the point of view of an understanding and description of specific learning activities (Dalsgaard, 2005). The approach to e-learning presented below discusses educational social software from the point of view of social constructivism. The conception of learning as self-governed, problem-based and collaborative processes is derived from a social constructivist approach (Bang & Dalsgaard, in print). According to a social constructivist approach, learning is considered a social and active process (Vygotsky, 1978; Brown, Collins & Duguid, 1989; Jonassen, 2000). Problem-based activities describe a learning process in which students are directed at solving a problem. It is important to a social constructivist approach that a student tries to solve the problem him- or herself. In other words, students should direct their own problem-solving process.”

LMS

Blogs

Wikis

聽聽聽聽聽 organized and managed within an integrated system

聽聽聽聽聽 offer discussion forums, file sharing, management of assignments, lesson plans, syllabus, chat, etc

聽聽聽聽聽 well suited for managing student enrolment, exams, assignments, course descriptions, lesson plans, messages, syllabus, basic course materials, etc. However, self-governed and problem-based activities are not very well supported by LMS

聽聽聽聽聽 Learning processes of the kind described in the social constructivist approach outlined in this article cannot be managed.

聽聽聽聽聽 What can be managed, however, is the administrative aspects of a course

聽聽聽聽聽 a log file with dated entries listed on a web page in chronological order

聽聽聽聽聽 individual and also often personal

聽聽聽聽聽 Maintaining a weblog means continuously writing new entries

聽聽聽聽聽 by a single individual and it does not support discussion

聽聽聽聽聽 When a weblog is related to other weblogs, the weblogs become social, and communities or networks are formed

聽聽聽聽聽 social software tools

聽聽聽聽聽 can be edited dynamically directly from the web page itself. In principle, everybody with access to a wiki can make changes to it

聽聽聽聽聽 A wiki keeps track of changes meaning that you can view previous versions of each page on a wiki

 

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About Larry Ferlazzo’s blogroll

This blog provides really resourceful sites about teaching and learning English with ICT. I think I can use a lot of the materials here for my teaching. It’s simple and easy to use, so I can hardly find anything I don’t like about this blog.

Some examples:

TED talks: From the entry聽TED Talks Launches 鈥淧laylists鈥 I found videos which can be used for student practice of listening comprehension, note taking, debate (agreeing and disagreeing with the presenter), e.g. Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity at http://teachingwithted.pbworks.com/w/page/19958133/Sir%20Ken%20Robinson%3A%20Do%20Schools%20Kill%20Creativity. This is authentic, and I hope it would inspire students to work harder just to understand the ideas being explained, then appreciate them. If they find the video difficult, the subtitle function is available. Nice.

“Burbank Students Use Blog To Learn English” 鈥 Sacramento Bee Story On Our International Sister Classes Project聽 This post provides some ideas on using blogs to learn English. It’d be useful for my students to join the international blog world to learn and use English to reflect, describe their own culture in comparison with other cultures as food for thoughts.

Larry Ferlazzo鈥檚 English Website聽 leads to an English learning website where a tool to turn text to speech can be found. My students can use it to check the pronunciation of their presentations before they deliver them. They write their speeches and paste them here, listen to it and correct their pronunciation errors themselves.

His post about Screenshare at http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2012/11/15/the-best-screenshare-tools-to-help-others-with-computer-problems/ should be listed under any rubrics targeted to my students who are learning English with ICT. It’s another way for both Ts and Ss to get connected with international communities on the Internet, besides solving computer problems. Can it be categorized as a Crowsourcing way?

Here Are My Nominations For This Year鈥檚 Edublogs Awards! Here I clicked on Best educational use of a social network 鈥 EFL Classroom 2.0 and found another interesting website. On the home page is the idea of the walking classroom. Yes, stay away from the classroom walls, the ICT with all fancy softwares, web links and stuff for a while. Time for physical exercise, for a healthy body besides a healthy mind. Walking around campus and practising a little conversation in English was what I did before, several years ago. How come I forgot it? Will do it again. Fun and new.

From Edith: The flipped classroom: Here is a summary of main points THE FLIPPED CLASSROOM

to be continued

Thanks a lot, Larry.

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What we did on Wed Nov 7

We experienced two more online tools for learning a language: LWT and Quizlet. Lwt is not as user-friendly as Quizlet, but it has the advantage or potential of a good teaching tool. It can serve as a corpus to teach vocabulary, grammar, reading… with the function of tagging or filtering.

Quizlet is more fun. Its flashcard function is fantastic. Teachers and students can create their own sets of words to learn with images attached. The sound is available for pronunciation of the word. It covers more aspects of vocabulary learning than a traditional paper flashcard can.

What to do next: download and install Lwt onto personal computer; exploring more with Quizlet. They’re both nice.

Posted in Reflections on ICT course | 2 Comments

Useful links

http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/

http://quizlet.com

http://lwt.sourceforge.net

https://calico.org/journalTOC.php

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