Technology and English Language Learning

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Best TEFL blogs

Since starting up Tech and TEFL I have stumbled across a number of TEFL based blogs also hosted on WordPress which is great. I thought I would take this opportunity to share the best ones with you, so you can give them a follow too. Maybe you have also found some good ones? Please post a link in the comments section below if you have and I will add them to the list below!

Jeremy Harmer’s blog – http://jeremyharmer.wordpress.com/ a blog by the author of one of our key texts on our MA TEFL.

TEFL Research – http://teflresearch.com/  a blog that looks at research in the field of TEFL.

ESL Crystal – http://eslcrystal.wordpress.com/ a personal blog from an ESL teacher.

It would be great to build up a comprehensive list so please share anything WordPress and EFL related, especially if it has links to technology.

Lingro.com – A Great Resources for Reading Website Text in a Foreign Language

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Lingro.com: No need to look up words in the dictionary or with an online translator with this useful translation website.  Enter a website address and you’ll be taken to a Lingro supported version of the page where every word is clickable. Click on a word to see its definition.  There are 11 languages available with translation available between each of the individual languages.  There are even ways to track the words that you click to check yourself after reading the page in the foreign language.

Tech in the classroom

Technology can be used to enhance foreign language learning and instruction, but it should be integrated into the curriculum so that it is purposeful and supports learning objectives.  Many times technology is used as a tool that is separate from the learning objectives and it is most useful and effective when it it essential to carrying out a task in the target language rather than just an amusing or interesting way of engaging with the language.  Consider the table below from the  TeachBytes Webiste.  There are concrete and effective idea for using technology in the classroom.

 

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WebQuest materials- finding an English pre-sessional course

WEBQUEST
Theme

English for Academic Purposes Course

Introduction

As many of you are coming towards the end of your secondary education, it is time for you to think about your options for further education. Many of you have stated your desire to study your undergraduate degree courses in the UK and in order to get on to these courses, for the majority of you will be required to attend a pre sessional course of English for Academic purposes course. This is needed for you to complete as for most of you, your English skills need to be improved in order to meet the requirements of the Universities to get onto the undergraduate degree courses. The task that you will do today will allow many of you to research the different types of pre-sessional English courses that are offered in the UK and allow you to make a calculated judgement as to which one is most appropriate for yourself to enrol on. Finally you will conduct a presentation to the rest of the class on which course you felt is the most beneficial and the one you would like you enrol on.
Aims:

1. By the end of the lesson you will have developed your reading skills and used both skimming and scanning to read and analyse information from the internet. .
2. By the end of the lesson students will be able to recognise, understand and use the (-er, more/less than. -est) comparatives. You will be aware of the use of comparatives and superlatives.
3. You will through discussions and the final presentation, develop and practice your speaking skills.

Process

With a partner discuss and come up with a list of important factors that you should consider when trying to choose where to study abroad. Discuss why these areas are important to you and maybe mention want from a pre sessional course.
Use the list of resources provided to locate and utilize the information you require. You can do this together or separately by dividing the tasks amongst yourselves. All the information you collect will form the basis of your presentation. You will need to compare the different courses and in order to equip you with the relevant knowledge there is two sheets which will provide you information on comparatives and superlatives. Have a read of them and complete the quiz’s.
In the presentation you have to decide who will say what and how you are going to present your information. Prepare and construct and materials you many need. The presentation must last between 6-8 minutes. You can make notes to help but try not to read from them. Once everyone has done their presentations, we will have a vote as to which was the best and see which of the pre sessional courses it the most popular.
Finally, you will have to complete a self-evaluation form and this will contribute towards your final assessment.

Tasks

The purpose of this Web Quest is to evaluate different pre sessional English courses in the UK and to compare the benefits of each university offers. You will be provided with relevant Internet resources and links to do this. All the information you come across, note it down so you can use it as part of the PowerPoint presentation.
You have to pick 4 different universities; they can be located anywhere in the UK. You have to then compare the 4 in terms of benefits and see which you would like to enrol on.
Once you have completed the Web quest, then you will prepare a presentation. This presentation should inform the rest of the class of which university provides the, in your opinion, the best facilities for a pre sessional courses. You will have to justify you choice as opposed to the 3 options you also had.
You may incorporate digital images, graphs and any special effects into your presentation

Web quest Tasks

1. Discuss with your partner and come up with a list of important factors that you need to consider as to which and where to do your English pre sessional course. Explain to one another why you feel these areas are important to you when deciding where to do your pre sessional course.

2. Your whole purpose of coming to the UK is to attend the pre sessional course. Look at the links below and pick four universities that offer pre sessional courses that appeal to you.
Visit the following pages to find information:
http://www2.hlss.mmu.ac.uk/languages/english/pre-sessional-english-language-courses/
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/clie/english-for-academic-purposes/pre-sessional/overview
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/al/learning_english/presessional/
http://www.kingston.ac.uk/international/studying-at-kingston/language-programmes/pre-sessional-courses/
http://www.ulc.manchester.ac.uk/english/full-time/pre-sessional/
http://www.sussex.ac.uk/languages/english/presessional
http://www1.aston.ac.uk/lss/english/pre-sessional-english-programmes/
http://www.shef.ac.uk/eltc/courses/summerschool/presessional
http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/students/courses/presessional/index.aspx
http://www.reading.ac.uk/islc/english-language-courses/pre-sessional/islc-pre-sessional-introduction.aspx
http://www.gla.ac.uk/international/pre-sessionalenglishcourses/
http://www.liv.ac.uk/english-language-centre/eap/
http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/info/125008/english_language/1371/academic_year_courses/4
Many of these links have other pages linked to them, so feel free to look around the university websites for more information that you may feel is relevant.

Grammar- Comparatives –Inductive
Taken from:
Harmer, J. (1991). The practice of English language teaching. London/New York. 4th edition
P217

Look at this!
old older
new newer
light lighter
big bigger
thin thinner
noisy noisier
silly sillier
expensive more expensive
beautiful more beautiful

Now work these out?
a) How do we make one syllable adjectives into comparative adjectives?
b) Why are big and thin different?
c) What has to change when we make words like noisy and silly into comparative adjectives?
d) What is different about expensive and beautiful? Why

3. Now with your partner look at the following information regarding the English grammar rule on comparatives and superlatives on:

http://www.eflnet.com/tutorials/adjcompsup.php (shown below)

4. Once you have the read the above. You and your partner can test yourselves on the comparative and superlatives by completing the quiz on:
http://www.usingenglish.com/quizzes/45.html

5. Now compare the four universities using comparatives and superlative and try and decide upon one university pre sessional course that you feel has the most to offer. You may use the following headings as categories for comparison:

 Amount of feedback they get
 Number of contact hours
 The reputation of the university
 The cost of the course
 The length of the course
 Range of skills
 What extra benefits are provided

You have now chosen the university those appeals to yourself. You require some accommodation for the duration of your studies. Look at the links below and try and find accommodation that is suitable for two people and decide on where you will be living for duration of the course. Describe the price, facilities and why have you chose that particular place to live in: Look at these links for more information:

http://www.accommodationforstudents.com/
http://www.homesforstudents.co.uk/
http://www.libertyliving.co.uk/
https://www.unite-students.com/
http://www.studentpad.co.uk/

Self-Evaluation

This is an opportunity for you to reflect on what you have achieved while doing this web quest. Try to answer the questions honestly, but don’t be too hard on yourself! Try to write a 2-3 paragraphs and try an include answers to some of the following questions.
Research Stage
How much help did you need to use the Internet links?

Was there anything that was too easy or too difficult for you?

Did you divide the tasks well between you?

Were you able to find the information you needed easily?

What have you learnt about searching websites/the Internet?

Planning Stage
Did you work efficiently with your partner?

How did you overcome problems or difficulties?

Did you allow enough time to plan and produce your presentation?

Is there anything you could have done better?

Production Stage (Presentation)
Did you speak clearly and loudly?

Do you think it was easy to follow?

Was your grammar and language accurate?

Was your presentation interesting and visually attractive?

Were you happy with your presentation and your postcard?

What would do differently another time?

How has your English improved from doing this Web Quest?

Did you enjoy this activity? What could be done to make it more enjoyable/interesting?

Evaluation
Your performance will be assessed according to the following chart. You will be given a grade as a pair.

Unsatisfactory
1 Satisfactory
2 Very Good
3 Excellent
4 Score
Research

Tips for tutor
Students need assistance or supervision to use suggested Internet links and to navigate within these sites Students are occasionally able to use suggested Internet links to find information and navigate within these sites easily without assistance. Students use suggested Internet links to find information and navigate within these sites easily without assistance. Students effectively use suggested sources of information to accomplish their tasks.

This web quest has allowed the students to look for English pre sessional courses, and has asked learners to access Internet based, authentic materials to research the project.

They will have collaborated to prepare and produce an oral presentation, which they will have conducted themselves.

Through research using authentic materials, they will have collated and structured information in an original way. This will have provided the content of an oral presentation, which they will have either prepared collaboratively and which will have been given to an audience of their peers.

Finally, they will have had to evaluate their own progress and participation, including what they consider they have learned the web quest process.

Technology in the classroom

Nowadays in the majority of young children and teens you see some sort of technology in their hand. From iPhones, iPods, Tablets to laptops to Nintendo DS,it seems like we live in a technology mad society.

Green & Hannon (2007) claim that training students to use strategies for processing and using several tools for learning can be of great benefit. It allows them to get ready for the outside world.

Adams and Burns (1999) state that “Students can use technology and enhance their work and increase their connections with resources outside school walls.” Teachers should not restrict themselves by not using tools that the learners already use and find motivating. A smart teacher would use the tools to promote and facilitate learning as opposed to viewing them a barriers for language learning.

References

Adams, S., & Burns, M. (1999). Connecting Student Learning and Technology. Retrieved June 20, 2010, from Connecting Student Learning and Technology:

Green, H., & Hannon, C. (2007). Their Space: Education for a Digital Generation. Retrieved June 20, 2010, from Using the Technology of Today, in the Classroom Today

Quote of the Week!

“It is important to remember that educational software, like textbooks, is only one tool in the learning process. Neither can be a substitute for well-trained teachers, leadership, and parental involvement.” – Keith Krueger

I very much agree with the above quote as you can have the best software but if the teacher is not adequately trained or knows how to utilize it so that students can’t maximize benefit then it is a shame. Human interaction in the process of learning and transmitting knowledge from teacher to student is in my opinion and will always be vital.

Ways to start using Skype

Skype has become an increasingly popular piece of technology and many people from a diverse range of backgrounds value it uses. Skype not all has its uses for those outside the classroom environment but also for those in the formal language learning environment.

I will now mention 10 ways in which you can use Skype within the classroom. Read carefully and then try implementing it in the classroom. Skype is a free programme to sign up for and it can allow you come in contact with students from across the world. You simply sign up on the Skype in the classroom website and then you have access to learners from other cultures.

You can use Skype to find a tutor in any subject you wise. So many teachers use Skype as a means to teach their students. The learners could be in Japan and you could be in the UK. For Skype distance is not a barrier, all you to have is the hardware and software, which is not expensive!!

Skype also allows teachers to enhance and broaden their skills and allows them to benefit from the diverse community that are signed up to Skype.

Students also can stay in touch with the library or any other university/ college institutes via Skype.

Students and colleges can plug in to hard to get hold of lecturers or specialists in their field by logging on to lectures from across the globe. This allows them to benefit from the experts knowledge without the constraints of travel and cost.

Skype allows students to practice for mock interviews with one another, teachers or other profession developers.

Skype has many benefits and I have only mentioned a few of them. Am sure you can find a lot more than these. Sign up today and start benefiting from the awesome world of Skype.
Reference

http://edudemic.com/2013/03/10-ways-to-start-using-skype-in-the-classroom/