Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week – 8: “If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success”. John D. Rockefeller

Hello My Dear Journal,

Week – 8 was the busiest and the most challenging one. We had to use all the knowledge that we had gained before and at the same to practice something new.

“I've worked too hard and too long to let anything stand in the way of my goals. I will not let my teammates down and I will not let myself down” -
Mia Hamm

The most difficult task was to prepare a Draft Project Plan. I tried very hard, changed it several times. At first I was a bit confused: I didn’t know whether to write what I have already done or what I will do. The solution came itself. I decided to combine both. The first step was about the things that we have started doing with my students, the second – which we have never done before and hopefully will do when my students are back from their autumn holidays. I am not going to post the draft here. I will hopefully do it when I have the Final Version of it. My partner Avraham was one of the first to post the draft. So I didn’t want to let him down and posted mine by the deadline.
Teaching with Online Tools

The real adventures started right after I moved to another task to do: The Discussion Forum.
We had a guest moderator Jeff Magoto who seems to know everything about technology and is a real professional. I admire him. I have never met such a teacher. I wish I could be a student in his classroom. Ten weeks is not a very long period of time to learn everything. I am very lucky that I have a chance to be a part of this course. I know that I wouldn’t be able to learn so much and meet so many bright personalities as I met here.
The topic that we have for discussion is very interesting. I spent so much time on exploring all the tools that ANVILL offers. ANVILL activities are intended mostly for developing speaking and listening skills. It also offers the tool that would be applicable in my situation. I am speaking about Forums. Forums are still widely used. The users find this way of communication very easy and comfortable. The users post threads to start discussions, ask questions and expect their peers to comment on the posts. The teacher has to facilitate the discussion asking Socratic questions, weaving and involving the students in the writing process.

Another option is creating blogs. Nowadays they have become very popular and easy to create. We have already created ours and had our students do the same. Blog is the place where you can post your own thread or discussion topic. It is also the area where students can upload the videos, pictures and photos. At the same time each blog is unique, it gives students the feeling of possession and pride which can foster their interest in using technology and promote students’ independent learning.

Nicenet is a tool that can be easily created and used. At the same time it the space where students learn to interact, participate in the discussions, express their opinions and ideas in the target language. While participating in Nicenet they will practice and improve their writing and reading skills.  Besides, they will become more responsible while writing their posts as other group members will read and respond on their writing. Using the manual I will try to create a Nicenet Class as soon as my students are back to school from their autumn holidays.

As my project is focused on developing writing skills I would prefer Forums, Blogs and Nicenet.
At the same time some other tools (Voiceboars, LiveChat) also appeal to me as learning the language is impossible without developing speaking and listening skills.

Create an online course site or an exercise

"If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy". Dale Carnegie.
I looked through all the tools that we were offered. To tell the truth I got lost as I saw the things that I have never seen before. I just wanted to create everything! It took me very much time to get acquainted with all of them.
 First, I had an idea of creating my own website, but then I thought of creating something that will definitely be useful to do with my students as my main aim is to improve their writing skills and encourage them to write.
 I created my class in Nicenet. (It doesn’t mean that I won’t create my site, I have already started!)
If you follow the link you will find there the activities that I decided to use with my students as soon as they come back to school after their autumn holidays.

a)What tool you used (please list the website) and what you created?
I followed our Nicenet example and updated the topics. I thought that it would be good to link them with the Web Quest that I created before so that to have it as a whole topic together.
The first topic is: Welcome on Board!
The second is linked to the topic “Changing Lives”.

b) How you will use it in your teaching - please be specific?
When the students have learned the topic “A Good Life” from our textbooks, as follow up activities we’ll discuss and write our thoughts on the topic. In my opinion, the best way to do it is in Discussion Forum. The link sharing has the links that the students can follow to get the materials easily.
The other topic is ”Rainforest”. I have posted only links in Link Sharing, as we are going to take this topic only in two weeks.

c) The type of students who would use it?
My students are in the 6th grade. I thought of having something more colourful for them. As soon as I finish creating the site I will link Nicenet to it.

d) How you will encourage learner autonomy with this tool?
My students do not like writing using pen-and-paper. It seems challenging to them. When it comes to typing, everybody is ready.  I will you use the tool that we have practiced here. They will get grades for making posts and adding their comments.

(short for  Web-based seminar, a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web).

 I got so excited when I learned that we were going to have a webinar. I started my preparation long before it had to start. I checked everything, tried to get online, but it said that I could do only 10 minutes before it was scheduled. I couldn’t stand waiting and tried and tried and tried…. But nothing happened. I don’t know what went wrong. I just remembered Avraham’s “disappointed”.  Now it happened to me. As Robert mentioned the quote “We do not learn so much by our successes as we learn by failures—our own and others’.  It has continuation: “Especially if we see the failures properly corrected.” -- Frank Lloyd Wright. Hope next time I will be able to manage it and improve the situation.

The Course tasks have come to an end, but there is one more that, in my opinion, needs considering more. I am talking about Peer-reading and filling in the checklist. I am working on it. By the way, it is not an easy task to do. I have to read carefully, analyze and then give the feedback so that my peer (Avraham) could continue working on his project.

My Dear Journal,
Here is the last piece of news for today.

I wish Good Luck to All the Classmates!


See you next week. 

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