Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Learning Curves: Lake School of English, November 2010

Photo above courtesy of Veselin.

I was very excited when I was asked to teach on the Teachers' Refresher course "Learning Curves: Making Use of New Technologies in English Language Teaching" at the Lake School of English, Oxford. Without hesitating I immediately agreed to do this exciting new course. Teaching with technology seemed like a tailor-made project for me, especially as I enjoy using new technologies.

I hope to showcase some of the tools demonstrated to the 11 teachers during the one week intensive course, and also anything that is created by them after the course, which is sent to me. We covered a lot of ground in the one week intensive course, culminating in a workshop / swapshop on the final day, with some Karaoke music and singing, courtesy of www.tuneintoenglish.com, and lovely drinks and nibbles in the last half an hour!

My lovely group of "Learning Curves" teachers at the Lake School of English, Oxford.

The course comprised of the following:
  • Introductions and Icebreakers with web 2.0 tools including Wordle, Xtranormal, Photopeach and Go Animate.
  • "Coat of Arms" introductions: drawing and speaking activity
  • Presentation and discussion on a wide range of web 2.0 tools including Voki, Glogster, Voicethread, Wordle, Wallwisher, Fotobabble and ToonDo amongst others.
  • Language update comprising of idioms, phrasal verbs and colloquial English including examples of new acronyms in the context of authentic materials. I showed the teachers this recent lesson from my archives.
  • Presentations on the Interactive Whiteboard at Oxford University Press, and also at the Oxford and Cherwell Valley College. The talk and practical demonstration at the vocational college included references to digital materials and VLEs. We were then treated to a fabulous 3-course meal prepared for us by the hospitality and catering students, who also served us in a very efficient and friendly manner.
  • Presentation on the use of images, with reference to image editing sites, such as Image Chef, (always a winner!), Tuxpi, Big Huge Labs etc.
  • A session on "Britain Today", which included a discussion on current social issues. We also looked at some Cockney rhyming slang for a bit of fun. We learned "Take a butcher's at this!" = Take a look at this! and also "Not a bad Dickory Dock" = clock!
  • Discussions based on input from the teachers, eg dogme teaching, the validity of text speech etc
  • Pair forms / group forms using language / vocabulary taught in class
  • Storybuilding from picture prompts.
  • Community dictation activity using new words studied. Please see below.
  • Introduction to the social networking site Twitter, with a live exchange on Twitter with my PLN and the teachers. (Thank you so much once again to all the members who responded to my call out. It was lovely to see so many messages and my teachers really appreciated it all. Unfortunately, we were not able to participate in the ELTChat as originally planned.) Hopefully, there will be some new members of Twitter joining the ranks soon!
  • Other topics which cropped up "unplugged".
  • Introduction to "Quizlet" a site for creating dynamic quizzes for revision purposes. I created a set on "New Words".
  • A lovely presentation on Webquests by Elena from Romania on the final morning.
  • A final workshop / swapshop where participants were able to practise what they had seen during the course.
The classroom became a hive of activity with fabulous creations on computers including blogs, wikis, animations, wordles, glogsters and wallwishers. I floated around the classroom(s) monitoring the teachers' experimental activities. I stressed to them that learning new tools needs a bit of practice and patience, but with Russel Stannard's excellent Teacher Training Video Tutorials to hand, they would easily pick up how to use a lot of these web 2.0 tools.

Below is a lovely photo of some of the teachers taken by Veselin Chantov, from Bulgaria, and turned into a Glogster.

Below is a Fotobabble created by me of Veselin's photo.

A screenshot of a lovely Glogster created by Stella Mastruzzi, Marinella Adamo and Paola Biancolini from Italy.

Here's a fab Glog that Stella created on Environmental issues. Please click on the link below.


Below a fab "Wanted" poster effect from www.tuxpi.com from Veselin, who embraced the new technologies with great enthusiasm. I think this is brill!

You might like to read more about Tuxpi "Photo Effects" by the amazing Alex Francisco, on her Zarco English Tool of the Day blog.

A lovely Wordle of some of the new expressions we looked at, from Lorella Paltrinieri.
A poster that we saw, which contained a lovely example of a phrasal verb we had discussed in class. Photo courtesy of Lorella .
Below is a wordle summary of Day 2 vocabulary, edited with Tuxpi in 3 different ways.
I had a lot of fun!! Which one do you prefer???

A Wallwisher Feedback for all the group. This will be added to over the coming weeks. Contributions so far: myself, Connie Burchert from Germany, Dana Muntean from Romania, Stella and Lorella from Italy.

"The Oxford Experience", a fantastic Bookr created by Dana, using www.pimpampum.

You might like to view this lovely post entitled "Drilling with Bookr" by Eva Buyuksimkesiyan.

My very first Voicethread! This was a great opportunity and learning curve for me as well to try out something new. I had contributed to other people's Voicethreads many times, but not created one myself.

A lovely newspaper article feedback summary of the course by Veselin:

GoAnimate.com: Talking about a city also by Veselin.

A Special Message
To all my Lake School Learning Curves teachers: many thanks for being such a fabulous group! Keep in touch! I really enjoyed teaching you, and sharing lots of new things. Take care.

To all my lovely Lake School colleagues: It was fantastic being in the staffroom again for 2 weeks. I loved all the chats and fun that we had. Hope to be with you all again in the New Year.

To Susan, Carmel and Lilly: Thank you for welcoming me back so warmly. I look forward to working with you again soon.

Future Blog Posts in the Pipeline
TESOL-Italy Rome National Convention 2010
Packt Publishing - Moodle Book Review:Moodle 1.9: The English Teacher's Cookbook
Olive Tree Picking - Back in the Grove!
My 2nd Year Blog Anniversary.

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