Monday, August 9, 2010


Social Media in Language Education Part II Day 1

Well Michelle and Catalina seemed to mainly focus on the use of primary pad and voice thread for student collaboration. To help their students practice third person they were assigned groups from another school and had to describe

As a group students had to come up with sentences describing the duck. Now in this case they are 8th grade Spanish teachers so the sentences would be in Spanish. Since I primarily teach EFL my students would be doing this is English.
  • His name is Paul.
  • He likes to swim.
  • He hates to do math homework.
Primary pad is a type of etherpad. EtherPad was the first web-based word processor that allowed people to work together in really real-time. It was started by applejet and later acquired by google (I believe) but when they shut down the program they released the code for others to develop. I may be wrong, but all you really need to know is it allows several people to get together and brainstorm, peer edit etc. The other thing I really like about it is you can use the public version without logging in or registering!

Since students are working with one another they get all the positives of peer learning (team-building, greater psychological well-being, social competence, communication skills, self-esteem, higher achievement etc.)

Now, this activity gets them to practice reading and writing, but speaking is also pretty important. So the students also had to go to the link that the teacher had previously created and they would read the list they had created describing their duck. Voice thread seems pretty basic, it is just a way to have students record their voice over a picture and allow people to leave voice comments.

Their presentation is here

Finally Kyle Murley took the opportunity to show us around some sites on the web and we all brainstormed some possible applications of these different options.

Some of the things we went over:

Prezi: Essentially a gigantic white canvas where you can put images, text, etc that you can play with (rotate, make bigger etc). A decent alternative to powerpoint, but it will take me a long while before I figure out if it is really any "better." It still seems rather presentational rather than interactive. Regardless, it was still nice to be made aware of this thing I kept hearing about.

Twitter: Twitter is actually linked with screenr when Kyle spoke about it. I think that Thursday we will have Chris Brown talk about twitter more so for now I am going to skip any application and just talk about the concept. Most people are aware that twitter is a "micro-blog" which allows members to post 140 characters per entry. While many native speakers have to practice to get concise this is a pretty good size for people acquiring a language.

Flickr: By linking Flickr to an e-mail address you can have students e-mail (or sms) pictures of relevant vocabulary words or themes tagging them appropriately. This will give students a great base of pictures (meaning!) and since it is THEIR material they will be more motivated and passionate about the concepts you teach! GREAT!

Blogs!: It is also possible to send pictures straight to a blog! I know Blogger offers this as does flickr (through blogger). By just having a number or e-mail students need to text things so they avoid needing to have yet another log in and password and you still maintain control. There's more discussion on blogs on Wednesday so for now we'll end that train of thought.

Screenr: The great thing about screenr is it can post things directly to your twitter without even needing to start an account with screenr. If you have a twitter account that's all you need! YAY for one less password. Its basically a way to record what goes on your screen (and you can voice over) so you could do an exercise on "How to look for an apartment in England." A nice replacement to the usual, "How do you make lemonade?" I'll make an example later but for now that's a pretty good summary! I am really glad I found this and looking forward to tomorrow!

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