Sunday, April 14, 2013

ESL Podcast: a must for English learners

  ESL Podcast is definitely a great internet tool for English learners. In it, there are series listening episodes that help learners learn practical use of English. It starts with a dialogue or a monologue, followed by an explanation for the language points learners should know.Whatever the form each episode has, it makes sure that the speaker(s) speak(s) in a clear, loud voice and at an easy-to-catch space. Each episode has its own topic and the materials is practical and interesting. For example, I once heard one episode called playing a practical joke, in the dialogue, the man said he played a practical joke on someone: P"what are you doing." L: "I have set up a practical joke on Bob. I can not wait to see the look on his face." Then with regard to these two sentences, there is a carefully explanation of the use of "set up" "practical joke" and "can not wait to".  Explaining a new phrases, the speaker will spell all the key words, which makes learners very easy to understand. Like he said: "set up" "S-E-T, set. U-P, up. set up means......" This is just foolproof! And in this website, there is a section called "ESL Podcast Blog" in which learners can find the transcript of the listening and discuss with others how they think about the materials. This makes English learning a communicative progress!
  If I become a teacher, I will use all the resources in this website because it is so good for beginning and intermediate learners! For beginners I will ask them to listen to the gists of the material and then make a list of it. Then bring their summarization to the class so that I can correct them. In this way, they have got a chance to first get familiar with the language points and when I further discuss them in the class, the learners will have a better understanding. And at the same time, their listening skill is practiced! For intermediate learners, I will let them study using this website themselves, but I will give some suggestions and regularly check what they have learned from the website. For example, I will suggest them to write down their own transcription according to their own listening, and then study the language points themselves instead of directly listening to the explanation followed. At last they can post their ideas about the material in the blog section. I think in this way, their listening and writing skills will be developed at the same time. And based on my experience, by doing transcribing, one's listening skill can be largely improved!
   In a word, this website is a wonderful listening resource base a English learner should never miss!

PS: The only dissatisfaction for me about this website is that before the episode start, there is always a one-minute ads. But you can skip it anyway.

Monday, April 8, 2013

EPALS: where learners connect

   Epals is a place where teachers and students of same interests can find each other and work together. I  first feel amazed at this website is that I found that it provides students opportunities to teach. It is right in the "find classroom" section. The one who wants to teach post their target students' age, their localization, the fields they want to teach and other classroom details. I think through this, both teachers and students can benefit: teachers may improve their teaching ability or collect valuable data for their projects while students can learn so much interesting knowledge. The resources in this website are diversity as well. Relative essays can be found in the "teaching resource" section, and in "learning centers", people can have assess to many other educational videos or games as long as they log in.

    This website really connects learners together: easy-assess and it covers many nations. It is good to learn that China has new joined in the community. I think if I become a teacher in the future, I will ask my students to choose one classroom (if it does not charge) during their long vacation, and then write a report about what they have learned or experienced. It will be a great opportunity for them to know more about the outside world.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Storybird and Teaching

 This week, I used Storybird to make my own comic book, and I feel so excited.


  There are many ways that we can use this Internet tool to teach. For example, because there are so many pictures in the website, many of which can tell a story themselves,  I would let students to pick one or more to make English sentences to describe the picture. Or, for advanced learners, I will let them combine the pictures together to make an English story like I did. Then by sharing the link, I can let them read each others' book and write reflections!

Voice Thread and Teaching

   Recently, I myself have created my own voice thread and done some other activities in others' voice threads (click here and here). I find that VT is such an educational tool in which people can either sharing information or giving instructions.
  I feel like voice thread is an advance blog in which people can make presentations using PPT slide, pictures, music and video while others can comment it using their voices that may help to include the maximum information in a convenient way.
  I think one way voice threat is suitable for teaching is that it makes it possible and convenient for both teachers and students to extend discussions. Like teacher can post the gists of last class and let students ask questions and answer each other's questions. Or teacher can post a picture, a video or a text to let students discuss what they think of such materials. These used to be in-class activities, but using voice thread, students can do these at home!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Digital Storytelling

Travelling salesmen from Västergötland, Sweden by Swedish National Heritage Board
Travelling salesmen from Västergötland, Sweden, a photo by Swedish National Heritage Board on Flickr.

   Digital telling, as is said in The Educational Use of Digital Storytellingis "its most basic core is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories." It is such a wonderful website in which I can not only practice my English listening skills but also broaden my knowledge. Because in this website, the story is mostly told in English and then when you click the "explore stories", you will find all kinds of stories categorized by such kind as art, history and so on. It is basically another TED for me! Moreover, when you are listening to the story, there will be slides shown in the screen to illustrate the content concretely. So it won't make audience feel boring or get anxious once they miss something from listening.

  Digital telling is just a tool made for language learners in my opinion. Teachers could directly use the materials in the website to let students listen and take notes in order to practice their listening. And then they can write reflections based on the notes, and in this way their writing could be practiced. Or teachers can make their own story tellings, such as a preview or a review of the course so that students can have a blueprint of what they are going to learn or what they have learnt. Students can also make their own storytellings to share their experiences, opinions, and the most important things is, as a language learner, their speaking skill is practiced! Such a wonderful tool!

Monday, March 25, 2013

bookr : an amazing homemade printing press!

  I recently have found an amazing Internet tool to help students practice their writing skills and enlighten their creativeness: booker, with which they can make their own books. What an exciting thing!
  I have already made my own book "My Happy Life with Them". I myself feel proud when I looked back on what I have made. I think using my book in my teaching, I could let them first read it and then share their stories about the family with the whole class or just write a reflection about these book.
  I as a teacher will be quite excited to read the reviews from my students!

Selling flowers to raise funds for the Red Cross, Thargomindah, ca. 1916