I am not a teacher, but an awakener.
Week 5 was so constructive. We picked up many rewarding things which can help us with the teaching. It can also help our students to improve their knowledge of English and they can also acquire new knowledge which can be useful in the future.
Besides the rubrics and assessment tools which I mentioned in the previous post, there are two other components which can be incorporated with the technology to help our students to improve all skills that we mentioned during the discussions in the course. The first component is PBL (project-based learning). As I was not so much familiar with it, I have read some of the articles that are available on our course site https://sites.google.com/site/webskillsuo/. The first article I read was a project-based learning activity. This article is available at http://www.sun-associates.com/lynn/pbl/pbl.html. The first sentence that caught my eye is that *the students work in groups to solve challenging problems that are authentic, curriculum-based, and often interdisciplinary*. I really like this way of learning where students can collaborate and they can improve their skills jointly. They also learn in depth. I also like that students can create their knowledge and they can understand their learning through activities they carry out. They can also demonstrate the knowledge and all skills they gained (skills of reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary). In my opinion, PBL can be incorporated with the technology because students can search for the information on the Internet and in this way they can also improve their skills no matter what level they are. By exploring, students gain learning habits and they are encouraged to go further to acquire new knowledge. What I really like is that all students participate in creating new knowledge and this is so motivating.
The next thing I like in this article is that a classic based-project learning activity usually involves four basic elements: (1) an extended time frame; (2) collaboration; (3) inquiry, investigation, and research; and finally, (4) the construction of an artifact or performance of a consequential task.
In my second thought, I think that the students have the deadlines for finishing their projects. It is very motivating for them because when we give them the deadline for completing the project, then the students will tend to do their best in order to finish it at the right time.
In this process of learning we can also choose learning styles which match with the students we teach. This article contains four learning styles:
- SPATIAL VISUAL LEARNER -- Needs and likes to visualize things; learns through images; enjoys art and drawing; reads maps, charts and diagrams well; fascinated with machines and inventions; plays with legos; likes mazes and puzzles. Often accused of being a daydreamer in class. MOTIVATING TIPS -- Use board games and memory devices to create visual patterns. In reading suggest visual clues. Offer picture books of all types; when reading chapter books together, encourage visualization of story and scenes at intervals. Promote writing via colored pens, computer or drawing.
- KINETIC LEARNER -- Processes knowledge through physical sensations; highly active, not able to sit still long; communicates with body language and gestures. Shows you rather than tells you; needs to touch and feel world; good at mimicking others; likes scary amusement rides; naturally athletic and enjoys sports. Often labeled with attention deficient disorder. MOTIVATING TIPS -- Physical action is the key ingredient to stimulating this student. While reading, let child chew gum, walk around, rock or ride stationary bicycle. Use numerous hands-on activities and experiments, art projects, nature walks or acting out stories.
- LANGUAGE-ORIENTED LEARNER -- Thinks in words, verbalizes concepts; spins tales and jokes; spells words accurately and easily. Can be a good reader or prefer the spoken word more; has excellent memory for names, dates and trivia; likes word games; enjoys using tape recorders and often musically talented. MOTIVATING TIPS -- Encourage creation of own word problems. Have child dictate a story to you and watch while you write it or type it out on a word processor -- then child can share it with you. Read aloud together and tape session for later playback. Consider purchasing some book/tape selections.
- LOGICAL LEARNER -- Thinks conceptually, likes to explore patterns and relationships; enjoys puzzles and seeing how things work; constantly questions and wonders; capable of highly abstract forms of logical thinking at early age; computes math problems quickly in head; enjoys strategy games, computers and experiments with purpose; creates own designs to build with blocks/legos. MOTIVATING TIPS -- Do science experiments together and have child record results; use computer learning games and word puzzles. Offer context clues as a reading aid. Introduce non-fiction and rhyming books. When reading fiction, discuss relation of story to real-life situations and people.
So when we know our students, we can apply one of these learning styles and I think that the wanted goal will be achieved and the PBL will be successfully completed.
As this thread intrigued me, I continued reading another article. The second article is available at http://www.globalschoolnet.org/Web/pbl/plan/assres.htm. The sentence that attracted my attention is that * in the “old school” model the teacher was the task manager, but in the “new school” model the teacher becomes the facilitator*. This is so, so appealing. In my experience, I noticed that students think that a teacher is the main leader and they are sometimes too shy to cooperate of being afraid that they can make a mistake. In this way, students can become *autonomous learners* what is one of the goals of many teachers. Students can feel free to express their ideas and to help each other to understand the matter. In this article I also discovered that some teachers agreed that PBL exhibited the following characteristics:
- Students make decisions within a prescribed framework.
- There’s a problem or challenge without a predetermined solution.
- Students design the process for reaching a solution.
- Students are responsible for accessing and managing the information they gather.
- Evaluation takes place continuously.
- Students regularly reflect on what they’re doing.
- A final product (not necessarily material) is produced and is evaluated for quality.
- The classroom has an atmosphere that tolerates error and change.
The second component is WebQuest. At the very beginning, I have to admit that I feel confused about the WebQuest and its usage. But I hope that I will recognize its usage as the time goes by. I was not familiar with this before, so I read an article from our weekly assignment. The article is available at http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/webquests/index_sub3.html .
As I noticed that this is also useful tool for students to work in groups and that everything is sorted in one place. In this article, I read a sentence which says that a WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented online tool for learning, says workshop expert Bernie Dodge.
This means that it is a classroom-based lesson in which most or all of the information that students explore and evaluate comes from the World Wide Web. What I like about this tool is that the students spend their time using information, but not looking for it. It means that the information is preselected by the teacher, so students have to do a certain task by using the available pieces of information. As I concluded that this tool helps students to develop their teams’ skills which are very important for their future work. Students collaborate and work in groups. This is also rewarding for teachers because if one is busy with his/her teaching and preparing the lessons, she/he doesn’t need to worry about the lesson plans.
I also created my WebQuest. The URL of my WebQuest is: www.zunal.com/webquest.php?w=134226.
Consequently, I want to say that students can benefit a lot by using these two constructive tools. On one hand, they can develop their skills of writing, reading, vocabulary and grammar which are very necessary. The learning environment can be so motivating and students will tend to achieve better goals. On the other hand, students can become *independent learners*.