This week was so great one. In the very beginning, I would like to thank our core instructor Janine Sepulveda for support and encouraging comments. In this week, we also learned many and new rewarding things which can really help us a lot. The first assignment was to write our projects’ drafts and to add them on Wiki page for peer reviewing. I have to say that it was really interesting and exciting to review my classmates’ project drafts. I found a lot about their technology-related changes. I would also like to thank to my dear friend Fernando for giving me an insight into my project where I need to do more.
The second thing was to read about ‘Teaching with on-line tools’. As we had read and found a lot before, we also discovered other constructive on-line tools which are so helpful both for students and teachers. The first on-line tool that I really prefer is ANVILL. ANVILL is a free Course Management System (CMS) developed by our guest moderator this week, Jeff Magoto, director of the University of Oregon's Yamada Language Center. I have to admit that I really like this tool for learning language. ANVILL (A National Virtual Language Lab) is also a speech-based toolbox for language teachers. This lab is focused on oral/aural language, but at its core are very modern web-based audio and video tools from duber dot com and the University of Oregon: Voiceboards, LiveChat, and Quizzes and Surveys.. What I like about this lab is that it allows teachers to record and place audio and video files anywhere in a lesson – in three easy steps. Creating of lessons is vey simple and straightforward because there are templates for audio, video and image tasks. The sentence that attracted my attention is that ANVILL is aimed at both teachers in traditional face-to-face situations as well as at those who are doing distance or hybrid courses. Its course management tools provide a simple means of enrolling and communicating with students and making curriculum web-accessible.
The only constraint of this is when the schools do not have the Internet and enough computers in order to realize a lesson. The advantage of ANVILL is that this is very rewarding for students and teachers because I think that we can create an ANVILL lesson even if we are not in the classroom. In this way, we can develop students’ autonomy.
The second article I read is Transforming Language Education across the Internet. It is available at the http://it.uoregon.edu/itconnections/anvill. At the beginning of this article, there is an interesting experience of a teacher from Portland. The part of her work involves giving her Portland-based students learning Japanese time to interact with Japanese students learning English in Hiroshima, Japan. Her students recorded their talks about what they average days look like. When the students finished the recordings, she sent the recordings to Hiroshima. Page, who has taught Japanese going on 16 years, says in the past to have her students interact with other students across time zones and an ocean involved videotaping each student and then sending the tapes back and forth from Japan to the United States. They had to wait for the tapes and answers for a long time. As she says, the things are changing these days. Today, Page and her Portland students communicate with students learning English in Japan using a service created by and hosted at the University of Oregon called ANVILL.
According to this, I have to say that I really like the Voiceboards. This can help students to improve their skills of pronunciation. As in my case, IT classroom is the only classroom which has the Internet connection and computers. I can organize additional classes for my students in order to overcome this problem and to meet my students with this new language lab. I would take my students into IT classroom after all lessons are finished in school. ANVILL also offers many other rewarding tools, e.g. TCasts (teacher broadcasting), Livechat, Forums, Quizzes and Surveys, Practice recorder, Lesson planning, Course management. If you want to find more about all these tools you can read it at http://ylclab.uoregon.edu/groups/anvillhelp/wiki/fb6ef/Core_Tools.html. I really prefer Lesson planning. We, as teachers, can deliver lessons (or curriculum) in a web-based format that looks and acts more like the Web 2.0 tools that students are most familiar with. ANVILL provides a consistent and relatively easy way for teachers to move their lessons into an online environment.
As regards on-line exercises, I read other available materials from our course site. The first site that attracted my attention was Easy Test Maker (paper tests). It is available at http://www.easytestmaker.com/default.aspx. Easy Test Maker is a free online test generator to help you create your tests. You can create multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, matching, short answer and true and false questions all on the same test. You can also insert instructions and divide your test into multiple sections. This is very rewarding because it saves a lot of time and this generator makes the answer key for us and we also do not need to spend time in formatting. The easy-made tests can be published to the web for students to take online at home or in a controlled classroom setting. What I also like is that the tests are graded automatically, so students can see where they often make the mistakes. Students can also develop their skills of independence, especially if they use this site for improving their skills of grammar at home.
The third task was to create an on-line course site or exercise. I must admit that I was really happy to do this. I decided to create a blog. Students will use the blog to improve their skills of grammar and the skills of writing, reading, listening and speaking. I have to say that the blog will be used by students from 7th to 9th grade, but I also invited the students from other schools and my dear colleagues to join the site and to help me to keep it alive. I also invite my *dear colleagues*, from the course “Building Teaching Skills Through the Interactive Web – The University of Oregon”, to join the site and give their recommendations.The URL address is: http://studentscornerofenglishgrammar.blogspot.com.
My last thought is that I am really happy to know all these rewarding sites and tools which can facilitate my work and students can benefit a lot. I also look forward to share them with my students and with my dear colleagues.