Tuesday, August 2, 2011

WEEK 14 Final Reflections

My Final Reflections

During this last semester I had the chance of taking a course on ICTs. I must declare that at first I had no idea what this meant. Before this, I must truly say I knew nothing about it. In fact I didn’t even know what the word stood for.
As the course started I remember the first meeting we, as a group, had with teacher Evelyn. As she started to mention all the things we were going to do during this course, I thought I was not going to be able to do any of them. Everything she was saying sounded as if she was speaking in some unknown codified language.
Glogs???? Blogs???? Wikis???? Podcasts??
I kept asking myself what she was talking about. So as it always happens to me, I panicked and freaked out. I honestly believed all that was an impossible mission.
The course started and I began reading about Digital literacy, I searched in the net to find out a little bit about Glogs, Blogs etc.
Our first assignment was to create an e-portfolio so I asked another course mate to work together, more for confidence than for knowledge, for I must confess, we were both rocking the same boat. I indeed created an e-portfolio and I as it was coming out, I became thrilled. I Then I went home feeling very proud of myself, and even bragged about it. As my other classmates started posting their e-portfolios, I got horrified because theirs were awesome and what I first considered to be great, was in comparison, lame and extremely basic. But no, ….. I wasn’t going to let that happen. So I started all over again, until I finally got it the way I wanted. After that first task, I thought things were going to become smoother. Oh! Silly me!. If I had known what was awaiting me…. I don’t know what I would have done.
On the contrary we started working with the podcasts and I got on pins and needles.Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one going nuts. I have to admit that being able to share these feelings of frustration, despair, and impotence with my classmates, was what made the difference, between keeping on, or quitting. Little by little I started becoming more confident about what I was doing.
One of the things that really pushed me to keep on, was imagining my students faces when I introduce all these amazing resources to improve my classes. I absolutely fell in love with the Glogs. Now, I not only know what they are, byt I know how to use them, and I will definitely include them in my classes. I am sure that my students will love this and I will take the most of what Glogs have to offer.
Another Web 2.0 tool I fell in love with, was the Windows Movie Maker. With it, I was able to create my own movie. I felt very enthusiastic about the idea of using it with my students. Proof of that is that I have included one in my final project.
Finally, I must thank teacher Evelyn for all her efforts to make me a better teacher, for being patient with my tantrums. Yes, I had some of those …. and now I laugh. But I specially want to thank her for being there and guide me through this difficult journey I decided to take, to become a Digital Literate person, catch up with the world, keep the pace of my students and of course……..Bragg a lot about it with whomever is around me.
Thank You Evelyn!!!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

WEEK 13 Intregating ICT in the EFL Classroom

Key Words: Literature, EFL, Web 2.0, Skills,Wikis

The purpose of this project is to use the Literature in the EFL classroom, by taking advantage of the Web 2.0 tools.
The use of Literature has represented for many English teachers a resourceful tool to gain familiarity with many linguistic uses, language improvement, and especially because it represents a powerful instrument to incorporate cultural information of the target language.
“Literature can provide students with access to the culture of the people whose language they are studying”. (Lazar, G. p16.1993)
Literary works undoubtedly enable students to understand the language better by providing them with real world experiences, relationships between society and people where the target language is spoken, even if they are fictions. Additionally, literature promotes unlimited opportunities in the EFL class to teach the four skills; listening, reading, writing, and speaking, either individually, or together.
The growing acceptance of technology within the EFL class as a motivator for students; has lead many teachers to include Web 2.0 tools in their contexts as valuable resources. So, it is not difficult to understand why EFL teachers have decided to take such an interest in using them and taking advantage of all they have to offer to the educational environment. Therefore, while teaching in the EFL through literature, is the main concern of this project, the incorporation of Web 2.0 tools will surely contribute to the completion of it with a great success.
The Web 2.0 artifacts designed for this project are a Wiki page, and a video created with the Windows Movie Maker.
The Wiki, Mater English is a working space created for the purpose of providing a direct link between the students of 1 st. year of high school of Colegio Mater Salvatoris de Caracas, and their English teacher, Professor Maite Sangroniz. The main objective in creating this Wiki is to encourage the students to actively participate in the building of this space, by completing assignments, reading articles, stories, texts, etc. It will additionally provide ample space for students to collaboratively participate on it.
The students will also be able to access through this site to videos, which will be used in the EFL class.
By using a Wiki we can take advantage of the tools technology offers in this learning community, and move on in the never ending world of technological advances. Moreover the addition of such a novel resource in the classroom environment, will undoubtedly be an inspiration to my students and a space for creative work.
The Video was created for follow up purposes in this initial project, and will be extensively used in a later time. This movie was created with in the syllabus objectives of 1st year of high school, and its contents are closely related to the Short Story Theme, included in the Wiki. It was developed for its invaluable visual input which will help to convey the purpose of the reading, and it will further be of  great service to promote more communicative skills, creative thinking, as well as to explore some elements of language such as vocabulary.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

WEEK 12 E- Assessment


What is a Web Based Lesson?
A Web based Lesson is a lesson which incorporates a Web site or many Web sites. It can be conducted online or it can be offered in a traditional classroom but with an online component.
Web based lessons can be used for a wide range of purposes such as writing, reading, researching and it grants teachers as well as learners around the world to communicate and collaborate. Additionaly using the Web in the classroom provides ample opportunities to create original activities and it facilitates the creation of any kind of lesson related to any topic or any subject.
The variety of resources, texts, videos, sounds found on the Web makes this not only an exciting tool for teachers and learners but it contributes with different learning styles.
The different possibilities a Web based Lesson can grant us teachers, is unlimited, but nevertheless it should be stated the their main priority has to be for educational purposes. Consequently a Web based lesson should include specific steps to follow and describe clearly the tasks to be completed.

What are the Advantages of Web Based Lessons?
Web Based Lessons provide a big scope of advantages,among which are:
-It allows anyone, anywhere, to study anything.
-Students have access to relatively any subjects related to an educational purpose.
-Web-based learning has made it possible to study nearly any subject from nearly anywhere in the world.
-Some types of web-based learning allow students to progress at their own pace. providing    the student
  the ability to work through the material at this / her own pace. 
-They also help students develop their creativity.
- They promote collaboration between the students, who have to work together and be able this    way  to  create.
- They enhance and help to improve digital skills, since the students have to use technology.

Basic Steps of a Web Based Lesson should include:

Class Level
Web Sites Used
Name of Web Site 1
Rational for using this Web Site 1
Name of the Web Site 2
Rational for using this Web Site 2
Other Materials
Teacher Preparation
Steps for Learners
Description of Pre-computer/classroom activities (preparation)
Description of Computer on line activities
Description of Follow up Activities
(Information taken from Prof. Evelyn Izquierdo class on Web Based Lessons, provided on a ppt presentation)

My Web Based Lesson Plan
Teacher: Maite Sangroniz
Class / Level: 1st year of Highschool / 12 students / lower-intermediate
Topic: Using Literary Texts in the EFL class
The following lesson plan focuses in five main parts which provide ample chance to be employed in an EFL class by emphasizing listening, reading, speaking and writing skills, in a monolingual group of high-school students of 1st year. This group consists on 12 students ranking between 13 and 14 years old.

General Objective: Taking advantage of a literary text, a Short Story, “The Restaurant” to teach in an EFL class.

Specific Objectives:

-         Setting Context    
-          Becoming familiar with language related to the story
-          Demonstrating listening comprehension on a short story
-          Developing understanding of the story
-          Developing speaking skills (Oral Questions)
-          Developing Writing Skills (Actions according to teacher’s instructions)

 Materials: Computer, internet connection, headsets and microphone, ppt. presentation

Description of Activities:
I- Warm up: (Pre- online Activities)

 On Wiziq.com the teacher will present a power point presentation, which will allow students to interact. Questions  will be asked and the students will be able to make comments.
The students will be asked different questions to create context which is the key to the understanding of the story. This activity would be developed by asking certain questions which will lead them to set the elements to be developed later on as the lesson progresses.
It is important to guide and lead the students using different tools available for the purpose of establishing the context. Among these tools are pictures which will help activate any prior knowledge the students might have regarding the topic.
Consequently, some pictures will be shown from a power point presentation and the teacher will write the word “The Restaurant” on the board. Some minutes will be given to the students to come up with any words they might know about it. 

II Vocabulary Build:

Immediately after establishing the context, a vocabulary recognition will be developed, so a spider web will be posted on the board. Some triggering questions will be asked to elicit words related to the word restaurant. Exam: customer, meal, guide, tablecloth etc. 

III- Practice:

On the same power point presentation the story will be presented for the students to read, omitting the last part, for later purposes. Students will read out loud taking turns. Some questions will then be presented for the students to answer orally. 

IV- Practice and Performance (writing- 20 min.)

The class will be is divided and asked to form groups of two.
The story will be typed and divided into episodes, omitting the last episode or resolution.
Each episode will be cut into strips and will be divided among the groups. Each group will have a different episode of the short story, the strips are not in order, so the students will have to organize the given episode first.
After each group arranges the given episode, the whole class will decide the correct order of all the episodes, so they will come up with the complete story.

V- Follow up (writing )

The students, still working in pairs will have to come up with a possible ending for the story , write it down, and read it to the rest of the class.
Web Sites Used:

Abrahams, M.H.(1970) A glossary of literary terms. New York: Rinehart.
Lazar, G (1993) Literature and Language Teaching-A guide for teachers and trainers. Cambridge University Press 1993.ISBN 0521414800 (hardback), ISBN 052140651 X (paperback)
Richmond Readers level 2 "The Restauran" included in  "The Road Through The Hills and other stories" by Rod Smith.

The Restaurant

Clive Gordon was dreaming of food. He didn’t finish the dream. The sound of a telephone woke him up. Automatically he moved his hand towards the small table by the bed.
`Who is it?’ he asked.

‘Marcus. I have some news for you.’

Clive sat up. Marcus Baxter was a friend of his. He wrote articles for a local newspaper. He often knew about things before they happened.

‘I’m listening,’ Clive said.

‘An inspector from the Good Restaurant Guide* is going to visit your hotel some time today. You should be prepared’ ‘Thanks for telling me. But how did you know ...?’ ‘I’ll explain later. I must go now I’m phoning from work: Clive thanked his friend and put the phone down. ‘Karen,’ he called in a loud voice. ‘It’s time to get up.

You’ve got work to do.’

Clive was the owner* of the Flower Garden, a small hotel by the sea. His wife had died several years before and now he lived in the hotel with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Karen. During the summer they were very busy. But winters were quiet. There were very few guests at this time of year, and very little money. Clive wanted to change the situation. He wanted to make the hotel restaurant famous. ‘If I can do that,’ he thought, ‘people will come here all year.’

There was a good chance that Clive could do this. He was a good cook with good ideas. But he didn’t like hard work and his daughter had to do most of the cooking. Every week day, when Karen got home from school, she had to stay in the kitchen until midnight. And she worked all day Saturday and most of Sunday. She hated doing so much work in the kitchen. She never had time to do her school homework or to go out with her friends. She wanted to run away from the hotel. But she couldn’t. She had to finish school first.

‘Clean those vegetables,’ Clive said, when Karen walked into the kitchen that Saturday morning. An inspector from the Good Restaurant Guide is coming to eat here this morning. I want everything to be perfect. If he has a good meal, he will put our name in the guide. This is the best chance we have of making this restaurant famous?

Karen was silent. She thought about all the work she had to do. ‘This, she said to herself, ‘is going to be a very long day.’

Time passed slowly. Karen’s hands were red from washing and cutting vegetables. When she looked at the clock, she saw that it was only twelve-thirty. She felt as if she had been in the kitchen all her life.

Five minutes later her father ran into the room. ‘It’s the nun from the Good Restaurant Guide,’ he said in an excited voice. ‘He’s here.’

‘How do you know?’ Karen asked.

‘It’s everything about him,’ Clive said. ‘Well-dressed*, expensive car, important manner. He’s also carrying some kind of book. He keeps opening it and writing things down.’

‘But couldn’t he ...?’ Karen began. ‘Oh, stop asking stupid questions,’ Clive said. ‘Get the food ready. I’m going to take his order.’ Karen watched her father leave the room. ‘Get the food ready yourself,’ she said in a low voice.

When Clive walked back into the restaurant, there was another customer* in the room. It was a little old woman with grey hair and blue eyes. She was wearing trousers and an anorak. ‘She’s not important,’ Clive said to himself. Her clothes looked cheap and she was carrying a plastic bag.

He thought quickly. The inspector was sitting at a table in the middle of the room. He didn’t want to put the old woman at a table where the inspector could see her. There was a table beside the door to the kitchen, behind the inspector. She could sit there.

`Good afternoon,’ Clive said. ‘Follow me, please’ He took the old woman to the table and gave her a menu.

`Thank you,’ she said. She looked up to ask for a glass of water. But Clive had gone. He was standing in front of the other customer with a wide smile on his face. The other customer looked important. He was a big man with dark hair and round glasses. He wore a blue jacket with a white shirt and a red tie*. His clothes looked expensive. The old woman listened to their conversation and smiled.

`Would you like to try one of our fine red wines with your meal?’ Clive was asking. He put his mouth close to the man’s ear. ‘The Bordeaux is very good.’ He spoke like a man who was telling someone a secret.

The customer closed the wine list. ‘It’s a little expensive,’ he said. ‘Maybe one of your "fine glasses of water" would be just as good.’

Clive laughed and put his hand on the man’s arm. ‘We have special prices today, Mr ... err

`Hughes: the man said. ‘Thomas Hughes’

`Please accept half a bottle of our finest wine at half price, Mr Hughes.’ Mr Hughes was surprised. `Oh, all right,’ he said. ‘And thank you.’

`Not at all,’ Clive said. ‘We like to keep our customers happy. He stepped back and fell over a chair behind him at the next table. He got up quickly, still smiling. ‘Oh, excuse me,’ he said.

`What a strange man!’ thought Mr Hughes. Clive went to ask the old woman what she would like to eat.

`Now I can tell you what my name is, ‘she said, when he came up to the table. ‘It’s Mrs Williams. And I would like a glass of water to drink and something from your menu. I don’t care what you give me. But I want to enjoy it of course:

`She’s trying to be funny,’ Clive thought. ‘Certainly, Mrs Williams,’ he said. He felt uncomfortable and went away quickly.

When Clive walked into the kitchen, Karen was making a Caesar salad. ‘Isn’t Mr Hughes’s meal ready yet?’ he shouted.

Karen jumped. ‘Who’s Mr Hughes?’ she asked.

`The inspector. The man from the Good Restaurant Guide. The most important customer of the year, you stupid girl: Clive said angrily. ‘Now be quick.’

‘All right, all right,’ Karen said. ‘But be quiet. Someone will hear you’

Clive’s face went very red. ‘Don’t tell me what to do,’ he said. ‘The only person .who can hear me is you. And you don’t listen.’

But Clive was wrong. Someone else did hear him shouting. It was Mrs Williams. She wanted to know what was happening, so she put her ear to the wall and listened to the conversation on the other side. She was surprised. Clive was a lot nicer in the restaurant than he was in the kitchen.

More people came to eat. Karen worked very hard. It was difficult. Clive kept going in and out of the kitchen and

shouting at her angrily.

At two o’clock Mr Hughes stood up to go.

Clive walked with him to the door. ‘I hope you enjoyed your meal,’ he said in a soft voice. ‘We are always happy to

have you here. Please remember that.’

`Yes, I will,’ said Mr Hughes. ‘But sadly I don’t think I will be here again for a long time. I don’t live in this country, you see. I’m just here on holiday.’ He held up the book he was carrying. ‘Most people take photographs. I like to write about what I see in this little book’

`But I thought…,’Clive began. But Mr Hughes was already walking to his car.

`Excuse me, ‘said a voice. Clive turned. It was Mrs Williams. `I’ve been waiting for you,’ she said. `I would like to pay for the meal.’

‘Er, yes. Of course,’ Clive said. There was no enthusiasm in his voice. `I would also like to tell you, Mrs Williams continued, `that I am from the Good Restaurant Guide.’ `You! But that’s not possible!’ Clive said. ‘The other man ­I thought he ...’

Mrs Williams smiled ‘Things are not always what they seem to be, Mr Gordon. Now, about your restaurant I thought the food here was very good. But good food is not the only important thing for our guide. We need to be sure that the ambience of a place is as good as the food on the table. And the ambience of your restaurant isn’t bad. But then there’s the kitchen to think about. Oh dear, Mr Gordon. I don’t think I would like to work in your kitchen. I wouldn’t like to work there at all. For that reason I’m afraid I can’t put your restaurant in next year’s guide. I’m very sorry.’ Clive Gordon was too surprised to say anything. He watched the old woman walk away. His dream was finished. It was going to be another long winter.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

WEEK 10 Virtual Worlds- Second Life- Snapshoots

Snapshoots of the tour to Second Life with our teacher Evelyn Izquierdo

WEEK 10- Virtual Worlds

According to the Wikipedia; a virtual world is a genre of online community that often takes the form of a computer-based simulated environment, through which users can interact with one another and use and create objects. Virtual worlds are intended for its users to inhabit and interact, and the term today has become largely synonymous with interactive 3D virtual environments, where the users take the form of avatars visible to others graphically.[2] These avatars are usually two-dimensional, or three-dimensional graphical representations.
Communication between users has ranged from text, graphical icons, visual gesture, sound, and rarely, forms using touch, voice command, and balance senses.

Among the many virtual worlds used for EFL purposes are:

WWW.WOOGIWORLD.COM - This is another tween social network based out of a 2D platform, and it is free. The good thing about Woogi is that you can play instantly.  Similarly to the reviewed sites, you can learn dialogue, invite friends, and practice basic vocabulary in English.

Possible lessons: Commands, parts of the house, greetings and salutations, descriptions of self, computer basic terminology, colors, shapes, sizes, and names of odd objects not taught in textbooks, basic dialogue, “what do you like?”, sports, hobbies, and urban terms.

WWW.LOLASLAND.COM Girls (8-12) will enjoy Lola guiding them through her world, and help you build your!

Possible lessons: Apply descriptions, steps to the process, colors, shapes, parts of the house, parts of the body, greetings, introductions.

WWW.HANDIPOINTS.COM- and personal management. Task and chores lists to be followed and completed online.

Possible lessons: Verbs, counting, commands, feedback, management, and lessons on the timeWWW.WHIRLED.COM- Pronounced “world” for “whirled” it is an avatar-based RPG where you “start off as a piece of tofu” and then move on to make a world of your own.

Possible lessons: Commands, parts of the house, greetings and salutations, descriptions of self, computer basic terminology, colors, shapes, sizes, and names of odd objects not taught in textbooks
www.whyville.com-  Whyville is directed towards the 8-12 (Middle school, Upper Elem) population. It is a game which, like Second Life, has received reviews and research-based reasons why it is educational.

Possible lessons: Application of LingTECHlingo, parts of the body,  greetings and salutations, descriptions of self, computer basic terminology,  basic dialogue, sports, hobbies, and common expressions.



My Second Life Experience:
This picture here is of my Avatar in Second Life, a virtual world I have recently become part of, thanks to the guidance of my ICT teacher, who has lead me to visit and learn this new adventure called Second Life. 
I firt visited this site with a group of classmates from the EFL Masters program at UPEL Caracas, last Monday 23-06-2011.
I have to say that the tour our teacher gave us was wonderful, but the experience I had with my fellow coursemates was even better. We really had a good time. 
The first thing we had to do apart from creating our Avatars, was to make them do what we wanted, such as walk. What a challenge!Our Avatars wouldn't do as we wanted, they would go backwars instead of forwards, they would sit on the top of a tree instead of on a log etc. At first it was quite difficult to find out how to work with the computer keyboard to make them move. We were following our teacher, but even that was just a challenge. Edgard's avatar went for a swim because he missed the path and didn´t know how to get out of the water and that was really funny, M.Aurora's avatar couldn't sit on the log but in it and you could only see her head poking out of the log! ja ja. But what made me laugh like crazy was Albis's avatar who was extremly funny for she was totally bald, didn't have shoes, her skirt looked as helicopter helixes, and additionally she would be circling around herself like a crazy out of control android. ja ja.  It was hilarous!
Then we met another teacher from the UPEL and we took some snapshops of ourselves.After that the teacher took us to a place where we learned how to dance. Finally she taught us how to fly.
It was a very interesting experience and I will definitely visit this place and explore all the different options it has to offer, specially in terms of a learning space, in order to be able to use it in a nearby future to teach and learn. I believe the possibilities of such a virtual world as Second Life for EFL are endless.

In this picture we are all together enjoying the view.
Albis,Teacher Eve,Edgar,Maite,Mau,and M.Aurora.

Maite's Avatar in Second Life