Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Week 10: Ten Weeks of Wonderful Experience!

When I first started this course with week 1 and week 2 discussions and tasks, I had the impression that I would never get to week 10. I have been struggling a bit in finding time to finish the tasks with the loads of work I’ve had at work. Now, I have the impression that time has gone so fast and I’m now used to being busy all the time and staying up at night. I might sound a bit crazy to tell this but I’m sincere: I’ll miss it! J Each week was really meaningful to me as I learnt a lot of useful things during them. The experience I’ve got from this course was very rich. And I can now say that I’m so wealthy because I’ve got a great deal of invaluable knowledge and skills. Thank you webskills E-course staff. I really want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the staff, the participants and especially our Instructor, or I would say “Facilitator”, Courtney, who has never hesitated to help us whenever we needed that and who did her best to guide us all along the course. Everything has been done step by step till we reached the end and now, I can’t really describe my feeling; I would say I have mixed feelings: happy, sad, excited, and relieved!

We’re ending this course then with readings about technology integration levels. The two articles “Tiers of Technology Integration” and “The Technology Integration Matrix” described different levels of technology integration depending on how we use or involve it in the teaching. Thanks to this course, I have been familiar with different approaches of technology integration in teaching and I can say that I’m part of the Tiers 2 category or the Adoption level. I often use technology to enhance students’ productivity through collaborative activities. I hope to continue integrating technology in my teaching to better achieve the course goals and get better output from students, even in the future and I hope to reach higher levels in its use.

As a result of my reflection about what I have experienced during these 10 weeks, I left some advice to future participants in this webskills course in Nicenet and I would like to take the advantage of this last blog post to wish them the best and wish them to be able to achieve outstanding work. I also want to encourage all my webskills fellows to keep up the wonderful work they all did along the course and continue using technology in their teaching by all ways.

Good luck Everyone!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Week 9: Towards the End!

When I look back on these past weeks which went by during this E-course, I can’t help being amazed of the multitude of great things I have learnt along each week. They were all contributing in the development of my skills and I’m so glad of the experience I could get so far. Now it’s already week 9 and it’s the week of the final project. I remember reading sample projects written by former E-Webskills course participants in week 3, and while reading it, I was kind of a bit afraid I wouldn’t be able to do something like that. However, this week I realized that I did it. I could start implementing my project and share what I’ve done on our class wiki. Though the implementation hasn’t reached its end, I can say that I’m proud of myself because the different project steps I could cover so far have been enough to let me experience technology in class and taste how technology can work in class and what it’s like to use technology as part of the teaching supports. I wish I had enough time and was able to finish implementing the project till the end, but I hope the report I have shared will bring a clear understanding of how it went from start and would go till the end.

Apart from the project report, we have also been fortunate to have Russell Moon as a guest moderator this week. We could learn from him, discuss and exchange ideas about teaching strategies and learning styles. He has incited us to reflect on our teaching and brainstorm creative ideas on how to deal with different learning styles with technology use.
The discussion has been generated from the readings that were focused on “Learning Styles or Strategies and Multiple Intelligences”. The topic is really interesting and the readings provided a lot of information about how students learn and retain better, and how they can perform their capabilities and skills well.  “Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences” provided me with thorough knowledge of the 9 different intelligences that can define human potential. As it is said in the article, they can be used for curriculum development, lesson planning, course activity selection, and assessment strategies. The article “Learning Styles and Strategies”, by Richard M. Felder gave me a clear understanding about the different types of learners that can be identified according to their learning styles. Knowing the different learning styles of the students will help us, as teachers, to choose the teaching materials and balance our teaching strategies to cater different learning styles and meet the students’ needs. In considering myself as a learner, I think I’m more reflective, sensing, visual and sequential. I’m the kind of person who likes thinking hard before trying something, likes clear methods and ideas connection, and can memorize information more with the support of visual aids.

That’s what I can say about week 9 and now I’m looking forward to week 10 and especially to the feedback of my project report.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 8: Lots Of Resources!

Wow! I am really thankful for the different wonderful resources suggested during this week.  Even if I haven’t been able to explore all of them yet, the ones I have checked out gave me ideas and inspirations about how to improve my teaching and I am sure all of them are all great in bringing changes in teaching and learning.

The course with Jeff was also helpful and let me discover a new effective and practical tool to be used in class: "ANVILL". It's a tool where we can do many things: uploading different materials for students to access them easily, assigning tasks, recording comments and instructions, interacting through chat, accessing students' responses ... It's worth trying and using.

The task about creating something using one of the technology tools listed in the resources offered me the opportunity to give a tool a try. I chose Padlet because it’s simple, and I find it practical in accessing the students’ work in just one click! I will add it in my project. I have created a Padlet wall for my students in High Intermediate to upload their final product in the project: the accuracy checklist which will allow them to track their progress. This is the link to my Padlet

HotPotatoes is also great as we can use it even offline. It can work well in my classes as internet access is limited in my classes and I'm also thinking of creating review activities with it.

Finally, the project  peer review we did this week has helped me better improve my project report for the final version. I reviewed Anar's and William's project plans and they were great. I could understand them easily. I was the only one who didn't do a plan because I  have a class, so it was also an opportunity for me to see the difference between the plan and the real project. I could learn from my peers' work and feedback, and I can say that it was an example of independent and cooperative learning.

Well, to cut a long story short, I enjoyed this week experience and discovery. I liked everything I’ve done and I’ve learnt!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week 7: Project going on!

Last week, my students were introduced to Blog and created theirs. They were really excited about it. Through a discussion activity, I also prepared them for the questionnaires the answers of which they were going to record. This week then, I took them to the computer lab again and introduced them Vocaroo, the tool they would use to record their answers to the questionnaires, and had them try it. They liked it very much! I had them listen to more recordings about American weddings and had them answer comprehension questions on them. We also dealt with readings on the topic and had vocabulary building activities. I gave an overall explanation of the project: what they would do; and presented them the rubric as a guide in the accomplishment of all the tasks waiting for them in the project. After a clear understanding of the rubric, I gave them the questionnaires. I allotted them some time to think and brainstorm ideas for the answers. The questions were not really new but questions they already met in the class discussion last week. After some time of reflection, I asked them to record their answers on Vocaroo. They had to speak freely during the recordings.
Each student was paired up with another student and asked to post the link of the recording on his/her peer’s blog.
I noticed the students were a bit shy when recording themselves on Vocaroo. I think because it’s the first time they were asked to do that, and also they knew their recordings would be listened to by one of their classmates. They were not used to that kind of activity. I hadn’t really expected this kind of hesitation and reaction despite their open-mindedness towards each other.

Week 7: Learner Autonomy, Mobile Phones in Class, and Padlet.

It’s really amazing that we’re now in week 7! Only 3 weeks left and this rich and exciting experience will be over. Everything I have been learning so far has really contributed to my skills development in language education and especially in the use of technology in class. This week, autonomous learning and the use of mobile devices and/or one computer in class have been emphasized in the readings. Autonomous learning is important to enhance students’ critical thinking. Students should not be spoon-fed, nor should they be left alone in learning. There should be a good balance between the students’ role and the teacher’s role in the language education. Becoming an Autonomous learner entails taking responsibilities in the learning and being able to develop one’s skills oneself without expecting the teacher to give everything but just considering him/her as a guide and a facilitator in the learning. One feature of general education in Madagascar is that students are often seen as spoon-fed and reluctant to work on their own. It’s only when they are at university that they realize the importance of independence in learning as they have to do their own research and work autonomously; so they tend to have some difficulties in pursuing their studies. That’s why in our school, we always try to encourage students to take responsibilities, be curious, be ready to overcome challenges and be a good time manager through activities such as portfolios, video viewing and the use of social networks to interact in English, in order to remedy the situation. Other different ideas were stated in the article “Emerging Technologies-Autonomous Language Learning” by Robert Godwin-Jones (URL: and some of them can be used in my class. The article “Twenty Ideas for Using Mobile Phones in the Language Classroom” by Hayo (URL: Reinders also provided different ideas on how to use mobile phones in class but still encourage learner autonomy. The readings were really helpful and useful.

Padlet: Just a great tool!

Four weeks ago, we were introduced to Delicious, a very good tool to save and store links. It has been very useful but this week, the online course has gone on spoiling all the participants in presenting us another tool: Padlet. It is as very interesting as Delicious because not only can it allow us to share links, but also we can upload the videos or the file or copy the links we want to share and everyone can access them right away on the Padlet site. It’s very easy to use and it is like a virtual bulletin board! so coooool!! :) I like using it very much.