Thursday, December 1, 2011

Week 10 Finals

This is the final week of our course, time to draw the line. My favorite topics were ABCD objectives and the power point activity. Surfing through websites with lesson plans and online resources was very useful, I specifically liked the resources posted at Week 10 - by Larri Ferlazzo. I copied most of them into my "Resources" file and am considering now how I can implement them in my teaching. Looking back, I find it very practical that we started planning our projects in advance. If everything had to be done in 1-2 weeks, it would be so stressful and not quite manageable. Webinair was the course climax for me - very new experience and such an interesting talk.

The course was very intensive and required a lot of skills in managing time, multitasking, organizing myself and dealing with the workload effectively. Music helped me to overcome all the obstacles, to keep optimistic and learning oriented. This song by Louis Armstrong is specially for you! What a wonderful world!

Thank you, Robert, for the course!

Kindest regards,

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week 9 Report

This week I re-wrote my draft and submitted the final report, where outlined the main outcomes of our projects. Moreover, we discussed different learning styles and how technology can address them. The main conclusion was that technology affects not only learners but also teachers, shapes the strategies used in classroom and outside it.

How the English language was developed. History of English in 10 minutes:)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week 8 Webinar

Hi everyone,

I called this reflection "webinar" as my strongest impression of this week is Webinar with Jeff. It's the first time I've taken part in such kind of activity and was amazed what technology can do. People from all over the world were together in one "space", could see and hear each other and communicate as well!!

This week I also submitted the draft of my report, which was quite easy to create. I used my previous posts and reflections on this matter, brushed them up and sent to my partner. Let's see what she says about it:)

As an online activity, I created the nicenet class. Since our course started, I have been interested how it works from inside, what kind of activities can be created, how they are created and by whom, etc. And I had my chance to sneak in and so I did. The management system is easy to use, understandable and doesn't require you to be an IT guru, which makes it very attractive to me. I'm sure I'll use it in my future classes.

Something to think about: Right to Understand by Sandra Fisher.

Kind regards,

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Week 7 Change - Part 2

This week we created the plan for one-computer classroom and discussed learner autonomy with regards to students and teachers. Everybody agrees that autonomy should be developed and mastered in a person, however, it requires time, motivation and excellent guidelines. Funnily enough (I didn't know we would be examining the idea of autonomy when planning the activities), my change was all about autonomy:))

As you may remember my students submitted the entries to the diary last week. This week my class did the peer review of their works in groups of 3-4 and submitted their final versions of diary entries. Students assessed each other works using the rating scale and posted comments taking into account 5 divisions: contents, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and organisation. This sub-task was due on Wednesday (Robert, I used your methods:), and the second sub-task was due on Saturday - students were supposed to read the comments they were given, take them into account or not, edit their works and submit the final version of their diary entry. I will be marking the works the whole day tomorrow.

What I like about this week's change that the students' creations are public and every one can see what others have written, what comments and grades other people are given. I created the online questionnaire to my students to leave their feedback about the project. Most of them say that this "public" trait make them more responsible, organised and forces to pay attention to spelling and vocabulary use. Many admitted having looked up words more often than they would normally do. The disadvantage of peer review is that some students didn't take it seriously or didn't want to offend their friends and would write something like "everything is good". To conclude, I should say that it was a real change for my class which, hopefully, helped them look at learning process from a different prospective.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Week 6 Change - Part 1

The major task for this week was to start implementing "a change" in the classroom - using a new technology.

I should admit that I began preparing for this "change" 2 weeks ago by talking to my class about new ideas and trends in second language teaching, CALL in particular. All of my students became very excited and I had to answer a hundred of questions: what, where, when, how and how soon. Moreover, at that time, I asked my students to make sure they were able to get online at least 1-2 times the following week and 2-3 times the week after.

A few days later, after our online discussion, I knew exactly what I was going to do and talked to my students again, explained the aims of our 2-week adventure, tasks and strategies how to complete them. The "change" I've planned consists of 2 parts and Part 1 took place this week.

Before I start describing the project, I should mention the background information: the class has been reading and discussing the play "Night of January, 16" by A.Rand since the term started. (The main character Karen Andre is on trial, suspected of killing her lover, a world-know tycoon Bjorn Faulkner. This video will give you more idea what this story is about Trailer 1 or Trailer 2.) Ayn Rand gives two endings of the story and lets the audience choose what happens to her characters. Moreover, as you may remember I wanted to use prezi or squidoo. However, after the careful consideration and Robert's advice, I chose wiki as the most suitable for my students educational needs and internet possibilities.

Thus, the Part 1 Task was the following:
1) Read the final chapter of your book "Night of January, 16" by A.Rand.
2) Complete the quiz which checks how well you know the story.
3) Vote for the ending of the story online.
4) Think what happens to the main character Karen Andre after the trial, choose the date in the future after January, 16 (the following week, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years) and write 200-250-word diary entry. Submit your work to the wiki "Karen Andre's Diary".

The outcomes by the end of the week: the quiz and voting task are completed by all the students. 60% of the students have submitted their diary entries, the others, as all average pupils do, will complete that at the last minute:) Let's see what happens by the deadline, Sunday, 23.55.

And, as usual, there is some food for thought: British Council: Voices for diversity and equal opportunities in ELT (IATEFL Cardiff Online, 2009). The video is an hour long, watch at least the first 3 minutes and minutes 21.00-24.00.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Week 5 Solutions

This week I discovered the notion of alternative assessment and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of PBL. I was glad I could share my forum rubrics with my coursemates. It was interesting to see what kinds of assessment could be used by my colleagues. The rubistar website is a great invention itself as it allows teachers to get access any types of rubrics.

Finally, I had an opportunity to sharLinke my solutions for the issues mentioned last week. The links I would like to use are and Now I need to decide which one would be more profitable for my class. Both would be too many, probably!

Moreover, I would like to share with you this video "Filter Bubbles". It made me wonder what kind of information we actually get and who decides what to "absorb".

Have a wonderful weekend and a very easy week!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Week 4 Planning

Hi all,

For me, Week 4 was a lot about planning. I planned a CALL lesson, outlined the problems in our classrooms, evaluated websites for future lessons, etc. Planning a lesson was a bit of a challenge as I'm used to f2f classes or online classes only and I've never had a chance to plan "mixed" lessons. This involved a lot of reflexion and analysing of the means and resources I could use, their compatibility and value for the class. The other thing I found not easy was to outline the problems and NOT to give the solutions. I'm a very active person and when I see a problem I always try to find the way to solve it. During this week, I was given a chance to practice a different attitude to life - a more relaxed one! Moreover, I must admit I enjoyed reading the articles and analysing the websites, which I find most attractive in this course. I copy the links in my delicious page or bookmark them so that I could use them in my future work.

It's all about planning! (Some further advice for teachers on planning:)

And a piece of unrelated to teaching music: Croatican Rapsody by Maksim Mrvica.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Week 3 Be Yourself

During Week 3, I created the Delicious page and added my favourite bookmarks there, discovered the alternatives to this website (diigo, zootool, etc) and the link to the website “Englishbaby” which I can use for my online classes and as an advice for my students for the future. Moreover, I read the article on speaking skills “The Employment of CALL in Teaching Second/Foreign Language Speaking Skills” and investigated the websites on teaching speaking in Larry Ferlazzo's blog. All the resources I've come across this week, I'm going to pass to my students so that they could use them for the independant/autonomous study. In addition, I analysed the sample project by Aleyda Linares, which was very useful for me. Now I have an idea what my project could be about and I know it should be something the least scary and least complicated for instructors and students.

Here is a very interesting link for your reflexion: How Language Transformed Humanity by Mark Pagel.

And the song... to remember we should always stay ourselves... as other roles have already been taken! (c) Be Yourself!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Week 2 Describing

This week was full of descriptions. I described 2 classes, abcd objectives and analysed the search engines. It was very interesting to compare classed in different countries: their size, name of subjects, level of students. However, the abcd objectives seem to be the same everywhere: grammar and vocabulary practice, need in mastering of speaking and writing skills, etc. I believe it will be even more interesting to see which tools my coursemates will choose to satisfy these objectives.

The majority of my coursemates agreed that the most popular search tools are youtube and google, we use them mechanically, not realizing there are other options. These options can be much more accurate, productive, and reliable. My groupmates research results proved that once again. Finally, I would like you to watch this video.

Did you know that technology changes the world? It has already.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Week 1 Webskills Course

Hi all,

I created my blog a year ago, while investigating the opportunities of e-teaching. The easiest was to choose the design, and the most complicated - to find out how to embed a video I liked into posts. I eventually figured this out and that was all! No posts, no comments, no photos or videos... Why? ... I simply didn't have a sound reason to use my blog! I'm glad to have it now! The participaton in the Webskills course is a wonderful inspiration!

A blog can be used both by teachers and students. Summing up the views and opinions of Campbell and Ferlazzo, I can state that tutors profit from this technological advancement while using a blog as a source of information and a means of organisation. While contributing to a blog, learners master their writing skills in formal and informal situations, improving their reading and listening skills. If asked to submit their creative writing (songs, videos, poems, etc.), in a meanwhile students get the portfolio of their written works. In my opinion, individual students' blogs as well as class blogs can also help install social bonds within class and increase the sense of community. In addition, shy students are more likely express themselves, which is an advantage as well.

Adventures Begin!

This is the official launch of my Blog "Tatsiana's Adventures"! I'm happy to start describing my experiences within the course "Webskills Fall 2011"!

Sunday, September 25, 2011