Thursday, June 10, 2010
In this short week, I was very impressed by learning about the Levels of Teaching Innovation (LoTi) Framework! My happiness to know about them reminds me of the minute I knew ABCD model. The fist helps in planning my objectives and the latter show me where I stand. As I wrote on my post,now I know the level of technology integration in my classroom, which is Level 4a (Integration: Mechanical) My students learned how to explore some, but not many, real-world issues and tried solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources. I did experience, internet delays, lack of support from colleagues due to ignorance of the know "how" issue. I do need assistance from other colleagues, professional development workshops that can help me in sustaining engaged student problem-solving.Lucky, I am not far behind, but still, I need to take my students further on the scale, especially after having a more clear vision about how to use technology and the web to enhance my teaching. In a year's time, I would like to be in Level 4b – Integration: Routine. To achieve this, I would use project-based and task-based activities to facilitate my students learning, collaboration and lifelong learning. I would also design a one-class computer tasks and activities to help in engaging my students in learning about the real world around them.
As I said on my Nicenet post, reaching the end of this journey of a rich course, I feel overwhelmed with all the knowledge and information waiting right in front of me for more exploration with my students and implementation in my class. I would have never found this opportunity if I was not nominated by the USA embassy in my country. Thanks to them!
All of the topics in this course were most successful. All the topics in my opinion were very well chosen to match our needs as teachers who are starting their career in teaching English with technology and the web. In my situation, the most useful ones were: Writing class objectives in the ABCD format , technology-enhanced lesson plans, WebQuests, learning styles, learner autonomy, creating class sites and making exercises with online tools, teaching large classes and the one-computer classroom.
For me, this course was a great opportunity to share experiences, knowledge, thoughts or plans with teachers with the same interest from aroudn the globe.A big 'Thank you" goes to Deborah, for all she did with us during the course. Another big "thank you" note goes for the USA embassy in my country for the nomination!
I hope I will meet all of you around in the cyperspace, or maybe, just a maybe, I will meet up with you f2f!!!
Wishing you all the best in the beginning of our journey: Teaching EFL/ESL through the Interactive Web.:-)
Friday, June 4, 2010
Today, while I was working on completing my tasks for week 9, I received an email telling me that the book "CALL in Limited Technology Context" is being printed!!I have a chapter in this book which entitled "Bleeding edge challenges in Sudan: Limits on using CALL in EFL classrooms at the tertiary level".Yeees!
This is the link for the screencast sent to me.Or you can click here to see the title of the book of the sidebar.
Unfortunately, I can not access CALICO.org in Sudan. It's a problem with Sudan IPA address. Anyway, I hope I will be reading a copy soon. It’s a book by authors from different parts of the world. The main focus of each chapter is helping teachers figure out what they can do despite all the barriers and problems they encounter when using technology in classrooms.It a book full of practical ideas and inspiring experiences. It a book which is recommended for all teachers who live in limited technology context and who are using/will use technology in their EFL classrooms.
I am so tired :-) My energy is starting to go away! I've submitted my final exams and the attendance sheet yesterday. FINALLY! No teaching load. But, unfortunately, I have to work laying on one side and the laptop on a table. Pregnancy and an aging woman! But, I WILL make it! I will for sure do!!I am almost there!
This week was more practical than the previous ones. We completed the final course survey. I created a class site using Nicenet, a class blog , and, later, I will be using Google Docs, Rubristar, Snapagrades.I will start using the course site with my third-year students next October, inshaa Allah. I designed the first lesson about learning styles, as the first topic in the Study Skills course, and applied the online tools above. I used proprofs to create the online exercises. I had troubles with HP before and I don't want to go over them again. Proprofs is great especially when I can see how many time the Ss have tried taking the quiz and how well they did.
I am working now on the final version of my Project Plan report. The timeline is not finished yet. I just felt I want to reflect on this week first.
I was amazed with how easily; I could put my ideas for the site and the lesson. The minute I thought about an objective, the suitable tool pops up to my mind. This course has definitely helped me putting together all the "loose ends" that I had been struggling; with during the previous two years. I am also amazed by how I could write a lesson plan using the ABCD model.
After the course, the first thing is to add what I’ve learned here to my coming workshop sponsored by the British Council, Khartoum, planned in August to train teachers using ICT in teaching English. Teachers should be aware of the fact that, ALL students in Sudan are exposed to technology-even on a rudimentary scale. So, we can’t avoid using it anymore. THEY should be the change agent to their teaching styles, and not vice versa. I hope we will have Internet so I can invite all of you to say some words for teachers in Sudan.
The second clear thing that will take place after the course ends is that my continuity to using technology with my students. I will add what I’ve learned in this course and which I haven’t been doing before. I am thinking about many ideas and suggestions, but for now, some of which are:
-Designing my lesson plans using ABCD objectives.
-consider my students learning styles.
-All activities and tasks should be directed towards enhancing learner autonomy.
-Assess and send grades to students weekly, not after the course finishes.
I am already missing here!
Sunday, May 30, 2010
We had four tasks this week to accomplish: a discussion about learner autonomy, a lesson plan to create for a one-computer classroom, a course task on Nicenet and a reflective post on private blogs, with comments on others'. Our projects should be ready by Wednesday May 26, 2010.Each participant had a partner to review his/her project. ( I was late because I didn't find a partner soon).
This week we had a guest moderator, Jeff Magoto. He started excellent threads, with great innovative and practical issues to be discussed. Unfortunately, it seemed as if all are tired/busy, the threads were not "threaded" further. I am not sure what the reason was. I hope I can add the points I highlighted earlier.
Every week, I discover that, as Jeff puts it down, “our classroom experiences are not only familiar but perhaps eerily alike”. After going through the readings, I have learned that a creative teacher can come up with very practical ideas to handle the situation of a one computer classroom. Jeff focused on a very important point, which is, "When technology is not the focus of learning", more interesting and amazing things begin to emerge."At the end, a computer is the teacher's tool.
I also knew that learner autonomy has a very important value in language teaching class. Group work and pair work, goals, activities, tasks, learning and teaching strategies or process, and the process of reflection are essential elements for promoting learner autonomy.
During the writing of my project plan, I found the recommended article” Improving Teacher-Student Interaction in the EFL Classroom: An Action Research Report” very useful to help in putting up the different aspects of my project plan.
“We are not only teaching a language, we are also teaching a culture”.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Hi...Here is an OFFICE MEMO:
May all members of staff please note that there will Only be one drink per person at this year's Annual Party.
And please bring your own cup !
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
I have learned a lot this week!
This week, we had a discussion on technology and large classes, a task to create an interactive PPP, and a course task to be done on Nicenet, together with our reflections on private and others’ blogs.I posted a call for a partner, but he didn't show up until now:-). Our projects should be ready before 28/5/2010.
I enjoyed the readings of this week, although time was not enough to read them all. From the readings, I've learned that, unfortunately, my PPP were not interactive as they should be! After all the reputation I had among my colleagues. Wait until they hear this!!! I realized how much talk I spent during presenting. Thank Allah I've not started yet using PPP in my classroom at the university. I don't use the bullets, too much wordings, sound, animations, etc. Yet, I was not used to link my presentation to online quizzes or to creating games.
I have created an interactive PowerPoint presentation and uploaded it to
Also, I learned about "How to give Interactive Lectures", "Interactive Teaching Methods"I think now to use an online free tool to pre-record a 8-12 minute mini lesson that would cover one simple point in the coming lecture. This will help a large class to come ready for the lecture, with additional comments or questions.I am thinking about VoiceThread or Ustream.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I am trying to catch up very quickly on what I've missed. I managed to read about rubrics as part of alternative assessment tools and about learning styles. Although the Internet speed was slow, I manged to create a rubric for paragraph writing. In this task, I learned that if I want to use one of those online websites for creating rubrics, In have to finish it all as a Word document then copy/paste. It took me almost half a a day.
About leaning styles, I was very excited to learn how technology ca help, when properly integrated, in involving all students with different learning styles into engaging tasks.The readings for this week were perfectly chosen and covered this week's objectives thoroughly. Again, I bookmarked some for further readings.
Our work on the projects should start this week. I didn't. I will start on week 7, which is already NOW!!!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Below are our week 5 assignments, in addition to our weekly reflection on
1. Describe a potential change
2. Reading and discussion: Project-based learning and WebQuests
3. Create a technology-enhanced project or WebQuest. We were asked to find one that will work and share the link, including why we think it will work for your students, or to give an outline of what we would do in a WebQuest and why).
I started late in doing my tasks. My PhD defense day is on Wednesday 12/5/2010!! YES! I am afraid, confused, stressed, not confident, healthy unfit, and uncomfortable. I have to prepare everything in advance, in addition to renting a car this time. I can't take the bus like the previous time. Aaaah! My husband will drive. I am not sure I can concentrate.I did my best to spend the whole day today to finish so I can concentrate on reading and studying for the coming three days.
-I've learned that it's better to write "WebQuest"instead of "webquest".
- I was longing to create my won WebQuest. Unfortunately, I couldn't because of lack of time. I will for sure do it before the end of the course. I would like to have Deborah and the others to comment on it. Now to studying!!!
Below is the project created with my students. Check it out here. And here is the link to the International project.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
Week 4 (26 April - 2 May): Skill-building Websites for Reading/Writing Skills and Technology-enhanced Lesson Plans
Another "silly me" was that I didn't comprehend the simple,clear instructions of Deborah which said, "Create a technology-enhanced lesson plan". I disappeared for one day, then I came back to find lesson plans posted. Aha! Now I have to get back and complete mine. Lesson two:Don't speed up things, ya Hala:-)
What I’ve learned this week is that there will never be a shortage of innovative activities to select from. The challenge is that which/how/when/with whom/what and, above all, how to blend them to create a web-enhanced lesson plan. I spent nearly 6 hours searching and looking for information about writing e-cards, lesson plans, wording, websites to use for send e-cards, etc. Wow! That was exhausting and fun at the same time. I love how I learn, unconsciously.
I will try to prepare a lesson plan for my third-year Computer Science students starting next October
This week’s assignments were: a) reviewing, sharing comments, reflections on at least two different reading and/or writing web site, b)preparing a technology-enhanced lesson plan, c)reflecting on this week and commenting on others blog, d)reflect on at least one course and describe the issues that technology might be able to help with in at least one post on Nicenet.
Also, this week I started to save all my posts in one folder divided into weeks. I will ask Deborah about how long will be have access to the course platform after the course ends.
-Assessment 2.0 (on Scribd)
- Lesson Planning, Lesson Plan Formats and Lesson Plan Ideas
Willis, Jane. (2008). “From grammar-based teaching to task-based teaching - making the shift”
Thursday, April 29, 2010
“In Ukraine we have the national curriculum where the topics for studying are presented. There are about ten topics, which are the same in each grade only with some differences in the level of English. Here are some topics: I, my family and my friend; Clothes, food and drinks, Pastime, Nature, Travelling, Holidays, School life, Ukraine, English-speaking country. We study like– every year review the known information and add some new vocabulary and grammar. At the end of each grade we have the explanation – what should our students able to do after the each grade. The Ministry of education also makes us to use certain books by the Ukrainian authors.”
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
It was spending some time in further exploration of the setting on Delicious. I also spent extra time in deep exploration of Randall's listening lab, my favorite! I've seen how he keeps constant updates to his website. I enjoyed listening to his son in one the activities. Innovation! I wonder how "digital" his son will be when he grows up!
1. The Pedagogy-Technology Interface in Computer-Assisted Language Learning (academic article)
2. Best Practices in Technology and Language Teaching
Phonetics:The sounds of American English
Cambridge English Online
Friday, April 16, 2010
Also, it was my first time to hear about NoodleTools' Finding the Best Search for Information Needs. All my life, I have been using Google only, as the most reliable and comprehensive web search engine tool. For me, using NoodleTools' for academic search could really save time, because of having different themes on one page, provides a complete tutorial section, promote autonomous and independent learning.
I also learned how to describe my class, in terms of population, setting, course goal, student needs.
In doing all the above, I used to refer back to the guidelines and discussion rubric.
This week was tough for me!
We had four tasks this week: a discussion, a task, and a course task that we did on Nicenet, and our reflective post on our blogs (plus a comment on someone else's blog).
This post is considered as the last task! As I wrote in my post, I have always been aware of, and worried about, my weak area; that is; writing a well, planned lesson plan in which the writing of clear objectives is the most difficult part. This week, I've learned how to set my objectives using Audience (A), Behavior (B), Condition (C), and Degree of Mastery (D). Note: I believe that if Nicenet had a feature of adding colours to new postings, that would have made it easier to go back to old threads and continue reading the newest ones. Also, I wonder if we will be receiving a zipped file for all the links shared, the links to our blogs, etc. For how long we will continue have access to the course platforms after the course finishes? Links I shared
: 1. Searching the Web:A vedio created by Camatasia2.Digital Bloom's Visual 3.Classifying Objectives4.Bloom et al.'s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain
Thursday, April 15, 2010
From the email I received from Deborah: Week 1 overview, I have learned a very useful technique in online learning. I used to give my students rubrics, but I have ever evaluated them after week 1, neither provided weekly assessment. I was glad to know about how I did in my first week of the course.This helped, encouraged and motivated me to work harder to keep up the same good results. Or, it could have been the opposite. To work hard to improve my performance in order to do better next week if the grading was weak. It was also great to know about SnapGrades Gradbook. Excellent!
What a fun way to learn!
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Well, in terms of how to create a blog, this week added nothing to my blogging knowledge and skill, not like many who happened to be complete newbies in the blogging sphere.As for the discussion about blogging, It was an amazingly full of "food for thought", in terms of the different opinions, perspectives and experiences on how blogs can/were/could be used. It is this fruitful interaction that leads to the intellectual feeding of my brain!http://tinyurl.com/yby5zlu
I believe that we, teachers, need to know the details about blogs, as well as the big picture, before we start using them with our students. This is also applies to any usage of any tech tools before the integrating process. Using blogs for different areas of language study/learning appears agreed by all of us. However, what is important, as Pete Sharma (2009) highlights, is "the pedagogical reasons for using it". "Whenever a new technology emerges ... it is important to go beyond the 'wow' factor and think about the pedagogical reasons for using it".
It's more important that we know why we are blogging, and make that clear to our students too. They have the right from the beginning to know why they are blogging and what to blog about. Too much focus on adding images, colors, widgets on the class blog will lead to loosing the objective targeted by the teacher.
Thus, what I've learned from all of you is that, in addition to blogs and their potentials to enhance students' engagement, they also encourage them to communicate beyond the classroom walls, encourage creativity and critical thinking.
To conclude, Pete Sharma said, about using Twitter, "if you wait for a case study to justify whether or not Twitter has value, you may be waiting a long time, and the technology will have moved on by the time the research has been done".
I recommend you to read the four key principles discussed by Sharma and his co-author which can help teachers implement technology.
Using Blogs in the Foreign Language Classroom: Encouraging Learner Independence
Sunday, April 4, 2010
After being nominated by the American Embassy in Sudan, I have been accepted into the Spring 2010 online teacher training course with University of Oregon, Linguistics Department, American English Institute
Building Teaching Skills Through the Interactive Web. It a course part of The E-Teacher Scholarship Program which is funded through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. This blog is created as part of the course assignments. The aim, I believe, is to keep a record or a reflective log of the course assignments. So, this blog is to going to be an e-portfolio of my work during the course.
Oh, how I miss blogging!!Unfortunately, I have stopped blogging two months ago as a result of being a prisoner in my "journey of misery" (a nick name of my PhD journey).
Back to the course. It's a 10-week online training course for English Language Teachers around the globe.I am thrilled to see different participants from different parts of the world. The course uses Nicenet.I was amazed by how easy was it to log in and explore the platform. It is very user friendly, but I feel there is something that could be added to make the homepage more appealing.I have just been able to finish my assignments this week. I hope I was not too late. I posted my introduction, a post about rubrics and a third one about what makes a good discussion.
Phew! I made it at last! Finished week 1 assignments and I am making good use of the time available starting week 2 assignments.Good job me:-)
Learning is going to be FUN!