Sunday, May 30, 2010

Week 8 (24-30 May): Learner Autonomy and the One-computer Classroom

The above picture is the winner of e-learning Africa conference photo competition:

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

Project Time! We have to be very specific!!!‏

I am struggling with my project:-) Feet swollen, exams should be written and a baby in the womb is kicking!!! I've just felt that I would like to add this post just for fun!!
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 !

And what happened at the annual party !!!
The specifications were missing in the memo (size of cup). Moral of the story: Be very specific in your daily life including project work. Give specific specifications.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!

Wonderfully enlightened  talk by Ken Robinson.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week 7 (17-23 May): Large Classes and Interactive PowerPoint - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

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

Week 6 (10 - 16 May): Rubrics, Alternative Assessment, and Learning Styles

Although I have spent little time on this week's readings and tasks(I'll get a big Zero, I know), but I am feeling really happy.I finally got my PhD on Saturday May 15, 2010. It was truly a SUCCESS!!!It was supposed to be three days earlier, but the external examiner's nephew had a car accident and passed away. It had to be postponed to Saturday, allhamdull-Allah. I will never forget this week in which my defended my 3 and a half years' journey.;-))))

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

Week 5 (3-9 May): Project-based Learning and WebQuests

Below are our week 5 assignments, in addition to our weekly reflection on
our blogs:
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.
Well here is what I've  learned this week:
-I've learned that it's better to write "WebQuest"instead of "webquest".
-Regarding the technology related changes I want to introduce in my class I posted that  I need to learn about  the use of audio podcasts (with Audacity and podmatic)  and creating  tutorials for my students (using  Camatasia or Jing).

-From the suggested readings and others reflections, I learned about the template and stages of webquests (introduction, task, process, evaluation and conclusion). I also got to know that project-based learning  help students become more autonomous learners when their teacher lead them all through the way of the project development stages above, which reflect the real-world practices. They experience the stage of exploration, expansion, evaluation and explanation to devise a response to an instructive problem with a technology-based teaching item. PBL involves the engagement of students in authentic tasks, exploration of open-ended professional situations while they are also experiencing collaborative work and valuing several foundations of production and assessment.Regarding the change in  teacher-student relationship in a class, webquests will help then to be engaged, collaboratively, in projects. Students will also receive additional instructional support from their teachers. The teacher’s old role will be transformed to a facilitator, from “a sage on the sage to guide by the side”.
- 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!!!

Links Shared:
Lowry, Erin . (2008). Approaches to Learner Autonomy in Language Learning.

Below is the project created with my students. Check it out here. And here is the link to the International project.