Friday, December 4, 2009

Keeping up with emerging technologies

It is amazing how through the study of this course we have come up with so many new technologies thanks to the web 2.0. Besides Internet, we have now seen how mobile utilities have been getting themselves into the new era of teaching, new technologies like Portable Play Station (PSP), I Touch, I Phone, personal digital agendas, mini lap tops, and so on have become part personal belongings of our lives, just like the keys of our home. So the question of how to cope with so many new technologies has come to our mind, but before this question what we should ask ourselves is if we should keep up to date with so many new emerging technologies.

Regarding the latter questioning, I believe that our students are the ones that answer this every time they bring new technological tools to school. As teachers we must be very updated because we have seen how every new technology has become a great utility for our classes. We must be engaged with our teaching practice and stop trying to avoid every time we see new devices in our classroom, so instead of prohibiting our students of bringing these new devices, we should learn from them and think how we could integrate it into the classroom. So in order to keep up to date with all the new emerging technologies we must look into our students and ask them to teach us what is coming to our lives, and how this can help us improve our practice. Also, we can read articles about new technological advances in order to know what to expect with so many new gadgets that are becoming more and more part of our everyday life.

In regards to the new programs and websites that are updating our use of technology in our classrooms, I believe that the best thing we can do is join CoPs, where we can see what teachers around the world are doing in their classes. Also a great help for our us to keep updated in the new tools of the Internet is using an online book marking service, this allows us to keep track of so many websites that can help us to improve our use of technology in our classrooms. So every time we go into the huge world of the Internet and we surf around it for hours looking for new ways to improve our practice we must keep a diary where we write what we found interesting and how we could use it in order to keep our students motivation for learning.

Digital Game Based Learning

DGBL will always motivate learners at any age. As I was learning the different games available I couldn’t stop playing. Games have always been a very amusing part of my life, I remember when I was a kid that my parents never wanted to give me a game console, so as soon as I was able to earn some money the firs thing I did was buy myself a Play Station 2. I remember that when I played most of the games had the instructions in English, and the first thing I thought was that I would love to have some of my students play these games. So I decided that the next class I would take my console to the school I worked at. The students were really motivated and happy. They needed to use the skills they got from my classes in order to understand the games. I have never seen my students using a dictionary at class so much. Nowadays, I do not take my console to school anymore. This is because students have computers available and they just go online to play games.

For my learning context I have used DGBL in the classroom by allowing the students read the instructions of different games. Unfortunately, since most of the games I use are Internet based, then I have had some problems loading the games, or I have found the need to download programs in order to allow the games to run properly. I have found that when I use the games the students show a lot of interest in the development of the classes, but I always try to have some minutes of the class where we go to the computer room to play the games on their own. I found in the first classes I used games that the students would start to fight because they wanted to play the games, so having one computer available for the class is not always nice. Another aspect that is worth taking into account, is that students must understand that when they play a game they should always find something that enriches their knowledge, or their abilities. I have found many students that like to play games in easy levels and they do not challenge themselves, they just like to win, but they are not really learning anything. So it is important to tell the students that when games become addicting, it is better to step back and ask yourself, what am I gaining from playing this game, and is it worth sacrificing my time to play it?

CoPs Communities of Practice

CoPs are very useful for keeping in touch with the latest in whatever interest you have. This means that if my interest is to keep up with what teachers are doing in their classrooms, I can join one of these communities of practice, and share my experience and discoveries in my ELT practice. I have joined a CoPs called EFL Classroom 2.0, this is a community that suggests many resources for learners and teachers that want to work with technology. For this community I expect to share my ideas and learn a lot from other teachers. Up to now I have learnt about a great resource called voice thread, where the students can record their comments about pictures. I plan to learn many other CoPs that are very relevant for my professional development and where I can share my experiences too.

Microblogging and Social Networking

Microblogging and social networking have made easier the way to keep in touch with our students. For microblogging I see it as a great way to keep in touch with the students constantly, in order to remind them of due dates, tasks and important dates. This is also a great tool to practice writing in order to share ideas with other members. I believe that the drawback of microblogging in my context is that my students are under 13 years old so they cannot create accounts of this type of platforms, this also counts for social networking. However, it can be a great tool to keep in touch with my colleagues.

As for social networking tools, it is a great way to build communities that enhance the process of communication. This tool can also serve as microblogging in a way. The great aspect of social networking is that it allows you to be much more organized for managing the class. It s also a great way to know the students’ interest since in this tools they can join groups of their favorite bands, artists, or even politicians. One of my major concerns about net working tools is that they may work for publishing undesired photographs or comments that might lead to cyber-bullying.

Some web 2.0 tools to analyze

Please look at my chart. Since I noticed and are similar websites I decided to do a google fight to know which one was more popular. Check out the website at the end of this post to see who won!

Web 2.0 tool


Potential uses for professional development

Potential uses for language learning classes


It is a book-marking service that allows interaction with other members. It is probably the most popular book-marking service online.

Keep track of all the websites that are relevant to my profession and share it with colleagues.

Know what the students are interested in, by knowing their most visited sites and find common likes among the class.


It is also a book-marking service, not as popular as delicious[1], but it does have more tools, like highlighting.

Keep track of all the websites that are relevant to my profession, highlight it and share it with colleagues.

As a reading strategy with in the class. To know if they are highlighting texts in a relevant way.

Wall wisher

It is similar to a wiki. This website is for having a website that may contain ideas of different people towards a topic. You may add to your comment a URL address.

Brainstorm ideas for projects with my colleagues.

Brainstorm ideas about class projects and share relevant links.

Collaborative and Transformative Learning

“…changing your mind is one of the best ways

of finding out whether or not you still have one.

Or even that minds are like parachutes,

that it doesn't matter what you pack

them with so long as they open

at the right time.”

Taylor Mali[1]

Just like this poem by Taylor Mali transformative learning is about transcending on your own perspective of life, in order to be able to change your mind. For me is the ability to re-learn and notice different perspectives in life. Its relation with ELT basically lies on the fact that we are teaching a complex set of codes that express feelings, meanings, anxieties, etc. In this sense Transformative learning is a way to open students the possibility of changing their mind about something, or give the opportunity of reaching a different perspective, probably far or not from the initial point of view.

Collaborative learning is simply the way we use each other’s thoughts in order to create new knowledge. Collaborative learning can happen in any educational context by achieving results in teams. In the ELT context this type of learning can be used for creating an environment of cooperation within the class, where the students know that they can learn from each other and not only from the teacher.

[1] Mali, T. (n.d). Like Lilly, Like Wilson. Retrived on November, 2009 from

Educational Implications of Wikinomics

In the general context of education, the ideas of Wikinomics have enhanced the opportunity of promoting collaboration. Thanks to the new technologies of the Internet, we have been able to address specific issues on education. We can compare our educational context to those that are located in internationally. As an example of this, our NLE course has proved to be a great tool to reflect on the implications of learning environments by sharing our concepts from Colombian education, and our tutor presenting her context in Argentina’s perspective. Also, online journals have helped to know the perspectives of how people are teaching, and the way they are using online tools to enhance pedagogical practices.

In the context of ELT, the principles of Wikinomics, give opportunities for creating international collaboration. An example of this is a website called Live Mocha, where students can share their knowledge for learning languages just by the principle of collaboration. This is an example of mass collaboration put into practice for ELT purposes. As Wikinomic has proven to be a great help for companies all around the world, I believe that through our language learning practice, we must help students promote this types of interaction in a global framework. This means that from our context students must be familiar with how to create Wikis, how to create websites that promote collaboration, etc.

In conclusion the main power of the Wikinomic ideas is to allow a global perspective of knowledge. This is to allow knowledge to become accessible and enhanced by the world. More specifically in out ELT context, collaboration of sharing activities, experiences, feelings, etc. towards teaching can improve the ELT practice at a global stage.

30 most important factors in managing and moderating the online learning environment in order of priority

  1. Create a friendly, social environment.
  2. Make the technology transparent.
  3. Make sure participants are comfortable with the system – hold practice sessions.
  4. Be patient; speak slowly and distinctly.
  5. Be prepared, well in advance.

6. Clearly communicate expectations

7. Provide a weekly agenda of activities and assignments.

8. Value participation.

9. Facilitate discussion – present conflicting opinions, or ask open-ended questions.

10. Encourage participation through use of questions and probing.

11. Require participation as appropriate and/or request responses.

12. Build confidence by stating expectations clearly, and don’t expect too much at first.

13. Promote healthy and respectful social interactions.

14. Provide opportunities for establishment of independent groups.

15. Create opportunities to sustain discussions and interactions.

16. Recognize and deal with appropriate and inappropriate student input.

17. Set the agenda and pace, be prepared to adjust according to participant need.

18. Be flexible in schedule to accommodate student direction, need and interest.

19. Set clear objectives for the session.

20. Vary presentations with discussion and student-centered activity.

21. Encourage active use of peer messaging.

22. Create open debates with posted positions on topics.

23. Thank students publicly for comments that show insight or depth.

24. Generate ideas through active brainstorming and facilitate development of consensus.

25. Build relevancy into the materials.

26. Model online intellectual discourse.

27. Maintain a non-authoritarian style.

28. Become familiar and proficient at the use of the technology – practice in advance.

29. Provide an overview of timetable, procedures, expectations and decision-making norms where appropriate.

30. Use humor as appropriate.

Examples of how to change our Roles as students and teachers for E-learning!

Changing Instructor’s roles








Explanation of how the present continuous work.


In the following website you can find exercises that will help you describe daily routines.

Provider of content

Read the following tale.

Designer of learning experiences

Based on this reading, what personal experiences have you had?

Source of information

What words you don’t understand in the reading? These are the meanings…

Presenter of critical or open-ended questions

Based on the expressions you didn’t understand in the reading, how can you find out the meaning? Share your strategies with the class.


To understand and use the present continuous in sentences.

Project/inquiry-based instructional designer and assessor

How is the government helping the poor people in your country? Lets share ideas describing the different projects that can help poor people in our countries.

User of ‘one size fits all’ approach

Create an essay on the way we can help poor people in our country.

Moderator for a variety of learning styles

Can you share us some videos you have found in any website that can give us information on how we can help poor people in our country?

Or can you write an essay about this topic?

Or would you like to create a podcast addressing this issue?

Or Could you think of a project that could help the poor in your country?

Controller of a teaching environment

Please access the following quiz when you finish doing the task.

Co-creator of a learning experience

Lets create a Wiki where we write the different ways in which we can improve the situation of the poor people in our countries.


This is what we will do, and this is where you can find the information.

Learning -facilitator

Lets analyze this information. How is it relevant to you. Respond to your classmates and tell him/her how you agree or disagree.

Changing Student’s roles







Passive vessels

Read information and answer questions.

Active builder of knowledge and learning

Read information and make questions, how is this information relevant for your context?

Information gatherer

Read, read, read.


How can you apply the information you have to solve problems in your context?

Information remitter

This is what I read you can read this too.

Question researcher

What happens if I apply this knowledge in my context?

Individual learner

I read, I answer.

Cooperative, collaborative team member

How did you use the information you got? Maybe I can use it in that way also. I did this, and it worked like this, your strategy worked for me, but I did this differently and it worked better.


What do I do now teacher?

Independent manager of learning

I believe that if we do this we can work better!

Passive receiver

I understand.

Active contributor to the learning process

I understand what you say, but what happens if we add this?

Passive observer

I see what you do.

Active participant

I did this, and this is how it worked!