Activity #1: Gap-fill Correction (Using an Image Editor)
Technology: Use Preview to edit images
Context: Beginning Level EAL
Purpose: Ss will infer and discuss the meaning of a sign.
Scaffolding/Instruction: The sign with the partially erased words “food” and “drink”. Students should first look at the pictures and then work together to complete the words, before discussing what the sign might mean.
Evaluating: Students connecting pictures to vocabulary and correctly spelling common words.
Activity #2: Slideshow of a day by the sea
Context: Elementary Level EAL
Scaffolding: Students can see the three pictures and accompanying gap-fill sentences. Based on these they have to suggest possible words to go in each gap. They should also ask questions based on these pictures.
Evaluation: Students have grasped the basic sentence meaning and can use appropriate vocabulary aided by the structure of the sentence.
Activity #3: Fun Activities in My Home Country (Using iPhoto)
Technology: Windows Live Movie Maker
Context: Intermediate EAL
Purpose: Modal verbs and creating captions
Scaffolding: Students are given the topic “taking a photo of a baby” and the character “my son”. They must predict what he is doing. After showing the first picture and pausing, students can write their own caption. This continues through the other pictures in addition to the prediction of each next picture.
Evaluation: Students’ captions can be given in feedback and then voted on for which sounds the best/funniest.
Link: See email attachment. The security on WordPress prevented me from adding this.
Activity #4: Where am I? Listening for general information.
Technology: Audacity – cupoftea file
Context: Beginning Level EAL
Purpose: Listening for the context and inferring an activity
Scaffolding/Instruction: Ss will identify keywords and background noise to say what is happening. Will start with students naming the different rooms in the house and then describing what happens in some of them (making sure kitchen is one of them). Ss will practice the phrase, “Would you like a cup of tea?”
Evaluating: Ss produce the required vocabulary and a transferrable phrase with multiple objects.
Activity #5: Judah’s day at Grandma and Grandpa’s
Technology: Shadow puppet
Context: Elementary Level EAL
Purpose: Listening for gist and recalling key information.
Scaffolding: Ss watch the video about my son before giving generally class feedback. After introducing some key vocabulary, ss listen again and pin the vocabulary to the certain pictures (i.e. What is next to Judah in bed?).
Evaluation: Finally ss write about his day using the range of vocabulary that has been elicited.
Activity #6: A short authentic situation at the breakfast table
Technology: Audacity – Morning2
Context: Intermediate EAL
Purpose: Putting together a scenario from an authentic context with a lot of background interference.
Scaffolding: Ss listen to the audio twice and then discuss together what is going on and where and who is involved. They then have to create a short dialogue based on any of the language they have heard (and largely their imagination).
Evaluation: Ss can hear distinctions between adults and children, men and women.
Activity #7 Exploring the pedagogy for teaching grammar with digital technology
Class description: The class consists of adult EAP students preparing studying on a pre-sessional course at a British university. They are from a range of countries including East Asian and Middle Eastern. The class aims to teach students how to develop complex noun phrases by changing the sentence structure.
Pedagogical principles (taken from Reyes, 2012 and Liang, 2011): Students need to be able to identify and produce the target language. This calls for meaningful input and sufficient opportunities for output production. The primary focus is on conveying meaning. Appropriate use and accurate form will be worked on as students gain more confidence. Aside from the transformation of verbs into nouns within complex phrases, grammar errors will not be highlighted. Drilling won’t work well in the extended phrases being considered.
Furthermore, a mixture of inductive and deductive learning will be utilised. The former through use of technology will help students grasp what is taking place. The latter to explain and model a pattern that can be replicated.
In such a class, it is important to be clear on the desired outcome. Students should be able to apply this grammar in their own work, though initially through the scaffolding of working with existing sentences. A variation of the 5-step plan suggested by Reyes will be used. That is: 1) Warm-up 2) Presentation 3) Practice 4) Evaluation 5) Application.
Expected grammar knowledge will be: word families (especially verb to noun transformation) and the function of noun phrases. Added to this will be the metalinguistic knowledge that meaning-laden nouns are preferrable to their corresponding verbs in EAP. Students who struggle in their grammar ability may not get past the stage of controlled output. Nevertheless the performance aim is for all students to be in the position to create more complex sentences in their assigned work.
Activity #8 Technology Strategies for Noun Phrase Lesson
Students would use mobile dictionaries to complete a table of verb to noun transformations (acquire – acquisition) and add their own.
Students would use corpora to search for the use of verbs or nouns in noun phrases (e.g. searching for “distributed” or “distribution of”). Alternatively, students could search for “in which” or “, and this”.
Students would adapt a paragraph (that had been reverted to verb use) to use of nouns in noun phrases in a word processor.
Activity #9 Teaching Strategy
Students are required to adapt this text (minus the mark-up except as needed for scaffolding) in a word processor: Water supplies can be contaminated, and this can lead to serious disease outbreaks weeks after the cyclone. Heavy rain in hilly or mountainous areas is also responsible for landslides or mud flows as floodwater in stream and river channels mix with excess sediment brought down slopes. Famine can also result when crops are destroyed and saline intrudes, and that can kill more people that the actual cyclone event.
1. Find the two places a change could be made.
2. Locate the main verb/s in each phrase and replace with its related noun.
3. Re-organise the sentences until they flow well (words to be added if ss cannot manage are of, of, and in.
Activity #10 Teaching an intermediate level vocabulary class
I would like to make use of an online corpus such as COCA. My students would ideally be adults with access to the internet on a laptop, tablet or smartphone. My pedagogical principles would be very similar to those stated in my last response. However, this task would be much more inductive rather than having an explicit teaching point.
Students would gain more familiarity with a corpus and and build their knowledge of collocations.
1) Begin by introducing the concept of collocations with a simple game in which they are matched (i.e. take – picture).
2) Next show students how to use COCA to find collocates for a verb. Demonstrate with the verb forget.
3) Using the data and focussing on the top 8 entries, ss must work together to put the collocates together in a context as best they can (e.g. I never forget a promise.). Ss can check how close their predictions were by clicking on each of the collocates in turn.
4) Ss choose their own verb to search for collocates and report findings to the class or create a few questions with a gap for that collocate. The teacher can use this to create a further activity.
Finding Collocations with COCA
Students are first directed to the COCA website:
Then they are shown how to do a collocation search:
Finally, they are shown how to view the entries and what the number means:
#2 The first strategy I’d like to propose is the use of listening in order to build paraphrasing and especially summarising skills. I would use one of the news websites (though stories could work). Students would listen and take brief notes and then re-work them to write a brief news article. These could even be combined into a student newspaper.
The second strategy would involve the use of video to improve students’ focus while listening. This is a very simple activity, but could be aided by use of subtitles or a script. Students watch a short clip (e.g. 5mins) once through, and following this, they watch again with subtitles attempting to produce the language as they hear it said. It could be done without subtitles so it is purely a listening activity, and ultimately students should be able to produce some of it (especially a memorable scene) from memory.
The third strategy would be for beginner students. Rather than attempt to have comprehension questions, students will identify key vocabulary as they hear it. This could be done with realia (for example a conversation about shopping or in a shop could have a number of the key items) or with pictures. For either one, students can put them in the order they hear them said.
#3 I’d like to flesh out my third strategy above. This class has a mixture of absolute beginners and false beginners from a variety of countries. They are teenagers in a British public school. The aim of the activity is to enhance awareness of key vocabulary for shopping. There are many possible audios that could be used – for example, from a course book. First the topic must be introduced by means of a picture of someone shopping. Write the word “shopping” on the board and students can brainstorm related vocabulary. Next, students should listen once to the audio for gist. After it is clear to everyone where the conversation is taking place and what it is about, students should listen again and select realia as they hear it mentioned. The next time they listen, they are given a shopping bag, and have to put into it the items that were found in the shop.
#2 The first strategy to help improve speaking involves the use of mobiles to record an interview. I like the idea of students being given a topic to find out more about by asking experts (e.g. interviewing a chef or hairdresser). They could use Videolicious to combine this interview with photos and music in order to present to their class about their topic. Activities could be based around these videos in order that students are not passively watching, but required to engage and remember.
The second strategy is the use of oral journals as suggested by Chernen (2009). This is seen to help students avoid L1 interference, practice critical reflection and oral-aural expression, build confidence and rapport, and draw attention to errors. A big issue is that it is time-consuming and has some technical challenges. Students should record for between 1 and 2 minutes. The teacher should listen and making brief notes before recording an oral response. I wonder if students could have individual chats with their teacher (through mobiles) and the chain of recordings could be easily posted here. Email is another alternative. Vocaroo may work.
The third strategy comes from Lynch (2009) with his speaking log. Students simply record themselves before completing a log of their errors and queries. Next to these a fellow-student and then the teacher can listen and write their own comments or respond to the queries. I would recommend one of the podcast websites such as https://culips.com/ (Links to an external site.) or http://listenaminute.com/ (Links to an external site.) to get ideas for what they can talk about. Students could read from a script if they are primarily wanting help with pronunciation.
#3 The interviewing activity would involve intermediate or higher learners. Its objectives are to help students gain confidence in a semi-formal context; to gain and demonstrate an understanding of a topic; and to inform the wider class. The activity goes as follows:
- Give students instructions on the interviewing task and provide a model. Next assign students a topic to interview someone on – students can help generate topics and choose if they have a good one.
- Check each students’ questions before they undertake the interview and help them to re-state questions and ask questions for elaboration.
- With approval for their interviewee choice, students use mobiles to record their interview, before editing in Videolicious (Links to an external site.)to create visuals to accompany it. (Students could even come up with their own questions for it or the teacher can provide stock questions for every student who is listening to answer.)
- As students play videos to their class, other students complete notes or exercises as they watch.
Below is a rough assessment criteria (if the teacher wishes to assess it):
Video/audio interview project
Every student starts with 100%. Set percentages will be deducted for any criteria not met.
Submission on time (before deadline) (5% to be deducted for every day the project is late)
Length of audio (no less than 1 minute shorter, and no more than 5 minutes longer, than the instruction said) (10%)
Quality of questions (grammar & appropriacy) (5%)
Interaction with the speaker and the topic (did you react appropriately to the speaker’s comments, or did you just ask your questions without being part of the conversation?) (5%)
Completing the task (this should be an interview with a native speaker, not a roleplay or scripted conversation) (5%)
Following the instructions (have you asked questions to one person? Did you prepare?)) (5%)
I envisage this activity being for the same group of students I described above. The objectives are:
- To use multiple technologies to access knowledge related to a text
- To increase vocabulary, reading, and pronunciation skills
The procedures are:
- Give students a text to read (sufficiently above their level but not by too much)
- Tell students to prepare three new words from the text to introduce to the class (including pronunciation and meaning); to find three Wikipedia articles that relate to the topic; and to have a WeChat with another student in class about what they read in order to understand sufficient to tell the class what the partner’s text was about.
My students are in a pre-sessional course for 6 weeks in a local university. They come from all countries, but particularly East Asia and the Middle East and are adult learners hoping to be deemed fit to study on a BA programme. Therefore, the focus is on developing academic skills. Looking at the handout on teaching second language writing, I would aim to use the expressivist approach in order that students would become more fluent in output through journal writing; more attentive to detail through multiple drafting; and more open to criticism through peer review. The cognitivist approach would provide structure to these three areas with composing, editing, and responding respectively. Tying into composing, I would have students listen to a song and then describe a scene that song featured. Tying into editing, students would re-write a controversial sentence along with reasons supporting their changes. Tying into peer review, I would use the error coding scheme in the grammar presentation for students to apply in correcting each other’s work.
Website: The Electric Typewriter
Aside from my reservation that most of these reading or writing websites contain a fair number of inappropriate texts, I think there is potential for students to benefit from some effective samples of writing. The Electric Typewriter has links to essays and articles – a resource for the teacher to draw on to model good writing and a
Resources: http://www.1-language.com (Links to an external site.)
The website features worksheets that students can use to write their own essays on the myriad of topics available. Many are challenging questions and some may fit in well with a “values-driven” class. I would have students write, before using a rubric to edit their work – the content, organisation, and finally technical accuracy.
This app is described as the most beautiful word processor available for mobile technology. The basic version is free and allows varied text formatting and adding pictures. I would use the collaboration element in particular in order for groups of students to put together a short article, poster, or advertisement. They could edited between them from multiple devices.