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Podcasting in ELT

Dear all,

We have nearly ended the Spring term and you have just two more weeks. Then, most of you will graduate and some will be 4th year students. These are your final tasks. Enjoy it!..

As you know, we talked about Podcasting in ELT this week. I shared some websites that you can listen or download podcasts. Some of these links are listed below:

General Information about using podcasts in ELT: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/articles/podcasting-elt

NPR Podcasts: http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_directory.php?type=topic&id=-1

BBC Podcasts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts

Audioboo for creating and publishing podcasts: http://audioboo.fm/

You can explore the websites above. In our limited time, I just had the chance say what you can find here.

As for the task for podcasts, you will create podcasts using Audioboo. However, before explaining the task, I would like say that I was inspired by a great writer called Samuel Beckett, the author of Waiting for Godot, and I would like to quote his words here.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.

You will see how it is related to your task. Please follow the steps in order to complete your tasks.

1. Go to http://audioboo.fm/ website.

2. Create an account here.

3. Then, please share your Audioboo account names in our Facebook group. I need them to see your podcasts. It is quite important.

4. Then, you have 3 minutes at maximum to record your voice. You will talk about “When was the last time you failed?” “When was the last time you felt very ashamed?” and “What did you do afterwards?”. Let’s share our failure. Do not forget, the person who says s/he has not failed is either deceptive or s/he is not taking any risks.

5. Just record your short experience in 3 minutes and make sure that it is published on your Audioboo home page.

After you complete the task, I will add your story on my homepage; and I am sure that it will be a great collection of failure stories.

Good luck with the task,

Have a nice weekend,

Dr. Sedat Akayoğlu

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Digital Storytelling in Language Classes

Greetings all,

I have announced your tasks and evaluated the course on our Facebook page recently; so I haven’t updated this blog page for the past few weeks.

As you know, we talked about the digital storytelling this week and its use for teaching English as a foreign language. Thus, you are expected to prepare two short digital stories until next week. The first one will be prepared using Windows Live Movie Maker and the other one will be prepared on Story Jumper page. You can follow the following steps while completing the tasks of the week.

  1. First of all, please check whether Windows Live Movie Maker (WLMM) is installed on your computer or not. Click on Start Button and write “movie” in the search box. If it is available, you will see it on the top of the list. If it is not installed, please click here and download the software from this page.
  2. Then, you will prepare a digital story using WLMM. I showed some simple steps how you could add music, video, photos and text to your videos. If you cannot remember, you should explore the software.
  3. After you have completed the short story on WLMM, you will upload it to our blog page designed for digital stories (http://digitalstories4elt.blogspot.com). If you have written your name and e-mail address to our wiki page (http://elt430.pbworks.com), then you must have received an invitation e-mail message for our blog page (Do not forget to check your spam box if you haven’t seen the invitation). Accept that invitation and then go to page http://www.blogger.com. You can log in with your Gmail account on this page. It is similar to your WordPress blog page but a bit different. When you click on “New Post” or “Yeni Kayıt” button, you can add your videos here. Upto now, this is your first task and now you are ready to prepare the second task.
  4. After you have completed the first task, it is time for Story Jumper. Please go to page http://www.storyjumper.com. Firstly, you should sign up for the website. It is quite easy for you to be a member of this website.
  5. Now, I introduced the website in the classroom; however, if you could not attend the class or if you cannot remember how to create a new story, please watch the video on this link. There are also some other videos if you searched the videos using “storyjumper” keyword on Youtube.
  6. There are some short stories on the page. It would be better for you to see them before preparing your own story.
  7. After you complete the story on Story Jumper, you will share it using your e-mail address. If you could manage this, you must have received a link for the story book.
  8. I have posted a message about your Story Jumper task on our Facebook page, please share the link as a comment to that post.
  9. Finally, only one task remains. Do you guess what? Your reflection papers, of course. As far as I remember, I do not need to remind you of writing your reflection papers; but this week you have plenty of tasks and I thought it would better to remind of your weekly task.
  10. That’s all. Good luck with your short stories!

I will be online on my mobile phone this weekend; so if you have any questions or problems, please send me an e-mail message or share your problems on our Facebook page. I will try to do my best to help you online.

Dr. Sedat Akayoğlu

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Prezi and Final Projects

I would like to start writing how I feel sad for the ones who missed this week’s class. We worked on Prezi and I showed how to create a Prezi presentation and how you will use this tool for preparing your final projects. It would be good for you to explore Prezi on your own and stop by the office if you have any questions about it.

I used Prezi for my presentations and talks at some conferences  and people really liked the way I presented. I strongly advice you to use this tool for your activities and presentations in your courses. It also allows you to work with your friends, colleagues and partners in collaboration. That’s one of the reasons why I chose this tool for your final projects.

If you couldn’t attend the course this week, it would be better for you to visit http://www.prezi.com and get an account. It is quite easy and I am sure you will not need any assistance for this. Then, create a prezi presentation and try to explore the functions of the buttons on the page. If you still need any assistance, do not hesitate to ask me.

As for the tasks of the week, please follow the steps below:

1. First of all, create a project group with your friends. There should be 3 students in each group.

2. Click on the following wiki page (http://elt430.pbworks.com/w/page/65127286/Project%20Groups), edit the page and add your project group to the wiki page.

3. After creating your final project group, go to Prezi website and create a Prezi Presentation for your final project (This should be done only one student in each group.)

4. One student in each group will add the other group members to the Prezi Presentation. Do not forget to add my e-mail address (sakayoglu@gmail.com) to your Prezi Presentation. I will be able to see the process throughout the semester. All changes will be sent to me as e-mail notifications.

That’s all for your weekly tasks. Do not forget to write your reflection blog posts on using Prezi!

I will share a sample Lesson Plan on our Facebook page…

Dr. Sedat Akayoğlu

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Using wikis and Google Documents for online collaboration

A week for the CALL course has ended again; and I should admit the course was much better this week. Last week, I had many problems about controlling the students because of the number of students and their different skills for using the technology. This week, I changed the procedure and, firstly, I introduced the tools of the week – PBworks and Google Documents. Then, I demonstrated how these tools can be used in language classes. After that they all worked on a Google document. This was also a bit confusing for the students as they all started to write at the same time; however, I managed to show what they can do using this tool.

I discovered PBworks (PBwiki in those times) almost six years ago when I was in a dormitory room at METU. In those times, I really admired to see how I can use this tool for educational and personal purposes. I presented this tool in many conferences and I used it in almost all classes I taught. Both my students and the audience at the conferences liked it, too. After six years, I found that the only change about PBworks is just the name; the other features are still very useful for language classes, especially for reading and writing classes.

In the second hour of the course, I also showed Google Documents which is another great tool for collaboration.  There are some differences between Google Documents and PBworks; however, both tools have some advantages according to your purpose. If you would like create a webpage and publish it on the internet with a great design, it would be better to use PBworks. In this page, the visitors can also make comments and wiki pages can also include some widgets, Google gadgets, guest book, etc. However, if you just want your students work in collaboration and do it without publishing their work online, Google Documents is much better. In addition to this, you should wait for your turn in PBworks, only one user could edit at the same time; but in Google Documents, many users can edit at the same time. However, this sometimes cause a chaos on the document. For example, 30 students started to edit at the same time and on the same document yesterday and some students deleted the others’ sentences and this was a bit chaotic.

Despite their disadvantages, both tools are great tools for online collaboration. Working on a sheet of paper with your friends, students or colleagues is great not only for educational purposes but also for personal purposes. The students can see their friends’ writings, they can edit and at the end they create a common project, which is motivating for the students. They can share their projects on the Internet and they can also edit them. In addition to this, when a teacher assign the students in groups, some students complete the project and the teacher usually doesn’t know to what extent each student contributed to the project. If teachers use wikis in their classes, they can follow their students’ tracks and can evaluate the students more objectively although the students work in a group.

In order to better understand the wikis, I suggest you to watch the following video. Actually, I tried to embed the video but it was not allowed by the owner of the video. Wikis in Plain English.

As for the tasks of the week;

1. You will have a reflection paper about the topic of the week (online collaboration, wikis, Google Documents, etc.)

2. Go to page https://my.pbworks.com/?p=create and get a PBworks account.

3. Then, visit the following page (http://elt430.pbworks.com) and click on “request access” on the right side of the page. Here, you will wait until your request is approved.

4. Once it is approved, visit http:/elt430.pbworks.com again and edit the page filling in the table with the required information.

5. Finally, do not forget to save the page.

That’s all!…

Just a reminder: There must be at least 4 blog posts at the end of this week.

1. What do you think about the CALL course, what are your expectations?

2. Reflection paper for the 2nd week (blogging).

3. Task for the 2nd week (adding a TED Talks video and commenting on the video).

4. Reflection paper for the 3rd week (Wikis and Google Documents).

See you next week!

Dr. Sedat Akayoğlu

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Chaos in my CALL Class and my proposal for this…

The second week of the Spring Term has nearly ended and I completed the CALL course for this week. At the beginning of the term, I was quite enthusiastic about the course. Furthermore, when I first heard that I would teach the CALL course this semester, I was away for the military service and it made me feel really happy. However, I was disappointed when I saw the physical conditions of the computer lab and the number of students taking this course.

First of all, the students had different computer skills, which is quite normal. Some of them could change IP and DNS in order to overcome the problem with the blocked webpages; but some of them could not get an e-mail address. Some of the students would keep blogs in previous years, some of them do not like and do not use even Facebook, twitter, etc. In fact, this is not a problematic situation on its own. However, when the number of students taken into consideration, this diversity about the student profiles made the course quite difficult for me.

In addition to this, the number of students for the CALL course is 120 and they are divided into two groups. 60 of them attend as the day group, and the other 60 students attend as the evening group. For example, when I asked the students to log in Google Reader in order to follow their friends’ blogs through an RSS Reader, some of them signed in using their Gmail accounts while some of them did not have even a Gmail account. While I was busy with the ones without a Gmail account, the others got lost; when I tried to help the ones with Gmail account, the others could not follow. This kind of problems occurred in the classroom.

In addition to this, the physical condition of the computer lab was really bad. There are only 25 computers and 4 or 5 of them did not have any Internet connection. The students have to bring their laptops; however, there are not enough plug sockets in order to charge their laptops. The Internet constantly disconnect throughout the course without any reason. I couldn’t find someone responsible for this situation.

These problems turned the class into a chaos and finally, one of mys students objected this situation. He stated that many of the students could not follow the course, the content was too loaded and I was having the class in a hurry. He was right in some parts, except the course content; and I started to think how I can modify this course. I tried to divide these classes into groups but the students did not have free time or computer lab was not always available for us.

Then, I found a way to improve the quality of the course. I remembered the talks I gave even with 500 people. All of the participants did not have the Internet connection or a computer in those talks; but they enjoyed and liked the talks. Some of them could take notes using their smartphones or pen&paper; some of them could use their own laptops and the Internet connection; and some of them just listened the talk. I decided to have my classes in this format. This is a two-hour class and I will give a talk at least one hour on the topic of the week and then I will leave the students alone and they will practice in the computer lab or at home. Throughout the week, I will also help the students via the Internet.

Actually, I believe that this course in this way will be much more helpful for the students. They will be able to follow the course more easily. I hope; and now, it’s time to modify the course schedule once more.

Dr. Sedat Akayoğlu

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

First week, first impressions…

tecnology calls you(1)

We are about to complete the first week of the Spring Semester and I just wanted to write about my first impressions about the reactions of students towards the course and the facilities of the computer lab.

First of all, I was really disappointed to see that students were all concentrated on KPSS exam, which is required for them to start their profession at state schools; however, the important subjects of this exam are history, geography, mathematics, Turkish language, etc. The questions related to their field were added this year; but the major part of the exam will be the other subjects again. As a result, they attended private courses for different subjects. They don’t want to spend too much time on the courses at the Department. However, there are some points they have missed. If they behave like this, the only plan for their future will be working at state schools; because if they want to work anywhere but the state schools or if they want to go on with MA program, they will be evaluated for their knowledge in English language teaching/learning. Thus, I can admit that the main objective of this course should be increasing the students’ motivation.

Secondly, the facilities of the computer lab is very bad and will limit our course content in some situations. There are only 25 computers and some of them are not working. I noticed that the overhead projector was a bit problematic and I have to be in the classroom at least 10 minutes earlier than usual. The most important limitation for me will be the blocked web sites at the university. Many web sites are not working as they are categorized as games, p2p sharing programs, etc. As for the course content, Second Life and Skype is not working. I will have to go to the related department and solve this problem.

Thirdly, the most important problem will be the number of students in the classroom. I have two sections for Computer Assisted Language Learning course and there are at least 60 students in each classroom. This might be a bit challenging for me; but this can be an advantage for the course as well. There will be group work activities and there will be more interaction in the classroom. I hope everything goes fine with this class.

To sum up, there are some limitations for this course, but I will do my best to teach ICT tools and how to use them for their profession

Dr. Sedat Akayoglu

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Let the course begin…

Dear visitors and students,

I created this blog page in order to collect your blog pages in one page and to make announcements for the tasks and the course content. It will also provide us with a platform for communication. This blog page will be used for both sections (day & evening groups) and I will present some of your tasks as the example.

Course description:

This course introduces pre-service teachers of English to Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) tools. In addition to giving an overview of the uses of CALL tools in teaching/learning, the course will cover a review of interactive instructional technologies in language teaching/learning, the Internet in English language teaching, and evaluation of English language teaching software and use of Web 2.0 tools in the language classroom. Implications of CALL in language classrooms will also be discussed. Students will be provided with hands-on experience, and they will also develop their own multimedia CALL materials (e.g. podcasts, wikis, blogs, etc.). Students will also review and evaluate current research in CALL.

Objectives:

Students will be able to

  • Review interactive instructional technologies in language teaching/learning.
  • Learn terminology related to computer-assisted foreign language learning.
  • Experiment with and evaluate current computer applications in foreign language learning.
  • Learn how to design and integrate computers into foreign language courses.
  • Review and evaluate selected current research in CALL.
  • Develop their own multimedia CALL materials.

I hope we will have a nice semester together.

Your first task is to write a blog post about your first impressions about course. What are your expectations? Do you think it will help you to improve yourself? Be honest and don’t worry! You will not be graded about your opinions.

Best wishes,

Sedat Akayoğlu

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized