Friday, December 2, 2011

Podcasting in ESL classroom

I used to be a radio listener. I not only listen to the Chinese radio programs but also English news programs like VOA and BBC when I was a college student. Every morning, I turned on my radio at 7:00 to listen to the special English program offered by VOA. That's the only time that I can listen to the program. It's kind of inconvenient for me because of this fixed time for getting the program. Podcasting is a great idea that to let the radio listeners get the programs they like whenever you want to. This technology makes the life much more easier for radio listeners by letting the programs come to listeners instead of letting listeners run after the programs. I can imagine how wonderful my life will be, when I wake up in the morning, put on my MP3 player which already received the programs that I like during the night. ESL teachers can take the advantage of these programs in their English classrooms. Tons of ESL podcasts are offered on the internet. For example, ESL Pod is one of the website that offer various kinds of ESL podcasts.

First, teachers can subscribe to the Podcast. After receiving these programs they can choose some related to their teaching contents.

Second, Taking one episode from ESL Pod as an example. Teachers can broadcast the program about Dinning at Restaurant when they teach the topic of dining. Let the students listen to it first.

Third, teachers can group students into smaller groups and let them talk about what they listened from the podcast and discuss the differences between the Chinese dining culture and American dining culture.

Finally, teachers can also ask student to listen to the podcast by themselves when they go back home and let them choose one of the podcasts they like and then broadcast to the class one by one in classes.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Digital community and using it in ESL classroom

With development of technology, the way of people's life are changing drastically. Technology, especially, the internet, creating information explosion for people, changes the world into a global village. To get in touch with the people living on the other side of the earth became very easy. In this digital world, not only people's life are changed, but also students' life are also changed greatly. Nowadays, most of students' time either spend in school or on media. They put so much attention on the media that educators need to think about how to use the new technology to get students attention. One good way is to use digital literacy. To create a digital community is another brilliant idea to make full use of technology in education. 

Digital community is a community built up on internet where people from different countries can meet each other, share ideas, collaborate on the same project together. For example, ePals is a digital global community for K-12 social learning. Not only a lot collaborating projects about social learning are available there, but also different forums are available in the community for teachers, students, and parents to share their opinions and ideas. Through this community, students can learn the knowledge and also they can gain cultural awareness by getting in touch with people from other countries. These features are very useful and unique compared with the traditional classes. 

Another problem for teachers is how to use it to facilitate teaching? For ESL classroom, this is a great program that teachers can use, for students can learn the language through doing the social projects and collaborating with people who speak English. For example:
1. Talk about festivals and holidays with students in class. Teach them major words and phrases about the holidays in their culture. 
2. Ask students questions in the project.
3. Let students find the answers to the questions by communicating with students in the same classroom in the digital community.
4. Ask students to create a thread in the classroom to talk about one of the festivals in their culture. And answer questions other students ask them.
5. Ask students to report what they learn from this project in real classroom.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Using digital storytelling in teaching

Recently I learnt how to make digital story in many different ways. I am very glad that I learnt these new technologies and also believe that they are useful for teaching.

For me digital storytelling is a very good way for students to learn literacy. It is one of the multi-genre literacy. I think the new multi-genre literacy is very helpful for student to learn language in a new way which will be more appealing to them. Students who don't like reading might like to read in graphic books or who don't like writing might enjoying themselves making a digital story.

Teaching Objective:
In this multi-genre activity by using digital story, students will learn how to talk about the topic "travelling" in English. They will learn the new words and expressions about travelling and make their own story about travelling by using digital tools.

Teaching Procedure:
1. I will first share my own digital video story I made using my own pictures with my students.
2. Then I will ask students about their travelling experiences.
3. Let students talk about one of their favorite places they have ever been to.
4. Ask students to make their own digital story about travelling.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My digital storytelling on Bookr.

"This I believe" writing activity for ESL English writing class

I am going to use this digital story I did on Bookr in my ESL writing class. This activity is called "This I believe".

Teaching procedure:
1. I will show students my own digital story about my own believe and story about it.
2. I will group students in pairs to talk about one of their own believes to their partner as a brainstorm activity.
3. I will ask every student to make their own digital story about their own belief by using Bookr.

Teaching objective:
The objective of this ESL writing class is to let student show one of their own belief by using images and describe them in English. Through this writing activity, students will develop a visual understanding of their own belief and develop their descriptive writing skills in English.

Digital Storytelling

Film Production students in Dramatic Lighting for HD class at VFS
Photo by film production students
The first time when I encountered the concept of digital storytelling is in one of the courses for my Master degree of American literature. That professor not only let us discuss about the novels but also the different versions of film adaptations of the novels. He believes that these film adaptations are the different literature critiques. By watching these films, audience can see how the film makers understand this novel. The films are the digital versions of literature critiques. The professor told us as we enter into the technology age, using digital to express our opinion is a tendency.

I do agree with him about the digital turning happened both in people's daily life and also in different academic fields like literature, education, science etc. Actually, nowadays there are more and more people starting using digital telling way to express themselves. In China, many well-made digital storytelling works are very popular on internet. People are expressing themselves through those humorous and insightful digital stories. For educators, digital storytelling will be a different and useful way for education. "Digital stories let students express themselves not only with their own words but also in their own voices, fostering a sense of individuality and of “owning” their creations" (7 things you should know about digital storytelling, p.2). Beside learning knowledge, the more important purpose of education is help student know what they can do, let them express themselves, make them fully develop their critically thinking and creative ability. And also its purpose is to make student uniquely different instead of universally the same. Digital storytelling is an perfect tool for students to gain a deeper understanding of the topic. It provides a way for students to express themselves and helps them find their own identity through the process of making the digital story.

As a language teacher, I would love to use this digital storytelling tool in my future teaching. Language learning includes learning different aspects of language skills, speaking, listening, reading and writing. Making a digital story is a project that can help my students practice their integrative ability of a language. More importantly, it helps students gain the language sense which is very important for language learners while doing it. For example, I will ask my students to make digital stories on different topics we learn. This assignment will serve as a reinforcement for students and help them become more familiar with the language they learn.