Please consider the following:

Note that the posts you find herein need edition. They are not finalized. They do still need some correction. I am more concered with doing the tasks for the moment being. These should be finalized soon. Thank you for understanding.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Technology in education_My advice

We might have constraints in our job. We might sometimes think that our situation is the worst in the world. We might like to try something new in our classes but we would let it down because of either physical constraints or lack of necessary competencies. We might suffer from the lack of our motivation and that of our students. We might even give uninteresting lessons… Technology can solve all these problems and many others. It is making a invasion all over the world. There is no place in the world where you can’t find a piece of technology like TV, CD player, mp3, computers.... Whether we like it or not, our students are strongly attracted these gadgets. If they are bound to use it, why not using it for something good. Then these have plenty of advantages. All we need is to think of good ways to integrate them into our classes so as to bring liveliness, interest and motivation. It is not always necessary to pay to use things; there are plenty of materials we can get for free. It is not always necessary to pay to learn; there are plenty of free resources from which you can learn what and how to use. You should only believe in the potentiality of technology and the change it can make in education if used properly. Don’t use it per se or because it is the tendency, but use it because you are certain make help you attain you lessons’ objective more effectively.

Yours,

Hamid

Wrap up of the course

“Building Teaching Skills through The Interactive Web” has reached its end. Before summarizing the course activities, I would like first of all to thank Prof. Deborah Healy for the great job, effort, help and patience. She has showed a great sense of professionalism in her work. I have learned a lot from her. I would also like to thank Jeff Magoto and Sueanne Parker who joined us somewhere in the course and assisted us successfully with so much appreciated guidance and help. Thank you also to the University of Oregon, namely the American English Institute. Many thanks to RELO Morocco which offered the opportunity and grated the scholarship to me. Thank you also to all the participants. I really enjoyed working with you. I have learned too much from you. You have been working with a very high level of professionalism, respect, collaboration and commitment. Thank you to those people who we don’t know, but they have contributed to make this course to success.

I personally don’t think there is a thing in the whole course which is not relevant or interesting. I have learned a lot.

The most important thing in the course is that it has managed to make a balance between theory and practice. We’ve been interesting reading materials refreshing our minds about teaching issues and discovering other interesting ones. I assume that the course could be divided into four parts in general. The theoretical part which has been concerned with teaching and educational issues such as learning objectives, teaching the four language skills, technology in language teaching, project-based learning, learning styles… The second part of the course is practical. Every week, we have been assigned hand-on tasks each of which focuses on a particular technological and educational issue. The third part of the course is the project. Every participant has to set a project for him/her. We have been led smoothly to realization of our projects. Some of us have already tried their projects with their students and others have prepared them for the near future as they are not currently teaching. Every participant has to write a report about the project. One of the good points here is peer observation. We have been set in groups for the sake of revising each other’s projects. Peer-to-peer learning is the fourth part of the course. I highly appreciate it because it was extremely advantageous. Throughout the whole course, all the participants have to participate in discussions, share ideas and expose issues both in discussion threads in Nicenet and in our personal blogs. Reading others’ comments and posts maximizes learning from each other. That’s an excellent sample of peer-to-peer learning that we can integrate in our classes.

The course was a total success for me because it has not only been an opportunity for learning, but also for social networking and learning about other nations and cultures and the status in education around the world. All in all, the course has inspired me and made me a new motivated teacher equipped with high competencies that would me my teaching more effective and make me like my job more.

Yours,

Hamid

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My LoTi



I think I am in Level 4a – Integration: Mechanical. I used to see technology in the classroom as integrating music or a video in my classes. Later on, thanks to a teachers association, I discovered more interesting things in an annual conference on “Using ICT four ELT”. That was the start. The three days conference gave me a good push. I have started to implement technology in my teaching and at the same time take some courses from here and there. Last year was an exceptional year in which I discovered more interesting things. A one-year online course gave me extraordinary training on how to use virtual worlds for educational purposes. It focused on Web 2.0 and Web 3.0. Before this, I had had some simple experiences with using technology in the classroom, but I wanted to make this school year exceptional for me and I was. I wanted to use Moodle outside the classroom. It’s true that it was not a very successful trial, but I do consider it as exceptional because thanks to this experience I learned a lot. So, I started using technology by bringing a computer and video projector especially in a private school which offers some facilities, then I moved to integrating emails and yahoogroup and so on and the last thing tried, as I said before, was Moodle. There were many constraints. Some of these are of materials and others are of management and “how to do”. The course has empowered me with practical techniques, skills, knowledge… that I have helped a lot. The project I have tried with my students was a great success and I am waiting for the next school year to start and make a new start. I feel I have become more skilled and can integrate high tech more effectively. My goal for the next year is to reach the level 4b – Integration: Routine and why not making a step further towards Level 5 – Expansion. I should make technology an integral part of my classes. I will make use of blogging, Moodle and emails. My students are good at blogging. They can create their personal blogs and post comments… Moodle is somehow complicated but I can assist them at the beginning of the year to learn how to use some of its features. My students don’t use emails, once again some assistance would help solve the problem. I am conscious that the job needs much effort and time, but the beginnings are always tough, and experience sharpens our skills and makes tasks easier. I also have the idea to integrate WebQuest in assessment. I think this would push the learners make good researches and learn while doing their tasks…
Yours,
Hamid

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Week 9: Reflections


Week 9 : reflections

We are moving towards the end of the course and our project report should be finalized and submitted on June 6th at noon. This has taken a good time from me this week. I had to review my peers report and finalize my own on the light of their feedback. Collaboration makes our work better. There always things you can’t see but others can. As the English proverb says: “Two heads are better than one” and we are working in three which makes it even better. Nilufar and Garunyawun have shown a great sense of collaboration and help. I have learned from them. Thank you very much!

The second issue that has been tackled in the course this week has to do with creating class online platform and creating exercises using web tools. I have created my first class website: http://sites.google.com/site/mernaoui/, posted some activities and uploaded some tasks for my students. I have also used a web tools in Tools for Educators to create two exercises that could be printed out and done offline. These could be found in the wiki.

These are amazing things that would bring more motivation and interest to our classes, foster our learners’ autonomy and help them improve their English.

Hamid.

Class Website & Creating Exercises Using Webtools

Hello,

I created a class website of which I have tried some features. Here is the link: http://sites.google.com/site/mernaoui/
I also added two documents that I had added to the wiki. The first is "spelling and reading worksheet" and the second is "Word Bank Worksheet_clothes". These are worksheet that could be used with my elementary students. I used Tools for Educators website to create them. The first activity is about spelling and reading daily activities. The students need to read a simple sentence and circle the picture that matches with the sentence. The second exercise is about vocabulary of clothes. The learners are to take words from a word bank and write it down the appropriate picture.

I would use the two exercises to teach mainly vocabulary related to daily activities and clothes. This would help the students enrich their vocabulary and enable them to talk and write about clothes and daily activities later on.

On the class website, I posted a project that I created while studying WebQuests. I tried the activity there using links to other resources. The project is about English speaking countries around the world. The students will need to visit certain websites and some research to do the project. I have gone through all the class website’s feature and I found them really interesting and easy to use. It could be easily customized and the content you put there determines the effectiveness of the tool. Google sites are free and offer a variety of facilities. It depends on how we use them to achieve our goals.

All the activities are designed for elementary students. The tasks are simple but aim at prompting the students to learn English while doing something different from what they usually do in class.

Learners autonomy is well encouraged because to do the tasks, they have either to make searches, read, classify, observe, compare… by their own. These are a kind of training to their brains, critical thinking. Instead of leading them step by step to perform the tasks, they are to use technology and resources to perform the tasks.

Yours,

Hamid

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Integrating Internet learning platforms & online/offline exercises

Using a combination of tools that are all “free” would make our classes more appealing as we will have more chance to tap on all the different learning styles and provide more authentic materials to our students. I think the technological tools discovered this week focus on two major issues. The first is about the integration of online platforms to promote discussions and deliver lessons, assignments. All the suggested ones (Nicenet, Blogger, Google site) are free and simple to use. The second issue is about creating exercises that could be used online or printed out to do while the students are offline. Giving word puzzles and games would bring more motivation especially to the kind of students I have. People, mainly teenagers, like to play while learning.

Instead of sticking to the old monotonous method of “chalk and talk”, I am thinking of creating a variety of task types and mixing both online and offline exercises. Such tools would raise my students’ motivation and interest and maximize their exposure to English outside the class. They will have some enjoyable time to study English more than the two hours they officially have at school. Assigning online or offline exercises can also foster their autonomy because they have a great potentiality as far as critical think, problem-solving, creativity are concerned.

Some of the constraints of applying the project are related to some of the learners’ skills with the computer and the internet. They are not many but I think some assisting and guidance at the beginning of the school year would make them do the tasks successfully. The second constraint is related to the availability of computers and the internet connection. Classrooms at my school are not equipped with computers or the internet connection. The only equipped classroom is devoted to computer studies. Therefore, as I don’t have the chance to use the internet in class, I am more interested in making use of the internet outside the classroom. A good number of my students have access to the internet at home or in cybercaf├ęs. I intend to give tasks and projects that they’ll have to do online or print them out and bring them to class. Being an offline or online task depends on the nature of the tasks and the activity. To encourage the lurkers, all the activities should be graded based on rubrics shared with all the class.

Yours,

Hamid