Saturday, December 03, 2011

Week 10 : Levels of Technology Integration (LoTI) and Wrap-Up

It's very interesting to find out that there's a way to measure classroom teachers implementation of the tenets of digital-age literacy introduced by LoTI. The LoTI Framework focuses on the delicate balance between instruction, assessment, and the effective use of digital tools and resources to promote higher order thinking, engaged student learning, and authentic assessment practices in the classroom--all vital characteristics of 21st Century teaching and learning.

After reading the LoTi Framework, I realize that I'm in Level 1 - Awareness. I usually make use of computer or the Internet in my teaching activities to access email, retrieve lesson plans from a curriculum management system, and to enhance teacher lectures or presentations (e.g., multimedia presentations). In the classrooms as I ever described before, There's only a computer (no the Internet connection), and an LCD Projector and its screen. The faculty,s most concern is whether we've accomplished the syllabus.That's why the teachers try their best to suit their materials with the course outline/curriculum.

I'm so grateful I can join this online course. The greatest advantage I can get from this course that I'm introduced to a lot of websites, learning tools, methods, and new horizons in applying technology in our classrooms to teach English to our students. I've been trying to apply some knowledge I have and will continue exploring new things with technology for the sake of our students.

Thank you Roberts and all of my 'online' colleagues.  I do hope we can keep in touch for our future professional development.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week 9: Learning Styles - Technology Connections

Howard Gardner from Harvard University published his book "Frames of Mind" in 1983. He identified that we all possess seven intelligences. Because our understanding of the brain and human behavior is constantly changing, the number of intelligences is expanding. Two to three new intelligences had been added recently. Gardner claims that we all have all the intelligences, but that no two people are exactly alike. These Multiple Intelligences are:
As teachers, it's crucial for us to understand this information. By understanding a student's strengths and weaknesses in each intelligence, we can help students become more successful. He also notes that integrating multiple intelligences into the classroom involves changing our idea about teaching and learning. It requires addressing individual differences and providing a range of activities and experiences to facilitate learning. (Source: Technology and Multiple Intelligences)

Richard M. Felder and Barbara A. Soloman in their webpage Learning Style and Strategies identify that there are 4 kinds of learning styles. They are:

  1. Active and Reflective Learners
  2. Sensing and Intuitive Learners
  3. Visual and Verbal Learners
  4. Sequential and Global Learners
Each style results in different ways of inquiring knowledge. It means that the way a teacher teaches in the classroom should address this plurality so that all students can get the benefits in learning. What about you? What's your learning style? You can find it out here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week 8: Teacher Resources Online

Among other teacher resources online, I like most because it allows me create certain teaching tools which can be used in the classrooms. I can make many kinds of fun activities, like: word search, crossword puzzle, etc. I takes me less than 15 minutes to create such activities. It does ease busy teachers like most of us. Amazing..

Another tool which can promote learning autonomy is Hot Potatoes. I was first introduced to this software when I took a short course about multimedia in teaching in England, 2008. I like this software because I can create fun and interactive computer-assisted language learning (CALL) activities, either online or offline. I can create many activities, like: drag-and-drop, gap-filling, multiple choice, and crosswords. Feedback is also available right after the students have answered the questions. It motivates the learner more when they are studying a foreign language.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Week 7: Learner Autonomy and the One-computer Classroom

Learner Autonomy
An inspiring article by Dimitrios Thanasoulas entitled What is Learner Autonomy and How Can It Be Fostered? provides a definition about it. It is described as 'the ability to take charge of one's learning'. The term' autonomy' has come to be used in at least five ways:
  • for situations in which learners study entirely on their own;
  • for a set of skills which can be learned and applied in self-directed learning;
  • for an inborn capacity which is suppressed by institutional education;
  • for the exercise of learners' responsibility for their own learning;
  • for the right of learners to determine the direction of their own learning.
In order to enhance learner autonomy in my Structure (English Grammar) class, I distribute the course outline to the students which contain the schedule of the course and list the following components:
- day/date
- material taught/learned
- homework (should be done prior to the class)

By putting the homework they should do before they come to the class, I hope my students will do the exercises coherent with what they are going to learn in the classroom. By doing so, they've got 'prior knowledge' of what I teach and can engage actively in the learning process.

In addition to that, I also assign the students to do extra assignments in Self-Access Center (SAC) by doing pathways. They have to the pathway activity once a week. Their assignments are scored and integrated in the scoring system to determine their final score.

One-Computer Classroom
In many situations where there are not enough computers in the school, it is sometimes enough to have one computer in each classroom to be used by the teacher and the students.  The 7 Categories of Classroom Computer Use provides different ways to make better use of the computer available in the classroom.

In my university there are several so-called multimedia classrooms which have a computer, an LCD projector, a good sound system and a big screen, but not connected to the Internet. I like teaching in those classes as I can make use of the equipments available. I usually explain the materials by using PowerPoint with different font colors, pictures, embedded video to make them interesting for the students to pay attention to. Listening activity can be done well, too.

The advantages of this one-computer class are:
1. The teachers have supporting electronic teaching tools.
2. All students' learning styles (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) can be addressed to optimize their potentials.
3. Fun and livelier teaching-learning process.

The disadvantages:
1. Paying too much on the tools available can keep the teachers away from engaging the students actively in the lessons.
2. Having no Internet connection makes the teachers need to download the materials they want to use in the classrooms in advance.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Week 5: Project-based Learning, WebQuests, and rubrics

Project-Based Learning (PBL)is an approach that creates a "constructivist" learning environment in which students construct their own knowledge. The students work in groups to solve challenging problems that are authentic, curriculum-based, and often interdisciplinary. In Susan Gaer's article entitled "Less Teaching and More Learning", she mentioned that using PBL approach has helped motivate her Lao, Hmong Mien, and Lahu immigrant students to learn English for a purpose, which is to recite their folktales to 8th graders of a different school. It also promotes community among the class members which fosters the motivation needed to see their project to completion. Since the story-telling project gives meaning to their English learning normally goes on in the classroom, the project can create excitement and motivation not existing in a traditional, text-only class.

The last week's article by Chao-chih Liao "E-mailing to Improve EFL Learners' Reading and Writing Abilities: Taiwan Experience" gives me an idea of doing the same thing for my Structure II students. I can contact my friend who is an English course manager to build a project for his foreign students learning English in Perth, Australia and my students in Indonesia. The students can exchange emails on certain topics, for example: telling what their hometowns look like. Based on the information they get from their key pals, the students can write articles or brochures about their key pals' hometowns. I believe that this project will enlarge the students' cultural awareness and improve their motivation to learn English in more meaningful ways. Another thing is asking my students to create their blogs and type the tasks required by the teacher and makes reflections upon what they've learned that week. This idea has appeared since I joined this online course.

One definition of independent learning or 'autonomy' in learning is:
"...the ability to take charge of one's learning" H. Holec, 1981
Independent learning is usually developed throughout a learner's time at school
or college to give learners more responsibility for work or learning. It helps
learners to make informed choices and to take responsibility for deciding what they need to do in order to learn. (Source:
PBL as described above promotes independent learning in the sense that it provides students with an opportunity to create products in relation to what they are learning/have learned in the classroom. The rubric for the task can also provide extended information about what the students are capable of in addition to formal tests conducted in the classroom.

Alternative Learning & Rubric:

In addition to quizzes, assignments, and mid and final term tests, I have an idea to let them apply their knowledge in English tenses and other sentence constructions by allowing them to create compositions. The compositions will be closely related to what they have learned in the classroom. For example: this week the students are learning Passive Voice. I will ask them to write a composition to describe the class situation when they were studying this subject. They should write it in past tenses and passive voice. By doing so, they can directly apply the passive sentence constructions and past tenses at the same time. The rubric for this alternative assessment can be found in Rubistar. My rubric ID # is: 2110998. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Class Issue #3: Structure II

Learners: They are 3rd semester students. The class consists of 30 students – 23 females and 7 males – ranging from 19-22 years old. Their English competence is intermediate and post-intermediate. The students come from various parts of the country who possess different levels of education.

Course Goals:
Students possess the ability to:
§ Understand, use and produce compound sentences with their various forms of subject, direct object, indirect object, subject complement, object complement, object of preposition and appositive using:

Present tenses (simple and progressive)
Past tenses (simple and progressive)
Future tenses (simple and progressive)
Present perfect tenses (simple and progressive)
Past perfect tenses (simple and progressive)
Future perfect tenses (simple and progressive)
§ Understand, use and produce active and passive sentences in their various complex forms, meanings, and uses using the tenses taught.
§ Write English passive sentence constructions correctly.

Common Practice:
I always emphasize my students that the major attitude toward mastering English grammar is "Practice Makes Perfect". Learning Grammar is considered as tough materials for half of the students. Thus, in my course outline I write down grammar exercises they need to do prior the lesson. I want them to have ideas what they are going to learn when they come into my classrooms and ask several questions about the exercises they don't understand. However, sometimes, a few of them just copy their friend's works or they don't do the entire exercises recommended. They only work on some tasks and let the others empty.

Proposed Practice:
This online course provides me ideas of many websites that I can make use of in order to extend their learning experience by doing online exercises on the Net, such as:
I can also use some teaching tips available on the Net. For example:

Reading I and ABCD Objectives

Course Description:
The course provides the students with a lot of exercises in reconstructing the meaning of the reading comprehension passages as closely as possible to the intended meaning by the writer(s) in order that the students' schemata in different fields of life become larger and larger. As such the course facilitates the students with activities using dictionaries, cognitive maps, books, objects, pictures, maps, etc to increase students' schemata relating to the English intermediate reading comprehension passages selected for classroom discussion.

An intermediate level reading passage entitled: "New Fossil Finds Challenge Long Held Theories Of Evolution" taken from

ABCD Objectives:
1. Given ten comprehension questions about the reading passage [C], the students of Reading I [A} are able to write down the correct answers [B] with eight correct answers [D].
2. Given twenty difficult words from the reading passage [C], the students of Reading I [A} are able to answer fifteen out of twenty words correctly.