Thursday, August 4, 2011

Final reflection: An oral presentation about the final project of the course

Final reflection:  An oral presentation about the final project of the course
In this class I had the opportunity to show with my teacher and classmates the project that I have been working on. So I talked about the technological tools I used to create a pedagogical technique to teach English as a foreign language.
So I started talking about the contextualization of the institution where the project will be carried out and the sample to be taken into account. Then, I continued talking about the objectives of the project and the theoretical frame, which consists on previous researches and other relevant references related to the project.
After that, I talked about the methodological frame, that is to say; the description of the steps to be followed to conduct this research. Finally, I showed the audience the ICT tool selected to conduct this project, “a wiki”. I showed and explained all the steps students should perform to accomplish the activities designed in the wiki. Finally, I gave them the opportunity to ask questions or to provide some comments.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reflections on My ICT learning process during this semester and how much I have learned

Reflections on My ICT learning process during this semester
and how much I have learned
During this term I had the opportunity to share wonderful experiences in the ICTs environment with different colleagues. At the beginning it was a litter difficult for me, but then, it was worse. That is to say, I did not imagine how difficult it could be. In this course, we had to combine our teaching tools and experiences with ICTs. I have to say that before this course I did not handle enough ICT tools.
                So I had to work really hard to be on the right track, to get familiar with all ICT contexts and with all knowledge expected for this course. Sometimes I did think I could not reach the goals of the course, sometimes I thought that I had to give up; but then, I made a right choice, I decided to continue and do what I expect my students do: Learning.
                So I asked my classmates and teacher for help many times, in order to understand and do what it was expected I do. I read a lot and practice everything related to our ICT tasks in order to realize and internalize the right way to use the ICT tools and prove to myself that I was able do it well.
                At the end of the course, I felt proud of myself and my classmates, too, because we have done a very good job. We have learned how to integrate the ICT tools in our teaching and also, now we are able to teach other teachers to use ITC in the learning and teaching context.
                I feel really good when I compare myself what I knew before and what I know now about the use of technology in my working area. It is amazing when I think about the different alternatives that I can make use of when teaching. Now, I know other ways to catch my students’ attention and make them feel motivated and involved in their learning process.
                I really feel grateful for all I have learned and for all experiences I had to face because all of them had made me feel I am on the way to be a better teacher and a better person, too.  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Web-based lessons and e-portfolios

Web-based lessons and e-portfolios
Class 11
In this class we talked about the role of web-based lessons and e portfolios as wel as their relevance in the FLT. We were introduced to the main features of web-based lessons and e-portfolio as educational tools in the ICTs environment. Let`s start with a definition of Web-based lesson found in:  http://tech.worlded.org/docs/surfing/section5.htm: “A Web-based lesson is simply a lesson that in some way incorporates a Web site or many Web sites. A Web-based lesson can be conducted entirely online or it can be a traditional classroom lesson with an online component”.
Another definition to be considered in this summary was found in http://academic.regis.edu/LAAP/eportfolio/basics_what.htm, there e-portfolio is defined as: “a collection of work developed across varied contexts over time. The portfolio can advance learning by providing students and/or faculty with a way to organize, archive and display pieces of work”.
In the same web page, they mention others features of e-portfolios, they say that this technological tool, “allows faculty and other professionals to evaluate student portfolios using technology, which may include the Internet, CD-ROM, video, animation or audio. Electronic portfolios are becoming a popular alternative to traditional paper-based portfolios because they offer practitioners and peers the opportunity to review, communicate and assess portfolios in an asynchronous manner.
During the first class sessions, we were asked to build an e-portfolio, so for this class we had some previous knowledge about e-portfolios. So we concentrated our attention on Web-Based lessons.
Here I will show you the Web-based lesson plan I designed to my virtual class on WiZiQ.

Héctor’s Web-Based Lesson Plan
·         Date: 18-07-2011
·         Teacher: Héctor Escalona
·         Topic: ICTs on TEFL (My students’ work on ICTs)
·         Objectives; To share with EFL teachers and other people (since it was a public class) some oral presentations developed by students of English III at USB, Sede-Litoral based on the used on the videos as a tool in the ICTs environment.
·         Web sites used: wiziq.com, youtube,com
·         Rationale for selecting this page: Because WiZiQ has been used from the beginning of this course to conduct our on-line classes.
·          Web sites used: youtube,com
·         The sample of videos take to be exposed in this class came from this web page.
·         Other materials: A Power Point Presentation (PPP)
·         Teacher Preparation: I organized the content to be taught in 30 minutes and also scheduled a public class on WiZiQ more that 24 hour before the class took place.
·         Steps for learners: They should have a WiZiQ account to attend this class, and also, they also should have the required equipment to attend the class: (Computer with Internet access, Broad band connection, Software: Adobe Flash Player (Very important. Without this program the virtual room won't open), Headsets and Webcam (optional).
·         Description of the pre-computer/classroom activities (preparation): Since it was my first formal class in WiZiQ, and I did not know how to conduct it, I asked a classmate to help me, so, I Scheduled a private class and invited him to participate, in that way I learned how to handle the platform as a teacher and not as a student, as I usually do. After that private class, I felt confidence to conduct a public class.
·         Description of the computer/online activities: During this class, I, as a teacher, greeted the students and verify the platform tools in order to be sure they could listen to me and participate in the class. We have some audio difficulties during the class, but the objective was accomplished.
·         Description of the follow-up activities: Students had the opportunity to participate in class by adding comments and asking/answering questions. It was a very nice class. Finally, to close the class, they expressed how they felt about the class and the topic, and the link to watch student’s video was asked one more time to watch it after class.


3D Virtual Worlds - Second Life

3D Virtual Worlds - Second Life
Class: 10
In this class we discussed about the use of 3D Virtual Worlds - Second Life in TEFL.  To talk about this topic, let’s introduce a definition provided by Wikipedia: “Second Life is an online virtual world developed by Linden Lab which was launched on June 23, 2003. A number of free client programs called Viewers enable Second Life users, called Residents, to interact with each other through avatars. Residents can explore the world (known as the grid), meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property and services with one another. Second Life is intended for people aged 13 and over,[3] and as of 2011 has more than 20 million registered user accounts
Before our session class, we were asked to download software to access virtual learning environment in order to have tour to experience this amazing virtual tool. To do that, it was mandatory to have a very good Internet connection and an update computer since this technological tool has a variety of demanding requirements to access. Some of my classmates could face this experience, and they say it was great. In my case, I could not do it. I tried many times, but it was unsuccessful.
What I learned from this experience was that if you want to be part of this technological world, you need to be updated to be productive.
Here you have some interesting links where you can find more information about this topic. I hope you enjoy it.

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs):

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs):
Class: 9
In this class we discussed about Virtual Learning Environment and its advantages as technological tool in the teaching area. The first aspect discussed in this class was a definition of VLEs. Here it is a definition of this topic taken from Wikipedia. “A virtual learning environment (VLE) is a system designed to support teaching and learning in an educational setting, as distinct from a Managed Learning Environment (MLE), where the focus is on management.”
We compared some VLEs and discussed about some previous experiences we had in this area, since our virtual classes are conducted in VLEs. Also we were asked to conduct a 30-minutes EFL virtual class in WiZiQ.
WiZiQ, according to some information found in Wikipedia, “WiZiQ is an online learning platform. The site is designed to help students and teachers find each other, and to provide an online virtual classroom learning environment”.
I taught a public 30-minutes EFL virtual class in WiZiQ. It was a very good experience for me. My teacher and some of my classmates attended this class, and also, there were two international members in the class. It was the first time I managed a WiZiQ class, so I had some technical difficulties, but it did not affect my experience in this amazing learning environment.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Social Networks, Communities of Practice, and Personal Learning Networks

Social Networks, Communities of Practice, and Personal Learning Networks
Class 8
In this class we talked about the role of social networks and communities of practice, and personal learning networks. We talked about the different uses that these technological tools have in the process of teaching and learning a foreign language. We also visited some sites related to these tools and created a personal learning network.
We create an account in some social networks like, twitter, facebook, (where we create some groups related to the TEFL environment). As homework we were asked to keep working on all the content we discussed in class and also to interact with other people by using all the technological tools us studies that day.

Videos and other useful Web 2.0 tools

Videos and other useful Web 2.0 tools
Class 7
In this class we talked about the uses of videos and other technological tools we can incorporate in our teaching. The main topic in this class was Windows Movie Maker. We learned how to make a video by using this software.  To do that, the teacher guided us to make a short video with three pictures, special effects, credits and music. When we finished the video, we learned how to save it as a project and then as a movie.
As homework, we had to make our own video and upload it to You Tube. To do that, we had to download a video converter, since Windows Movie Maker format does not fix You Tube features. So, in my case, I used a software called A Tube Catcher 2.0.
To do my video, I interviewed some of my students and I included some of these interviews, special effect, pictures, music, credits to the video as it was requested by the teacher. I really liked this experience, so I decided to incorporate it to my teaching immediately. I asked my students to create their own videos; here you have a link to watch two of them. I hope you like them.