Friday, January 30, 2015

@ONE Course Introduction to Online Teaching and Learning Week 3

This week the content of the course was “Designing and Evaluating Student-Centered Learning Activities.” Topics were the following:

·       Locating  (existing readings, existing videos, MERLOT) and creating content (online "lectures" chunked if a lot of content - linked back to learning objectives – written in html format, in external Web site, or posted in document; recorded audio files to accompany written giving students choices; using screencasting – new site and app for me Profcast and SonicPics app or w/video camera; sharing w/Slideshare, Google Presentations/Google Docs, PDF or RTF; audio; video – usual videosharing sites but also DotSub and Overstream; Web-based/app tools: Animoto, VoiceThread).

TESOL Foundations Course Module 1

Task 1:  Reading and Discussion Board

From ESL teacher electracy: A shift from flat to digital teaching and learning
+ I got this article, first in three-part series, in my email: 4Cs of 21st Century Learning for ELLs

I learned a new term I had never heard of before (electracy).  I’ll start throwing in that word in casual conversation and impress people ;)
I was a bit shocked (I practically choked, to be honest) by the information in the eLearning Revolution video that “it can take 220 hours to curate one hour of elearning”! I went to the source Web site to try to find a breakdown, but I couldn’t find it, so I wonder if that includes writing the code for the LMS, too, or what!? 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Summary of The Technology Toolbelt for Teaching

Manning, S., & Johnson, K.E. (2011). The Technology Toolbelt for Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

This book is a good source for teachers who are just beginning technology integration or are looking for a few news ways or tools.  I had heard of or used most of the tools already, so the book was not as useful to me as I had thought.  There are a few tools that are now obsolete - a common problem with any book written about technology tools for education.

I really like the way the book was approached and is set up with a focus on matching tools to pedagogy and offering a decision-making matrix that includes consideration of the following: the problem the tool solves, the platform (online or traditional), what the tool is best used for, cost, accessibility, special equipment/technical requirements, level of expertise, synchronous/asynchronous, and special vocabulary.

Some of the tools and techniques mentioned in the book’s chapters are the following:  mind-mapping, social bookmarking, discussion forums, VoIP, blogs and wikis, web conferences, audio, video, screencasting, narrative PowerPoints, quizzes, avatars, social bookmarking, quizzes/tests/surveys, rubrics, e-portfolios, social networking and students’ identities, and emerging technology etc. For each of the chapters, there are examples or ideas for use in K-12 and higher education and two suggested tools detailed side by side in a table with the aspects of the matrix detailed for comparison.

A few tools that are mentioned in the book that I either have not heard of or that I would like to try are the following:

·       Tinychat (alternative to Skype or Google Hangouts)

·       Yodio (like a narrated PowerPoint – for digital storytelling or presentations

·       E-Portfolio tool Mahara (which, unfortunately, requires a download)


Experimenting with TechSmith Relay - Screencast #1 - Formatting a Word Document Tutorial for Students

As part of my sabbatical goal to learn screencasting, my objective #3 indicated I would learn Camtasia.  Approximately 10 years ago I took a F2F @ONE course on Camtasia, which has since been purchased by TechSmith and renamed "Relay," and is available for free to all MiraCosta faculty.

TechSmith Relay was very easy to use but I should probably learn more about the different options and functions if I plan to use it more in the future.  I found that the captions were very bad.  YouTube does a much better job of accuracy in captions.

Lesson learned: Write a script and do a few run-throughs first. I flubbed up the words/terminology and pronunciation a few times.

As time permits, I will experiment with other screencasting products, such as Screen-o-matic.  Anyway, here is my first tutorial for students.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Summary of Language Learning with Technology: Ideas for Integrating Technology in the Classroom

I read the following text:

Stanley, Graham (2013). Language Learning with Technology: Ideas for Integrating Technology in the Classroom. Cambridge University Press.

My brief summary and review follows:

I was really excited to read this text, one of very few that I have been able to find that focus specifically on tech use and integration in ESL teaching / learning.  The text was a quick read, consisting mostly of classroom teaching ideas and activities with brief mention of how technology could be incorporated (such as Web sites to use).  The chapters are on the following topics: integrating technology, building a learning community, the skills (one chapter each on vocabulary, grammar, listening, reading, writing, speaking, pronunciation), project work, and assessment and evaluation.

I would say that for a beginning ESL/language teacher (and one who is unclear about how to integrate technology or new to it), this may be a useful text.  For me, it was not that useful.  I have already used or know about the majority of these types of activities, and the text was a bit light on specifics of technology.  For example, the author recommends one Web site or tool per activity, all of which are listed and categorized in the Appendix B.  Many of the sites and tools I already knew about; others are UK-based and not as relevant in USA; while others are defunct. 

However, I was really thrilled (later disappointed - I'll explain shortly) when I saw in the book that the author created an accompanying Web site for updates on suggested software and Web sites by chapter at Language Learning with Technology. When I visited the site, there were only three brief entries from 2013, and the links didn't even work, which tells me that perhaps the author needs to 1) make good on his promise with this site and 2) the author isn't the most proficient tech user himself.  Anyway, no disrespect meant.  The book is so shiny and sleek and looks so promising but doesn't deliver.

I think I'll stick to US-based ESL teaching texts.  In comparison, Michelle Pacansky-Brock's Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies (summarized here), while not specific to language teaching, rocked!  It really delivered on its intended and stated purpose.

Friday, January 16, 2015

@ONE Course Introduction to Online Teaching and Learning Week 1

I love this class and love learning online!

For the first week of this course, there was a lot of reading about general statistics in distance ed/online teaching and policy, a meet and greet, and this assignment – creating a welcome message for an online class. Under the assignment in this post are also some ideas and insights from the course’s first week materials.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Summary of Brave New Digital Classroom: Technology and Foreign Language Learning

I read the following text:  Blake, Robert J. (2008). Brave New Digital Classroom: Technology and Foreign Language Learning. Georgetown University Press.

Unfortunately I didn't know that there was a newer edition!  I'll have to look for it another time when $$ is more plentiful.

What follows is a summary of the interesting and relevant points I appreciated as well as some ideas for possible implementation in teaching ESL, particularly online and/or with technology.

This is a book written for language instructors, not ESL specifically.  It was an interesting and quick read.

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Media Consortium: New Horizon Reports 2014

I read the New Media Consortium New Horizons Reports for 2014, online:
NMC New Horizon Report 2014: Higher Education

NMC New Horizon Report 2014: K-12

Here are the trends and predictions for upcoming impacts of technology in higher education, with points I found interesting:

Higher Ed
The six trends for High Ed are the following:
1. Growing Ubiquity of Social Media - 40% of the world uses social media (top 25 providers) regularly = 6.3 billion combined accounts
  • plus = public aspect
  • minus = student privacy concerns
2. Integration of Online, Hybrid, and Collaborative Learning
  • hybrid learning, especially, takes advantage of two environments
  • can address individual learning paths
  • peer-led team learning
  • example: HapYak - online interactive polling, lecture recordings, backchannel for synchronous communication
3. Rise of Data-Driven Learning and Assessment
  • example: Blackboard Retention Center
4. Shift from Students as Consumers to Students as Creators
  • "Makerspaces"
5. Agile Approaches to Change
  • promote innovation: inventions, entrepreneurship/business start-up ideas
6. Evolution of Online Learning
  • 65% - visual learners (text alone not effective)
  • spurred by progress in learning analytics, adaptive learning technology, and new synchronous and asynchronous tools + voice and video tools
  • at beginning of 2013, 6.7 million (32%) of students enrolled in higher ed took at least one online course in the Fall of 2011
  • to be successful, online education must "encompass interaction, foster communication, and be supported with strong instructor presence" with personalization of the learning experience for the student (adaptive)

page 4

Important developments in educational technology for higher ed:
flipped classroom (see A Review of Flipped Learning and 6 Expert Tips for Flipping the Classroom), learning analytics, 3D printing, games and gamification, quantified self (Fit Bit, for example), virtual assistants (Siri, for example, and remember the Apple Knowledge Navigator video from 1987?)

page 35
K - 12
This report had some aspects in common with the higher ed one, and even though I don't teach in K-12, in some ways adult ESL has a lot in common with K-12, so I wanted to get some ideas about developments in this arena. Interestingly, in my interpretation, this report seems to be more about shifting education to better prepare students for the world in which we live rather than just technology - really changing education in major ways that are very exciting, much as the authors of Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America propose (see my summary blog post).
Key Trends Accelerating Ed Tech Adoption in Schools:
1. Rethinking the role of teachers
2. Shift to deeper learning approaches (more active learning: project-based learning, problem-based learning, and challenge-based learning)
3. Increasing focus on OERs
4. Increasing use of hybrid learning design (see Blended Learning 101: Handbook)
5. Rapid acceleration of intuitive technology
6. Rethinking how schools work
Important Developments in Technology for Schools:
BYOD, cloud computing, games/gamification, learning analytics, internet of things, wearable technology


Summary of Connected Teaching and Personalized Learning: Implications of the NETP for Adult Ed

I read Connected Teaching and Personalized Learning: Implications of the National Education Technology Plan for Adult Education by the American Institutes for Research, and this post includes some of the important points and messages I took away from the text.

I also point out areas for professional growth and improvement within the noncredit ESL department, based on results of instructor self-assessments on technology for our WIA / EL Civics grant. All such comments are to be considered non-judgmental, and I am considered within the group, so the intention is for reflection on further growth and development in the area of integrating technology in teaching ESL – along with ideas for implementing such professional growth. Also, the comments only refer to identified areas of growth; there were several areas of technology integration in which our department's teachers scored very high.

 The gist of this report and its recommendations is that technology use in adult education can benefit learners through its potential for individualization, differentiation, and personalization.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Experimenting with TechSmith Relay - Screencast #4 - Microsoft Word Readability and Synonyms for Students

This video tutorial for students shows how to use Word Readability Statistics and Synonyms. Lesson learned: Make sure to include a handout (which I do have available for posting) or link( (listed on my handout) because everyone will have different versions of MS Word.

Experimenting with TechSmith Relay - Screencast #3 - Blackboard Messages Tutorial for Students

This one shows students how to send me their files through Blackboard Messages. Lesson learned: Nothing much else here that has not already been said except that I want to use “Assignments” in the future, but I need to explore that further, so that I can annotate students’ work online and save paper/time.

Experimenting with TechSmith Relay - Screencast #2 - Lecture on American Ed System

This is another experiment in using TechSmith Relay. This is a lecture and listening/note-taking exercise for students about the American Education System.

The skills focus is listening comprehension, and the words are there on the screen, so there’s not a necessity for captions – in reality, I don’t want them for ESL students doing this type of exercise.

I uploaded the screencast to YouTube before editing out the “Waiting” that appeared at the beginning, and once it’s uploaded, there is no editing, as far as I can see within Relay, but in Youtube, I was given the message that editing enhancements were detected, so I was able to get rid of the beginning snippet there.

I have a note-taking handout and comparison/contrast writing assignment prompt that accompanies the lecture.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Summary of Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America

The first text I read to provide myself with some background and perspective on online education in the USA historically and with a glimpse to the future is Collins, Allan (2009).  Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America. Teachers College Press.

The authors of Rethinking Education don’t discount the value of a liberal arts education but assert that “school fosters just-in-case learning while technology fosters just-in-time learning….”

Basically, the authors state that we are in the midst of a Knowledge Revolution that will change the future of education with school becoming less and less the venue. Because of the constant changes in workplaces due to technological advances, “workers may spend their whole lives learning in order to survive in a changing workplace.”

According to the authors, learning how to learn and learning how to find useful resources are becoming the most important goals of education – and this does not mean memorization but rather analysis, critical thinking, evaluation – all higher order thinking skills in Bloom’s Taxonomy. The authors write that education should and will be geared more toward what learners want to learn; thus, learning will be more engaging because students will be more in charge of their own learning.

Here are some of the ideas presented in the book, which I find fascinating, regarding how education may change in the future:
  • Whole new education system will be formed, evidenced by the growth of homeschooling, workplace learning, distance ed, learning centers, software.
  • While elementary schools will continue as is because they provide childcare and early socialization, in the upper grades, there will be a return to training for careers through apprenticeships in hybrid-ish. Students will study content online and occasionally attend centralized learning centers for hands-on training. Students will learn by doing. Because learning will be more self-paced, students will decide when they are ready to take an exam.
  • K-12 grades will no longer be defined by age – students of mixed age groups will learn from older people/adults at the learning centers.
  • There will be national credentials – students would earn performance-based, certificates. These certificates would be more narrowly focused than a high school diploma, thus allowing students to get jobs more readily out of high school or college because they will have specialized training with the apprenticeship model.
  • Students will be able to earn a number of certifications, and different careers/majors will require certain certifications. Students study for these certifications at their own pace. Students will be able to customize their education to their particular career interests, needs, and abilities, giving learners more control of what, how, and when they study. Certifications will be developed in three areas: academic skills, generic skills, and technical skills.
  • Although there are some negatives for this new educational system, there will be universal access to education through the Web (as we see already a bit with Kahn’s Academy and MOOCs).
To conclude this post, I will include a personal anecdote that is relevant to the ideas presented in the test:

In November, I saw the movie Interstellar (two thumbs up, by the way) with my 11-year-old daughter. After the movie, she had to explain to me about worm holes, black holes, and the fifth dimension (all of which I still don’t get). Where did she learn about all this? In school? Through a class assignments? No, of course not. She has an interest in space, and so she researched on her own online. Did she memorize? Of course, a bit, but her explanations certainly were not verbatim – she paraphrased and put into layman’s terms (for me, having such limited knowledge on the topic) because she had been able to read and watch sophisticated materials online which appealed to her interest, on her own time, accessing the materials any time and perusing them at her own pace.

It seems to me that anyone with motivation and aptitude can teach themselves almost anything for free online. He or she just needs to know how to access the materials and to evaluate the authenticity, relevancy, and credibility of the sources. “School” will be where students meet up to get clarification/guidance from teachers on what they have studied, learn to learn, and work on soft skills (such as teamwork, people skills, negotiation, display of a positive attitude and good work ethic).

Monday, January 5, 2015

LINCS Course: Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom

I completed the online LINCS (Literacy Information and Communication System) Self-Paced Online Course: Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom, which examines the why, how, and what questions for integrating technology in the adult education classroom:

o   Why is technology important for instruction and learning?

o   How do you approach integrating technology?

o   What tools can you use to integrate technology?

These are some of the take-aways I gained through taking the course:

Saturday, January 3, 2015

MCC POT Blackboard Modules Complete

I completed the MiraCosta College POT Blackboard modules for 13 hours of study during the first week of my sabbatical.  This is my gradesheet:

Friday, January 2, 2015

National Institute for Literacy: Emerging Technologies in Adult Literacy and Language Education

Emerging Technologies in Adult Literacy and Language Education
This paper describes the potential contribution of emerging technologies to adult literacy and language education and the opportunities and challenges involved in incorporating these technologies into adult education programs. Various emerging technologies (those arising or undergoing fundamental transformation in the last decade) are described, ranging from audio and video production to games, wikis and blogs, to mobile devices, cell phones and open-source software. Relevant research is reviewed, and the costs, difficulties and advantages of deploying various technological approaches in adult education are discussed. Although current research is insufficient to urge wholesale adoption of the technologies described, many - especially low-cost mobile devices - warrant further investigation as potentially valuable tools for adult educators and learners

 My Summary of the main / interesting points of the article: