Friday, 9 December 2011

Celebrating Christmas is a  child-safe, award-winning holiday site with high-tech, creative features to keep children entertained for free.

Its creators  provide a family-oriented, traditional Christmas site to enjoy both tradition and technology. As a result, visitors enjoy animation and conversation simulators using artificial intelligence—all on Web pages is richly illustrated with hundreds of original, detailed, hand-drawn artwork. 

The site opens with a panoramic view of Santa’s Secret Village℠. Visitors click on different ‘buildings’ to enter, leading to a variety of activities or stories.*
I hope you find NorthPole interesting and fun.
Merry Christmas!

* Text adapted from the website

Saturday, 17 September 2011

International Congress: Conectar Igualdad

The international congress : "Inclusión Digital Educativa" (Digital Educational Inclusion) took place in Buenos Aires city, on September 1st and 2nd. This congress was  part of the  of digital inclusion policy promoted by the national program "Conectar Igualdad", which has provided more than 3 million netbooks to students and teachers of the state high school level. This policy is very important for the social and educational future of Argentina.
There was one netbook every two teachers
 available work in the hands on workshops given.

Argentinian authorities are convinced that the netbook the student takes home not only will allow him/her to have the possibility of developing the necessary skills to live and work in the information society, but also it will be an important tool to connect the rest of the family to the Internet. 

Local and international speakers gave presentations and workshops about different topics : video games, movie makers, copyleft, social networks, IT impact in education.

at Digital Animation Workshop  by Carlos Trilnick

at the Workshop Didactic Sequences
Teachers from all the country attended it and some of them showed   confidence in the use of netbooks. Some of them recorded the sessions using Audacity, for example. In general, teachers were very interested in sharing expectations, doubts and experiences using netbooks. 
Nelba at the entrance of the Congress

Friday, 9 September 2011

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online ESL education by Natalie Hunter

While the use of the Internet is becoming fairly standard in curricula everywhere, incorporating computer and Internet use into ESL classrooms is still a regularly debated topic. Although using online school to teach English has many benefits, there are certain obstacles to using the Internet for this purpose. Before a teacher designs an English course integrating technology, he/she needs to take these advantages and disadvantages into careful consideration to determine whether or not such lesson plans are appropriate.

Perhaps the first thing that comes to the fore when thinking about online ESL are the advantages of such a course. Online education is well known for its ability to be tailored to every student's needs, whether it is a matter of time constraints, location, or learning and physical disabilities. It gives students time to think things over without the stress of having to speak up or answer questions immediately in front of their peers. Using the Internet for education also teaches various important skills for the modern world, such as typing and the ability to maneuver deftly around the web and other computer programs. 

The advantages of online education particular to learning language are even better. The Internet can connect students to native speakers across the world, and enables them to use English in real situations, such as reading and discussing current events. These courses can integrate chat rooms, email, and even video games to create a highly interactive environment for the students, while simultaneously promoting a high level of literacy. Collaboration and socialization puts a strong focus on student participation, and the degree of anonymity afforded allows students to feel confident about their ability, as well as look up words and structures they may not immediately know quickly without feeling embarrassed. There is also the fact that student interactions are monitored closely, so verbal mistakes can be corrected before they are perpetuated.

These are all quite useful things in the study of any language, but it must be remembered that the internet is a tool, and no tool can fix every problem. A common complaint among ESL teachers is that the Internet can provide too much information, which can lead to confusion and inaccuracies. Resources must routinely be evaluated by their intended audience and the quality of the information. Much content available may also be inappropriate depending on the age group of students, their culture, or their background, so it is important that educators keep an eye on what students are looking at. As well, chatting with native speakers can have a negative effect on reading and writing ability, as many English speakers will make typos, grammatical mistakes, or use acronyms instead of spelling out whole words while texting. There is also the fact that technological difficulty can get in the way of learning. If a student is unfamiliar with using the Internet, or is anxious about computers, these things can easily hinder the ability of a student to learn. If their Internet is slow, they won't be able to hear speech files or talk with fellow students as easily, and that can be a serious problem. 

The Internet can be a valuable tool for ESL educators. However, as with any tool, it is important to know its proper uses, and when it should not be used. Evaluate its usefulness in relation to a given set of students, and be aware of its shortcomings.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Hey , teachers! Use Web.2 tools

Hello, everybody:

I am in front of the pc screen - where else could I be? - thinking about a title for this post and the lyrics of "The Wall" by Pink Floyd came to my mind when they sing: Hey, teachers. Leave the kids alone. Please, read the title of this post with the tune of the song ;)

Although Pink Floyd and their fans may insist, teachers cannot leave kids alone. Poor little things, they are learning how to cope with the Internet alone because neither teachers nor parents know much about it :(

But I am not going to write about Pink Floyd or music. As I have announced in my previous post, today Ana María Menezes has given a presentation at the School of Languages. If you attended the event, I hope you have enjoyed it and got some ideas to incorporate technology in your classes and stop teaching as decades ago.

She started pointing out the differences between how students used to learn before the digital revolution and how they learn now .

One of the differeces she mentioned was "sharing". Students now share information with their friends ( or contacts? ) using social networks, chats, text messages. I would like to invite the attendees to start sharing their experiences using computers in their classes. 

How can we start sharing ?  
In comments (* see below this post),  write about what you feel when you take your students to the computer room. Do you feel nervous or confident? Why? What type of activities do you ask them to do using the computer?

Sharing our feelings will be very good for all of us because we will learn together : )
*If you do not know how to leave a comment in Blogger, watch this video

Monday, 22 August 2011

Another Webhead is visiting La Plata

I am very happy because Ana Maria Menezes is visiting La Plata next Thursday, August 25th. She kindly accepted my invitation to tour the city and give a presentation at the School of Languages:

Homework Assignments using Web 2.0

Web 2.0 has influenced the way we teach. What about homework assignments? Do you assign the same kind of homework you used to have as a student decades ago? Homework can involve much more than reading and writing.

She will share a project Ishe has developed with 3 groups of students during the first semester of 2011 at a language institute in Brazil. During the semester, EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students apart from doing their traditional homework, also had to carry out tasks in which they used recently learned language to develop dialogues, comic strips, recordings, animations and much more. 

BIODATA: Ana Maria Menezes
EFL teacher and teacher trainer in Brazil. Head of the EDtech department of Cultura Inglesa Uberlândia. Helps teachers integrate technology with their classes by facilitating two online courses: “Cultura EDtech” and “Moving Beyond”. Writer of two books dedicated to language teachers: “Webtools applied to teaching” and “Developing the 4 Skills using Webtools”.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Nominated !!!

I am very happy because last week I received a mail from language portal and the Lexiophiles language blog. They told me that  EVC has been nominated for the Top 100 Language Lovers 2011 competition! 

EVC is in the category Language Learning Blogs which focuses on blogs discussing technology as part of the language learning process.  

Last year, this blog got the fifth position among the Top 10 Language Blogs thanks to the votes of  its followers.

Will you vote me this time? Vote for English Virtual Community by clicking on this link

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Digital Inmigrants are still alive

This is the fifth year I develop a blog for adults with an intermediate level of English and I still find students' resistance to use ICT resources as learning tools.

What make things even more disappointing is the fact that teachers are not very eager to use the blog either. This does not happen with teachers with ESL courses for kids.  I was worried about this bad predisposition and asked blog developers from other schools about their experiences and they told me they have the same problem.

Why do we have this problem with adults? I met Graham Stanley on chat and asked him for a piece of advice. He reminded me about the gap between digital inmigrants and natives. After Prenski's article "H. Sapiens Digital: From Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom", I thought this gap has disappeared but it has  not. Kids and teenagers can spend nearly the whole day in front of the PC because they do not use it only for doing school homework,  but also for having fun. so they enjoy working with computers and other tech gadgets mainly cellphones. Whereas adults use computers for work, so blogging or doing interactive activities may tire them. Adults will avoid screens and go back to books, pens and sheets of paper because that is their familiar way of leaning.

What shall I do? As regards students, I will be patient and try to present innovative activities in the blog. Activities which may call their attention because they are different from the ones they do in class. As regards teachers, I will give them ideas about how to use the web2.0 resources to engage students and try to go with them to the computer classroom to make them feel more confident. 

Any suggestions? Feel free to leave your suggestion in comments. Thank you :-)

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Make your own poster

I would love to design attractive posters to inform teachers, students or parents about the activities at school. Although I may have many ideas, I am not very familiar with photoshop or any other  advanced digital image editing application :( 

If you have the same problem, let me tell you that there is a free web tool for educators that may help us: Juxio. Its simplicity allows people to easily create posters for display.  It  offers very complete  HELP section with video tutorials, FAQs and hints.

Once you have chosen a template and edit your "Jux", you can print on your local printer. Or you can save it as a pdf file and send it by mail.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Need a Class Website?

"Classroom Update " is a system designed to allow teachers a way to post homework assignments, class announcements, and more in minutes a day.

The website offers a way to keep parents and students informed of assignments and other events at school. Have a look at this video to have a better idea of what it is about.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Popplet - Web Beta and iPad

Popplet is an application for the web and iPad, where you can collect, curate and share your ideas, inspirations, and projects. 
It is a combination of wallwisher, glogster and field for webspiration which offers a lot of  possibilities: users can type, draw, upload images , embed videos or draw in the virtual “post-its” called “popplets"

  • Teachers can use it for collaborative work 
  • Popplets can be connected
  • It doesn’t have an limit on the number of characters you can use.
.At the moment   is in beta and you need to request an invite. 
Here is a video explaining how it can be used. 

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