Friday, 31 May 2013

How to successfully engage your learners in an IT project (part I)

When I coach teachers on how to use web 2.0 tools, I can see that they need to achieve strategies for creating and managing IT learning environments to get students really engaged in the task proposed. Many teachers think IT sessions cannot be related to what they are doing in class :(  , so students cannot see the purpose of the session and take it as a break to "play and have fun". 

For this purpose, IT classes require teacher's skills of the web2 tools to make the IT session or project work well. If teachers show uncertainty they will experience chaos instead of flow. Teachers must be familiar with the tools but be flexible if a new situation appears. What do I mean by flexible? 

Digital natives are not afraid of exploring the web, so they may ask for other possibilities the tool may offer whichthe teacher may not know. So, my piece of advice is do not panic or feel uncertain. Just be honest and say you do not know about that possibility , and that you will give an answer next class or ask students to give you an answer. Students will appreciate your honesty and you will have created a two way learning situation: you teach English to your students and they teach you technology.

If students are engaged in their tasks, they use the second language in real context, ask questions and are really creative. Teachers will experience joy, and joy is a lot less tiring than the frustration that comes with student apathy.

Monday, 6 May 2013

BITSTRIPS comic maker

Making a comic strip may be a very attractive a activity for ESL learners of all levels. (Read about "comic strips" in Wikipedia)

There are different tools to make comic strips but this post will be devoted to Bitstrips- an online tool

Advantages:
  • Bitstrips is free
  • Registration is optional
  • You can log in with your Facebook account
  • Students can create comics and their own characters
  • Students create dialogues using vocabulary they know
  • Bitstrips stimulates imagination and creativity because everything, from characters to complex backgrounds, is customizable.
  • Sharing: Bitstrips is embeddable on blogs and wikis !

Disadvantages:
  • Students may spend too much time designing their comics, so it is advisable to work on the script before sitting them in front of the PC.
  • Characters can only be human
  • Bitstrips is suitable for tweens with some tech skills.

Possible Activity:

    Creating Story boards. After watching a movie in your class, you can even have your students hand draw a storyboard of the movie's major plot events (a summary) and then turn that storyboard into a comic strip using Bitstrips.

    Possible Project Plan 
    Prof. María Clara Bouvier's contribution
    Examples: