Best practices


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Best practices

  1. 1. The Incorporation of ICTs into Task-Based Language Learning SUGGESTED BEST PRACTICES: WEB TASK –BASED LESSON PLANSubject: ReadingGrade: 9th yearContext:Students have just finished reading “Of Mice and Men” byJohn Steinbeck in their Reading class. During the readingprocess, the teacher has been working, chapter by chapter,with vocabulary, plot, main ideas, character analysis etc. Shehas been using several technological resources as support:audio recording, movie and students´ blog ( Expression) where they haveposted the answers to different mandatory and optional questions derived fromthe analysis and feelings towards the novel.Task presentation:OF MICE AND MEN… AND OF SCHOOL LIFEStudents in groups of three will be asked to choose one of the themes ideas inJohn Steinbeck´s Of Mice and Men and design posters promoting a schoolawareness campaign to make students reflect upon those ideas taken to schoolcontext.Pre-task phase:Students are given a worksheet where they have to supply eight theme ideas inJohn Steinbeck´s book, “Of Mice and Men”. o a supporting example; o a supporting quote w/page number and; o an explanation; (appendix 1) 1
  2. 2. Students complete the pre-task activity working in groups of three.Task phase:1. Students are asked to choose one of the theme ideas they feel identified with and form groups of three with other classmates who have made the same choice.2. The teacher presents the task and tells students to have a 15 minutes´ discussion and come up with a paper draft of how their poster might look like. They should include not only the theme idea, but also how it can be related to school or to a teenagers’ life.3. Students go to the computer lab and design their final version of the poster in GLOGSTER, a website that allows designing posters online, inserting photos, images, text, videos, music and whichever resource they find useful for their campaign.4. Students print the posters and stick them in different places of school inviting students to leave comments in a blog created for that purpose, where the different posters can also be seen.Post-task phase:Students discuss the steps to be followed when designing an awarenesscampaign.Teacher guides a discussion on the effectiveness of different persuasiveposter writing characteristics, techniques as compared to the ones used bystudents.Teacher can supply some teaching materials on the topic if necessary.Evaluation:After a period of two weeks, students read the blog comments, and self-evaluate both: the whole process of designing an awareness campaign and thefinal product –the posters- criticizing how successful their campaigns havebeen. 2
  3. 3. Students use persuasive poster evaluation rubrics to help them go through theprocess of evaluation. (Appendix 2) SUGGESTED BEST PRACTICES: PHOTO-BLOG EXCHANGE PROJECT o Conceptual Framework Though officially the word blog refers to a Web-log, or online journalwhere people make chronological comments about events related to anexperience; lately, they are being also commonly thought of as a means ofexpressing opinions and reflections upon general issues, such as politics,ethics, education. In this area precisely, blogs are the web 2.0 tools which has proved to bemore widely accepted by teachers which are an attractive addition to their newtechnologies toolbox. Firstly it is a constructivist tool for learning since thecontent is being created by teachers and students while the blog develops;secondly they are a way of expanding the walls of the classroom as Richardson(2010) describes, providing the possibility of connecting students with othersoutside the classroom, their town, their country in a relatively cheap accessiblemanner. It is also important to add that blogs archives allow teachers and studentsto revisit their learning experiences with a reflective sight over a wide variety offeatures that range from: students´ own productions, views, opinions providing afertile land for cultural awareness and understanding. o Description of the project o The key element of this proposal is to engage groups of students from different countries and origins in making guesses, research, discuss and comment on others culture and experience world just out of a set of pictures put together. Communication conventions varies from 3
  4. 4. culture to culture and this is a concept our students will have the opportunity to experience comparing and contrasting texts. o The teachers in charge of the project will create a blog in which students from the different classes will alternatively publish a collage of photos related to a topic. This topic will be previously agreed by teachers who will take into account not only students’ world of interest; but also the most relevant global awareness issues, such as environment, health etc. Once thecollage has been posted the group of students from the other country will make 4
  5. 5. comments of the photos, trying to make inferences and negotiating with theirpartner as regards the meaning beyond the image. Finally, the group who has posted the images, will give feedback to theirpartner class, as regards their inferences, correcting the once that are wrongand enlarging and giving more support on the correct ones. During the evaluation period, both teachers and students will postcomments assessing their experience, focusing both on the positive aspects ofthe experience as well as on the aspects that might need revision for futurereplication of the project. o Objectives• Students will negotiate meaning and use language purposefully.• Students will use technology in socially and cross-cultural appropriate and ethical ways.• Students will make research about other cultures and contexts so as to make meaningful contributions in their blog. o Teachers in Charge• Ms Erin.Conley, teacher of English Language and Arts in 9th Year Ms Michelle Williams, teacher of English Language and Arts in 10th Year• Ms Adriana Castagnino, teacher of English as FL in 9th, 10th year. Ms Aurelia Garcia, teacher of English as FL in 7th , 8th and 9th year. o Participants• English Language and Arts class from Montgomery Blair High School, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA.• English as a Foreign Language class from COLUNLPam in Santa Rosa, La Pampa, Argentina. 5
  6. 6. o Suggested Topics• Typical Food• Favorite artists• Town & cities• Houses• School culture• Free time activities o Timeline AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER Presentation of the exchange of photo Exchange of photo Exchange of photo blog: objectives and collage on a collage on proposed collage on topicWeeks 1-2 possible contents proposed topic by topic by teacher in suggested by areas teacher in USA. Argentina. students. Comment Comment and Comment and and feedback. feedback. feedback. Exchange of photo Exchange of photo Exchange of photo Students and collage on different collage on proposed collage on proposed teachers evaluationWeeks 3-4 topics. Comment topic by teacher in topic by teacher in of experience. and feedback. Argentina. USA. Comment and Publication of Comment and feedback. experience feedback. 6
  7. 7. o Evaluation Teachers will design instruments to evaluate the experience before, duringand after it has finished. These instruments will focus on both: students’performance and commitment all through the experience on the one hand (rubrictable 1); and blog efficiency as a learning tool on the other (rubric table 2). Rubric table 1: assessing writing in a collaborative tool: blog CATEGORY 4 3 2 1 Student accessed Student accessed Student accessed Student was site and made site and made site but made erratic inContent of meaningful sometimes poor accessing site andcontributions contributions. meaningful contributions. made contributions. meaningless contributions. There are no There are minimal There are some There severalSpelling, errors in spelling, errors in spelling, errors in spelling, errors in spelling,punctuation, punctuation, punctuation, punctuation, punctuation,grammar and grammar and grammar and grammar and grammar andvocabulary vocabulary. vocabulary. vocabulary. vocabulary. Student always Student almost Student shows Student argues or shows respect for always shows little evidence of is disrespectful ofCooperative others ideas, and respect for others a commitment others shows a ideas and commit toward quality Criticism is not commitment to to quality work. work. constructive. quality work. 7
  8. 8. Rubric table 2: assessing blog as a collaborative writing tool o CRITERIA ACHIEVEMENTS SUGGESTIONSNavigability:Is this blog easy to navigate? Does it take too long toload? Are links working correctly? Do titles showcontents clearly? Is the URL easy to remember? Arecontents of the blog easy to identify?Design:Are colors and template adequate? Can it be readeasily? Are colors distractive? Is font size and stylesuitable?Content:Do titles of posts express content? Are there grammaror spelling mistakes? Are contents clearly related toclass activities? Is the blog free? Can anyone haveaccess to it; is this an advantage or a disadvantage? Arethere multimedia resource?Other considerations:What kind of learning is the blog fostering? (Individual?Group? Collaborative? A combination?)Analyzecomments made by students: are they all relevant tothe task? How frequently do students post a comment?Are there links to other sites? What are these sitesabout? 8
  9. 9. SUGGESTED BEST PRACTICES: EMBEDDED TEACHERS TRAININGConceptual frameworkTeachers who have earlier engaged in computer-assisted and technology-enhanced language learning have multiple roles. (Peters, M. 2007). Apartfrom developing materials and integrating technologies in our own practices, ournew findings and demonstrations should serve as inspiring models for currentand future teachers. Our projects, experiences, products and research shoulddefinitely help other colleagues and advanced students to initiate their own wayto teaching practice transformation.Although there are many ways in which teachers can become expertise inembedded Task-Based Teaching, we have to admit that these changes can bechallenging and frightening for some teachers. With this teachers trainingproposal, I am trying not only to introduce teachers to new Web 2.0 tools andresources, but also to provide a supportive online professional developmentnetwork that can foster mutual collaboration between trainer and traineesthroughout the training process and beyond.Objectives: teachers will… • Become aware of web2.0 technologies and analyze their impact in education and their teaching practices. • Design and implement embedded lesson plans with the incorporation of suitable web2.0 tools. • Evaluate this new embedded approach to language teaching.Calendar plan 9
  10. 10. The workshop will be implemented in four traditional classroom setting sessionsof six hours each. Three of them will be delivered in subsequent Saturdays,while the last evaluative session will be delivered within a month from the lastmeeting. During all this time teachers will receive online support through a wikiplatform, where they will also be able to share concerns, classroom experiencesand lesson plans with other teachers in the group.Description of the Resources and Activities:First session:1- Through a cooperative learning technique called jigsaw, teachers work in groups of four with four different papers related to web 2.0 technologies and their impact in education. They will complete a Google doc spreadsheet to be shared by the whole group later.2- Teachers will be introduced to one of the key technological resources in this teachers´ training proposal: wiki. They will navigate through different students, class, institutional and professional development wikis, completing a checklist with the particular tools and differences they find among them, so as to evaluate all the possibilities a wiki offers to educators. They will be introduced to this course wiki and allowed to “play” and practise inserting pages, videos, images, widgets, discussion threads as well as editing and contributing to somebody´s work.Second session:1- Through a jigsaw technique teaches´ work in groups with different papers related to Task-Based Teaching methodology (TBL) and its application in different educational contexts. They will complete presentation using one of the following tools according to their preference: Glogster, Mind Map, Prezi to be shared by the whole group later.2- Some web 2.0 foundational concepts such as RSS, Third-party site – YouTube, SlideShare, Scribbd, Flickr will be developed and teachers will have the opportunity of experimenting with them.3- Teachers will be introduced to another technological highlight in this teachers´ training proposal: blog. They will navigate through different 10
  11. 11. students, class and institutional and professional development blogs, so as to evaluate all the possibilities a blog offers to educators as well as compare it with wiki as an educational aid. They will be creating a blog for one of their classes and practise inserting text, videos, images, widgets as well as making comments in somebody´s else´s posts.Third session:1- Teachers will be introduced to more sophisticated technological innovations in this teachers´ training proposal: video and podcasting. They become familiar with different podcasting alternatives and evaluate how these could become part of their embedded lesson plans.2- Teachers will finally be introduced to the concept of social networking as a valuable pedagogical incorporation looking into different tools, such as Google groups and Grouply.Forth session: evaluationDuring this session teachers are going to be carrying out their evaluation of thecourse, their productions and their students reactions though differentmethodologies and techniques.1- Peer observation: teachers will assess a partner’s blog or wiki, following a given rubric and will provide useful feedback to him/her.2- Self-evaluations: through an online survey teachers will evaluate their performance, involvement and productions throughout the teachers training workshop.3- Workshop assessment: Teachers in groups of four will discuss certain aspects of the teachers training workshop and share their opinions with the rest of the groups in a final round table providing a graphic organizer or mind map which summarizes. These impressions will become a meaningful and constructive input for future implementations of the workshop. 11