Expanding Reading With An Integrated Wiki


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Using different Web 2.0 tools and a wiki as the central platform, I was able to expand on a chosen novel to integrate skills. In the future I will be using graded readers since recommended by the students, either Matilda or Rabbit Proof Fence.

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  • Welcome to my presentation. My name is Christine Jones. I am an English teacher at RAK Women’s College. I have been teaching in the UAE for three years. This paper presentation is on an integrated Wiki that I used in my English class to get students involved and excited. This is a paper presentation but what I would like to do is go over exactly what the project involved and how it was used, show you what the students went through and what they did, discuss a few of the drawbacks and changes that I am now making for my future classes, and then open up for some questions or discussion.
  • There is a lack of a reading culture or reading habit in society because of the prized oral tradition in Gulf societies (Shannon 2003).Students are not interested in reading and do not do a lot of recreational reading (CD 3 AXA Students DWC 1999). One particular study in the UAE revealed that “Ninety per cent of the teachers perceive reading as a pronunciation exercise…” teachers are teaching reading strategies in a method that has the students looking for explicit information only, testing skills focus. (Mustafa 2002)The vocabulary deficit is of fundamental importance given the findings of research on reading effectiveness and the critical mass of lexical knowledge needed to achieve reading competence Cobb (1999).Smith (1999) argues that a well organized extensive reading programme can actually help effect a transformation in a “non-reading culture”Extensive ReadingEmphasis on the quantity of readingLong textsEasy texts (i + 1)Usually simplified / graded textsFew tasksReading is fast and fluentAn overall understanding is sufficientPrimarily for pleasure, information, and language acquisition.Learner-drivenLearner selects the textTeacher rarely intervenes, if at all, in the reading processLearner determines where and when to read and for how longReading is usually done at home or in the library
  • For this paper I chose to introduce the children’s book Holes by Louis SacharIt was available in the school library.The text was at the required reading level for my students preparing for the IELTSThere was a lot of online material I could use for the projectThere were precreatedwebquests, podcasts, readings, and support materials for the textFor a project like this I did not feel it was necessary to reinvent the wheel, just to find a better way of using the materials available to me and to the students.
  • I chose to use Wet paint Wiki for it’s ease of use and lack of HTML coding. Drawback, the wiki has embedded Google Ads which are not always appropriate for the classroom. We have since found that if you choose travel or automotives for the category, the ads do not tend to include anything inappropriate for the classroom.As a program however, we have since moved to Wiki Spaces, which remains ad free but requires a minimal level of coding knowledge. Since our participating teachers who use these wiki’s in the classroom have some HTML knowledge, we find it an acceptable alternative, though it does take longer for the students to adapt to it.
  • Within the website itself were the links to information on what a wiki is and how to use it. In addition, we had linked in the complete instructions on how to use Wetpaint Wikis so that once the students were introduced to it they could go back and work through it at their own pace to insure understanding. And they did.
  • Using tools such as Quizlet and Spelling City, we can get the students to create their own vocabulary building activities and involve them in the creation of their language. The students can create their own sets of words to study or can work with preset words or vocabulary lists provided by the teacher.
  • You may have seen this particular tool before. This is an excel document wherein the students fill in their own words with their own practice information. We have been working on a Google docs version of this to be shared across groups within the class, with links to the pronunciation from the website. Students use a different sheet for each chapter of the text.
  • The nature of the wiki lends itself to writing quite quickly. We began with a simple activity that tied the students into the story itself, letting them create themselves as characters in the novel. From the simple beginnings we moved to more elaborate writing.
  • Some of the writing texts that we established included group creations such as the rules and cast of characters. These were simple list style writings meant to encourage division of labour.
  • The second and more in depth writing type was the blog. We created a class blog account in Ning to ensure student security and safety while allowing them the freedom to be creative and to have fun in their writing.
  • Theseblogs consisted of Weekly blog questions that were meant to help guide reading. These were short answer blog responses. The second was the actual writing assignments. These included writing letters “home” from camp and describing the conditions and the things that were happening as we moved through the novel. This was the more valuable of the writing experiences for the students.
  • The listening activities were tied to the readings or the writings directly. This particular listening is of the author Louis Sachar reading from the novel. These were tied with directed questions on the wiki site through threaded discussions. The students would listen to the excerpt and then answer directed questions or respond to discussion questions meant to encourage them to think beyond the text itself.
  • As students moved through the novel it was important to help them see that there were several topics running through. The students were given the opportunity to learn more about a given topic through outside readings, discussions, and a student driven research project. The students were able to choose which topic they wanted to discuss and move to a wiki page designed to get them started in their topic.
  • These topics were then narrowed for the students to specific questions. The students were asked to explore several important questions as a group. They were given links to relevant links on the topic. For example, Juvenile Justice included links to stories about UAE juvenile crime cases. This was also supported by embedded youtube videos of juvenile crime situations that are level and location appropriate. Students are presented with global and local perspectives. Students are offered the opportunity to present their findings in one of several mediums and during the project I was open to students suggestions for other mediums, though most found standard PowerPoint to be the easiest method. This webquest project is a full integration of the skills we are trying to encourage in our students and is both interesting and fun for them. This is a webquest as opposed to formalized research, although it lends itself to the formal research projects as well.
  • There were two major drawbacks with this particular text. One, it was long for my students. Though it was at their required reading level, they found it difficult and due to the nature of the course there was simply not enough time for them to finish it. Second, it is a boys text and this was a course of girls. Some of them were interested, but several of them would have preferred a different text. My next project is being worked around two more popular book from among their personal recommendations, Matilda and Rabbit Proof Fence. Finally, our students are preparing for the IELTS, so many of the prompts in writing and the length and style of questions for the listenings are now done in the IELTS style to continue supporting the students in their needs.
  • I would like to open up to questions and discussion and possible suggestions from the audience. I found this project to be very rewarding and the potential to expand this project to any class has led to adaptations for grade 4, grades 7-8, as well as the tertiary level. Thank you for your time. I will take your questions /comments/ suggestions now.
  • In many ESL and EFL classes, reading is a very individualized activity. However, coupled with a wiki, it is possible to make reading fully skills-integrated and collaborative. It is possible to see how reading a novel can be made more involved at any level; primary, secondary, or tertiary.This presentation will show how it is possible to integrate skills and involved collaborative activities by using an easy-to-use code free wiki and some basic knowledge of a novel. It will take participants through the process that Emirate students went through, from becoming involved with the characters to expanding their understanding of themes. Participants will see how the teacher used the wiki to integrate writing, vocabulary, and research to demonstrate student understanding through creation and collaboration. Participants will see how the wiki can be adopted to any novel to help the students expand on their understanding of the novel, the themes, the vocabulary, as well as research skills and computer skills. This session is intended for classroom teachers without extensive knowledge or expertise. Participants will learn about the code free wiki program Wetpaint Wiki and how it can be integrated into reading. After the session participants will be able to carry out a similar adaptation of the novels they use in their class. The presenter will allow time for participants to ask questions on the adaptation process and the wiki building process.
  • Expanding Reading With An Integrated Wiki

    1. 1. Expanding Reading With an Integrated Wiki<br />Christine Jones<br />Jones.sensei@gmail.com<br />Presentation for TESOL Arabia March 2010<br />
    2. 2. Justification<br />This project specifically targets the lack of a reading culture <br />
    3. 3. Expanding Reading<br />Vocabulary<br />E<br />L<br />O<br />S<br />H<br />Research<br />Writing<br />Listening<br />Integrated Wiki<br />
    4. 4. Integrated Wiki<br />
    5. 5. Integrated Wiki<br />
    6. 6. Vocabulary<br />
    7. 7. Vocabulary<br />
    8. 8. Writing<br />
    9. 9. Writing<br />
    10. 10. Writing<br />
    11. 11. Writing<br />
    12. 12. Listening<br />
    13. 13. Research<br />
    14. 14. Research<br />
    15. 15. Future<br /><ul><li>Matilda
    16. 16. Rabbit Proof Fence</li></li></ul><li>Questions/Comments/Suggestions<br />
    17. 17. References<br />Blomeyer, R. (2002). Virtual schools and e-learning in K-12 environments: Emerging policy and practice. NCREL Policy Issues, 11. Naperville, IL: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Retrieved October 05, 2009 from http://www.ncrel.org/policy/pubs/pdfs/pivol11.pdf<br />Bolton, J. (2002). Web-based distance education: Pedagogy, epistemology, and instructional design. University of Saskatchewan. Retrieved July 15, 2009 from http://www.usak.ca/education/coursework/802papers/boulton/boulton.pdf<br />Coryell, J., & Chlup, D. (2007). Implementing E-Learning components with adult English language learners: Vital factors and lessons learned. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 20(3), 263-278. http://libproxy.nau.edu:3854, doi:10.1080/09588220701489333<br />Cummins, J. (1981). The role of primary language development in promoting educational success for language minority students. In J. Cummins (Ed.), Schooling and language minority students: A theoretical framework (pp. 1 – 50). Los Angeles: Evaluation, Dissemination, and Assessment Center.<br />Cunningham, C. A., & Billingsley, M. (2003). Curriculum Webs: A practical guide to weaving the web into teaching and learning. Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon.<br />de Almeida Soares, D. (2008). Understanding class blogs as a tool for language development. Language Teaching Research, 12(4), 517-533. http://libproxy.nau.edu:3854, doi:10.1177/1362168808097165<br />Driscoll, M. (2000). Psychology of Learning for Instruction. (2nd ed). Needham Heights, Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon.<br />Engstrom, M., & Jewett, D. (2005). Collaborative Learning the Wiki Way. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 49(6), 12-68. http://libproxy.nau.edu:3854<br />Gardner, J. (2008). Blogs, wikis and official statistics: New perspectives on the use of Web 2.0 by statistical offices. Statistical Journal of the IAOS, 25(3/4), 81-92. http://libproxy.nau.edu:3854<br />
    18. 18. References<br />Goodwin-Jones, R. (2003). Blogs and wikis: Environments for on-line collaboration. Language Learning & Technology, 7, 12-16<br />Higdon, J., & Topaz, C. (2009). Blogs and Wikis as Instructional Tools: A Social Software Adaptation of Just-in-Time Teaching. College Teaching, 57(2), 105-110. http://libproxy.nau.edu:3854<br />Jonassen, D. H., & Rohrer-Murphy, L. (1999). Activity theory as a framework for designing constructivist learning environments. Educational Technology: Research & Development, 47, 61-72. <br />Kafai, Y, .& Resnik, M. (1996). Constructionism in practice: Designing, thinking, and learning in a digital world. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associations. <br />Kasper, L. F., Babbitt, M., Mlynarczyk, R. W., Brinton, D. M., Rosenthal, J. W., Master, P.,Myers, S. A., Egbert, J., Tillyer, D. A., & Wood, L. S. (2000). Content-based college ESL instruction. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.<br />Keirns, J. L. (1999). Designs for self-instruction: Principles, processes, and issues in developing self-directed learning. Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon.<br />Klobas, J. (2006) Wikis: Tools for information work and collaboration. Chandos Publishing. Oxford.<br />Krashen, S. D. (1981). Second language acquisition and second language learning. New York:Pergamon Press.<br />Krashen, S. D. (1982). Principles and practice in second language acquisition. New York: Pergamon.<br />Matsuoka, B. M. (2004). Constructivism as a paradigm for teaching and learning. Retrieved October 5, 2009, from http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/constructivism/index.html<br />National Language Resource Center (1999). Teacher development: Focus on technology. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota<br />Novak, Gregor. Evelyn T. Patterson, Andrew D. Garvin, and Wolfgang Christianson. 1999. Just-in-time teaching: Blending active learning with Web technology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.<br />
    19. 19. References<br />Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (1999). Building learning communities in Cyberspace: Effective strategies for the online classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.<br />Perry, D. (2002). P540 – Constructivism. Retrieved March 10, 2005, from Indiana University at Bloomington, School of Education Web site: http://education.indiana.edu/~p540/webcourse/construct.html<br />Petty, L. I., Johnston, J., & Shafer, D. (2004). Distance education for adult learners. Retrieved October 1, 2009, from http://www.projectideal.org/pdf/Print%20Resources/IDEALHandbook3rdEd2004.pdf<br />Raven, J., & Bates N. (2009). Why a wiki? UAE Journal of Educational Technology, 1(June 2009), 10-13.<br />Son, J. (2007). Learner experiences in web-based language learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 20(1), 21-36. http://libproxy.nau.edu:3854, doi:10.1080/09588220601118495<br />Sox, A., & Rubinstein-Ávila, E. (2009). WebQuests for English-Language Learners: Essential Elements for Design. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(1), 38-48. http://libproxy.nau.edu:3854<br />Tonkin, E. (2005). Making the case for a wiki. Ariadne. Retrieved October 2, 2009 from http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue42/tonkin/<br />Velazquez-Torres, N. (2006). How Well are esl teachers being prepared to integrate technology in their classrooms?. TESL-EJ: The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language, 9(4), Retrieved from http://www.tesl-ej.org/wordpress/past-issues/volume9/ej36/ej36a1/<br />Warschauer, M. & Kern, R. (2000). Network-based language teaching: Concepts and practice. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.<br />Wiburg, K., & Butler-Pascoe, M.E. (2002). Technology and teaching English language learners. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.<br />(2009, October 25). Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia<br />Zemsky, R., & Massy, W. F. (2004). Thwarted innovation: What happened to e-learning and why. Final Report for the Weatherstation Project of The Learning Alliance at the University of Pennsylvania in cooperation with the Thomson Corporation (Philadelphia, PA, The Learning Alliance at the University of Pennsylvania). Retrieved October 1, 2009, from http://www.irhe.upenn.edu/Docs/Jun2004/ThwartedInnovation.pdf<br />
    20. 20. References<br />CD 3 AXA Students DWC (1999) Reading Promotion Project<br />Shannon, John (2003) Getting Gulf students to enjoy reading.<br />In Perspectives; 11/1: 21-24<br />Mustafa, Ghasoub, S. H. (2002) English Language teaching and learning at government<br />schools in the United Arab Emirates. University of Exeter: Unpublished doctoral<br />thesis.<br />Cobb, T (1999) Reading academic English: carrying learners across the lexical threshold<br />WWW Pre-publication<br />Smith, R. (1997). Transforming a Non-Reading Culture. In Jacobs, G. M., Davis, C., &<br />Renandya, W. A. (Eds.). Successful strategies for extensive reading. (pp. 30-43)<br />Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre.<br />