Action Research Project

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Use of Sykpe video link to enhance and extend spoken langauge with pre-school ESL students.

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Action Research Project

  1. 1. Action Research Project. With Preschool 3 (3 and 4 year olds)
  2. 2. <ul><li>The notion was to look at a specific way to improve effective language usage with 3 and 4 year old ESL students. </li></ul><ul><li>How? </li></ul><ul><li>Using web cams and Skype video link. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>The hypothesis is that as children are aware of digital forms of communicating, and as many families use Skype video link to talk relatives around the world, building on such knowledge would empower children, help children feel ownership and so find their voice. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>The relevant 21st Century Literacy is collaboration: extending child teacher interactions and extending home school community partnerships using digital technology. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Fututelab, UK states “Digital technologies are a familiar and integral part of many home environments …….. many families (are) routinely using technologies for both social and formal communication,…. and for entertainment. Digital communication therefore provides an obvious way to enhance and facilitate communication ……….”. (1) </li></ul><ul><li>It is also felt, as reported by J Marsh in ‘ Digital Beginnings’ 2007, that children need to be media-literate so as to be confident with new technologies and better understand the world in which they live. (2) </li></ul><ul><li>Our hope is &quot;from little things big things grow&quot; (Paul Kelly 1991)! </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Background: photographs to show visual stories and use of digital storytelling to share information have been used by the group since they joined the class in September 2009. Use of animoto videos and photo story, embedded in the class wiki space, have become popular both with the students and parents as a means of showing and sharing information. Children have responded well to the use of these technologies so far, and the use of Sykpe video link is seen as a natural progression following photo story where the children spoke about the specific things they were doing. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>The intention is to build on existing classroom experiences. The children had used voice with specific photos but not with the freedom of web cams. It was decided we would scaffold: play with the web cams, record short conversations, show conversations, reflect on results as a group, and try Skype video linking: – </li></ul><ul><li>1. With IT teacher. </li></ul><ul><li>2. With TA in Arabic. </li></ul><ul><li>3. With Head of School. </li></ul><ul><li>4. With teacher. </li></ul><ul><li>5. With C.A.S. student. </li></ul><ul><li>6. With parents. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>So what really happened? </li></ul><ul><li>Web cams – children played and had fun; they made faces, poked their out tongues and inquired. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>When recording conversations the children had to learn to look into camera when speaking, using words not facial expressions or body language to convey meaning. This was quite difficult. </li></ul><ul><li>When we were reflecting the group became quite bored until a child came on and spoke into the camera so we could all hear. The children were very vocal in why they liked that clip and we had a good discussion, in English and Arabic, about how we needed to behave when using web cams. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Using Skype <ul><li>With IT teacher. </li></ul><ul><li>The results were surprising: some of the quite chatty children were shy. A few children became quite tense and did not want to say anything – using body language only. However, the feedback from the children was positive, with equally positive feedback from parents and nannies. Note: all but one looked into the camera to chat helping us to conclude that the previous activities had helped. However, some children were still relying on body language to communicate. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>With Ms. Nadia, the Teaching Assistant, in Arabic. </li></ul><ul><li>The children were far more confident: they know Ms. Nadia well, and Arabic is their first language. A few were shy but most had a chat. Quite a few told Ms. Nadia that they loved her. The children seemed very happy and quite confident about the experience and wanted to tell me all about it in English. When the children actually saw Nadia in person, quite a few asked her where had she been when she was Skyping them. </li></ul><ul><li>Good use of language. </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>With the Head of Primary. </li></ul><ul><li>The children were remarkably shy. Two of our most chatty boys were just plain silly, and the girls reverted to using body language. Our conclusion for this was that although the children knew the person, they did not know her that well, felt unfamiliar and were not confident enough to relax and so chat. Familiarity is therefore important for this activity. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>With the class teacher. </li></ul><ul><li>This was absolutely fantastic. The children were really chatty; it was almost as if they felt they had ‘got me’ – there I was and they were going to chat. They blew kisses, told me what they were doing and one tried to hug the computer. I thoroughly enjoyed this session. The children enjoyed uninterrupted access to their teacher – chatting, focused, happy and pleased with themselves. I really loved this and I felt completely invigorated and passionate about taking this project further. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>With Adam, Grade 11 CAS student. </li></ul><ul><li>The timing was bad. The Teaching Assistant was absent – relief TA in. Adam could only phone at 9, which was Snack Time. At first the children were silly. Then, although smiling and showing relaxed body language the chat was quiet but stilted. Only one boy had a decent chat. This made us realize that although they know and trust Adam, it’s his presence they enjoy – his large physical presence and when I think about it – the children sit very close to him and always touch him. So it is important to use someone the children know but we need to understand the relationship involved. The timing of the call is important, and class routines should be taken into account. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Parents. </li></ul><ul><li>We are having a few issues with timing and our timetables. Considering the lessons learnt, we are trying to get this right, as I strongly believe the first experiences will affect all future experiences. </li></ul>
  16. 16. What did we learn? <ul><li>Using Video Skype at this age can be fantastic depending who is at the other end. We need to build on familiarity and trust. Using Sype with me was wonderful; the children were confident and chatted away. In fact they seemed to like the one-on–one time. If this was extended to include our language specialist, who works with the children at least twice a week and who has a developed a positive working relationship with the class, we could use Skype to target specific language and language usage. For second language learners, this would be awesome. </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Photos recording some of the experiences so far have been placed on the wiki. </li></ul><ul><li>http://p3b.qataracademy.wikispaces.net/ </li></ul><ul><li>Parental feedback has been positive, even though we are still having issues with organizing the times for parent child Skype sessions; we are continuing to try to sort this out. We have a long way to go, but so far even very shy children seem to be responding well and using language to share information (a benchmark) – with the teacher and teaching assistant. </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>My question: </li></ul><ul><li>Will the use of this collaborative tool actually help effective language use with 3 and 4 year old ESL children? </li></ul>
  19. 19. My answer: Yes. <ul><li>Yes – if used with familiar adults with whom they trust and already have a working relationship on which to build. </li></ul><ul><li>This is only the beginning! </li></ul><ul><li>In Pre 3 - the teacher, the teaching assistant, the language specialist and parents. </li></ul><ul><li>In Pre 4, perhaps, the world! </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Bibliography </li></ul><ul><li>1. Developing the Home School Relationship Using Digital Technologies. Futurelab. Mar. 2010. Web. May 2010. http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/publications-reports-articles/handbooks. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Marsh, J. Digital Beginnings. Rep. Print. </li></ul>

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