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  • Shawn 9:35 am on March 19, 2012 Permalink  

    I’m just getting into it, but here’s a link to a MOOC (Massive Open Online CONFERENCE) on TESOL currently in progress. There are many sessions on using technology in the classroom and facilitating language learning online. Live sessions are held during our Hawaii night time, but many sessions have been posted as video on demand.


  • Shawn 8:20 am on March 16, 2012 Permalink  

    During this week’s live chat session, someone brought up the idea of using synchronous chat in a face-to-face class. I’ve used synchronous chat in my ESOL classes. These classes focus on language development and integrate all language components (reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, vocabulary, pragmatics). I’ve had great success with this and have found that my students love the activity.

    Of course, everyone had a laptop and are in a chat room that I’ve set up. I begin the activity by posing a question related to the content of the course and the specific module topic, and then tell students to discuss. Free for all. The common online characteristics begin to play out within a few minutes: the consistently active participants, the somewhat active participants, the timid participants, and the lurkers. But it’s clear to me that everyone is participating in some way and gaining from their participation. Even the lurkers, who tend to be the students with the weakest language skills, practice their reading skills and see how peers use the technology for communication.

    With the right settings, I also begin to see the private chats sent between individual students who don’t wish to follow the main thread. (I let students know that I can see ALL of their chats, including private chats.)

    When we’re done, after 10-15 minutes, I copy all of the chat messages and send the entire set to all of the students. I tell them to analyze the chat for their own participation. I also tell them to analyze the chat for ideas related to the content (the question). And I tell them to analyze the chat for language, including interesting language patterns that other students know that they don’t know how to use, and language errors that they or their classmates have made. They bring their data to the next class session, and we talk about it as a class. In this way, the synchronous chat activity becomes a simplistic discourse/conversation analysis activity.

    Two of the course outcomes are increasing language skills and increasing language awareness. As for language skills, synchronous chat increases fluency in writing (typing) and reading. The public nature of the activity also forces the student to attend to accuracy in spelling and grammar, which is also reinforced through the analysis of the chat. Language awareness is increased as students participate in the activity by comparing their communicative abilities in this domain with their peers, as they analyze the chat for specific language usage, and then as the students discuss their findings and specific language features are discussed and reviewed.

  • Shawn 11:30 pm on March 12, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , , seth godin, tribes   

    Seth Godin on the tribes we lead:

    Last week I met a friend visiting Hawaii who I hadn’t seen in many years. He works in education and in the non-profit sector. We were talking about the need to provide ongoing teacher training to the 1000s of in-service teachers, and he feels that the only way this is even possible is through online instruction. According to this friend, who I’ll call Owen because that’s his name, the first group to capitalize on the Internet was the porn industry. The second group to capitalize on the Internet was business, such as ebay, amazon, yahoo, etc. The next group who will take advantage of the Internet is the public: community groups, non-profit, education. Owen believes that the technology is finally at a point to where the average person will be able to use it to truly change society and the world through the Internet; not for profit, but for change. I had never thought about this before speaking with Owen about it. And now I have watched the Ted Talk by Seth Godin about tribes, in which he tells people to go out and do something. There is certainly a connection there.

  • Shawn 10:21 pm on March 11, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: cell phone, english,   

    One of the content links for GO MOBILE caught my attention because it was about English instruction using cell phones in Bangladesh. However, the link didn’t work. Here’s the correct link:


    I don’t have a smart phone. Mine’s dumb, probably like these cheap cell phones they’re using in Bangladesh. Yet English is still delivered to learners using this dumb phone technology. Incredible potential.

    Is this also an example of a MOOC? Or something different?

    • Brent 10:57 pm on March 12, 2012 Permalink

      Thanks for correcting the link. =) I am not sure if this could be considered a MOOC, only because it seems to be to “structured”. As in like a traditional course. My thoughts are that a mooc is open, as in think what you want, post what you want, and everyone gets something different out of the experience. But I could be wrong.

  • Shawn 9:44 am on March 9, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: community, , modeling   

    i had a great conversation with tony s about ifacilitate, online learning, and community building. i told him about the conflicts i have between 1) CREATING and ESTABLISHING community, and 2) ALLOWING community to autonomously and spontaneously form. i’ve always been really conflicted about these opposing concepts. tony commented that his main takeaway from week 1 is the notion of teacher modeling. perhaps this is the middle path that i haven’t considered before. modeling will be explored.

    • admin 10:23 am on March 9, 2012 Permalink

      Aloha Shawn,
      Why do you think 1 and 2 are opposing concepts?

      • Shawn 10:35 am on March 9, 2012 Permalink

        i have a problem with rules/guidelines/interventions in situations where i believe people should have freedom to behave how they feel they should behave, autonomously and spontaneously (with the assumptions of rational thinking and responsibility). “CREATING community” seems to me an oxymoron. this is what i personally struggle with as an educator in an online environment. MODELING seems the most promising concept to me, which may reconcile my conflicts. i shall continue investigating this over the next 4 weeks here.

        • conred 10:18 am on March 10, 2012 Permalink

          I think all communities, both in the classroom and online, begin with a level of intimacy – sharing personal anecdotes that others can relate to. We have all been students, and have struggled with the formalities of the some communities (at least I have). The result is a reserved interaction. My presence in the classroom begins with the admission that I flunked out of college several times before I could see the value of it. And the fact that I am a street kid who many considered unable to be a student. Then throughout the semester I share other anecdotes that helped me to invest in my education. I try to find texts and create assignments that the students can relate to – readings in pidgin or about hip hop that I can transition into more academic contexts. I have the students interpret the pidgin into academic language or to rewrite a text into pidgin – definitions, etc. It seems that students need to be included in the construction of the curriculum, thus the curriculum must be fluid, and then the students have the sense that they are constructing their educational experience.

  • Shawn 9:11 am on March 8, 2012 Permalink

    hi greg or other facilitators i must have… 

    hi greg or other facilitators, i must have missed this in the introduction, but why do some posts here allow readers to reply whereas others do not?

    • Greg Walker 9:52 am on March 8, 2012 Permalink

      Some of the posts are blogs where you need to click on the title and take you to the blog to reply. You can reply directly to posts made on the site ..like this one. i hope this helps.

  • Shawn 9:09 am on March 8, 2012 Permalink

    waiting for my facebook ifacilitate approval 

    waiting for my facebook/ifacilitate approval…

    • Greg Walker 9:54 am on March 8, 2012 Permalink

      you are in

      • Shawn 10:56 am on March 8, 2012 Permalink

        yeah, i’ve been friended by facilitate!

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