Monday, July 26, 2010

CTJ Seminar: Bridging the Communication Gap in multimedia classes

   I presented this session in Brasília along with my fellow colleague Rodrigo Santana.
   We started talking about the generation gap between both of us. Hence the first slides containing pictures of old equipments that we no longer have.

   I tried to tell Rodrigo that mimeograph was around when I was studying but he didn't believe it so much. :) I guess I should be flattered.

   Mimeograph or not, when I started teaching none of these webtools were available and the importance of a communication class relied mostly on the ability of the teacher of preparing material and questions that would mostly stimulate and encourage students to talk.

  Now we have the tools and technology but are we using them as effectly as we can in order to promote conversation?

   That was what we wanted to exploit, discuss and reflect.

   We believe that discussion was important because we are efl, esl teachers and us such, conversation is very important while learning a new language.

   As a matter of fact if we ask people why they are enrolling in your school, most of them will probably answer: “ I want to speak English”.

   Slide 9 would illustrate some of the gaps we have come across while observing conversation classes in the multimedia class.

   I would like to highlight the following gaps:

Learning tasks that are totally based on receptive skills

   This is what I think: you may be using the latest tool there ir, with a beautiful class on your hands. You may be having fun and even your students may be having fun as well. BUT if they are not engaging the learning process actively or if they are not producing anything ….then you might as well be wasting your time in a very beautiful tech way.

The predominat use of LOTS

And that of course would depend on the choice of teachers: whether it’s in a regular or multimedia class.

Teachers usually have such sharp radar when it comes to selecting activities that result in effective learning experiences. We shouldn’t disregard that just because we have a computer in class. On the contrary, we should sharpen this radar even more because there are more choices to me made.

In our school we have the Edtech teacher training course all through the semester and one of the directors came to me after the presentation and said something which I thought very interesting:

He said “ I feel like I’m in a supermarket staring at all these products. All I want is to make a cake but I have no idea where or how to even begin to choose what is it that I need.”

I can understand him.

When we think about the tidal amount of information on the web, it can be overwhelming but what a teacher must never do is to move away from their focus, their goal. What is it that you want?

You want to bake a cake, you want to make pie…feijoada?

Ok!So Let’s try to find the best material there is in order to make it as delicious as possible.

I have put all slides available for download at:
In the link you will find all videos and activities we presented.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reported Speech and Communicative Homework Assignments using MyBot

Last year I had a great online session with Ozge, modarated by blog diva Ana Maria.
Ozge shared amazing tools she uses with her students and I have been exploring them all little by little.

Today I am going to talk about one of them. It is called MyBot.
MyBot is a platform that allows you to have a conversation with a machine.

I have practiced talking to Morpheus- the name of the machine- many times but has never thought about practical usages for it with students.

The good thing is that you are able to practice writing and listening as the program will read his replies out loud.

You should know that the website does not record the conversation. Therefore, it would be difficult to assign it as homework because you wouldn't be able to check it. However, if your students screencast the conversation, that would change the efficacy of the assignment.

I'm sure they would enjoy doing this kind of homewok.

I have recorded my conversation with Morpheus using Screenr. Check it out:


Another way of using Morpheus is for Reported Speech.

Task: Ask these questions to Morpheus and report his answers on the following class:

1) What is your name?
2) Are you married?
3) What are you going to do tomorrow?
3) When were you born?
4) Did you watch Tv yesterday?

You can also practice reported speech by doing the opposite and asking the students to report what Morpheus has asked them.

Some extracts of our conversation earlier on:

Monday, May 17, 2010


I came across this site Funny.Photo randomly on the web  and I exploited it for a while on saturday.
There are so many options and it is just so easy to use.

You can create customized images, slideshows, give effects, make cartoons and more.


Creating Effect:

Customized Image

Me again

Tired of e already?
Too bad. There is more

Na'vi me

These kind of websites are fun to make your blogs happier, to work on description with your students or even parts of the body with a twist.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Story Telling with Bookr and Mixbook

A friend was having trouble using her own pictures to create a Bookr so I decided to write this post to explore this tool and another one that can also be used for online story telling.

Bookr as you know is a tool from flickr. If you want to have your own pictures published with Bookr, you have to register at Flickr.

Once you register, just upload the pictures you want, tag them and make sure the pictures are registered under the Creative Commons license.

 The tutorial below will  ilustrate what I just wrote:

I use Bookr when I want my students to create e-stories with random pictures.
Last semester, there was a unit in the book called Horror.After we exploited the vocab and the structures, students created their own stories using Bookr.

It was great. They loved it.

Below you will see and example of one of my former students.

There are more examples of them in my student's blog

However, when I want to use my own pictures I prefer another tool called Mixbook.
It is just more practical to upload your pictures right to the website and work with them.

I prepared a Mixbook of my trip to NYC last year using it.
You just upload the pictures, choose a template and type what you want.
It has a great effect.

View Sample Photo Books
Create your own Photo Book

Both options are great for authentic learning experiences and both of them offers you the embed code to put in your blog, edmodo or whatever you use to share.

I hope you find it useful.

Have a great weekend you all!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spicing up your Students' Writing: Livetyping

 While watching Alex Session on saturday called "What's in it for my students?" I learned about so many interesting webtools.
 The thing about a good teacher is that they are always with their students in mind. So, while learning a new tool they NEVER think about showing off their tech talents. Instead, the question that comes to their mind is: How can it benefit my students? How can it help them produce?

 Alex is one of those great teachers who simply inspire us.

 One of the tools she showed which caught my attention the most was the Livetyping.
 What makes Livetyping great is: it is so easy to use, no regristration required and offers you a chance to actually see how your students are writing.

  If you have a student that is a bit weaker in Writing, this is a chance to see exactly which approach will be more effective.

 Suggestion: Assign the composition, ask your students to send you the link to your e-mail or post it ad Edmodo.

Hope you enjoy Livetyping as much as I did and tha

Like I said, the tool is very simple but I recorded a tutorial anyway.