Monday, September 17, 2012


Good morning, our mandate has been expanded beyond preparation for teaching the Academic Communications course (with focus on the set of tools specific to that) to consideration of a more general toolkit that will be useful right away in helping students to focus on language-related tasks in the ILC.

As this expansion of mandate requires thought that has got me up very early  in the morning, I will add more (and change wording) here as the day progresses.  I'm thinking now of how to organize this the way I typically do when given a class to teach at short notice.  My class wikis are generally created in response to just such a challenge, the need to organize a curriculum around a rough syllabus quickly and in such a way that participants in the course can discern its coherence and follow its threads out a mind-mapped network of links.

I've decided to call the new wiki KB2012PD.  This can be both a short name for a course and a tag (for use with Twitter, Delicious and Diigo, Spezify ... ). More on tags later, but for now let's understand that a tag can be useful mooring for information collected by a group.

I'm also thinking how to crowd-source our knowledge both on what we already know about using the ILC effectively with students and what we can discover.  We might consider working in teams and partnerships.  That is, in creating your own artifacts to share with one another, you might find that one person is good at putting together a wiki or a Google Doc with links, and another at finding content to populate that wiki, and someone else has a flair for graphics, and so on.  We might form teams that could work to help each other understand how the many pieces are loosely joined.

Here are some things I'm thinking about that might help, and I'll try to put flesh on these bones (in the form of links) as the day goes on:
  1. YouTube - one approach is to grab the students where they like to be.  YouTube can be useful for language learning. How can that fact be exploited? < > I'm aware that teachers have created websites with lesson plans for working with YouTube, and there's
  2. TEDTalks - There are similarly lesson plans for language learners exploiting TEDTalks; e.g.  <>
  3. GoogleDocs - This can be a very useful tool in working with large groups while  effectively and efficiently providing feedback.  One problem though is that Google seems bent on sending verification codes to mobile telephones. Let's shoot for getting students signed up with Google accounts Thursday, let them send codes to their mobiles if needed, they can get the codes over the weekend, and complete the process on Sunday, when we can have a Google Doc rollout.
  4. Curation - How many of you use - This is a great site for collecting information as you find it on the Web and displaying it for others to access. We can explore existing scoop.its and those interested can create niche sites that will collate useful ILC materials for others to explore.
  5. Games - There are interesting games that can be played with language learners in conjunction with the text-rich "cheats" or "spoilers" available on the Internet; e.g. < >, more information at . There are also web sites compiled by English teachers pointing to a wide variety of language games < >
  6. Text manipulation - There are sites that will process text that you supply to create a variety of language games (cloze, storyboards, shuffled spellings and sentences; e.g.  <>
  7. IELTS sites - There are again a lot of teachers who have put IELTS related sites on the Internet.  These sites tend to find materials that lend themselves to IELTS tasks and then make IELTS-style worksheets for them.  
    1. An interesting one that I used recently was based on a video about Amelia Earhart < >.  There are recent developments in her case that students can find from Google and report on, to augment those materials.

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