vendredi 2 avril 2010

Using videos in the classroom - My first article

Teaching English as a second language , nowadays , is facing a lot of changes which are imposed, either directly or indirectly by the current needs of the digital era .It’s more than true that we are living in an age that is controlled in all its aspects digitally. No matter how proficient is the teacher in this domain , everyone of us feels the urgent need to accommodate oneself to one’s learners’ needs and adapt one’s teaching to the prevailing scene .Rarely do we see a learner at whatever age not carrying or using one of the technical facilities ( i-pod , mobile phone , CD player , PC , …)
It is inescapable to all of us as teachers or as learners. So why don’t we take advantage from the learners’ changing needs in order to make them more engaged , more motivated ?
In this article , I would like to share with you one of the wonderful experiences that boosted my teaching impetus .I know that this is not a new experience to many of us ,but it is sharing experiences with each other , and at least for those who are afraid of using technology inside their classrooms , I want to tell them not to feel so .To be clear , I downloaded some useful videos for our learners and which go hand in hand with the official program , and I used one of the videos ( about family matters , with first forms ) as a tool to set the stage for the lesson , to brainstorm ideas and to discuss the matter (a teenager who was invited by her friend to go out and what was the reaction of her parents and the three possible alternatives to the teenager’s behavior ). What astonished me is that I did not expect such an important rate of engagement from approximately all learners and what added extreme pleasure to the lesson were their instant, spontaneous responses. I was amazed at the quick, positive responses of my learners even those who were never engaged in whatsoever lesson or activity. First , all were interested to sit conveniently to watch the video clip ( though it was in black and white ) but the presence of this visual aid( using the laptop to show video clips ) inside the classroom was to a large extent motivating to the learners .Then they were totally engaged in the listening / watching . I have never seen such an engagement from the most uninterested pupil, who was usually sitting at the corner of the classroom. After watching the video clip once, most of them, unconsciously and naturally speaking, rushed in with comments. For those who found linguistic difficulties, asked to replay the video again, then a fruitful discussion started. It was a lovely experience and I’m convinced that teaching from now on , should be based on visual aids ( slides / video clips / short films / comics / cartoons ,…) brought to the learners in order to enhance learning the language .I felt a great joy myself and not to hide anything from you , I was as engaged as them . And towards the end of the lesson, many of the pupils suggested to re-view the video. Their eyes were the mirror of their joy and utter engagement. After this lovely experience with my learners, I knew how far is it in our hands as teachers, as facilitators of the learning process to engage our learners in the lessons and to take advantage of this technological era in favor of our career of teaching. That was a touching experience and I really felt very touched because my learners taught me a good lesson and all their positive reactions were as if they were telling me: “As much as you engage us, we will be as active as you want us to be!” Even after some sessions, the vocabulary learnt in that lesson was never forgotten and they made proof of strong memory, they remembered the structure used only by pointing to them the instance in the video clip.
After living this wonderful experience, I am more convinced that the present era is offering to us many facilities to make not only learning easier for our learners but also paving the way for a smooth teaching. We, in fact, are facing new challenges, it is not the scarcity of the materials that we are complaining about, it is rather the fact that we are submerged by the vast amount of information and useful resources to our teaching. What is crucial for all of us is managing our time to better choose the appropriate teaching tools.
In the end of this article, I’d like to express my deepest regards and gratitude to all the staff of this e-magazine for their great effort and untiring pursuit to better inform and engage teachers in the teaching/learning process. In fact , we are better engaged in our concerns as teachers thanks to their constant efforts to engage us .Please let me express my deepest regards to Mr. Mohamed Salah Abidi for his great efforts to help us , and continuous encouragement . Last but not least ,Many thanks for our respectful I.C.T. trainer : Hadji Abdelmalek ,for his unremitting help to find proper ways to explore the audio-visual materials inside the classroom .Furthermore , he did not save any effort to help us concretize ideas into the classroom .Well , I hope I convinced some of the reluctant teachers to use technology inside their classrooms . The first step is the most difficult one but if one tries, one shall get used to it and even not satisfied to teach otherwise.
Mrs.Romdhani Faten
Teacher of English in Nabel area (Hammam Ghezaz )
I have been teaching for 10 years now, I taught 4 years in Sidi Bouzid and I always feel nostalgic to the friendly people, colleagues, and learners there.

samedi 9 janvier 2010

What should we konw about Smart Boards ? This is an interesting article which clarifies this device for us ; its description , its uses ( check link for more information in the same field


Interactive Whiteboards are phenomenal tools. Don't know what an interactive whiteboard is? Perhaps you've heard of some of their brand names - SMART Board, ActivBoard, eBeam, Mimio, and Webster are some of the most widely used at this time.
"Interactive whiteboards are used in many schools as replacements for traditional whiteboards or flipcharts. They provide ways to show students any thing which can be presented on a computer's desktop (educational software, web sites, and others). In addition, interactive whiteboards allow teachers to record their instruction and post the material for review by students at a later time. This can be a very effective instructional strategy for students who benefit from repetition, who need to see the material presented again, for students who are absent from school, for struggling learners, and for review for examinations. Brief instructional blocks can be recorded for review by students—they will see the exact presentation that occurred in the classroom with the teacher's audio input. This can help transform learning and instruction." (Wikipedia 8/07)
These are some resources for interactive whiteboards. Some are specific to a certain brand, but the ideas can still be used on most of them. We aren't specifically recommending a certain brand. Some teachers of the deaf like the SMART Board because they don't have to use a digital pen to write on the board, hindering their signing. Some of the more portable systems like the Mimio and the eBeam are good for more transient classrooms. The ActivBoard has a lot of built-in templates and resources; but there are probably more online resources for the SMART Board (at this time).
Ways to use Interactive Whiteboards in the Classroom (from the Instructional Technology Department of the Wichita Public Schools):

  • Save lessons to present to students who were absent
  • Create video files to teach a software application, a lesson, or as a review to be posted to the server or web. Example- How to create a graph in Excel or hoe to burn a projects to cds
  • Use the built in maps to teach continents, oceans, countries, or states and capitals.
  • Present presentations created by student or teacher
  • Have students create e-folios including samples of their work and narration
  • Digital storytelling
  • Teach whole group computer or keyboarding skills
  • Brainstorming
  • Take notes directly into PowerPoint presentations
  • Reinforce skills by using on-line interactive web sites
  • Creating a project calendar
  • Teach editing skills using editing marks
  • Use in the 6 trait writing process
  • Use highlighter tool to highlight nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.
  • Use it with Kidspiration or Inspiration
  • Teaching students how to navigate the Internet
  • Illustrate and write a book as a class. Use the record feature to narrate the text.
  • Use the Interwrite software to create lessons in advance at home or at school. Then save them for future use or to be shared with other teachers
  • Diagramming activities
  • Teaching steps to a math problem.
  • Have students share projects during Parent/Teacher/Student conferences
  • Graphics and charts with ESL learners and special ed students.
  • Teaching vocabulary
  • Electronic Word Wall
  • End each day by having students write one thing that they learned