Sunday, March 27, 2011

Using Technology to Assist ELL's to Acquire English

The following presentation will discuss technology to use in the classroom to assist English language learners in acquiring the English language.
Please feel free to comment using Twitter, the hashtag is #ellchat. Also, please feel free to follow the presentation at my web site, or click on the link placed in First Class, memos from staff section. This will allow you to easily assess the links during the presentation. Please feel free to ask any questions along the way!
Bitstrips is a comic maker that saves the comics on the internet, therefore students can log into their account from any computer with internet access. Students create comics and can comment on other students comics. Some ways this program can be used in a classroom include: Language: students create a comic to summarize a story that they have read. Math: students create a comic to demonstrate learning of a particular math concept. Science and Social Studies: students can create a comic to demonstrate learning. All of these can be done in English, students first language, or both.
Glogster is an on line poster maker, students posters are saved on the internet. Teachers set up a class account and monitor student activities. Students also have the ability to comment on each others Glogs as well as earn Glog points every time someone looks at their Glog. Just as in Bitstrips, students can use this to demonstrate knowledge in all areas of curriculum. The second link provides examples of Glogs that my students created this year. Glogster and Bitstrips are examples of programs that ELL students can use and fully demonstrate knowledge without the use of elaborate English skills.
Google Documents can be used in a variety of ways. I have created a class account, to eliminate the issue of lost passwords. Students can choose to demonstrate their knowledge by using presentations and pictures, just as they would with Bitstrips or Glogster. Students can also keep word documents with dual language dictionaries and pictures. Students are able to create surveys to gain a consensus on any given topic.
The great part about using Google Documents is that student work can be tracked and teachers can see how the student is editing their work. Also, students are able to work collaboratively with other students on the same work using two different computers.
Prezi is another way of doing presentations. It is like power point except it is all on one page and as you progress through the presentation the Prezi flies from one area to another. The link will give you examples of how my students used it. This can be used by ELL students to demonstrate knowledge without language, or little language, because students can show what they know through pictures and or videos.
Audacity is a program that records onto a computer. This is a great program for students to listen to themselves to hear how they are speaking and attempt to change any errors that they are making. Students can create an auditory dual language book from any book that they have.
Windows Movie Maker is a program where students can create movies with pictures and voice. If students are shy to talk in front of the class this is a great tool for them to do presentations on because they can either video tape themselves doing the presentation or they can record themselves talking and import pictures to go along with what they are saying. It is very easy to edit, so if students make auditory errors that they want to fix it is simple.
This is a wonderful site where the finished product looks very professional and this is a motivator for students. Students write a story and then they choose pictures to go along with the story to make a finished product. Just like with Bitstrips and Glogster, students are able to comment on each others stories. With this program, students are able to create stories in their first language or they could create dual language stories for others to read. Students could also read their stories to younger grades, which provides great practice in speaking English for them. This year the makers of this site have made it easier for teachers and have created an area to create a class.
Blogging is a great way to get students to write. They can write about what ever they want or they can be given assignments to write about. I am currently using kidblog because it is simple and students are able to comment on each others blog. An important feature about this site is that the comments are teacher moderated, if the teacher does not like a comment then it is not approved. When students know that other people, besides the teacher, are reading about their thoughts, they are more motivated to write and expand on their thoughts.
Google has a translator, once you have signed in, click on more then translate.
I have found that Google Chrome is an even better translator tool. This needs to be downloaded, then an icon will appear next to the URL. When this icon is clicked you will have the choice of languages that you can translate entire web pages and sites into this language. Once a page is translated, you can scroll over words and phrases and the English words appear.
This is a product that is not free but I think it is invaluable when working with ELL students. Here are two videos to show how my students use this pen to practice their English skills. The first video demonstrates a student practicing common English words and phrases and the second video is an example of a student using the Livescribe pen with Nelson Literacy.
Please take a moment to click on the link and you will find how I have used this pen with my ELL students. If you click on the top of the page, "Live Learning with Livescribe" you will find many other ways to use this pen.
Technology helps students and especially ELL students in learning English. It is engaging and contains advantages that help put ELL students on the same level as non ELL students.
I think that the other very important aspect of technology for ELL students is that it teaches problem solving skills. If a student does not know how to use a program, they must figure it out or collaborate with another student to solve the problem.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Livescribe and Social Studies

The following are two Livescribe notes that were done by me to assist students to understand United Nations and NAFTA. The notes were uploaded to our class web site where students can have access to this information at all times for review and to assist them with the final assessment in Social Studies.
brought to you by Livescribe

United Nations
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Have paper and markers become a novelty?

I assigned my grade 6 class a science project to research and make a presentation on energy sources. I allowed students to make any type of presentation that they wanted. For example, they could use any computer program such as Glogster, Prezi, Bitstrips or Powerpoint. If they did not want to use a computer program they could also choose to make a poster or a pamphlet using paper. To my surprise over half the students choose to make a poster using paper! Interestingly most of the girls choose to make posters on paper, whereas most boys choose to make a presentation using the computer. Differentiated learning at its best! This made me wonder, in our age of computers has paper and markers become a novelty?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Professional Development: Relevant or Not

I just finished tweeting in the #edchat tonight on “What are the roadblocks stopping teachers & administrators from engaging in PD?”
There were lots of opinions on what quality PD looks like, but everyone seemed to agree that teachers should be in control of some of their PD opportunities.
PD should be relevant to what teachers are doing in their classroom, not just some random lesson that has no real point. As teachers we attempt to make our lessons engaging for students, PD also needs to be engaging. To me, engaging PD would include teachers being able to “talk” about the issues or topic, whether this be verbal or tech talking. I also think that schools should use their teachers to provide PD rather then obtaining outside sources to present to a staff. Teachers engage in PD everyday. Talking to each other to problem solve situations in their classroom and to share great lessons and student success. Real life, relevant PD is the most beneficial PD for me and my students!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Twitter & #edchat

Last night I participated in #edchat on Twitter. The topic of discussion was Participatory Learning. At first I was not clear as to what this meant. However the great thing about Twitter is that when you ask a question, many people respond with an answer and a link! From my understanding, Participatory Learning occurs when students are given options in demonstrating their knowledge. I have participated in #edchat previously, however, last nights chat seemed to go at lightning speed! People were very eager to participate and share how they are using Participatory Learning in their classrooms with specific examples. I made some new Twitter connections with people from across the globe. After the chat I was so full of new ideas and contemplating ways to implement them into my class, I was up really late! I am so happy that a teacher friend introduced me to Twitter, it has opened my professional world to endless possibilities!