DigiTools: Week 4 ….. Bring Life into Your Classes by TalkTools

 
Week 4 reminds me with a research that I did in my Special Diploma 8 years ago. Our professor asked us to find a problem that our students face while learning the English language as a foreign language. That time, I was a novice teacher for just a year. This means that I have no any expertise with students and the difficulties that may face in their learning process. Thus, I decided to meet those students and talk about their experiences and learning problems. One of the most difficult skills that most of my students talked about is “HOW TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES IN ENGLISH FLUENTLY“. 
 
I never forget one of my students’ words, “I want to express my ideas and feelings freely, but what If I made a mistake, what if I didn’t  find the word that I need, what if my colleagues laughed at me, what if you didn’t say well done …… “.  Then, I felt that the problem is not my students’ way to learn, but my way of teaching. I’m the only blamed person because I couldn’t break the ice between my students and the Giant Fear of Speaking. From that time, I began to create a safe environment where students can convey their thoughts and emotions more easily. This is what makes week 4 important for me because it provides me with a variety of tools that help my students to speak and forget about the barrier between their tongues and words. 
 
Objectives of Week 4:
 
During this week, participants will:
  • explore online tools to enhance learners’ speaking skills
  • have a hands-on activity to learn how to use the tool of their choice
  • share their findings with their peers

 

Task 1: Learning about Speaking Tools
 
In this task, we were asked  to watch a video created by Ana to know more about speaking tools that we can use with our students. She differentiated between two kinds of tools: Synchronous and Asynchronous. Here is the video:


 
 
According to our moderators, there are a lot of Synchronous and Asynchronous tools. Here are two lists of them:
 
ASYNCHRONOUS TOOLS:
 
http://mailvu.com/ (video mail) 
http://www.keek.com/ (post your status in video) 
http://screenr.com (create screencasts) 
 
SYNCHRONOUS TOOLS:
 
http://wiziq.com (platform for online classes) 
http://www.socialhangouts.me/ (online video chat) 
http://trendtok.opentok.com/ (twitter video chat) 
http://www.slideshare.net/zipcast (turn a slideshare pres. into a webinar) 
http://www.hoot.me/ (study with a facebook contact)   
 
 
Task 2: Video Interview

 

We were asked to use http://recordr.tv, a site which allows us to record videos with our webcams or with our microphones only. The task is to listen to Ana’s 2 questions (Why did you choose to be a teacher? & What do you like most about being a teacher?), then answer them using the same website. Really, I feel so sad because I couldn’t use it at all. I tried it out many times, but  there was an error message that appeared after clicking “upload”. So, I used another tool that allows us to record our voice and capture the screen at the same time. It is www.screenr.com. Here is my screencast.
 
 
Task 3: A Video Questionnaire

 

 
intervue.me allows you to create questionnaires and then have students leave video replies. In task 3, we were asked to use this tool to record a video reply answering the question of Ana (How do you celebrate Christmas with your family?). I created an account and created my questionnaire that included just one question “Which tools do you like most in our DigiTools e-course?”. However, it didn’t work well when I wanted to record a video reply to Ana’s question. Again and again, I selected another tool that I regularly used with my students. It is audacity; an audio editor for recording, slicing, and mixing audio.
 
Task 4: Draw your Family
 
Two new tools were provided to complete task 4. One of them is Sketchcast that  allows us to record our voices while we draw on a virtual white board. Another alternative is Educreations. It is a site where you can create and share great video lessons with your iPad or browser. I tried Sketchcast, but it didn’t work well. I think that there are some missing programs or updates in my laptop. Then, I tried Educreations. Really, it so fantastic and easy to use. Sometimes, I like to play with colors, voices and pictures like my students. That’s why I’m so close to their hearts. In 5 minutes, I created my video lesson describing my family. I think that my students will like this tool so much as they like drawing and hearing their voices.
 
This is not the end of week 4, there are a lot of tools that I have to explore before choosing one or two to create my lesson plan. I know that this will take more time, but I enjoy time with these treasures.
 
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