Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How would I use Real English website with 1st grade students-intermediate school in Yanbu

As an English language teacher using website like Real English would be a very amazing opportunity to improve my intermediate class students in their communication and pronunciation.

It has many video that are easy to digest. Hopefully they will not face any difficulties in understanding the conversations in the videos.

For example, we have a lesson that talks about nationalities and its very great. The words used are simple and plain. The graphics are good addition for students to know where some countries are in a map. They will also know the difference between talking about your nationality and your country.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Website Evaluation

  We have choose a website for ESL and EFL learners as High School students. The website we have chosen is www.manythings.org . In general the website was great it involved all the skills that each learner need it in order to learn new language. In addition, each skill has a clear picture to the learner. So, if we want to talk about the usability and accessibility we can say that was easy to access and from the homepage you can know what this site offer for you, but there was one negative point about the homepage which is the design, it was not interesting enough to attract the learner to go in deeply. Another thing to evaluate was the text; it was excellent the size, style, colors and organization of the links were easy to the reader and well organized. Also, the graphics were matching the themes and the exercises of each skill, which will play an important role in helping the learner to understand. One more thing about the website was the links. They were organized it a way that made it easy to move from page to page and the titles were clear because under each topic you would find subtitles that will help narrowing your search. All these points were objective criterion, but if want to talk about the subjective criteria, we will evaluate how well was the website for the students. For their level in English, the site is excellent for them because it used clear and easy words in the texts and instructions and culturally was appropriate. In addition, the contents were interesting like what we found in reading section. They chose interesting topics and stories. These contents will help a lot in our curriculum and lessons. As a result, we found that the website was beneficial, interesting, and easy to our students and they can use it alone without help of the teacher, moreover, it covers all the skills we need.

   Another website is http://www.usingenglish.com. The website is presented to be helpful for learners and the teachers. It covers grammar and gives references to irregular verbs, phrasal verbs, idioms, and provide useful links and information. The website is simple and neatly categorized. They have lots of links to quizzes and they divided it to, beginner, and intermediate learners. The words used are easy to understand and will not be a major problem to learners. The down side of this website are the overall design, usability, and the presentation of the information. The overall design isn’t welcoming and will not attract students. If they see the site for the first time they will be intimidated to browse it and get information from it. The usability in the website is very poor. its not that easy for a beginner to understand what he/she should do when he start going through the pages. The presentation of the information also needs improvement cause not all learners will get the information by simplifying the grammar as they did. They need to further the explanation of grammar with more examples to make learners understand better. With all that, we concluded that the site will not be very helpful for intermediate level rather it will benefit teachers more.

Friday, March 2, 2012

How would I use blogs, wikis and delicious with my EFL students?

Blogs are very amazing in exploring people's opinion and how they view things generally.
So, for my students I would highly recommend them to use it. I would give them some of the home-works to post it in their blogs which will be an open answer type of questions just so they will feel more confident and free in using the English language and their opinion.  
Wiki, Oh wiki, I have a bad experience with this site and I don't really think its something our students in KSA are ready for it. But I have to say that it has some benefits. For example, I can give my students an online quiz so I could evaluate their progress. this is something for sure I would love to do in order to keep up with the class and not to leave anyone behind.
Delicious would be an AMAZING site. I would post them with good materials that are available online. direct them to video links that will help them in understanding some lessons. They will also be invited to share links that they might help their fellows in the class. Delicious will definitely be a helping tool outside the classroom to expose students to the language. 

A reflection to Mr.Prensky's article about Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants

Mr. Prensky defined in his article who are the digital natives and digital immigrants.

He referred to the new generation of students as " native speakers of the digital language of the computers, video games and the internet". Where as digital immigrants are those who got attracted to the digital world at a later stage of their life.

A Digital Immigrant teacher believe that their students can not learn efficiently while they listen to music or watch a TV. this is only because the immigrant teacher is incapable of multitasking the way the student do.

Another thing about the Digital Immigrant teacher. They think students are the same as before, means they think that what has worked on them when they were students is still effective in their students now. 

Also, Digital Immigrant teacher will never be able to compete with his Digital Native students because as we know when you are born and raised with a new thing it becomes a part of you and your identity not like when it comes to you after you grow up with a different system.

A Digital Native students are little impatient to the old traditional methods of teaching all because they are used to the fast flow of information on TV channels, internet, e-books, and mobile phones etc. They are also very good at multitasking. They like games more than real work.

There is a new term mentioned in the article which is " Digital immigrant accent". It means the way a person try adapting to the new environment "new technology" but still fails to fully acquire this accent. For example, instead of looking for information on the internet, they go the old style and look for the information in books first. Another example would be calling your friend to make sure they received your link and its working. The last example is making your friends come to your office to see a new video or a picture when you can simply send it to their emails.

Mr. Prensky says that there is a very serious and big problem educators should be aware of which is " our Digital Immigrant instructors, who speak an outdated language (that of the pre-digital age), are struggling to teach a population that speaks an entirely new language."

Its almost impossible for teachers to make their students learn in the traditional and old fashion way. We have to look at it the same way we look at the natives of a country or a culture and the immigrants. Those students are Natives of a new area " technology " it will be hard for them to shift their ways of thinking to suit our comfort. They " the students" crated a new way for them to learn things and as teachers we have to figure out how to attract their attention and make them interested in the class.

If digital immigrant teachers want to reach their students, teachers have to change, change their method of teaching to suit their students. They have to be creative about it and at the end they will successes.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Application of Bax Normilasation in Saudi Arabia: The how!

Stephan Bax argues that, "Our aim should be to attain a state of `normalization' in which the technology is invisible and truly integrated"

In order to know what Bax suggested and proposed to reach normalization, we need to have a brief understanding of what is CALL and what are the phases of CALL.
  •   What is CALL ?
    Computer-assisted language learning or (CALL) is any process in which a learner uses a computer and, as a result, improves his or her language (Beatty, 2003, p. 7).

  • What are the phases of CALL ?
    there are three distinct phases which are referred to as behavioristic CALL, communicative CALL, and integrative CALL. (Warschauer,1996, p. 1)
    • Behavioristic CALL (1960s to 1970s), consisted of drill-and-practice materials in which the computer presented a stimulus and the learner provided a response
    • Communicative CALL, is based on the communicative approach where the focus is on using the language rather than analysis of the language.
    • Integrative CALL, starting from the 1990s, tried to address criticisms of the communicative approach by integrating the teaching of language skills into tasks or projects to provide direction and coherence. It also coincided with the development of multimedia technology (providing text, graphics, sound and animation) as well as Computer-mediated communication (CMC).

Now we have these idea on mind, we'll get to know what is normalization? 
Normalization is the stage when a technology is invisible, hardly even recognized as a technology, taken for granted in everyday life. (Bax, 2002, p. 11)

Bax suggested we will achieve normalization when it reaches the state when computers are used every day by language students and teachers as an integral part of every lesson, like a pen or a book. He also suggested that to achieve normalization we have to identify what are the criteria we need to reach normalization. Second step is to evaluate what each teaching context need for its practices according to the criteria we'd identify in the first step. The last step is to try our best to adjust what we use now in teaching so we encourage normalization.

To apply this in Saudi Arabia we need to know that CALL is not that much of a use in our schools so we need many things for a start to apply CALL in our schools. I could summarize how we could do this into (1) things the ministry of Education ( or the regional administrative) can do, and (2) things the teachers can do.

Encouragement and help from the ministry of education is very needed. Have access to technology and providing it for each school will benefit everyone "the ministry, the teacher, and the students".  The help is not only by giving rewards for teachers who success in using CALL in their classes but also to help in providing all the materials teachers might need to help them. Giving seminars and workshops to help teacher to have easier time using technology is needed.

Teachers too can help in making CALL a dream coming true for her and her students by gaining more knowledge of what is the latest techs and sites that might help her or her students. Helping her colleagues to use CALL in their classes