ELS CONFERENCE
January 21st, 2005

CUTTING EDGE TOOLS IN THE ESL/EFL CLASSROOM

This multiple venue presentation was held in LearningTimes using the Elluminate virtual classroom. LearningTimes is a free community open to all educators. All LearningTimes members are able to use the Elluminate virtual classroom tool inside the community free of charge.

DIGITAL STORYTELLING

Microsoft Photo Story Sample

http://users.chariot.net.au/~michaelc/els/mystory_sample.wmv

This short movie illustrates how a narration can be inserted over series of photographs, and is ideal for students to tell their own stories. No reading and writing skills are required. This makes this tool ideal for those with low levels of literacy.

Photo Story can be downloaded free from http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/photostory/default.mspx

Microsoft Movie Maker Sample

http://users.chariot.net.au/~michaelc/els/movie_maker_sample.wmv

Similar to the above, but with the addition of a webcam. Movie Maker comes free with Windows XP.

Using Powerpoint and Impatica

This presentatiion details the process followed with students in creating the final product, and the charming end result. Kindly created and shared by Christine Bauer-Ramazani. It's HERE.

Using a VIRTUAL CLASSROOM: Dafne Gonzalez' Pages

An example of how Dafne uses virtual classroom tools to complement her Research Methods course at the Universidad Simon Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela, can be seen at
http://dafnegonzalez.com/res-meth/guests.html

Examples of using virtual classroom tools for oral presentations. This type of oral presentation allows students to report to an international audience.
http://80.60.224.77/dyg/id3126-04/content/final-pres.html

BLOGGING

Barbara Dieu's (Bee) Page

Samples of how Bee has used blogs with high school students in Brazil: http://beeonline.blogspot.com/2003_05_01_beeonline_archive.html

My Blog: http://mikecogh.blogspot.com/

Here you can see examples of:

  • how student writing, together with teacher feedback, can be housed in one location.
  • audio blogging using instant audio - http://instantaudio.com/
  • audio-visual blogs using Userplane

Buzznet photo blogging

Blogger - a place to go to start blogging: http://www.blogger.com/start

 

VOICE EMAIL

Handybits
Example
http://www.malhatlantica.pt/teresadeca/school/fun-with-english5.htm (from Teresa Almeida)

iVocalize Voice Mail

(iVocalize no longer provide a voice email tool but I'm leaving this here for the historical record!)

Available from http://www.ivocalize.com/ivemail.htm An excellent FREE tool. The only catch is that you have to agree to sign up for their newsletter, which is infrequent. In any event, iVocalize (also known as Talking Communities) make great software. Their virtual classroom is one of the better ones and very affordable.

Springdoo (Voice and Video Mail)

Interestingly, another company, the New Zealand based Springdoo has decided to cease marketing and promoting their voice email software because there is not a significant market for it. However, you can still use Springdoo's free web-based service as plain voice email, or to send a video message.

Vemail is another voice email tool that allows a free trial.

VOICE DISCUSSION BOARDS

Wimba Voice Board - designed for oral, asynchronous discussions. See the board at http://tinyurl.com/5qsc2 created for this presentation. This board will be facilitated until April, 2005.

Vaestro

See an example of Vaestro in action - discussions on architecture wth Dafne Gonzalez's students.

Chinswing

One of the more recent additions to this family of voice tools is Chinswing. (And when I had troubles getting Chinswing to function properly the support provided was fantastic!)

MyChingo (soon to be Mobatalk - early in 07)

This tool is a little different from other voice discussion boards. It doesn't necessarily have to be used as a topic discussion tool. It can house a series of disconnected postings - useful for course introductions perhaps - or if embedded in a page where the context and instructons were clear could be used for multiple postings on a single topic. I have dropped it in my blog. See it in use with students here.

Gong

If you are a fan of open source, and you have the skills to technically cinfigure software you may be interested in the Gong Project

OTHER TOOLS

Quandary: http://www.halfbakedsoftware.com/quandary.php

From the creators of Hot Potatoes, Half-Baked Software, this tool allows a teacher to create mazes with multiple paths through a series of activities. They can be created so that users have to get correct answers to a series of questions to reach the end of the maze. I found the example at http://www.halfbakedsoftware.com/quandary/version_1/examples/firstaid.htm to be particularly effective in reinforcing the retention of basic information via 'drill and practice'!

Zoomerang Survey Tool

Sample Survey created with Zoomerang at http://tinyurl.com/6p7jx

An example of how survey results appear: http://users.chariot.net.au/~michaelc/natvoice/eval.htm

Amplify

It's hard to describe what this tool does. From the Amplify website: "Amplify empowers you to clip and collect content from different sites you visit into your own Web collages. " It effectively allows you to collect bits of websites and reorganise them into one page - a new webpage in effect - called an Amp.

I'm not sure how I might use this tool but check it out and see what you think. A rough and ready example is HERE

Better examples are:

Google

Every year, indeed every month, Google publishes a list of the most poplular searches in several countries around the planet. It can be found at http://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist2004.html I'm sure the information presented in the search summaries for various countries would make excellent discussion starters. Google also features a range of language tools at http://www.google.com.au/language_tools?hl=en (translation tools - can be useful for short phrases; and tools that enable users to use Google in approximately 100 languages.)

Randall's ESL Listening Lab at http://www.esl-lab.com/ is an oldie but a goodie. Chock a block with listening exercises in a range of contexts in all levels.

URL of this presentation
http://users.chariot.net.au/~michaelc/els/pres.htm


 

Michael Coghlan
Jan 21, 2005
(updated 26/1/07)