Category Archives: Technology

Flipping a teacher education course

In one of my previous posts, I wrote about Blended Learning and Flipped Classroom.  For the last two years, I have been flipping the Classroom Management course  I offer in my department (ELT).  Last year I offered the course in four sections but applied the flipped model only to one group. I collected data to measure the effectiveness of the flipped classroom against a traditionally taught classroom. Data analysis revealed better learning outcomes for students in the flipped classroom and their perceptions of the flipped classroom were quite positive (I wrote an article about this study and will share it here when it gets published- it is in the process of publication). Thus, this semester, I apply the flipped model to all groups.

Content of the Classroom Management Course was  traditionally covered by lectures. Students came to class having read the assigned chapters and they listened to the lectures usually delivered using power-point slides.  Due to the limited class time and crowded classes, not much time could be allocated for practice-based activities- which are actually must for developing classroom management skills.

Now, in the flipped model, students watch video lectures created by me and shared on Edmodo before coming to each class. All theory is covered in those video lectures. They also do an online quiz that matches the content of the video shared. Face to face classroom time is now spent carrying out practice-based interactive tasks- in pairs or groups- such as offering solutions to classroom management related problems presented in case scenarios, designing newsletters or role-playing teacher-parent meetings. This way, students have the opportunity of dealing with real classroom problems and applying their theoretical knowledge into practice.

To create videos, I used Present.me– an online service that allows users combine online presentations with audio and video streams and create links for the viewers. 

The following is the introductory video I shared with the students about their flipped course.

Here is one of my lecture videos.

I am planning to flip more courses in the coming years as I personally experience its advantages for both my teaching and students’ learning. I also recommend it to all teacher educators who are to offer theory-based courses in their departments.

I finally invite my students who are engaged in flipped learning in the Classroom Management course to share their experiences in and perceptions about it as a comment to this post.

Thank you.

 

The first publication of the new year- Podcasting

Our chapter ‘The effects of podcasting on Turkish pre-service teachers’ foreign language anxiety and attitudes towards technology’ has recently been published as a book chapter. You can view the scanned pages here.

The chapter reports the findings of a study focusing on the use of podcasts with pre-service teachers of English.

For citation, please use the following:

Atay, D. & Kurt, G. (2016). The effects of podcasting on Turkish pre-service teachers’ foreign language anxiety and attitudes towards technology. In M. Rahman (Ed.), Integrating technology and culture: Strategies and innovations in ELT (pp. 152-170). Jaipur: Yking Books.

Kahoot!

In this post, I want to introduce Kahoot!- a program to create game-like quizzes. I learned Kahoot! from one of my friends, Celile Gürsu, an instructor at Sabancı University. I have introduced it to my students in the department and they loved it.

[caption id="attachment_323" align="alignnone" width="604"]kahoot22 getkahoot.com[/caption]

First, let’s learn more about Kahoot!

As a teacher, when you want to create a game of Kahoot! you visit getkahoot.com and create your free account. When signed in, you see three different types of Kahoot! Quiz, Discussion and Survey. This video shows how to create a Kahoot!.

While creating a Kahoot! you  can add images, screenshots, and videos; set a time limit for each question to create excitement among the students; and have different answer options ranging from Yes/No to 2-3- or 4-option multiple choice questions with potential answers. You can also use Kahoots created by other people.

[caption id="attachment_321" align="alignnone" width="604"]screenshot2 An example question with four possible answers[/caption]

screen1 screen1

To play it in the class, you choose your Kahoot! and launch it. A game pin will be created. To play Kahoot! students do not need to create an account. They just go to kahoot.it using their mobile devices and enter the game pin, write a nickname and will join.

[caption id="attachment_322" align="alignnone" width="604"]kahoot11 The page used by students to enter the game pin[/caption]

When all students join, you start the game. Be ready to have a lot of fun. Here is the video showing students playing it.

In the Task-based Instruction course, we used Kahoot! as a pre-reading activity to give learners a reason to read the text. The text was about whales and had some factual information about them. Before reading, students played Kahoot! about whales and then read the text to check their answers and/or learn more about them.

In this video, we see how the teacher uses Kahoot! for review and how her students’ participation and engagement level increases. You can hear students’ own opinions about it.

In this article, you can read about alternative ways to use Kahoot! The article recommends teachers to use Kahoot! to introduce a new concept/topic; to reinforce knowledge; to encourage reflection and peer-led discussion; to connect classes globally; and to encourage learners to prepare their own Kahoots.

I hope you try Kahoot! in your class and have a lot of fun with your students!

Using technology with young learners of English- Recommendations

Please read the introductory post and the task posts about the project.

Based on my experiences on the planning and implementation processes of this project, I have the following recommendations for the teachers who would be interested in using technology in the young learners classroom:

1- It is very important to guide the students for both the task and technology use. In our project, the English teacher introduced the task in the classroom and demonstrated the use of the accompanying tool on the Whiteboard. For each task, two handouts, one in English to introduce the task and one in Turkish, to give step-by-step guidance on the use of the tool, were prepared.

2- Young learners, as digital natives, are very motivated to use technology. By creating meaningful and enjoyable tasks for them, we can benefit from their high motivation.

3- It is important to check the availability of technology for each student. During the project, some students used the teacher’s computer for the tasks requiring voice recording.  We should be ready to give such support when needed.

4- The English proficiency level of the students in the project was low. Therefore, for each task, we created a sample product. Students saw the sample before they created their own product. For the tasks requiring writing, we also provided students with some prompts to facilitate the writing process.

5- For the project, we created a blog page. Sharing students’ products is very important for such a project. As their responses in the interview revealed, students loved seeing their products on the blog and shared them with their families.

 

6- When students completed their products and when the products were uploaded on the blog, each week, the teacher spent one class hour to go over the products and give feedback. The feedback of the teacher mostly focused on meaning.

7- During the study, some students failed to complete the tasks on time. The teacher followed them very closely and contacted the parents for late and/or missing assignments.

8- At the end of the study, the students perceived an increase in their English proficiency. Their teacher had the same perception for the students’ improved language ability.

I hope this project inspires you to use technology mediated tasks in your own teaching context. Please feel free to contact me for any questions.

 

Using technology with young learners of English: Task 6- creating a story

Please read the introductory post about the project.

The final task of the project asked students to create a story using the prompts below.

Title:……………………………………………..

One day, a/an ………………………. (character 1) and a/an ……………………………… (character 2) meet ……………………. (write the setting).

(Character 1) says: “…………………………………………………”(introduces himself/herself). (Character 2) says: “………………………………….”(introduces himself/herself). (Character 1) says: “………………………………..” (He/she talks about his/her problem)

(Character 2) says: “…………………………………..” (He/she gives advice to Character 1).

In the end, …………………………………………………. (what happens at the end of the story).

To publish their stories, students used Storybird. Storybird lets users make visual stories by using the artwork available on the website. Longform or pictures books and poems can be created on the website. The students were instructed to use Longform Book format to write their stories. When ready, the students copied the embed code of their stories and e-mailed it to their teacher.  Here are some examples:



Using technology with young learners of English: Task 5- Creating a poem

Please read the introductory post about the project.

For the task, students created a “Who I am” poem for a character from their favourite story, tale or a book (for example, Cinderella, Robin Hood, or the Wolf in the Little Red Riding hood!). They used the following  prompts to write their poems.

I am …………………… (write character’s name)

I am ……………(1)., ………………(2), and ……………(3) (write three adjectives to describe your character)

I am wearing…………….. (write what the character is wearing)

I love…………………………… (write what you character loves doing/eating/saying, etc.)

I fear ……………………… (1) and ……………… (2)… (write what you character fears)

I can …………………(1) and (2) ………………. (Write what the character can do)

When their poem was ready, they searched for the picture of their character on the web and by using the Blabberize website they made their character tell the poem. Blabberize is a free website which lets you upload a photo/picture and animate its mouth to make it talk. You can record your voice up to 30 seconds. The final product can be embedded to a blog/web page. Here are some of the poems created by the students:

Using technology with young learners of English: Task 4- Describing a hero

Please read the introductory post about the project.

The fourth task asked students to create their own heroes and describe it.  To draw their heroes, students used artpad. Artpad is very similar to Paint. It lets users to draw a picture and add a text. It does not require registration and the final product can be printed or e-mailed.

Here is the hero created by one of the students:

Figure 3

 

 

Using technology with young learners of English- Task 3: Giving advice for healthy diet

Please read the introductory post about the project.

For this task, students created a comic strip and gave feedback for healthy food. To create their comics, they used the makebeliefscomix website. It is a website which lets the users create their comic strips using a range of characters with different moods. It is free and not difficult to use.

Here are some example comic strips created by the students in the project:

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Using technology with young learners of English- Task 2- Talking about daily routine.

Please see the introductory post about the project.

The second task designed for the project was about daily routines. Students were supposed to take photos of themselves showing their daily routine and create a timeline with those photos and their descriptions. To create their timeline, they used the timeline page produced by readwritethink. It is free and very easy to use.  When ready, students e-mailed their timelines to the teacher and we uploaded them on their blog.

The following is an example timeline created by one of the students. It is intentionally pixelated for privacy reasons.

Figure 4

 

Using technology with young learners of English- Task 1: Describing people

Please see the introductory post about the project.

In the first task, students chose a character (an avatar) from Voki, a free podcast creating service, and described it recording their own voices. They answered the following questions for their descriptions.

  1. What is the name of the character?
  2. What is she/he/it like? (hair colour, eyes, etc.)
  3. What is she/he/it wearing?
  4. What can she/he/it do?
  5. What does she/he/it like doing?
  6. What does she/he/it do everyday?

The handout in Turkish  (Vokikullanımı) gave step by step instruction to use Voki.  The following products were created by the students, individually, and shared on their classroom blog- which we created for this study.