Tuesday, May 8, 2012

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

     I will use Real English website with my students in intermediate school to help them in developing their English language depending on real life situations, which they really need in their daily lives communication. Therefore, to improve this skill they need to watch and listen to these situations and Real English website provide these videos to us to use it effectively with our students.

First, I will use the videos in this website to improve their communication skills. They will watch these videos, discuss it together, clarify any ambiguity in these videos, and then start practice as the same way and after that we will make our additions to these conversations and our own situations as we face them in the real life. By making these activities, they will gain new vocabulary and identify new grammar structures. They will be able to use the language through these conversations.

I will share some games and activities provided in the website and I can make some changes that make them suitable with my students’ level. In addition, I can recommend this web site to my students to get the benefit from it in their free time and listen to the videos more than one time because listening is one of the most important skills to learn any language.

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.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants by Marc Prensky

     I consider myself as digital native student because I use technology in my life daily and everywhere and I think I can not live without it. According to Marc Prensky, he defines digital native as people who grow up with all these new technology and their lives surrounded by these tools. On the other hand, he defines digital immigrants as people who they deal with technology in late stage in their lives; also, they do not accept the idea of doing perfect work by using these tools.

Mark shows some differences between digital immigrant teachers and digital native learners. Digital immigrants teachers always use teaching of step-by-step role and do not believe that students can do their work while they playing games or listening to music. On the other hand, digital native student work very fast, they can do their serious work while they listening to music or watching TV and they are amazing multi-tasks students.

Then, Mark defines new term, which is digital immigrant accent. He refers to the people who still have an impact from the past ,in other words they still have foot in the past and there are a lot of examples for those people like who call his friend to ask him if he receive the email or not or bringing people to your office in order to show the a website instead of send them the URL.

Prensky’s point of view about the biggest serious problem facing education today is that the digital immigrant teachers are struggling to teach the students who are native in technology and deal with effectively.

 In addition, he discussed whether the Digital Natives learn the old way, or should their Digital Immigrants learn the new! Therefore, he suggests two ways, which are methodology and content.
First, methodology. Teachers have to learn to communicate in the language and style of their students, and he meant by that not changing the idea itself, but going fast as the students and tries to be at the same level in multi-task ways.
Second, content. It has two kinds of content: “Legacy” content (to borrow the computer term for old systems) and “Future” content.
1- Legacy content is about the old and traditional curriculum and how some of these tradition contents will continue with us in the future to be important and how others will be less.
2- Future content, is to a large extent includes software, hardware, robotics, nanotechnology, genomics, etc. it also includes the ethics, politics, sociology, languages and other things that go with them. It is more interesting to student and it is more developed than the older ones.

 To reach this level of improvement to digital immigrant teachers, we need to invent Digital Native methodologies for all subjects, at all levels and using their students to guide them.

 To reach this level of improvement to digital immigrant teachers, we need to invent Digital Native methodologies for all subjects, at all levels and using their students to guide them.

Friday, March 2, 2012

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

As the technology has a huge part in our lives, then we have to develop our methods of teaching by using these great effective ways. First, I have to be sure that all my students know how to use them and creating accounts on each of them. Then, I will start using them in improving reading skill to my EFL students.

By using Blogger, Delicious and Wiki, I can improve my students’ level in reading. I will use Blogger to post different interesting topics to them and they have to read and reflect on these posts, this will show me how they understand what they read and got the idea behind it. Systematically their reading skill will develop since I will gradually move from simple posts to difficult ones.

Delicious will play an important part in our learning, because all the links we need that related to reading skill will added on Delicious account and all the students will share it together. It will be like a file for our course, which we find all the sources we deal with in our Delicious.

Finally, the result and effort of our works together as a class will be on Wiki. All our creative works will add on Wiki. I will make competitions between students to the most effective reflection about any reading text, they can work as pairs and they should use PowerPoint in order to give their reflection. Therefore, Wiki helps us in cooperative work a lot.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Application of Bax Normalisation 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 the article of Stephan Bax we found that he discussed the development of the CALL through the past, present and future. Also, we found the three phases of CALL (Computer Assisted Learning Language) which divided previously by Mark Warschauer.
These phases are Behavioristic, communicative and integrative These phases were the basic points that Bax used in his argument to answer the three main questions which are  where has CALL been?, where is CALL now? And where is CALL going? And he explain the goal of CALL through his theory of normalization which means any kind of technological innovation and refers to the stage when the technology becomes invisible, embedded in everyday practice and hence ‘normalized'.
Then, he focused on the important of using the technology in learning language and how to work on it to become a part of our daily lives which he called
'normalized' and he gave examples like pens and books which considered as a part of technology and we use it in our education ,but we hardly even recognize them as technologies because they simply have become normalized.
Bax said that CALL will reach that stage of normalization when computers are used every day in our classrooms of learning language by students and teachers.
In Saudi Arabia, I think we still use the traditional way of teaching especially in schools while in universities the use of technology is more and better.
Another thing, if we going to start using technology in our education we need to train the teachers to use these effectively with their students also increase the awareness of teachers and parents about how much technology will improve and help our students in learning especially parents because most of the time they become a barrier against this. Along with this is providing the proper equipments that encourage the teachers and students to use it.  
This does not mean by using technology we have to ignore the traditional way. It is the basic of learning but the using of technology is the basic of improvement and to reach better level of learning.
I'm sure this will be gradually a part of our education and we should remember that nothing is impossible but, we have to work on it as a community.