TESOL 2013 Highlights – Day 3 – Part 4 (Electronic Village)

Integrating Google My Maps and Language Learning: The collaborative creation of virtual tour guides by Brazilian students. I sometimes wish there were two TESOL conventions, one for academic sessions and one for workshops in the Electronic Village. There simply isn’t enough time to visit every presentation you want to hear. I had hoped to spend more time in the EV, but I found only one morning in my busy schedule to devote to this room, which is like a smorgasbord of ideas for using technology. I wasn’t disappointed, though.

First, I heard from Marcos Racilan from the Federal Center of Technological Education of Minas Gerais. Marcos works with high school students, and he shared samples of group projects using Google My Maps. His students were beginners, and the two-month project he led was designed to be meaningful, use authentic materials, promote autonomy, and engage students in collaborative work. Google My Maps allowed students to plan and present virtual tours. They chose their destinations, set their own budgets and itineraries, and made use of images, texts, audio, and video. Imagine each destination point being marked on the map and accompanied by a description with rich media both selected and created by the students. This one sample will help you consider your options if you would like to design a similar project.

Re-Animating Pronunciation Using PowerPoint. After hearing about the Google My Maps project, I headed over to another station being run by June Rose of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. June was demonstrating an effective use of PowerPoint to improve both vocabulary and pronunciation. She explained how her activities were designed to apply MI (multiple intelligences) theory and allow for a greater variety of ways for students to learn and demonstrate their learning.

Basically, June’s project had students create customized slide presentations to practice problematic sounds at the word and sentence level. The files served as an electronic progress record, which the teacher could use to assess individual student performance and which the learner could use for future reference and practice. June reported the high gains in confidence she observed in her learners.

The project begins with an assessment of the learner’s pronunciation problems. Two individual sounds per students are identified, and the students confirm the choices for targeted instruction. Students are directed to resources, like Rhymer.com, and they are asked to create a set of PPT slides for each sound. Each sound should be practiced via 30 words (three charts with 10 words for initial, medial, and final positions). Students must also create 30 sentences with those words. The word lists and learner-generated sentences are recorded. Both the learner and the teacher assess the recordings and follow-up instruction is offered. That includes attention to suprasegmentals. The teacher encourages self-monitoring through additional recordings. It was truly wonderful to hear the progression and the increase in accuracy in the samples June played for us.

A heartfelt thank you to Marcos and June for sharing their creative ideas!

I look forward to TESOL 2014 and all that we can learn.


11 Comments Add yours

  1. lilianamilagrossc says:

    Hello Jennifer: Thank very much for sharing those wonderful ideas!:)

  2. Donata Scattarella says:

    Io sono una principiante, se mi mandate scritto tutto in inglese, non capisco, se volete che io capisca qualcosa provate a spiegarmelo in italiano. Di che cosa si tratta? Perché mi mandate tutte queste cose? Distinti Saluti

    Inviato da iPad

    1. Hello! Welcome to my blog for English language teachers. Perhaps you would find my website for language learners more useful?

      Kind regards!

  3. Stephanie Harm says:

    Hi! I often refer my students to your videos via Youtube. I teach an advanced writing class and am about to create a course packet. Would it be permissible for me to list links in my packet to particular videos for students to view? I teach for a community college.

    Thank you for your consideration!

    1. Hello Stephanie,

      By all means, please make use of my videos. I am glad they can supplement your course.

      By the way, this small, but growing series might be a good review for some of your students.

      Also, this month I will start a YouTube series on punctuation for intermediate to advanced learners. Though I will focus on the sentence level, the series might also be a good review for your students.

      Kind regards,

  4. nliakos says:

    Hi Jennifer (sorry we did not get to chat at TESOL),
    I am excited about your new Improve Your Writing series and just listened to the first one, which happens to cover all of what I taught my class this very morning! But I think you make a mistake when you define a complex sentence as one which has only 1 dependent clause and one or more independent clauses. It should be “at least one dependent clause and no more than one independent clause.” Take, for example, “As soon as I found out about your new series, I checked it out because I love your work.” Complex, right? 2 dep. clauses + 1 indep. clause. And then: I found out about your new series today, so I checked it out because I love your work.” Compound-complex, right? 2 indep. and 1 dep. I find there is no # limit on how many dependent clauses a complex sentence can have, but as soon as you have more than one independent clause, you have a compound sentence.

    1. Hi Nina,

      Yes, yes. You are right. I should have flipped the two (dependent and independent). I will fix that slide with the definition. So glad to have someone catch that now before too much more time goes by. Thank you.

      Best wishes, Jennifer


  5. Hello, Jennifer.

    Having you with us that day was great! Thank you very much.
    I always tell my students that my main expectations with the projects we develop is that they might be interested in relying on those ideas to keep learning the language after the project itself is over. I tell them that my intention is that they find a community they would like to be part of outside and independent of school. I think tools like MyMaps can help them make English part of their lives – something that is not easy for many of my students.
    Now, I got interested in Google Translator. Many times we teachers tend to see it a a problem since students tend to use it instead of actually writing their texts. I want to find a way of capitalizing on the tool. Maybe I`ll present my findings in the next conference.

    Best regards,

    1. It’s worth exploring the various tools available to us in order to enhance instruction.
      I look forward to future presentations in the EV.
      Good luck in your teaching, Marcos!

      Take care,

  6. Steve says:

    You’re a great teacher Ms.Jenniffer.

    1. Thank you for the support!

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