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.