Hope you're fine. I opened a discussion on cartoons this morning in the wiki after reading your post about Monica and her gang. Please have a look at it when you have a chance and let me know what you think. I hope you like it.
Yesterday I had the end of the year party at the school and talked to my ICT coordinator about the wiki and she was interested in the idea. If the school comes on board it'll make things more interesting because I have a few students only, so the range of levels, ages, interests, etc would be wider. She only had some requests about technical issues regarding the project, but it'll be easier to explain in speech, I think.
I'm on staycation now (I've been dying to use the word the whole year!) so any time that's good for you to Skype will be fine. We're not doing anything really special for Christmas, but if you are and would prefer to schedule it for next week it's also fine. Just let me know and I'll be there.
Thank you very much for helping me with Twitter the other day. It was really nice of you. Yesterday I replied to one or two people that had welcomed me but whose messages I'd missed, and I also had a go at using TweetDeck. Now I've got the various lists sorted out nicely into columns. It's slowly beginning to make sense and you were right, there are very nice people out there. It's already beginning to be interesting...
I promised to tell you about the Brazilian presenters at LABCI09: first the ones whose talks I attended (they were all very good in my opinion): Eduardo Trinidade on "Contemporary English and Spoken grammar", Cristina Texeira (nearly missed it but glad I didn't) "Multimodality in the English coursebook: image, text and function", Sabrina Carmona/Isabella Galindo "Journal Writing through blogs: using the Internet in the EFL classroom", Cesar Marques (very good presentation skills but I couldn't follow much because I'm not all that familiar with today's video games) "Ready?Set, go! Video games in the English Classroom".
Other presenters from Brazil included: Graeme Hodgson, Rafael Carpanez, María Cristina Bolissian, Sergio Silva, Adriana Salvanini, Thricia Flores, Analize Girardi, Adriana Colossio, Roseli Serra, Luciana Rovegno, Marcelo Abreu (not sure he actually attended or L. Rovegno spoke for him -there was a change of date because of the flu), Anamaria Pelegrini, Lidia Machado.
It was a very good conference. If the site's under construction they might upload some of the proceedings.
I visited your blog yesterday but unfortunately wasn't able to open either of the documents for the speaking activity. From the messages I got it was probably what another reader suggested -my word&ppt versions are too old. I'm intrigued though, but while I update my software, I'll read your other posts. I really like the design.
Thanks a lot a again
Stay in touch
Great! So we'll meet on Skype. Around 7-8 pm? I'll sign in now and accept your invitation, and send you a link to my personal clock so we don't get mixed up with times (according to the clock you're using summer time but we're not). It can really get confusing!
Thanks for your nice words about my blog. I think I felt in my Ss' shoes while I was writing the entry about Capri -I felt quite self-conscious. But I suppose it gets easier.
Great to hear again from you!
Of course I'd love to show you around the efl classroom 2.0 ning (or at least the parts I've explored so far). How about we meet for that and twitter on Skype? Thursday afternoon or evening work for me (I'm UTC-3.00). You'll find me by name, Beatriz Lupiano. Please let me know if you can and what time would suit you.
I'm glad you like the wiki project. As a taster for the summer, in the end I went for a blog - our-journey-journal.blogspot.com . Feel free to visit it and suggest improvements. None of my students have joined so far but somebody other than me voted today. I'm thinking of turning it into fiction if Ss aren't very keen. Should be fun.
I couldn't agree more with what you say about Dogme and teaching. Yes, ultimately it's about Teacher and Learner(s). The thing is, in my experience, if you work for an institution, a lot of other things need to be considered, and the concept can suffer a bit.
I have Médgyes's book. I wasn't able to use much humour in my classes this year, but I like it. Another favourite of mine is Lessons with Laughter.
I'm a bit short of time today, I'm afraid. Shall we continue this chat on Skype?
Speaking of motivation: yes, I've heard of Dogme and Scott as one of its advocates (I'd completely forgotten about the yahoo group though) and I'm in favour of it as well. I also think that if there are technological tools that can help, why not make use of them? I think (although I haven't dug very deep into it) Dogme's greatest pro is to keep our feet on the ground and remind us that technology is helpful but not essential -I'm suddenly thinking of PowerPoint presentations here: slides can be useful, but when a presentation revolves araound them rather than the speaker's message and the rapport between speaker and audience...
Anyway: motivation and Scott came to mind because I was watching his webinar for Macmillan today (7 things that start with M) and he began to suggest that perhaps motivation was rightly becoming more important than method. I haven't finished watching it but it was making sense to me.
Thanks for all the sites you've suggested. I'm exploring them slowly and liking them. I've also become quite involved in http://eflclassroom.ning.com (The EFL Classroom 2.0). Have you been there? There's quite a lot of activity and a really good atmosphere.
Twitter: Thanks so much for helping. (Yes, I liked Tom Whitby :) How do you suggest we go about it? I mean where shall we meet? The Ning Chat area at The Educator?s PLN?
I couldn't agree more...Some of my students don't even say "What?" and so I find out at the last possible minute (or, worse I have to guess) that they're not so familiar with these things. One thing they can do is download. But I think that -apart from being illegal most of the time- rather than widening their worldview it leads them into thinking that everything they need is just a click away and they're completely entitled to it. I'd really like to be able to at least raise their awareness that real life is not like that (on the other hand, real life is like that to them...so where does that leave me?). Of course, I keep coming to the same conclusion: show them options, alternatives, get them to experiment with them so they can make informed choices. Then I need to get their attention, willingness (not that difficult) and make it fit into their tight schedules! Sorry, I'm being a bit unfair -not all of them are like that, I just had a really weird group this year -great individually but needed tons of gel to get them to do something together...
I've been exploring wikispaces and I think a wiki would actually work better with teens than a blog. You're right about collaboration. Unless a student is quite autonomous in managing their learning and is focussed on sth specific, wikis seem a much more fun way to connect to English out of class. I'll try sth during the summer, maybe connected to humour; it came up in one of my 1-to-1 classes and I think it might spark off some thoughts and reactions light enough for summer but meaningful enough to be motivating.
(cont.) I think sharing a wiki is a wonderful idea! I still don't know which clases I'll be teaching next year, but I'm sure there will be teenagers involved. And I've managed to get round some past students to the idea of exploring the idea of a wiki with me during the summer, so we might actually be able to do something very interesting. I think knowing that students from a different place will be involved will also affect motivation posititively. What do you think?
Thanks for your offer to help with joining The Educators PLN -I've managed that, but I'd really appreciate your help with Twitter and edchat, if the offer still stands...
Hi again (I ran out of characters in my previous comment -not a very good Twitter candidate!)
About students being busy...I completely agree with the fact that they might be being a bit short-sighted in prioritising. Here in Argentina -at least nationwide- there's no particular exam students need to pass at the end of high school, although some schools have them sit final exams. The problem, in my opinion, is not that they are busy, just that being busy seems to be on the way of becoming the all-exculpatory excuse for everyone. And because it's not polite to start giving them the third degree to actually find out what they're busy with, there's not much you can do to counteract the excuse (also because it's sooo vague). So often I'm torn between accommodating the course to their availability (sometimes there is a real lack of time -but then I find that students are more open and explain their constraints and what they're willing to commit to) and taking on a somewhat stricter role and trying to instil a sense of responsibility for their own learning.
What you've done re motivating them to blog sounds feasible here; I'll mull it over the summer and see how I can implement it with my new classes next year. What you say about teens using MSN is true here as well -facebook seems really popular as well. In fact, one of the things our ICT coordinator pointed out was that, contrary to what we teachers might expect, students may not be all that familiar with blogging and how interesting and helpful it can be. I found it striking, but she's the one with the experience so I guess it's quite possible.