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Web 2.0 Resources for ELT: Wikis

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Wikibooks

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
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From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

Author:User:Strabaldo is working on this page during October 28~November 20,08


New technologies are constantly creating many opportunities to enhance our classroom practice. Therefore, we, students at the Teacher Training College at Universidad Tecnológica Nacional in Buenos Aires, Argentina, are starting this wikibook on Web 2.0 resources as an aid to English language teachers in their use of learning technology and web based materials. Blogs, Calendars, Webquests, Wikis are some examples of the so-called Web 2.0 technologies, highly useful tools to explore and use in everyday lessons. In this wikibook, you will find an overview of relevant technologies applicable to ELT along with classroom activities and links to online resources.

Contents

Blogs

Main characteristics of a Blog:

  • It is a website in which the user - or blogger - posts items on a regular basis, displayed in a chronological order (the most recent posts generally appear at the top of the page).
  • The blogger does not need to have any previous knowledge on computer programming in order to use a blog and blogs are usually free.
  • While a website is often a one-way form of communication, blogs are two-way (like other web 2.0 tools) since readers are encouraged to contribute (leaving comments and sharing opinions); blogs, then, can also be collaborative.
  • The term blog derives from the shortened form of weblog or web log.
  • A blog is composed of text, hypertext, images, and links (to video, audio or other web pages).
  • The term blogging is referred to the act of authoring, maintaining, or adding something (an article) to a blog. Every article posted on a blog is called blog post, post or entry.
  • Blogs generally focus on one specific area of interest – from academic investigations, spirituality, recipes, photography to personal experiences, diaries and hobbies.
  • These blog communities enable people from all around the world to relate according to interests, and give them the opportunity to learn, share ideas, make friends, and even do business.
  • They can be private or public.
  • Within the educational field, teachers can create student blogs which can all linked to one main blog. The teacher (being the central administrator) should moderate student blogs and comments.
  • The user can delete one or more articles, or even comments posted by another person.
  • In the blog, the articles, photos or items posted can be embedded in a category or archived for months and years.
  • Blogs also possess a rich-text editor. In this way, what the user sees on the screen is what will appear in the blog.
  • They can have a photo editor which allows the user to capture date and time of the photo, upload individual or zip archives of photos, include descriptions, etc.
  • The user can also include a list of favourite links (favourite musicians, stores, bloggers, etc).


Teaching and learning possibilities

Another way to use blogs for the purpose of education is by consulting http://edublogs.org/10-ways-to-use-your-edublog-to-teach/.__ This eduglog provides different uses for the teacher and the tools to create their own blogs for teaching. Among the various possibilities, we found that the owner / moderator of the blog can:

  • Post materials and resources by uploading, or copying and pasting the materials and allowing students to have instant access to them from home or school. What’s more, the teacher can easily manage who gets to access them through password or plug in safety measures.
  • Host online discussions as it provides simple forum functionality, e.i. students can respond to blog posts and discuss different topics with the teacher managing and editing all responses through the blog’s administrative panel.
  • Have students as contributors, authors and even editors so as to produce class publications.
  • Replace the usual newsletter by posting posting class information, news, events, etc.
  • Ask students to blog and do it oneself but using one’s own Edublog in order to glue student’s blogs together.
  • Share your lesson plans as well as your ideas, reflections and fears with colleagues in one’s own country or a foreign country in order to make it a collaborative and genuinely productive experience.
  • Improve one’s teaching by including a wide range of multimedia tools such as video, slideshows, multimedia presentations.
  • Use the Edublog as a tool for organizing the school events.
  • Allow students, parents and other teachers to leave comments and feedback, being this one moderated or not!


Examples

ESL / EFL Teacher Blogs

A collection of the best ESL teacher blogs on the Internet. These sites provide insightful information, lesson plans, local cultural information on the countries they teach in, as well as reflections on teaching English as a second or foreign language.

This blog exists to help adult English language learners improve their English skills. You may find new ways to study, especially if you live in an area with few English speakers. There is a limit to what anybody can learn in class. It might sound strange for an English teacher like me to say, but most real learning happens outside of class. But studying on your own can also be very frustrating, so I hope the tools and information I post can help you.

    • What will be posted here?

All kinds of things: news articles, downloadable MP3s of English stories, tips for good writing, websites with grammar quizzes, and lots more. I will try to make sure that most things are free for you to use. PLEASE NOTE: The items shown in the MeCommerce box are offered for sale through a company called MeCommerce. Also, the links shown in the boxes that say Ads by Google are advertisements for outside websites and services. I have no connection to these sites, and I don’t know whether they’re any good.

Marmara ELT Resources

The site mainly deals with second language learning; in other words, english language teaching learning.it has many categories such as elt resources, elt tips,elt, classroom management, l2, grammar and vocabulary teaching and so on.

It’s a site that offers a generous variety of blog topics organized in different categories. Among the various blog topics, you can find: collage, E-learning, education news, learning, literacy and research, teaching, technology.

Blog of Proximal Development Teaching. Blogging. Learning.

Blogging: Blog in Teaching & Learning

BlogHeads (a blog designed by an Elementary teacher

Calendars

What it is

Google Calendar is a free contact and time management web application offered by Google. This tool became available on April 13th, 2006. Users are not required to have a gmail account, but they are required to have a free Google account in order to use this software.

With Google Calendar you are able to keep track of all your important events in your life and you can see your friends’ schedules next to yours.You can easily create invitations by clicking Create Events,send reminders (including mobile phone notifications) and add other interesting events that you find on line.

The interface of Google Calendar is similar to Desktop Calendar applications such as Microsoft Outlook. The interface enables users to view, add and even drag and drop events from one date to another without reloading the page. It has a variety of view modes, such as weekly, monthly and agenda views. Users can also set the number of days to show in their custom view mode. All events in a Google Calendar can be commented on by its users. Events can also be imported from other calendar applications such as Yahoo! Calendar and Microsoft Outlook.


Calendar Picture

Google Calendar is a quite colourful application and it is not difficult to use. Both caracteristics make Google Calendar a very easy-handle tool for children, adolescents and grown-up students and teachers who want to organize their course of studies effortlessly.


Other features:

  • Gmail now recognizes when messages mention events, so when you get emailed about an event, you can easily add it to Google Calendar.
  • You can create multiple calendars for different areas of your life.
  • You can subscribe to additional calendars. You can search for public calendars or even your friends’ calendars.
  • You can change the colour of the events from different calendars to get the right look.
  • If you have a website that mentions events, Google Calendar can help your users find this information and add it to their own calendar.
  • You can create a webpage where people can browse through your calendar, even if they don’t have a Google Calendar account. *You can also embed an interactive calendar of your events into your website blog with the "Embeddable Calendar Helper Tool".
  • You can set limits on the information you share with others. You control how much you share and who you share it with.


Google Calendar is integrated with other Google services:

  • Gmail, Google's webmail service. When a e-mail that contains trigger words ( such as meeting), an add to calendar button is automatically displayed.
  • IGoogle', the user-designed Google homepage, in which users can choose and organize content in the form of gadgets. For example if you need to know the weather, you can create time-sensitive mini-apps that can lie within your Google Calendar, with Google Calendar Gadgets.
  • Google Desktop, Google's desktop search software for Windows Vista, Windows XP and Wndows 2000. The mini-calendar gadget allows you view your agenda without having to open your browser. you can place it on your desktop or leave it docked in the sidebar.


Teaching and Learning Possibilities

New web tools, known as Web 2.0 or Social Media tools are impacting all our lives. They are creating a new phase of learning known as E-learning 2.0 or Social learning.

E-learning is more than just self-paced on line courses. It consists of many continuosly updated free on line tools. E-learning is transforming teaching and learning.

Google Calendar is one of the most popular free tools in the top 100 tools for learning 2008 list.

Calendars (Google-Yahoo-Windows) are a fantastic tool that is available everywhere and promotes E-learning.

Calendars have not been originally created to "teach and learn", but now they are used in education. Calendars offer a variety of teaching and learning possibilities.

  • For a teacher, a calendar can be his/her diary and lesson planner.
  • For a student, a calendar may help him/her keep on track through his/her homework.
  • A teacher can put all the students assignments and other events on the calendar. Colour coding allows a quick visual cue so that students and parents can easily distinguishh scheduled quizzes and tests, daily assignments and other events.
  • Mobile alerts (viasms) may help either teachers or students remember their responsbilities.
  • A calendar is a free way for teachers/students to organise their schedules, share timetables among them to make the lesson timetabling clear.

In conclusion, on line Calendars(Google-Yahoo-Windows) are an exceptioal free tool that is nowadays used in the educational environment, promoting E-learning and helping teachers and students organise their work.


Example Links

These calendars include important dates of many conferences, focusing on education, advanced technology, innovations, English Language Teaching and others.

title: google calendar URL: http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=publicompu%40gmail.com&ctz=America%2FArgentina%2FBuenos_Aires ( Talks and seminars Computing School UCV)

title: google calendar

URL: http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=emege68%40gmail.com&ctz=Pacific%2FHonolulu

title: google calendar

URL: http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=openenglishlivesessions%40gmail.com&ctz=Pacific%2FHonolulu

title: google calendar

URL: http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=c67rceiksbtotop3m3hi9ti9j4%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=Pacific%2FHonolulu

Delicious

What is Delicious? Its features

Internet bookmarks are records of the address of an Internet document on your computer so that you can find it again easily. As a feature of all modern Internet Web browsers, their primary purpose is to easily catalog and access web pages that a user has visited and chosen to save in his computer.

Delicious is a social bookmarking web service for storing, sharing, and discovering web bookmarks and allows users to tag, save, manage and share web pages from the centralized source. In this way, it is easier to have a simple set of bookmarks even if you are not on your own computer.

Delicious has a hotlist on its home page and popular and recent pages, which helps to make the website a conveyor of internet memes and trends.

It has many features such as website’s simple interface, human readable URL scheme (In computing a Uniform Resource Locator specifies where the identified resource is available and the protocol for retrieving it, for example www.delicious.com), a novel domain name (For example, del.icio.us), simple REST-like API(An application programming interface is a set of functions, procedures, methods or classes that an operating system, library or service provides to support requests made by cmputer programes), and RSS (RSS is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works – such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video – in a standardized format) feeds for web syndication.

Making use of this service is quite simple. First, you must create an account and then you are ready to post and share. Best of all, the use of delicious is free.


Teaching and learning possibilities

A social bookmarking service provides users the ability to record (bookmark) webpages, and tag those records with significant words.

When teaching any topic students can build up collections of records with common tags, and users can search for bookmarked items by likely tags.

It is also a good device for group work, which can be aided by having social software available.

For example, all the students in a class can tag and bookmark different webpages about a specific topic and then, they will be able to read them at home and so, the following class, they can comment on the topic or work with it.

Another instance of bookmarking would be that the teacher is the one that tags and saves in delicious and students have to find her bookmarks and read what she want them to read.


Examples

  • Everybody's Bookmarks- Delicious

http://delicious.com/search?p=elt&u=&chk=&context=&fr=del_icio_us&lc=0

In this site you can find an extensive list of elt bookmarks.

  • ESL bookmarks on Delicious

http://delicious.com/tag/esl

In this site you can find a list of bookmarks related to ESL and activities.

Digg

What is DIGG?

Digg started out as an experiment in November 2004 by Kevin Rose, Owen Byrne, Ron Gorodetzky, and Jay Adelson.

It is a website in which people are allowed to share and find out information provided by the users (anybody can join in). They offer links, videos and stories that are voted and commented on. But only the most popular ones will be shown on the front page. If not voted, they'll be hidden ("buried") until the user decides to show the comments.

And because Digg is all about sharing and discovery, there’s a conversation that happens around the content. The site promotes that conversation and provides tools for its community to discuss the topics that they’re passionate about.

Voting up and down is the site's main funcion, respectively called digging and burying, and when members digg a particular link, it is kept in their profile page for future access.

Digg's popularity has encouraged the creation of other social networking sites with a story submission and voting system.


Teaching and Learning Possibilities

Digg provides tools that allow teaching online, mixing text, visuals (videos, pictures, podcasts) and sounds. The information is classified into different topics, which is useful as regards organization. Not only are the students able to comment on the information that was posted and ask for doubts, but also to share a piece of news -or whatever they find on the Internet- with the rest of the class. It means that the teacher, for example, can explain certain topic and then ask their students to keep on investigating and posting what they find out. The result is that, after everybody posts, the topic already mentioned is enrinched; students are provided with different points of views about the same thing, and in different formats (videos, images, text).

Digg also allows the users to build a network. That means that if the teacher, for example, add his or her students to the friends list, both students and teacher are able to see what they dug, enabling them to find information or news together at the same time.


Links

In this example, a user uploads a video that he or she wants to share, and the others are able to comment on it.

Here, a user uploads a piece of news and the others give their opinions or ask questions (which are answered).

In this case, a user posts a photo album of a very well-known president in commemoration of his 90th birthday. Visitors are able to see a description of each picture and enter the newspaper page it has been taken from. They can also read about his birthday, his biography and watch videos related to him.


Teachers can ask their students to investigate about a certain topic and upload what they find. Then the whole class sees its content and is able to write short opinions, look for more information and add it, or write links related to enrich the topic being discussed.

Sources:

http://digg.com/about/ http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digg

Facebook

1. WHAT IS IT?

Facebook is a social networking website , a space to socialize.You can not only connect with your own friends, but also give access to their friends`profiles.

Consequently, what attracts users is the possibility to be part of a community, to meet people you would never have met ,to share their experiences with peers , old friends, teachers, etc.

By joining groups,or creating new ones based on their preferences, beliefs or recreational interests, users have found a way to expand their circles of reference.Thus, educators can use it as another meaningful tool in their aim to improve communication.

Nevertheless, it is well worth mentioning that a safe use of on-line commnunication must always be promoted.


Features:

  • Wall: It is more than a space to send messages, you can upload photos and videos, exchange comments and, what is more, you can be informed about the activities of the users. It is a virtual blackboard where varied information can be exchanged.
  • Video:Users can upload videos in facebook. Some singers and bands have become famous by doing it.
  • Events: Facebook is used to inform other people about oncoming events.
  • Chat: Users can chat with each other.
  • Network and groups: Users can create or join groups according to their preferences, beliefs and interests.
  • News Feed:It provides updated information about your friends.
  • Gifts: Icons can be sent either privately or not. Only the first icon can be sent for free.
  • Status: It informs members about their friends.
  • Market place:Classified ads can be sent.
  • Pokes: It allows users to send a virtual poke to each other . A poke is a notification.It has been defined as someone patting your shoulder from behind when you are absorbed surfing the net.
  • Starting a facebook: to start a facebook account you should go to facebook. com and sign up for it. It is also necessary to fill in the information that is required:e-mail, etc. The home is the main part of access to facebook.
  • Groups: it enables users to share pionts of views, your likes, different types of activities,etc.

The title of the group will tell people about the content of the information thus, it is essential to be as precise as possible when choosing it.

Discussions, pictures and videos will be posted and it is worth mentioning the viral effect it has, since groups may grow and grow.The more people join the group, the more successful it is. There are different types of groups: gathering , funny , hate , random , political, promise, charitable groups. etc.

  • Profiles:It is the user´s personal information :sex,age,marital status, birthday, religion, etc. This information can be edited and modified at any time. There´s also information about: activities, interests, favourite books or music, job, e-mail, etc
  • Sweet:This is a courtesy application, by which you can give other people you care about:flowers, kisses, etc.


2. TEACHING AND LEARNING POSSIBILITIES

Electronic technologies can serve as an effective way to enrich the educational environment and promote student engagement (Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh, Whitt, & Associates, 2005).

Facebook connects people through social networks by allowing anyone with a valid e-mail address to create profiles, connect with friends, join interest groups, exchange messages, and post photos .Students feel they are part of a community.

Students use language for real communication as students are prone to post pictures of themselves partaking in social activities . Students proudly display the social side of college life that most people prefer to turn their back to.

Students acquire language when they hear or read messages and understand their meaning. Facebooks provide them with visual aids, extra linguistic contexts.

Students work together and they can learn from each other .It encourages students to collaborate more.

It enables teachers to spend focused time daily with groups of learners.


3. LINKS

  • CENTER OF INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY(DUKE)

http://cit.duke.edu/tools/web20/facebook.html

  • OPEN EDUCATION – FREE EDUCATION FOR ALL

http://www.openeducation.net/2008/09/04/social-media-facebook-and-myspace-as-university-curricula/

  • ICT TECHNOLOGIES

http://www.ictinelt.com/2008/02/best-practices-for-educators-using.html

It gives teachers useful ideas to use Facebook in an entertainig context as well as tips to use it safely.The link shows a deep pedagogical understanding of the tool. The fact that you can also find comments written by teachers who have used Facebook can be very useful.

  • English Tips

http://www.englishtips.com This link deals with topics such as grammar usage for students and teachers.

  • English Lessons

http://www.englishlearner.com

It offers English lessons to practise vocabulary and grammar.


We think these links present clear ideas of:

  • What a facebook is.
  • Differences between Facebook and other open networks.
  • Uses as an instructional Technology.
  • Additional information such as links which warn you against the potential risks of submitting personal information but also emphasize the importance of creating content.We strongly advise you to read 7 Things You....

Google Docs

Google Docs is a free-web word processor that allows people to share documents and collaborate online. The members of the community can have access to the different documents from any computer that has an Internet connection, or even from a mobile phone. You can invite other members to join in so that you can share all your documents with you.

Google Docs is an easy tool that simplifies and facilitates the access and exchange of information via Internet. All the documents are saved by default in the Google servers without needing to store it in your local hard drive. If you open any file online, it is automatically saved in order to prevent the loss of data.

Google Docs also gives you the possibility to organize and save your documents by tags. This allows you to have access to them in a more organized and practical way.

Not only can you upload documents but also spreadsheets and presentations. There are plenty of tools and options for you (and other collaborators) to work with on Google Docs. This is what can be done with different types of documents:

  • Documents
    • Upload different types of documents, such as Word documents, HTML OpenOffice, or text, among others.
    • Create documents, give format to them, spell-check them, etc with a simple editor.
    • Share your documents (by e-mail address) and invite others to view and/or edit them online at the same time.
    • Publish your documents online as Web pages for everybody to have access to them. Post your documents to your blog.
    • Download documents posted by other members to your desktop in a wide variety of formats (Word, OpenOffice, RTF, PDF, HTML or zip)
  • Spreadsheets
    • Import and export archives with .xls, .csv, .txt, .pdf, .html and .ods extensions.
    • Navigate and edit whichever document or spreadsheet you want while chatting in real time with other collaborators.
    • Calculate results and change the format to the way you like.
    • Embed a spreadsheet, or a piece of it, in a blog or website; that is to say, you can have a direct access to it from one of the places previously mentioned.
  • Presentations
    • Edit presentations using an editor and sharing them with your co-workers.
    • Import or export presentations using the extensions .pdf or .ppt.
    • Insert images or videos.
    • View the presentations in real time viewing from any computer.
    • Publish and embed any presentation in a website so that it can be seen by a wide audience.

Limitations

A user can store a limited number files in his/ her account. Each document must not be bigger than 500k plus 2MB for each embedded image. Regarding spreadsheets, they must have less than 10,000 rows, 256 columns and under 40 sheets. There can be a 5,000 documents and presentations, 5,000 images and 1,000 spreadsheets in all. Only 11 spreadsheets can be opened at the same time; and only presentations no bigger than 10MB can be imported.


Google Docs in ELT

Google Docs is a useful tool for both the teacher and students. As it is a collaborative website, it is possible to upload different kinds of documents worked in the classroom allowing the rest of the members to see them and/ or edit them. Besides, the content is saved in the web platform, not in a local hard disc; so this gives the member the possibility of having access to it from any location.

As teachers, you can:

  • Encourage students to participate collaboratively;
  • Motivate them to make use of the Internet as part of their daily life tool finding the advantages (and, sometimes disadvantages) of it;
  • Have a better organization of the contents seen in class;
  • Supervise your students' work in a practical way;
  • Create a special section called "Common Interest" for everyone to upload issues they are interested in and share them;
  • Use this tool as the main source of reading instead of photocopies;


As students, you can:

  • Have access to information from any computer or mobile phone;
  • Upload your work allowing other members to see it;
  • Share information with your friends via Internet;
  • Edit other people's work online in a collaborative way;
  • Invite your teacher to see a document;
  • Upload documents or information you are interested in for later discussion.


Examples

It is pretty difficult to find communities who are using Google Docs as the main tool in ELT. These are some of the examples about ideas to use in a ELT classroom:

http://www.google.com/educators/p_docs.html In this website, you can find examples on how Google Docs works for teachers.


http://googledocs.blogspot.com/ This blog gives you ideas on how to use Google Docs in the classroom. It works with embedded PowerPoint Presentations created in Google Docs. At the same time you can have access to the presentation itself in: http://docs.google.com/EmbedSlideshow?docid=dhn2vcv5_8323t58h3ft&size=m'%20frameborder='0'%20width='555'%20height='451

Google Groups

What the resource is – Its features, gadgets Google Groups is a free service from Google where groups of people have discussions about common interests. Internet users can find discussion groups related to their interests and participate in threaded conversations, either through the Google Groups web interface, or by e-mail.

This kind of tools make students learn by doing, think, and generate individual knowledge by increasing the amount of shared information.Also, students learn or find the way of organizing the information they got to avoid chaos.

Students can also upload, open and edit their own files, activities, videos or images to the group.What is more, users may create public profiles which are linked from all of their posts.

Google introduced group pages which can be edited by group members or group managers.

Group members can also discuss pages.


Teaching and learning possibilities. What a teacher/student can do How this resource can facilitate teaching and learning. Students and teachers may create a meeting point in the web to share comments and files on a specific topic. By including this tool in our syllabuses students profit from searching the web as they have to look for information, files like videos or images and exchanging and uploading information in a collaborative way. It is a good way of learning how to differentiate what information may be useful or not for a specific purpose .It does not mean that the google group helps find this difference, but the students are the ones who profit from it by deciding what information is worth considering.

It lets communication flow between teachers and students. Moreover, it is a negociation of knowledge and information which enriches deeply any learning process. It may serve any kind of pedagogical objective that the teacher can think of depending on the activity designed for that specific purpose.


Example links

Students or ordinary people can collaborate in the finding of information along the web about an specific topic. They make a deep investigation about history, art and geography closely tied to education as the topic is World War.

Google group about pedagogical implications for elementary students.

Parents and citizens interested in an equitable alternative to school scripture classes for students/families who choose non-scripture. Currently schools are not allowed to offer an alternative activity for these students. This group seeks to change this government policy.

Hot Potatoes

What is it?

HOT POTATOES is a set of programs that allows the production of interactive web-based teaching exercises which can be delivered to any computer. The suite consists on six individual programs: JCloze, JQuiz, JCross, JMatch, JMix, and the The Mashe.

Since a quiz is a game or competition in which you answer questions, accordingly, in JQUIZ the learner must create, in an interactive way, the correct answer. This may happen in four different forms: multiple-choice, short answers, a combination of the two just mentioned called Hybrid questions, and multi-select questions (where the student needs to choose several correct answers, among all the options provided). Feedback can be provided for right and wrong answers, as well as a hint in the form of single letters, which appear one at the time, according to student´s request. The JQuiz also gives a score which is lowered if several hints letters were requested.

A cloze test is a test in which words have been removed from a short piece of writing, and students have to write what they think are the correct words in the empty spaces; in JCLOZE students must do the same thing but the program provides clues, and encouragement by automatic scoring. Hints in the form of single letters are provided in case the student needs an extra help.

A crossword puzzle is a game in which you write the answers to questions in a pattern of numbered boxes. In JCROSS the learners write up the words, by answering written questions or by looking at pictures and guessing the correct word. If necessary they can ask for hints, in the form of free letters.

A mix is a combination of different items so that the result cannot be easily separated into its parts, and JMIX produces jumbled-sentences, where the student can choose among several answers. In this case the hint bottom provides whole words or even segments of the right sentence, if requested.

Two things match when they look the same because they are pairs, so in JMTCH there are two lists made up of words, or sentences, or pictures, which the student has to match. Also in this program scoring is available.

THE MASHER is a program that compiles batches of hot potatoes exercises into a whole unit, in a sequential order, with the same colour and appearance setting; it also helps to set certain convenient links using the navigation bottons to create an index file for the unit. This is the tool that allows you to upload the files to hotpotatoes.net, in case of having an account, or if you have registered earlier.

At the Hot Potatoes home page, there is a free software available that has limited entries, still it gives a clear idea of the wide range of possibilities this tool has for ELT. The set with a wider range of entries is not freeware, but can be used without conditions by members of public or non-profit educational institutions. However, a registration is necessary. H.P. were created by the University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Centre (Canada). A commercial wing called Half Baked Potatoes provides the necessary funds.

The production can be uploaded into a web page which itself can be uploaded to hotpotatoes.net (handled by Half Baked Potatoes) from within the hot potatoes program. In this site there are plenty of examples. To enter this net, registration is obligatory.

URL to download freely H.P. http://hotpot.uvic.ca/


Teaching and Learning possibilities: What a teacher/student can do

Hot potatoes set constitutes a tool that allows teachers to create their own material for subject content instruction. The programs are also useful for tests. Teachers can develop interactive multiple choice and fill-in-the-gap exercises as well as crosswords, questions where short answers are required or where ordering and rearranging words is necessary to make up sentences.

Learners are allowed to work with the exercises on line, in groups or by themselves in such a way that they get engaged in a new, interesting and funny learning experience. H.P. programs have outstanding characteristics, namely they allow the up-loading of pictures, audio and video.

Students can practice listening and comprehension choosing the correct written form in multiple-choice options, sometimes they must appeal to their knowlegde dragging to find out the correct answer. Often they have to write up their own production that can be immediately checked for mistakes. The program has hints, scores, clues, icons and other ways to boost learner participation.


Example links:

  • ENGLISH ON LINE FRANCE

Resources for Students and Teachers of English as a Foreign Language UFC - UNIVERSITÉ DE FRANCHE - COMTE

http://eolf.univ-fcomte.fr/uploads/ressources/listening/real_english/08time/01.htm

This is a French website to learn English online. It is a good example of H.P. because it features audio and video. The exercise challenges the learners to write up the proper time, after listening and watching the video where native speakers talk about what time it is.

  • Marshall Adult Education

Student Lessons

http://www.marshalladulteducation.org/student_lessons1.htm

We have chosen this example because simple vocabulary is used. The exercises requires to match sound (listening skills) with a vocabulary item (written skills). Here, meaning is also involved by linking with images. It is simple, useful, friendly, and as regards as the use of hotpotatoes as software, it includes three interesting features: image, audio, and dragging. Also you may find exercises like mixed up sentences, that allows to drag the words into the correct order to make a grammatical sentence. Moreover, crosswords are also available.

  • Sheaholm-High School

World Language Ms Urian

http://academics.vmi.edu/modlan_kbb/hotpotatoesquiz/time.htm

An exercise to revise telling the time, for English speakers learning Spanish! Very interesting: there are several questions for learners to choose the correct answer.

  • AOL. HOMETOWN

The ESL Area - Online Quizzes

http://members.aol.com/adrmoser/bird.htm?f=fs

Exercise: A bird can fly includes pictures and multiple choice exercises about animal's abilities. We have chosen it because it provides several correct options to score at the same time. It is Very interesting, appart from showing other amazing features of hot potatoes.

Images

Maps

Online Video

YouTube

It is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips. YouTube was created in February 2005 by three former PayPal employees. This service uses Adobe Flash technology to display a wide variety of user-generated video content, including movie clips, TV clips and music videos, as well as amateur content such as short original videos videoblogging (which combine embedded video or a video link with supporting text, images or comments).

Unregistered users can watch most videos on the site, while registered users are permitted to upload an unlimited number of videos. Some videos are available only to users of age 18 or older (e.g. videos containing potentially offensive content). The uploading of videos containing pornography, nudity, defamation, harassment and material encouraging criminal conduct is prohibited. Related videos, determined by title and tags, appear on screen to the right of a given video.

Social Impact: With its easy to use interface, YouTube made it possible for anyone who could use a computer to post a video that millions of people could watch within a few minutes. The wide range of topics covered by YouTube has turned video sharing into one of the most important parts of Internet culture.


Features

  • Video format

When you upload a video to YouTube, it is decoded into Flash Video (an application player developed by Macromedia and now distributed by Adobe) format. This decoding is what is going on in between the time you complete your upload and the moment that the video is finally available for viewing. The quality of the videos is as effective as the one that the most established video playback technologies offer (such as Windows Media Player, QuickTime and RealPlayer). These in general require the user to download and install a web browser (an application that enables a user to interact with images, music, text, etc located on a web page) plug in order to view videos. Users can view videos in windowed mode or full screen mode.

Videos uploaded to YouTube are limited to ten minutes in length, and a file size of 1GB. One video at a time can be uploaded through the standard interface, and multiple videos can be uploaded with a Windows based plug in (an auxiliary computer program). YouTube accepts videos uploaded in most formats, including .WMV,.AVI,.MOV,.MPEG,.MP4, DivX, .FLV and .OGG. It also supports 3GP, allowing videos to be uploaded directly from a mobile phone.

  • Audio format

Standard quality YouTube videos contain an MP3 audio stream.

  • Content accessibility:
    • Outside YouTube

Each YouTube video is accompanied by a piece of HTML (HyperText Markup Language, the predominant markup language for Web pages) which can be used to link to the video or embed it on a page outside the YouTube website, unless the submitter of a video chooses to disable the feature. A small addition to the markup allows the video to play automatically when the webpage loads. These options are especially popular with users of social networking sites (online community such as Facebook or MySpace).

  • Video rankings

YouTube awards videos with honors, the most popular of which are most viewed (which are divided into four categories: today, this week, this month and all time) and most discussed. Honors also include:

    • Top Rated
    • Rising Videos
    • Recently Featured
    • Most responded

TeacherTube

It is a video sharing website similar to, and based on, YouTube. It is designed to allow those in the educational industry, particularly teachers, to share educational resources. The site contains a mixture of classroom teaching resources and others designed to aid teaching training. A number of students have also uploaded videos that they have made as part of college courses. As of July 2008, the website contains over 26,000 videos. It has found favour with educators who find that YouTube content is barred from educational networks by content filtering systems.


History

TeacherTube was launched on March 6, 2007 and was initiated by Jason Smith, a teacher from McKinney, Texas and his wife and brother.

The site now gains more than a million page views per month. It has run a number of creative educational competitions, in association with companies such as Texas Instruments and Interwrite. Institutions such as major libraries are using the service to disseminate information.


Features

  • Upload, tag and share videos worldwide.
  • Upload Support Files to attach your educational Activities, Assessments, Lesson Plans, Notes, and other file formats to your video.
  • Browse hundreds of videos uploaded by community members.
  • Find, join, and create video groups to connect with people who have similar interests.
  • Customize the experience by subscribing to member videos, saving favorites, and creating playlists.
  • Make videos public or private-users can elect to broadcast their videos publicly or share them privately with those they invite.
  • TeacherTube has 11 channels for teachers to upload videos about best teaching practices, student projects and tutorials. The channels include technology, professional development and subject areas.
  • Like YouTube, videos can be rated, shared or embedded on other sites. Users can also post comments.
  • Unlike YouTube, there isn’t any offensive material. And of course, TeacherTube isn’t blocked at schools.


Teaching and learning possibilities

You Tube can be used as a new tool to assess students’ language skills, especially listening skills. The real advantage, from the learning point of view, is that this tool offer authentic examples of language in a natural context. Not only is this by exposing the students to real people, but to real situations too. Teachers can really focus on the content, without losing students’ concentration. Through the videos, they can open up their eyes to different cultures and lifestyles.

As students are surrounded by technology (Facebook, MySpace, etc.) using this kind of tool make them feel motivated and they prefer these instead of using the old traditional material.

Teachers should bear in mind that although students may enjoy watching videos, poor sound quality, pronunciation and slang can make them even more difficult to understand. Apart from that, the length of the video is an important feature: the shorter the better. A possible problem is that when a longer video is used, attention may sway, especially if we are dealing with a difficult script, and students may end up feeling demotivated as they are struggling to keep up with the language (especially with lower level groups).

Regarding the selection of the video, there are two possibilities:

  • The teacher chooses the appropriate video according to what she wants to teach or revise, the aims and students’ needs.
  • The students: they will be more interested to watch it.

As a conclusion, we can say that including this tool in the classroom would make the students engage in the lesson while having fun and the teacher would feel updated by using the new trends in technology.


Examples

EDUCATION WORLD COLUMNISTS

BRENDA´S BLOG

This is an article that describes the advantages of using You tube (and teacher tube also) as a tool for ELT. The author, Brenda Bryck, includes some examples of videos for teaching. They caught our attention because they deal with current topics such as the environmental issues. Besides, there are other videos which are useful for teaching little children. Although we know that this page seems to be only appropriate for English speaking communities, we decided to add this to the list because it contains lots of good examples of the appliance of You Tube for ELT purposes.

CLASROOM 2.0

100 BEST YOU TUBE VIDEOS FOR TEACHERS

In this page we found many examples of different videos from YouTube for teaching not only English but also other areas of education, such as History, Science, Arts, etc.

AINT GONNA HOLD US BACK D-I-G-I-T-A-L

This video shows that girls are as capable of dealing with technology as boys. It is a very well known song which has the lyrics changed. They refer to the new possibilities that children have with these new tools in the future. We highly recommend you to watch the video because it is interesting, easy to follow and it made us think that we should start using videos for teaching.

TEACHING ENGLISH IN PRIMARY SCHOOL

This blog contains a piece of information about the relation between teaching and YouTube. It was published on the 21st February this year. We found many examples of videos, divided in three categories: stories, songs and games. There are traditional songs as Old Mc Donald had a farm as well as new material that we, as teachers, can use.

Pagebuilding

1.What is it? What are its features?

A web site is a container of files which are on the hard drive of a Web server. This is constantly on line and has an application which allows anyone to download files.

There is no restriction when building these pages. One is free to choose any topics, photos, texts, etc. However, some companies like AOL accept your material only if it is in accordance with the rules and the space they offer is limited. These types of servers charge you with very little fees, while some others do not charge you at all.

Every Web page has got a name which is displayed in the Title Bar. In a Web page one can find LINKS. These are areas that allow you to navigate through the Internet by clicking on them; so as a result, one goes from a page to another. Anything can be a link: text, images, objects in motion, etc. When one places the mouse on the link the arrow changes into a hand. The links themselves generally change into blue, or they are underlined.

Web pages are also built with different tools. One of them is streaming. Videos or tracks can be watched or listened without being saved. Searcher engines are another tool. They look for the piece of information required by the user inside the Web page itself. Finally, designers of a web page can also make use of Java application in order to animate the site.


2.Teaching and learning possibilities


2.a.What can a teacher do?

The internet has been giving a lot of advantages in all fields. When teaching a language, one can find millions of pages with different resources, ideas, activities, etc.

Teachers are able to search through the Internet for a specific topic and find a lot of alternative ways of dealing with them in the classroom. Educators can also ask for pieces of advice in education blogs, download files, games, songs, articles, videos etc. What is important here is that teachers make use of real content and work with authentic language or material.

As educators know, every learner has his own way of acquiring a language, so it is their function to work on different techniques that are suitable for the students. Here we can mention the four ways of learning that are presented in the book Web 2.0:

  • Learning by doing: by performing trial-and-error mechanism the kid reaches constructivist learning.
  • Learning by interacting: exchanging ideas with other users allows communication.
  • Learning by searching: users look for information about a certain topic.
  • Learning by sharing: as a result of exchanging

Web pages provide teachers with lots of material to work with each learner. Teachers can put all these techniques into practice to fit each student’s way of learning.

It is immeasurable what a teacher can do inside a classroom with such a fascinating tool like this.


2.b.What can a student do?

Nowadays, students prefer working on a computer than reading a book. This new technology is so atractive to them that one can take advantages of it. So, if one wants to catch students' attention, one should work with audiovisual content. Most students fancy searching on the Internet and spending hours in front of a screen. Teacher’s task is to guide them to use it productively.

To begin with, they can download information for an assignment, look for ideas to work on a project, download songs, read books on line, and play games using the language. Then, they can continue with the lesson even though they are outside the classroom. Last but not least, they can collaborate in building pages about a specific topic. Project work has got several advantages which are: the use of purposeful language, students' involvement and responsibility. Kids are highly motivated with these tasks since they combine the benefits of project work with new technologies.


2.c.How can these resources facilitate teaching a language?

The resources that a Web page offers are very valuable. Whenever one needs them, all one has to do is click on the link and everything is done. However, one should make sure that what is being downloaded is reliable; one should search carefully.

The Internet gives a range of opportunities to develop cognitive skills according to each pedagogical learning style. By analysing and interpreting the information, they are able to train their skills and they are likely to find their way of dealing with the material. Improvement is likely to happen since they work with interesting and real content.


3.Example links

http://www.teach-nology.com/themes/comp/sitebuild/

http://www.units4teachers.com/

In these sites teachers will find resources to use in the classroom such as crosswords, songs, flashcards, activities and lessons plans.


http://www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish-central-grammar-grammar-games-archive.htm

http://www.marks-english-school.com/games.html

Here students will be able to play games and practise their English in a funny way.


http://exchanges.state.gov/forum/vols/vol40/no3/p12.htm

This Web page explains the steps that have to be followed to work on a project.


http://www.rieoei.org/experiencias112.htm

This web page explains how collaborative page building brings good results when learning a language.

Plurk

Podcasting

What is a Podcast?

  • A podcast is a program delivered via the Internet using an XML (Extensible Markup Language) protocol called RSS (Really Simple Syndication).
  • Podcasts can be audio files, video files, documents, or any combination of the three.
  • The publisher or broadcaster podcasts the program by posting the episodes and the XML document to a Web server.
  • The consumer subscribes to the podcast using a client application, which regularly reads the XML file and downloads new episodes.
  • Because podcasts can include several of the most common types of media, they can be used to offer many different kinds of programmes.
  • Any television or radio programme can of course be transmitted as a podcast, as can any lecture, performance, or other recorded event.
  • Using the AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) file format, audio podcasts can include synchronised still images to create a narrated slideshow. In this way, a series of lectures can include the lecturer’s voice and presentation slides.
  • In most podcasts, each episode is the same file format, so subscribers can enjoy the program the same way each time. However, some podcasts use multiple media.
  • Podcasts are attractive to subscribers because :

1)Podcasts are free

2)New podcast episodes appear automatically and can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime. Podcasts are available in many different languages. The easiest way to find them is simply to search using words in the desired language.


Teaching and Learning Possibilities

  • Language courses, for example, can combine video for a sense of the foreign country, audio for information and ear training, and documents for practice and reference.
  • We feel that confidence is needed on good quality educational podcasts listed as suitable for teaching and learning or for use at home.
  • By focusing on the quality and suitability of the podcast material and matching these to subjects and topic areas, you can be assured that the podcasts have an educational focus and have content that is relevant and appropriate for use with children, young people and adult learners as well as educational professionals.
  • Educational podcasting is about capturing the imagination of learners, presenting materials and providing resources in the form of audio, enhanced or video podcasts in new and exciting ways.
  • Podcasts should be suitable for educational use with learners in the 5-19 age range at home, school or college.


Example Links

The list below includes a variety of podcast channels which cater for different activities to be carried out in a classroom .

The choice we have done includes podcasts from different English speaking countries because we feel that the main skill to work here is LISTENING so it is really profitable for students to listen to different accents and recognize familar expressions which they may encounter. These podcasts also have a cultural approach as students can get to know how schools from all over the world work and besides they have the opportunity to compare educational issues.


1)Podcast: RECAP Educational Podcasts for teaching and learning

http://www.recap.ltd.uk/podcasting

RECAP a very good directory to locate podcasts for educational use. Ideal for teaching and learning activities with children, young people and educatio professionals.


2)http://www.pinkyshow.org

The PInky show is a series of episodes about historical facts, critical analysis and interpretations of cultural texts, social and political commentary, issues of morality and ethics and basically anything that people may not know or spend much time thinking about. The presenter is a cat called Pinky which starts each episode with the following statement: All I want is to be able to understand things.


3)Podcast: The Swan SwanseaPublic School(Toronto District School Board)

http://www.swansea-canada.com/

A podcast where you can access the assignments done by the pupils of this school. The range of age of the pupils is from 3 to 12 years old. Among the assignments you can find: Poetry,Videos as well as a variety of resources that deal with Media Literacy.


4)Podcast: Curtin University Library (Australia)

http://library.curtin.edu.au/podcast/index.html

This library offers a range of podcasts with helpful tips covering evrything, from library tours to resources for Health, Environmental Issues as well as exams at an adult level

Podcasting Radio Station

What is Gigadial and what are its features?

This software was built as a way to share podcast suggestions (i.e. a series of content which can be, for example, audio or video digital-media files that are distributed over the Internet available to multiple sites) with friends. Moreover, the user can send episodes to iPods from anywhere on the 'Net.

GigaDial was programmed by Andrew Grumet. He also designed the Graphics, visuals and user experience as well as Martijn Venrooy.

GigaDial is a new approach to radio programming, in which the user can create and subscribe to podcast-powered stations focused on one’s favourite podcasters’ episodes. It is commonly related to a radio dial as it can be used to tune in audio from the growing list of podcasters producing new episodes. From the homepage, one can click on links to visit recently updated stations. The most important issue that one has to take into account is that anyone can become a content programmer.

We can say that GigaDial is not the first system of its kind. However, what makes it unique is that it is focused on podcasting, but it certainly isn't the first application to support customizable audio lineups and recommendations, or even the first to support customizable podcasts. We can mention some other softwares that may draw inspiration to build out GigaDial:

  • Webjay.org playlist community: Webjay is a tool that helps you to listen to and publish web play lists. MP3 players like WinAmp, iTunes, RealOne, and Windows Media Player can be given a list of songs to play. Most of the time the songs are on your computer, but they can also be stored online.
  • IT Conversations Personal Program Queue: one’s personal program queue is the place to keep track of the IT Conversations programs one wants to listen to or read. One can add programs to your queue, prioritize them, rate them, and see the average ratings from other members. And if one has an RSS reader, one can even subscribe to one’s own personal program queue.
  • Audioscrobbler: Audioscrobbler builds a profile of your musical taste using a plugin for one’s media player (Winamp, iTunes, XMMS etc.). Plugins send the name of every song one plays to the Audioscrobbler server, which updates one’s musical profile with each new song. Every person with a plugin has its own page on this site which shows their listening statistics. The system automatically joins people with a similar music taste, and generates personalised recommendations.


How can we use this in teaching and learning?

This site can be well used in teaching. For example, a group of students can meet once a month in order to create a radio station. With the help of their teacher, they will deal with a different topic in each episode (i.e. each video that one can find in the website). Besides, the students will have to search the net looking for information about the subject that they have chosen and also look for other radio stations or episodes in the site related to the theme they have to develop. At first, the teacher will be the one who provides them with the instructions but gradually she/he will let them create and establish their own rules. Students can stick wallpapers around the school and neighbourhood with the advertisement of their radio station inviting not only their classmates, but also the community, if it is able to understand English, to listen to it.

With the creation of this radio station, the teacher will get his/her students engaged in certain topics that are seen as boring or difficult such as: environment, politics, pollution, biology, sociology and business, for example. The students will participate actively in the radio and, as a consequence they will learn the topics willingly. This is a great experience for students since they are placed in an atmosphere different from that of their classroom.


Examples of ELT

  • This site can be useful in ELT as well as in education in general. If the user clicks on this link, he/she will find items on teaching, learning and education achievements. Authorities such as those from the Government can provide podcasts on a regular basis to help busy professionals in schools, local authorities and other organisations and to keep up-to-date with the latest developments.

http://www.gigadial.net/public/find-by-podcaster-2?feed=http%3a%2f%2fwww%2erecap%2eltd%2euk%2fradio%2exml&station%5fid=

  • The below one is also a site that offers both video and audio podcasts, discussing relevant issues in Educational Technology, such as: the emerging technology and how best to utilize those technologies in the classroom setting.

http://ia300106.us.archive.org/0/items/a_short_video_for_testing/tl_isight_craven_2.mov

  • Education for the Aughts Podcast: William Arrowsmith on the Future of Teaching is based on a podcast serie which deals with important issues about both blogs and old media. He touches on many pertinent subjects including:
    • Relevance - what it really important and why it is so
    • The purpose of education - how irrelevant topics make our lives better.
    • Technology - how to focus on empty process at the expense of content.
    • Teaching and teachers - how teachers are acquanted of all the technology.

http://www.matthewktabor.com/2008/04/23/education-for-the-aughts-podcast-william-arrowsmith-on-the-future-of-teaching/

  • In the link below, the user will find theme-based conversations and language practice for students of English, such as EFL, ESL and ESOL, at a beginner’s level. These conversations are very useful as the user can read the transcript from the screen and listen to two or more speakers who are interacting. Besides, this is important to practise dictation or how to pronounce each sentence.

http://www.gigadial.net/public/find-by-podcaster-2?feed=http%3a%2f%2fwww%2eeltpodcast%2ecom%2feltp%2exml&station%5fid=

RSS

What is RSS? Its features

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a web content syndication format. Web syndication is a form in which website material is made available to multiple other sites. RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video in a standardized format. An RSS document, which is called a feed, web feed or channel includes full or summarized text plus extra information such as publishing dates and authorship. Publishers are benefited because they are allowed to syndicate content quickly and automatically. For the receiving site, content syndication is an effective way of adding information to its pages, making it more attractive to users.

RSS feeds can be read using a software called an RSS reader, feed reader, or an agregator which can be web-based or desktop-based. The user can subscribe to a feed by entering the feed's link into the reader or by clicking an RSS icon in a browser that initiates the subscription process. The RSS reader checks the user's subscribed feeds regularly for new work, downloads any updates that it finds, and provides a user interface to monitor and read the feeds.


Teaching and learning possibilities

It would be very difficult for both students and teachers to find the time to click through all those interesting sites that may provide them useful information in order to for example, work on a project or develop their writing skills. RSS allows teachers to go to one place to read all of the content on all of those sites.

We believe there are a number of different ways that RSS feeds can add to our knowledge base, help us communicate, and make our teaching and learning better:

  • Teachers who work with Weblogs can scan through all of the class content in one place, make sure it is all appropriate, and click through to a particular post if they want to comment on it.
  • Even if students do not have Weblogs, teachers may work using this tool on a project work. If students are working on a certain topic they could actually create an RSS feed that would bring any news about it to their aggregator as soon as it was published. Note that if students do not know how to use RSS, the teacher will have to explain it before starting with the project work.
  • Teachers can always keep in touch with parents by sending information, photos, or the student’s marks via RSS. This could be done either in the student`s mother tongue or in the target language being taught. This choice will depend on the teacher´s aims, according the school and families´interests.


Examples

    • Manheim Township School District http://www.mtwp.net News flashes of the latest activities are sent to parents via RSS.

We believe that these are good examples of what can be done by using RSS. For teachers who teach English in a non native speaking country what RSS offers could be as useful as it is for Schools where English is a first language. Facilitating an interesting and useful way to keep in touch with both parents and students enables them to use this way of communication in an active way. Not only students can use RSS at school, but also at home.

Second-Life

Skype

What it is?

Skype is software that allows users to make phonecalls worldwide only by means of a microphone or a headset. These phone calls can be made from one PC to another if they have this software installed. Not only can users talk to people from PC to PC, but also from a PC to a cellphone, or to a telephone which is not connected to the Internet. One of Skype most practical features is that currently, it is free of charge if you talk to people from a pc to another which has the same software installed. If you want to contact people from your Pc to a cell phone or a landline telephone you have to pay a fee.


Features:

Skype is ideal for:

  • Making phone/PC calls
  • Sending instant messages
  • Making a video call
  • Starting a conference call / videoconferencing
  • Sending pictures and files / sharing material.


Teaching and learning possibilities. What a teacher/ Student can do

Skype allows students to take their classes out of the traditional academic environment. They can watch / listen to their classes only with the aid of a PC and an Internet connection.

Skype is also ideal for teachers, who can also provide online private classes to one or multiple students. Massive online conferences can be held too, as well as attending "virtually" to educational events around the world.


Examples links:

Using Skype In the Classroom:

http://www.dummies.com/WileyCDA/DummiesArticle/Using-Skype-at-School.id-4420.html

We´ve chosen these example link because it gives us a lot of things we can do in the classroon using skype not only for students but also for teachers.


Talk to Canada.com

Online English Speaking Course and Online English Class Information

http://www.talktocanada.com/online-english-speaking-course-classes.html

We have chosen this example because it shows some things we can do using skype; such as practicing pronunciation, and English fluency. At the same time we can learn a lot of things from the person we are talking to.


Successful Teaching

Using Skype in the Classroom

http://successfulteaching.blogspot.com/2008/04/using-skype-in-classroom.html

This example shows that skype is a very good source to learn more about all the countries in the world. To learn about their cultures, their languages, etc.

Slideshare

What is SlideShare?

SlideShare is a highly original and imaginative electronic tool in which people from all over the world can easily upload and download Power Point or PDf presentations by themselves. This resource can also provide users with the chance of directly interacting with others, which enables them to create a massive collaborative community on the Internet, as well. Not only can this innovative website actively encourage creativity as a means of spontaneous expression, but it can promote and strongly develop different areas or topics of interest, too.

Users can selectively share presentations either privately: with a group of selected people, or collectively: with other users. This electronic tool may also serve clearly distinct purposes: education, business, meeting people, advertising etc...

For example: Individuals and organizations can upload presentations to widely share their ideas, connect with others, to generate leads for their businesses, to strive for educational goals etc. Users can search (far and wide) for presentations which well suit their individual interests, they can tag, download, or embed presentations into their own blogs, and websites.

How can this resource facilitate teaching and learning?

There are various ways in which this resource can greatly aid in teaching and learning. Depending on the group level or age group, teachers can make different uses of this creative electronic tool using it as free material, since it doesn't take so much time, and money to prepare presentations which not only include text but also visuals, and audio as well. Teachers can fully share their material with their co-workers, colleagues from whom they can receive feedback regarding the practical and potential usefulness of each presentation.

Students can considerably benefit from distinctive characteristics of this resource: presentations can directly appeal to students senses (through audio, visuals), they get completely hooked on them, which is a significant advantage teachers can make extensive use of, so as to attract students attention when presenting a complex grammatical topic. Taking into account students' age, they can create their own presentations over a certain assigned topic to be shared with the rest of their classmates, later on. This resource may also be introduced to increase students' awareness concerning the numerous applications users can run to be used in education.


These are some examples of slideshare applications to ELT

Title:Red cat vocabulary

Link: http://www.slideshare.net/anahera/red-cat-vocabulary

Review: Red cat vocabularyis a pretty simple presentation which successfully combines vocabulary on animals with colours and their spellings. It looks particularly useful for children at early stages of development since it serves practical purposes.


Title:Adjectives and their opposites

Link: http://www.slideshare.net/thatsenglishtorre/adjectives-and-their-opposite

Review: Through this PP presentation children at the elementary level can learn and/or revise the spelling and the pronunciation of some adjectives together with their binary opposites (antonyms) including clear illustrations, in each slide, accompanying the presentation in full colour.


Title:School Objects and Prepositions

Link: http://www.slideshare.net/guest4a2e20/prepositions-at-school?src=related_normal&rel=433805

Review: This choice, which we consider could also be used with children at the elementary level (beginners), allows them, in a quite clear fashion, to become well acquainted with vocabulary on school objects, and prepositions including some slides which combine explanations in both languages: English and Spanish, besides showing children how to properly ask a question to know what an object is, and the instances in which the indefinite article -a-an- must be used.


Title: Turn Off The Lights Please!

Link: http://www.slideshare.net/guest4cb60e/turn-off-the-lights-please-presentation

Review: In this PP presentation students and adults at pre-intermediate or intermediate levels are shown the appropriate way of using two–part verbs (phrasal verbs) in everyday situations. Each slide precisely conveys the meaning of the phrasals through pictures which clearly depict their usage, and explanations of how to correctly use them with nouns and pronouns. In addition to this, we can also find examples of the use of the phrasals in combination with polite requests and different ways of apologizing. Finally, this complete and functional presentation enables students, and adults to accurately assess their understanding of the topic by means of some exercises as practice.


These are some of the links we found similar to the slideshare website in different degrees. The following is a short description of the various features each site includes, in which we account for the reason why we have selected them.


http://www.slideboom.com http://www.worldofteaching.com http://www.pppst.com http://www.de.mingoville.com http://www.authorstream.com


http://www.slideboom.com

This site is said to be quite distinct from the others since here, a user’s original presentation can keep its features after a conversion process which includes -among other things-:

  • content style
  • animation effects
  • embedded audio & video

Users do not have to register themselves so as to be able to watch Powerpoint presentations; and once they have become members, they can upload pps’, assess others’ work, and comment on them as well. Powerpoint presentations can easily be found in many different languages by means of tags; and it is up to the users the decision to share them with a selective group of people or with everyone. We have chosen this website because it offers a wide range of powerpoint presentations which can be well used in Elt lessons.

http://www.worldofteaching.com

Another choice we have made is ¨ www.worldofteaching.com¨ where users can have immediate access to and download powerpoint presentations connected with education and some others related to ELT for adults. However, in this site, users cannot directly upload a Powerpoint presentation. If they want to share their work with others, they have to send their presentation by e-mail to the following e-mail address: tpp@worldofteaching.com.


http://www.pppst.com

Users can get rapid and free access to a large number of Powerpoint presentations in this site, which can be extensively used in ELT lessons specially designed for kids. Although in this place presentations are not allowed to be shared, this resourceful site provides users with several similar links.


http://www.de.mingoville.com

This website is one of the largest English learning online communities where children can learn and practise English online. This place was specifically designed by educators who mainly based their work on teaching mingled with entertainment. In this website, teachers can particularly find plenty of material for ELT, they can also download activities for kindergarten in PDF files which can be used, afterwards, in a rather useful and didactic way.


http://www.authorstream.com

In this website people can find and share presentations worldwide on just any topic. Authorstream allows people to:

  • Watch presentations on line.
  • Embed the presentation in blogs or e-mail the link to friends.
  • Rate presentations or post comments.
  • Use the authorSTREAM application on Facebook and share presentations with friends.
  • See, upload or download presentations as guests.
  • Convert presentations to mp4 format so that the presentations can be seen on you tube, on i-pods and on i-phones.
  • Decide the way they want to share their presentations.

Synchronous Text Communication

  • Synchronous communication is communication taking place at the same time.
  • More specifically, synchronous text communication tools allow two or more users to communicate via typed text messages in real-time.
  • Apart from the text chat, there are others synchronous communication tools:
    • Audio-conferencing: allows two or more users to collaborate via real-time speech.
    • Video-conferencing: two or more users to collaborate via real-time interaction that includes both video and sound.
    • Whiteboards: they are the graphical equivalent of synchronous chat tools. They allow multiple users to work on collaborative drawings in real-time.
    • Multi-user domain Object Oriented environments (MOOS): MOOs are multi-user virtual environments in which users often control avatar (computer-generated actors) that move through the virtual world, interacting and communicating via speech generated from user-typed instructions.


Some people believe that synchronous communication is a popular technology in online education, and that the merging of Web and audio/video delivery formats over time will effectively virtualize education on a global scale.

Some examples


http://www.irc.com/

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a form of real-time Internet chat or synchronous conferencing. It is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums called channels, but also allows one-to-one communication via private message, as well as chat and data transfers via direct client-to-client.


http://ar.messenger.yahoo.com/chatrooms

Yahoo! Messenger is an advertisement-supported instant messaging client. It also offers PC-PC, PC-Phone and Phone-to-PC service, file transfers, webcam hosting, text messaging service, and chat rooms in various categories.


http://webmessenger.msn.com/

Windows Live Messenger is an instant messaging client. In addition to its basic functionality and general capability as an instant messaging client, Windows Live Messenger offers the following features: sharing folders, PC-to-phone calls, interoperability, offline messaging, games and applications.


http://www.icq.com

ICQ is an instant messaging computer programme. ICQ features include sending text messages, offline support, multi-user chats, free daily-limited SMS sending, resumable file transfers, greeting cards,multiplayer games and a searchable user directory.


http://www.skype.com

Skype is software that allows users to make telephone calls over the Internet. Additional features include instant messaging,file transfer and video conferencing.


Possibilities for learning and teaching

  • Students can negotiate meaning, which is a cognitive process that speakers use to understand one another better, that is, to increase the comprehensibility of language input.
  • Learners have the chance to produce output as well.
  • In addition, negotiation of meaning may also raise speakers' awareness of target language forms. Speakers may be alerted that their speech is inaccurate.
  • Chats give students the possibility to interact with native speakers.
  • Groups of learners of either similar or different proficiency levels may also benefit from valuable interactional exchanges.
  • It motivates students and provides a rich context for conversing in the second language.
  • Students get an immediate response, and this kind of feedback fosters instant communication and spontaneity.
  • Learners can collaborate with each other and construct meaning in chat-rooms which are monitored by teachers.
  • Students can practise any time they want and anywhere they are.
  • After chatting, conversation text can be copied and pasted into a word-processing document for further work.For example, students can spot the mistakes in their partner's text and provide the correct version of it.
  • To help stimulate and support meaningful communication, learners can have a list of questions, or a goal of finding out specific information. Alternatively, students may work towards a specific outcome, such as a information-poster.

Synchronous Voice Communication

Google Talk

This application offers many features for communicating instantly with people and learning different languages. Participants can rely on differents tools:

  • Instant messaging / voice calling: You can chat/ talk with all your contacts in real time.
  • Free PC-to PC voice calls: You can talk to any person being online that is already a client of Google talk. ( without cost)
  • Send and receive voicemails: The participants can leave messages when there is nobody available.
  • You can also send files of different sizes to your contacts.
  • Once participants have signed into Google talk, they will receive messages in their inbox.


GOOGLE TALK ON THE WEB

  • It is interesting that you do not need to download the programme. You can just begin chatting from any computer in real time. In addition, you can chat with various contacts at the same time and suggest the idea of chatting in a group. Apart from this, you can cut and send URLs from You Tube, Flickr into your conversations (chat window).


INTEGRATION WITH GMAIL

The email service Gmail allows you to change from emailing to instant messaging with your contacts. As a result, if you receive an email from a contact who is online , you can reply to that contact directly by chat.

One of the advantages is that this tool is available in different languages; for examples UK, Korean, Chinese,Russian, Spanish, French, Dutch,Italian, Turkish among others. It also has an excellent voice quality and it is simple to use.

Among the drawbacks of the tool, we find that there is no video, no whiteboard and no audio conferencing. However, the fact that you have these features such as whiteboards can make the voice quality poor or get your line cut off. If you have fewer features, it is probable that the application will run smoothly.

Voice-me

Voice-me.com is a voice service structured as a free web service.

It allows the users to sent synchronous voice messages with no software installation

Minimum Requirements:

1. Working Internet connection.

2. Browser – Internet Explorer 5, Firefox 2, Opera or others.

3. Flash Client (the default that comes with windows) – any flash client that shows you advertising on any web site around the world.


Voice/Video Talkbacks

The service includes a "back-office" function that will allow you to review all comments/talkbacks before deciding whether to publish or deny them.

Send Voice/Video Messages

A send me a voice message button which is placed on your web page. Clicking the button opens a popup window which allows the user to send a voice or a video message directly to any e-mail address or a voice-me user name.

Video Chats

You are available to receive calls and visit the page may choose to initiate a live conference call with another user just by clicking a button. Once the call has started, a small window will appear on your screen telling you about an in-coming call. At that stage you may choose to answer, reject the call or forward it to you voice-me mail box.

Personal Video Greeting

This application is suitable for blogs, matchmaking sites. The application allows a user to record a personal video, review it and when satisfied, accept and place it by or instead of his picture.

Voiceme free to communicate

www.voice-me.com

Through this page users can send video and voice mails as well as calling a friend free on line without downloading the programme. They can also get a voice mailbox. Registration for this is needed . In addition, they have the possibility of downloading the programme if wanted.


Classroom 2.0 examples

  • Scribd - Publish to millons

http://eflclassroom.ning.com/

It's an interesting web site through which teachers can share academic materials and documents related to education and teaching English as a foreign and second language.

  • Forvo: All the words in the world pronounced.

http://forvo.com/languages-pronunciations/en/

Users can choose whatever language they want to and look for different words to see how they are pronounced by native speakers. A map is also provided to situate the users in place. They can also make a contibution recording words in their own language and uploading them in the page.

  • Movie segments to asses grammar goal

http://moviesegmentstoassessgrammargoals.blogspot.com/

Teachers will find segments of well-known videos and activities related to specific grammar points to be worked on class.

  • Flashcards, vocabulary memorization, and studying games.

http://quizlet.com/

Flahcards related to different topics can be found in this site. They can be an useful way to study vocabulary and study in groups. Teachers can also create their own flashcards according to their pupils' needs.

  • Wordia search refine area

Redefine the dictionary-wordia

This gives students an interesting opportunity to learn vocabulary, grammar and to have access to "real" language. They can listen to native speakers definig a word chosen by them and they can also enrich their vocabulary finding the synonyms and antonyms of that word. Apart from that they can upload their own video defining a word in their mother tongue.

  • Welcome to EFL classroom

http://eflclassroom.ning.com/index.php

This interactive page allows you to use dictionaries, flashcards and translators on line. There is a teacher bot and some student bots you can chat with. You can even talk to a God bot and other famous characters.

Toon Doo

ToonDoo is a great, comic-creating tool that allows you to create your own cool comic strips with just a few mouse clicks. It´s an exciting and amusing way to let your imagination work, introducing and sharing them with the rest of the world. You can also insert them in your blogs or websites. Moreover, you can use Toondoo for educating or learning about a concept, talking about a current, social, national or international event, or just fun!

General features:

  • It is easy to use – with only a few clicks and drag ‘n drops
  • You can create 1, 2 or 3-panel comic strips (and edit!)
  • It is possible to choose from a vast variety of characters, props and backgrounds categorized into specific galleries.
  • You can create your own characters by using the TraitR (a tool which allows creators to give a particular quality to the character).
  • It is possible to upload images from your own computer or from anywhere else on the web by using the ImagineR tool.
  • It can be used with many languages.
  • You can add finishing touches to your toons by using the DoodleR (a tool which allows the creator to add drawing touches to his toons. For example: you can choose the brush colour, adjust the brush size, transparency or smoothness simply by using the options within the doodleR. You can also pick a particular colour by using the pick tool or draw a straight line by using the line tool.)
  • You can embed your toons in blogs, websites or forums.
  • Your comic strips can be shared, mailed, tagged, recommended and bookmarked.
  • You can either make a short story long or combine multiple toons into a toonbook.


Social features:

ToonDoo is a great place for social networking. You can:

  • Send your toons to friends.
  • Embed toons in blogs, websites or forums
  • Add them to favourites.
  • Appreciate a cool toon by cheering it.
  • Flag as inappropriate if you think the toon has offensive or inappropriate content.
  • Write your comment on a toon (which will also be featured in the 'Comments gallery' and sent via email to the toondooer)
  • Send a private message to a fellow toondooer.
  • Interact with fellow dooers via the official toondoo forums. This is your space to talk about toons, clarify doubts, request for new features or discuss anything under the sun!


How Can people create their own characters?

Toondo has a cool feature called the TraitR with which people can create their own character, following these simple steps:

  • Click on 'TraitR' button in the creator.
  • Choose from among the vast variety of facial features, body parts, clothes and accessories to create your unqiue traitR character
  • Save your Traitr character after its done.
  • All your TraitR characters once created, will be available in your my traitRs gallery.
  • Just drag and drop to use them in your toons. You can also change their posture and facial expressions by clicking on the posture and emotion buttons in the creator.

Making a colourful text

You can also introduce colourful text selecting a speech bubble or text box, and hit the ‘Control’ button on your keyboard to see your text change colour with every click. Stop when you like a colour. You can do this with the stick men, too!

Or, you can simply select the text when you want to colour-change and click on the 'colour' button in the creator!


Inserting toons in documents

You can introduce your toons in a Word, Powerpoint or some other document by just saving the published toon onto your computer (just right click on the published toon image and select 'Save as'). Use the 'Insert picture' option and select the toondoo image on your computer from the saved location into your word / powerpoint / other document.


Saving doodles, images and traitRs

All the doodles and traitR's created by you as well as the images uploaded by you can be saved under your 'my galleries'. There are separate galleries for your images, traitRs, doodles and even your favourites. And you can edit or delete any of these ítems.


Teaching and learning possibilities: What can a teacher do?

  • Explain a topic or concept entirely with toons.
  • Make class assignments interactive with ToonDoo.
  • Create characters or choose from a variety of previous ones.
  • Explain school processes and procedures with toons.
  • Test learning of new concepts and skills.
  • Get your learners to think about what they have just learned by making them create stories around it.
  • Make language learning fun.
  • Get Pictures to speak LOUDER than words. Storyboard concepts with your learners.
  • Inspire imagination and creativity.

Here there is an example for teachers to make class assignments interactive with ToonDoo:


In a picture, there is a teacher standing in front of her sts, by the board. She is giving instructions to them: Today´s homework assigment is to create a toon doo about what you have learnt in class. On the other hand, students showing interest, enjoying the class, talk each other and say: Toon doo makes learning fun, It´s really easy to use toon doo, I love toon doo h.w, I can´t wait to start.

Moreover, other learning tools you can find in ToonDoo are Compleetoons. They are series of Incomplete toons which you can complete. Just add the text, which you think fits best, to the empty bubbles. It´s just like putting words in their mouth. Or, you can simply look at the other entries and cheer the ones you like!

For example:

In a picture where there is a family listening and watching to the news, the reporter is talking about the world economy slowdown. Parents are shocked to learn about the present economic situation. On the top of the image, there is a question

What does this little boy think about the economic slowdown?. The little boy sitting on the sofa has to say sth. There

is a bubble to complete, which is exactly the learning tool Compleetoons

This is a good resource for teachers to make students imagine and create as well as use the target language.

However, in view of the fact that users come from different countries and socio-cultural backgrounds, it is virtually impractical to monitor all the content that comes on the site and sift out the "safe" content while screening out the inappropriate.

Hence, it follows a slightly different approach in empowering users to flag as inappropriate any toon which they feel is offensive or not suitable for younger viewers.

Content once flagged inappropriate is subjected to review by the Editors post which it is removed from view for all those users who have switched SAFE SEARCH ON (to check if this is ON or OFF for your child, you can login with his / her id and check the safe search setting from the top right corner. This can be changed by going to My Profile under ETC)

While it can´t be guaranteed that people will never find inappropriate content at toondoo, it can be assured that all such content would be blocked from view after it has been reviewed by the Editors. The SAFE SEARCH option should be turned ON to ensure this.


ToonDoo ELT links:

http://abenetpblog.blogspot.com/2008/05/toondoo.html

With this resource you can create a toon story and read it as if it were in a book.


http://www.etprofessional.com/content/view/1130/50/

This site is exclusive for teachers. You can find information about teaching English with toon doo resources. It is very interesting and useful.


http://www.hello-world.com/

A nice resource for young learners of all sorts of languages to English. It contains games to revise useful basic material, cartoons, as well as songs broken down line by line and audio-accompanied comic strips.


http://mrstoutsblog.blogspot.com/2008/03/another-cool-comic-website.html

This blog serves several purposes: Communicating with students outside the classroom, publishing students' work. It serves as a resource for both students and teachers.

Webquests

What is a WebQuest?

A WebQuest is a lesson in the format of a questionnaire. The main goal is to ask students to find and work with information from the web. It was created by Bernie Dodge at San Diego State University in February, 1995. Dodge is also the author of a number of educational software packages for children and technology tools for educators.

Technologically speaking creating a WebQuest is very simple. The only thing you need to know is how to create a document with hyperlinks so it can be created in Word, Powerpoint, and Excel. A webquest should have critical attributes.

A webquest needs the following components:

  • Introduction: Provides background information.
  • Task: It is a formal description of the goal of the project. First the teacher has to find resources from the web for a specific topic. Then she/he creates an activity for students that has this information; it should be interesting. It is useful to show students an example of a project.
  • Process: Description of the steps students should follow with the links included in each step.
  • Resources: List of resources students need to do the task. Non- web resources can also be used.
  • Evaluation
  • Conclusion: It is for reflection. The teacher encourages students to suggest ways of improving the task.
  • Credits
  • Teacher Page


Teaching and learning possibilities

A webquest is based on ideas of inquiry and constructivism. The teacher can use the webquest as a way to engage students in the learning process while surfing the internet. It is a very useful tool for teachers because it encourages students to use higher level of thinking, not simply summarizing. This includes synthesis, analysis, problem-solving, creativity and judgment.

It also creates collaborative and cooperative learning, since students work on projects in groups.

The student is required to make good use of the web. It is based on real resources from the web; it is not just a traditional lesson . Books and other media can also be used within a WebQuest, but if the web is not at the heart of the lesson, it is not a WebQuest.

While WebQuests can be applied to a wide range of topics, they are not equally appropriate for everything. You would not use a WebQuest to teach the times table, the chemical symbols in the top two lines of the periodic table, or the state flags of New England. In other words, do not use WebQuests to teach factual pieces of information.

These could be examples of the topic in which a teacher can create a webquest:

What should be done to protect America's coral reefs?

What kinds of people were most likely to survive the sinking of the Titanic? Why?

What was it like to live during the American Gold Rush?

What would Mark Twain think about the lives that children live today?


Example links

QuestGarden

http://questgarden.com/author/overview.htm

Created by Bernie Dodge provides a step-by-step guidance with useful examples. You can attach Word, PowerPoint, etc to your WebQuest. You can also use and modify an existing WebQuest from one of the members to create yours.


Other Online Authoring Systems


Filamentality

http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/

It's free of charge. It is a fill-in-the-blank tool that guides you through picking a topic, searching the Internet, gathering good Internet links, and turning them into online learning activities. Sample Product: Italian Unification


zWebQuest (Previously called Instant Webquest)

http://www.zunal.com/. Is free of charge. It is a web based software for creating WebQuests in a short time. Sample product: The Fantastic Four World War III.


PHP

http://eduforge.org/projects/phpwebquest/

Ii's a free of charge Webquest Generator that allows teachers to create webquests without the need of writing any HTML code or using web page editors. The program supports images uploading. A HTML editor is provided in order to format the texts for the pages. Must be installed on your own server. Sample project: La Catedral de Madrid


Teacher Web

http://teacherweb.com/wq_home.html

Online tool for creating simple WebQuests, especially appropriate for younger elementary students. Cost: $27/year. Sample product: Colonial America


http://www.theconsultants-e.com/webquests/

There is a full variety of topics to work on webquest with students.


http://www.educationworld.com/a_issues/chat/chat015.shtml

There is an interesting interview with the creator of the webquest Bernie Dodge The following is an extract of the interview:

EW: How long did it take you to develop the WebQuest format? Dodge: A few weeks later -- pretty much all in one sitting -- I put together a template, set up in the same way I ...


http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/China/ChinaQuest.html

This is the webquest that Tom March developed and that Bernie Dodge makes reference in his interview


http://webquest.sdsu.edu/adapting/index.html

This site helps teachers to adapt existing webquest to their needs.


http://webquest.sdsu.edu/webquestrubric.html

These are rubrics, sets of instructions, to help teacher to evaluate the task. She/he can do it along with the students.

  • The following are the resources used in the assignment:

http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/webquests/index_sub4.html http://webquest.org/index-resources.php

Wiki

Definition:

A wiki gives people the opportunity to collaboratively develop a website, therefore we can say that it is a group editable website. The word wiki means quick in Hawaiian, implying that this database or site is fast and easy to use. Users are able to post and edit content, make comments, and hyperlink between pages. To some extent, wikis are similar to standard web pages, but the difference is that wikis are created with interactivity in mind.


Characteristics:

A wiki is a collaborative tool. Users work together to create a specific product: a report, reference guide, a book or an encyclopaedia. It facilitates user to cooperate without a division of tasks. Users can even work on the same page at the same time, but should be aware of the changes the other person is making, and, at the same time, be careful not to erase something that somebody else has updated. Many wikis contain also discussion pages; however, for this particular activity, there are better web tools like blogs or forums.

  • Wiki pages are not often ordered in a prescribed way. Like on the World Wide Web, they are interlinked in a network structure in such a way that they encourage meaningful topic association. Organizing knowledge in a network seems to be a natural way of knowledge representation or as Foucault (1972, p. 23) puts it: The frontiers of a book are never clear-cut: beyond the title, the first lines, and the last full stop, beyond its internal configuration and its autonomous form, it is caught up in a system of references to other texts, other sentences: it is a node within a network. It is very easy to create links in a wiki: if you apply the linking syntax to a certain term, usually putting it between brackets or writting it in camel case2- it immediately creates a link to a wiki page which has that term as a title.
  • As anybody can edit the pages or undo the edition, wiki communities depend heavily on the trust between its users. Due to the reversion of changes, conflicts can lead to edit wars where multiple users keep on reverting each others' changes because they do not agree upon the information.
  • Since there is no power structure, wikis are considered to be anarchistic. In general, all users have the same rights. On many wikis, even anonymous users have the same rights as registered users. On Wikipedia, there are sysops (system operators) that can sometimes lead to conflicts between users as each individual can select the role that best fits their preferences, there is no establishment of who is in charge of making the changes or confirming the information. On the other hand, wikis are sensitive to vandals: malicious users who delete information or insert incorrect information. This problem happens to wikis that allow unregistered users to make changes. Wikis with a large community have the highest potential of self-healing. If a lot of people read the pages, vandalism and incorrect information are bound to be corrected soon.
  • The absence of control and lack of labour division makes a wiki expand itself in an organic way. Equally important subjects may not be developed in the same way. There can be very detailed information on some and no information on others. The way in which a wiki expands depends on its community interests or trends.
  • Wikis consist of a mark up language, known as wikitext; most of which is plain text editing, but its styles and syntaxes can varied among wiki implementation, some of them allow HTML which is not legible for the most wikis.
  • The use of wikis is believed to be more flexible and user friendly.


Features

Browser based editing:

All wiki page edits are achieved through an associated editing page with a text entry box. To edit in a wiki we just have to press the edit bottom and write. Once we press the edit bottom, an editor bar (similar to the one in Word) will allow us to change the appearance of our writing.

Editor bar:

  • There are some features of word processor, such as bold, italic underline type, font, tables, special characters.
  • Next to them you will find the insert and remove link bottoms which are easy to use, you just write the link and select it, once you have done that, you press the insert link and a separate window will appear making the link automatically when you press OK.
  • Insert file: another window will pop up where you will be able to select a file or upload one. There is also an option to insert image by URL.
  • Embed widget: this enables you to embed any application you want from video to wikispaces. Again a window will appear and you will be able to choose from a list of applications.
  • Text editor: it is used to edit plain text files. Some of the features of this function are: search and replace, cut, copy, and paste, text formatting, undo and redo the lastedit, importing and filtering.
  • Preview: it enables you to have a preview of your work before saving.
  • Save: do not forget to save the changes.


Access control is the ability to edit pages that can be opened to all visitors, or can be restricted to those with a login or limited by IP address.

Wiki mark up- web formatting (e.g.bold, links, headings, lists etc) can be achieved within wiki content using simple mark up designed to be easier to use than HTML code.

Version comparison:

The differences between versions of the same page can be highlighted.

Discussion pages:

Each web page has an associated discussion page, a place where contributors can discuss the direction of the editing process.

Tracking version history:

The page content is saved as each edit is made, resulting in a timeline of different page versions.

Automated page edit alerts:

RSS alerts or email can be used to identify when specific pages have been updated.

Locking current page version:

It is to prevent further edits.

Page version rollback:

The page content can be returned to that of previous version undoing all subsequent edits.


Some of the Wiki systems available are:

  • Mediawiki: is a free open source wiki system that was originally developed for Wikipedia. To use Mediawiki you need to host the system files on a web server.
  • Wikispaces: is a free hosted wiki which also offers paid for versions that include additional functionality.
  • Confluence: is an Enterprise wiki system ideal for large scale and corporate implementations.
  • Writeboard: is a very simple free hosted wiki which forms an ideal introduction to these systems.
  • Jotspot: is a free hosted wiki system that has been purchased by Google.
  • Wikibooks: you can create textbooks about different topics.


Using wikis in the classroom:

Everyone knows that learning is social, people need to interact to imitate, to improve, to learn. Wikis present the perfect opportunity for a group of students and teachers to work together and develop different topics. Nowadays, the world spins around the World Wide Web, so wikis are a good way to motivate your students to participate as they are able to create, modify and add content. It gives them the opportunity to be contributors and editors at the same time. Apart from this, wikis are easy to use as people do not need to know HTML to contribute or edit. From the teaching point of view, wikis allow you to trace contributions, hence enabling teachers to know who is participating and who is not.

However, there are some few disadvantages. Firstly, Wikis are text-based, so there could be some difficulty in adding images and formatting layout. Secondly, the management of them is time consuming as you need to monitor the users' edit. Moreover, and as it has been said before, pages are exposed to vandalism, therefore they are not suitable for sensitive information. Furthermore, the wiki pages can lead to contentiousness.

There are several ways to use wikis in the classroom, in which students can be editors, visitors, contributors or all of the:

  • Wikis that are authored solely by staff (e.g. teachers) who allow material to be renewed and refined continually. Students can enter these types of wikis to check information about the subjects.
  • Wikis that are primarily authored by students (created by students).


Wikis that are publicly available and have been created by others Some of the things that students can do are:

  • Student feedback to staff: This type of wiki enables feedback to be controlled and owned by the students.
  • Peer review of assignments: Some students are assigned to guide other students during the process of creating their individual assignments.
  • Subject glossary: Students are assigned responsibility for creating definitions for specific terms to build an extending subject glossary.
  • Assignments: Teachers can monitor contributions and follow the development of the different tasks as well as individual contributions. Teachers can spot mistake and give feedback before the submission of the assignment. Some examples are: Writing Video Reviews, Writing Practice including Process Writing.
  • Peer self-help pages: this type of wiki is dedicated to students helping other students with the problems they identify.
  • Group debates: Students can present evidence and learn to cope with different points of view.
  • Student's Personal Diary where they can write opinions or ideas about different topics
  • Marking scheme: students become involved when they can participate in defining the marking scheme by which their assigment will be assessed.
  • FAQ: students can make some questions which other people will be able to answer.
  • research and public writings through contributing to an existing wiki: wikipedia actively encourages learning activities based around contributions to its articles.
  • study of an existing wiki: the revision of its own history and discussion pages can be used as a model of how knowledge is constructed.


Examples:

In this wiki anyone can edit whatever they want about ELT. We happened to visit some forums and we were surprised to find from detailed course descriptions to amazing pictures of street food. We downloaded a journal-Horizon- by David Vincent, in which we came across an interesting article: The Ideal English Teacher Through the eyes of ELT trainees written by the Argentinian Teachers Sandra Bayona and Adriana Wiegaud. After reading and navigating, we created an account and had the chance to interact with other users. We highly recommend this site.

This is the Pearson Longman wiki where you can find detailed information about any elt topic and plenty of exercises.

This site is amazing! You can see slides of classrooms, toys, projects...You can even find recipes for pancakes, ice-cream, cakes.

You can find different samples of oral practice. The text is supplied as well as the video recording.

This site is exclusive for teachers. You can find information about teaching English as a second language. It is very interesting and useful.


+http://en.wikibooks.or/wiki/English/English_in_use

This wikibook has to offer a variety of different explanations and exercises about the English language. You can find links to different levels.


Resources:

http://www.cs.unimaas.nl/s.spek/wikiposition.pdf

http://campustechnology.com/articles/40629

http://informl.com/2006/11/25/why-wiki

http://wiki.wsu.edu/wsuwiki/Using_Wikis_For_Learning

http://www.utexas.edu/academic/diia/wiki/teaching_wiki.php

http://www.jot.com/tours/hosted-wiki/1-wiki-definition.php

Yahoo Groups

Identify and Analyse what Yahoo Group is and the applications it offers

In yahoo groups people with shared interests meet, get to know each other, and stay informed. By being member of a group, you have access to: shared message archives, photos and photo albums, group event calendars and shared links. It’s free, spam-protected and privacy-protected. Members can choose whether to post group messages, to read by e-mail or on the Group homepage. The yahoo groups service provides additional functions on the website, such as voting and calendar systems and file uploading. The basic mailing list is available to any e-mail address, but a Yahoo ID is needed to access to other features.

Feature List

Web Tools selectable for Off, Admin, Members, Public (not all tools).

  • BBS: Post by form or member email account. Distributed by selectable option to the members, and archived in the group archive. No edit function except delete.
  • Photo album (100MB): Organized into album/thumbnail structure.
  • File storage (100MB): Capable of storing any file format.
  • Link directory: Options for folders, text labels for each link.
  • Poll: Members can create multiple-choice polls, including various options for ID display.
  • Database: is a collection of data that is organized so that its contents can easily be accessed, managed, and updated.
  • Member list: Scroll of registered member profiles, and the basics of the information they provide.
  • Calendar: Scheduling system for clubs with regular events.
  • Promote: HTML box for website display (to join a group).

Administration Owner/Managers (who can do post approval)

  • Invite: to invite more members by email.
  • Management of members (approve new members, delete members).
  • Options: Edit of the group homepage display text etc.
  • Post/Picture approval: It is possible to switch to strict moderation if required.
  • Web tools management: Options are Off, Public, Members, and Administrators.


Teaching and learning possibilities

Members-The teacher and the students can use this feature to get to know each other if it’s a distance learning course. Students can fill in their profile and attach their photo.

Files - This is where the teacher may upload some lecture notes for students to download. Students can use this feature to share their assignments with their classmates – The teacher can ask students to reflect on the activity or presentation made by the class. The pedagogical aims could be: reinforcing a grammar point, memorizing vocabulary, practising a skill (such as writing, reading, etc), pair/group correction. For example, the teacher explains the present simple, uploads a list with verbs in the present simple tense, students can use this list to describe routines of their own life and then, they can reflect and comment on the activity.

Database – The teacher can use database to compile students' data, including their contact numbers and sometimes their grades.

Photos – This feature can be used to share a photo which a member found interesting (people, animals, landscapes). Students can agree or disagree about a point, they can look for similarities and differences, compare and contrast pictures, develop thinking and writing skills The photos can also be used in oral activities if the computer is brought into the class. For example, the teacher or some students can share photos of their daily routines. Pedagogical aims: description of routines. They can try to improve the other person´s writing or speaking.

Links - They function as class resources. Students can share any interesting website with each other.


Examples/Links

Brazil_Teachers

This site provides help with the English or Portuguese languages, daily vocabulary tips from dictionaries and specialized books, tips and activities for our daily classes at school, images, music, and much more! It’s a place for having a nice day, relaxing and exchanging life experiences and knowledge about the language through pictures, stories, comics, funny cartoons, jokes, proverbs, video clips etc, either from one’s country or from abroad.

This is the site I am carrying out the project about: The virtual community as a support for the EFL learning process. This is a blended-learning experience since the learners are having their English lessons and participating in the virtual community.

This is a course designed to improve the English language skills that students need to improve or practise. It consists of a task which students accomplish by exercising the basic communication skills, namely, listening, speaking, reading, writing and critical thinking. The approach to learning and teaching is task-based, where content and language are integrated to culminate in the production of specific and authentic language projects.

The Bridge is the student magazine of the American Language Centre - Meknes, Morocco. It is created by students for students and it is a good example of collaboration and cooperation. It contains many interesting topics, poems, interviews and book reviews. Student’s practise reading and writing in English. They also learn different skills, such as time and project management, research techniques, as well as interpersonal and negotiation skills. The goal of the ALC-Meknes is to help students become fluent in the English language. Communication in this group should be in English.

The aim of this group is to learn English and Portuguese through a modality of learning called Tandem learning. The group is composed of students from the Federal University of São João del-Rei, in Brazil (UFSJ), coordinated by Liliane Assis Sade (English teacher), and students from the University of North Florida, in the United States, coordinated by Fernando de Sousa Rocha (Portuguese teacher). The aim of the project is to discuss issues related to language and culture of both countries and through this discussion, develop foreign language skills. The interactions will be held both in Portuguese (used by American students) and English (used by Brazilian students).

Authors and Editors

BLOGS

Authors: Heick, Natalia - Chiarella, Mariana

Editor: Fabricio, Romina


CALENDARS

Authors: Buiatti Marcos - Cicala, Ignacio

Editor: Rossi, Ivanna


DELICIOUS

Authors: Sanfilippo, Maria Julieta - Thouluc, Jimena Sol

Editor: Fabrizio, Romina


DIGG

Authors: Groh, Melisa - Almendros, Carla

Editor: Rossi, Ivanna


FACEBOOK

Authors: Waciarz, Jessica - Elcarte, Graciela

Editor: De Rosso, Ariela


GOOGLE DOCS

Authors: Amuchástegui, M. Romina - Lambert, Federico

Editor: Fernández Frino, Violeta


GOOGLE GROUPS

Authors: Braña, Florencia - Blanco, Yamila - Araque, Ignacio

Editor: Toloza, Daniel


HOT POTATOES

Authors: Pinedo, Silvana - Casaccia, Silvia

Editor: Ledesma, Patricia


IMAGES (PICASSA - FLICKER)

Authors: Custode, Eliane - Happel, Cristian - Reyes, Julieta

Editor: De Rosso, Ariela


MAPS

Authors: Marquez, Marina - Lignassi, Debora

Editor: De Rosso, Ariela


ONLINE VIDEO (YOUTUBE - TEACHER TUBE)

Authors: De Miguel, Anabella - Duran, Anabella

Editor: Cheetham, Patricia


PAGEBUILDING

Authors: Gutierrez, Adrian - Carluccio, Antonella

Editor: Gardy, Denise


PLURK

Authors: Leguiza Toloza, Daniel - Mariotti, Maria Florencia

Editor: Fernández Frino, Violeta


PODCASTING

Authors: Rondon, Daniela - Romano, Daniela

Editor: Fernández Frino, Violeta


PODCASTING RADIO STATIONS

Authors: Guerrero, Denise - Cuntó, Carolina L

Editor: Cheetham, Patricia


RSS

Authors: Damon, Maria Jose - Costas, Maria Paula

Editor: Cheetham, Patricia


SECOND LIFE

Authors: Alvarez Federico - Cordova Ignacio

Editor: Toloza, Daniel


SKYPE Authors: Mei, Noelia - Schor, Ruth Eleonora

Editor: Ledesma, Patricia


SLIDESHARE

Authors: Brayotta, Analía - Aguirre, Vanesa

Editor: Rossi, Ivanna


SYNCHRONOUS TEXT COMMUNICATION

Authors: Casuccio, Maria Florencia - Rolando, Laura

Editor: Fabricio, Romina


SYNCHRONOUS VOICE COMMUNICATION (VOICE ME – GOOGLE TALK)

Authors: Platas, Andrea - Mattei, Luciana

Editor: Ledesma, Patricia


TOON DOO

Author: Saban, Adela

Editor: Ferrara, Claudia


WEBQUEST

Authors: Pérez, Marcela - Tripaldi, Elena

Editor: Toloza, Daniel


WIKI

Authors: Conde, Romina - Jofre, Laura

Editor: Gardy, Denise


YAHOO GROUPS

Authors: Byrnes, Priscila - Arias, Gabriela

Editor: Gardy, Denise


GENERAL EDITOR

Ferrara, Claudia

TimeToast

Main characteristics of TimeToast:

  • Users are allowed to create and design their own interactive timelines in this webpage. This can be embedded into any site so as to share it on the web.
  • You can add details, photos, and links to the timeline, however TimeToast has not yet developed the feature for adding video(s).
  • Anyone who has a valid email address can join Timetoast for free. You don't need to register to read other timelines but you must sign up if you want to create one or leave comments.
  • When you sign up you are sent an email to activate your account. As soon as you have activated it, it is then possible to create your first time line by adding a title, a picture, events, dates, links, and content.


Teaching and learning possibilities

This application can be useful in education as a tool to teach any topic related to time, history, or important events. Not only can it be an interactive source for teaching but it could also be an enjoyable way of learning.

For example, teachers could ask students to create their own timelines by investigating a topic such as the FIFA World Cup (URL: http://timetoast.com/timelines/24318), taking down notes and creating a timeline. They can even design timelines about a book they have read (http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/24852), their own lives, or any topic dealt in class and then share it with the classmates.

Adding new events is as simple as typing a Date and a Description. Short, clear directions are provided in order to help you. We think TimeToast is a very useful tool for creating and/or recording historical events via timelines.


Example links

World War II

http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/15297

Teachers could introduce the Past Tense using the timeline above that is about the main events of the Second World War. In addition, students may learn not only English Language but also History.


Thomas Alva Edison

http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/14462

This timeline is a good example to use for practising the passive voice by telling what was invented by Edison, among other grammatical functions.


FIFA World Cup

http://WWW.timetoast.com/timelines/24318

By learning about the Fifa World Cup students will learn the past tense, countries and nationalities.


Christopher Columbus

http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/6406

Using the timeline about Christopher Columbus students can learn not only History but also English. By describing his life and his trips, the students can practise the Past Tense.


With this application, it is very easy to introduce different topics and would be effective not only for small groups but also for people who work on their own. This simple visual tool can be used with writing and history activities, as well as with social studies. In addition, this application is very easy to use. All buttons do what you expect them to do and include the typical mouse-over description of their function.

PollDaddy

Main characteristics of PollDaddy

PollDaddy.com is a website designed to create your own polls and surveys online and it is very useful for people who do not have enough time to plan, create, print out and ask people's opinions in order to get the results of a face-to-face survey, or simply do not know how to create one themselves. If you are interested in a certain topic and you want to know what other people think about it, you can embed your poll in your own blog, website or social network (such as MySpace, Hi5, Blogger, Freewebs and many more) for visitors to vote. By including these surveys in your website you are not only gathering information, but also making your web page more interactive, engaging your visitors to interact with you and other users. You can collect the data you need through unlimited polls and votes.

Anybody can create an account for free. However, free user accounts have restrictions; that is to say that they have a limited number of polls and votes. Even large corporations benefit from PollDaddy since they can upgrade to a professional account for a paid subscripion. Some of the advantages include an increase on the number of survey questions and responses that can be received each month. Both individual users and companies have the possibility to work on polls and surveys in an easier way, instead of creating them and interviewing people themselves.

Once you have your PollDaddy account, you are able to create your own polls and surveys by choosing your own design to fit your website's colour and theme. Questions and answers can be shown in any of the eleven available languages. You are also free to select whether to display the results or keep them private. If you decide to publish the results, you can choose how the readers will see them. Furthermore, you can include graphics, pictures and videos to make your poll more complete. Polls and surveys are created by using drop down boxes and multiple choice or single choice options. There is a new advanced survey editor available to create multi question and multi page surveys. There are unlimited number of polls each month as well as number of visitor votes per poll. After a certain number of answers or after a certain date, surveys are closed and the results are shown. Moreover, there is a block repeat votes, which enables people to vote more than once; this prevents the alteration of the results and makes the page more reliable. Finally, as soon as the visitors vote, the results of the survey are updated immediately; this way, the user can see how many people have shared their opinions.


Teaching and learning possibilities

As teachers, we can use this innovative tool in different ways:

  • By creating polls about activities we do in class and asking our students to give their opinion about them: they can vote which activities they like or not, what could be changed and what should remain the same, etc. This way, the students can feel they are part of the teaching-learning process and that their opinion matters.
  • By asking our students to create their own polls, dealing either with the topics mentioned in class or even topics they are interested in. By doing this, the students will interact and could even discuss their differences in class.
  • By surfing the web page and choosing their favourite polls, and saying why they have found them interesting to create a debate in class.
  • By choosing ourselves a certain poll and discussing it. We can even create debates by dividing our class in groups and each group has to defend their positions.


Example Links

Music Teachers Blog

http://www.musicteachershelper.com/blog/?p=744

On this web page, we have a clear example of a teacher who has used the surveys offered in "PollDaddy" in her lessons. She also gives details about the outcome of working with this tool.


Librarytechtalk

http://libtechtalk.wordpress.com/2008/10/20/polldaddy-a-fun-and-easy-way-to-engage-students/

This website provides examples of how a teacher has used this useful tool to engage students and make them take decisions about their own studying place, among other things.


HubPages

http://hubpages.com/hub/using-a-polling-application-to-adminster-school-tests

The contents of this page explain how a teacher has used PollDaddy.com to make tests for her students and make them feel more motivated by such a novelty. She has also used this tool to carry out an opinion survey among the school staff to gather information regarding a certain topic.

Twitter

Twitter is a short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices. In other words, it is a free social networking and microblogging sevice. People from all over the world have the possibility of following international information or friends’ recent activities through Twitter at the very moment they happen.


How was the idea of Twitter born?

Jack Dorsey, the creator of this incredibly and enormously successful tool, was interested in the idea of knowing what his friends were doing at that right moment. So, he developed the concept with his colleagues and built the first prototype in 2006, founded by Obvious, a creative environment in San Francisco, California. From that moment on, Twitter has grown on popularity, so much so that newspapers such as …

The New York Times calls Twitter "one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet." TIME Magazine says, "Twitter is on its way to becoming the next killer app," and Newsweek noted that "Suddenly, it seems as though all the world's a-twitter." What will you think? //http://twitter.com//


Why is Twitter so popular?

  • The main reason why Twitter has become so popular is its simplicity: people want to be in touch with others in a quick, easy and simple way.
  • "What are you doing?" This is the question for Twitter, and the answers (called tweets) must be under 140 characters in length and can be sent via msn, web, mobile web and instant message.
  • Unlike most text messages, tweets are routed among networks of friends. Strangers, called "followers," can also choose to receive the tweets of people they find interesting.
  • In its short history, Twitter has become an important marketing tool for celebrities, politicians and businesses, promising a level of intimacy never before approached online, as well as giving the public the ability to speak directly to people and institutions once comfortably on a pedestal.
  • In fifteen seconds, you can get an endless list of answers to a simple question. No e-mail message, phone call or website could achieve the same effect.


Teaching and learning possibilities

When planning a lesson, it is well known that students get really involved when the activity is meaningful for them. Many students remember vocabulary for ever when they have worked on a song from their favourite singer or group; or they remember structures because they have enjoyed reading a storybook; or have had fun repeating chants. If they have learnt this in a meaningful context, which is relevant to their personal experience, it is quite possible that the lesson will be profitable for their learning and for our purpose, which is being a facilitator in their construction of the language.

Twitter is a wonderful tool to be exploited in the classroom as a source of the latest information: national or international affairs of any sort, up-to-the-minute information about our favourite artists or our closest friends. It is well known that Technology is quite appealing for youngsters, so why should not teachers take advantage of this? Twitter provides a context for a great variety of activities. Learners can get to know what their favourite people are doing right now or they can follow their activities day after day, and get in touch with them as well! The pleasure of being in touch with their favourite people provides an invaluable opportunity for learning from simple vocabulary to the most popular expressions! The excitement of receiving tags from their idols makes learners feel eager to know more about the language to understand and convey their messages. Twitter facilitates teaching and learning greatly because it is a simple key to the boundless universe of communication.


Example links


YouTube

Twitter in Plain English

What is Twitter? (In Plain English)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddO9idmax0o

This is a video that explains what Twitter is and its functions.


TechCrunch

The Top 21 Twitter Applications (according to Compete)

http://techcrunch.com/2009/02/19/thetop-20-twitter-applications

List of the most popular Twitter applications, based on monthly unique visitor data from Compete.


AcademHack

Tech tools for academics

http://academhack.outsidethetext.com/home/2008/twitter-for-academia/

The author is a teacher who shares great ideas for using Twitter in the classroom.


Twitter for teachers

A collaborative Effort to Teach Teachers about Twitter

http://twitterforteachers.wetpaint.com

Its author says that it is a collaborative effort to teach teachers about twitter.

There are plenty of examples of experiences in different levels of education.

Live Journal

Live journal was created in 1999 by Brad Fitzpatrick, an American programmer, who wanted to keep his high school friends updated on his activities.

Fitzpatrick thought of a resource that could be used to create and update online journals. That’s the origin of Live Journal, a web service that is easy to use as people do not need any previous knowledge on computer programming.

Once the user has registered (they do this by filling in personal information in the Live Journal web), he is given a virtual space where he can upload any kind of information: text, messages, photography, graphics as well as videos.

Fitzpatrick also took into account visitor participation since Live Journal spaces emphasize on user interaction. That’s why lots of people are using this resource as a tool to facilitate communication with others: people they know, people they would like to know, people that share their own interests, people who have friends in common, people from every places. Users not onlt use Live Journal for keeping record of their lives, but also as a web where they deal with a specific topic and people can get information from there or supply with new data to other participants. LiveJournal is also very common among groups of people who share, for example, a school course and they profit from this web service as another device for learning. We’ll see some examples on this later.


You can have different types of accounts

  • Basic account: these are free by just signing up. They offer a limited number of features compared to the other accounts. However, they cover all of the users' needs to share information in an interactive way.
  • Early Adopter: it is no longer open to new users because it was only available to users registered before September 14th, 2000. Early Adopter offers some extended features over free account users, but do not receive any new paid features.
  • Plus account: these accounts’ features are improved in comparison to the basic ones, and storage is enlarged. This service is free, but subsidized by advertising.
  • Paid account: these are available for term-based fee and offer more and better features: premium features in style, userpics, ability to create custom mood themes; ability to insert polls; an e-mail address; access to text messaging features; ability to see 100 recent comments (against the 10 that the basic accounts allow); ability to expand collapsed comment threads, and to have Basic, Early Adopter, and Plus users expand collapsed comment threads in users’ Paid journal or community; access to friends of friends list; and filter security. Users who have opened this type of accounts cannot transfer them or ask for refund.


Main characteristics of Live Journal

  • Each journal has its own web page. •Users can comment on other journals. •It has blog service and friends list. •Users can upload graphic avatars which appear next to the username.
  • Each user has a “user info” page where he can write contact and biographic data, list of friends, interests, communities and school the user has belonged or still belongs to.
  • It also has “voice post” (one can record a message instead of writing it) for its paid users.


Teaching ang learning possibilities

  • Virtual Campus: this is an online space that universities or colleges use in order to replace or complement regular courses. They are usually administrated or guided by a teacher, professor or an assistant. •Communication and exchange space for teachers and students: teachers and students can make profit of this when classes frequency is not enough and they need to communicate between lessons.
  • Discussion forums: they are virtual places where members can debate on a certain topic. This may be an advantage as regards shy students who do not usually participate orally in regular classes. This may be useful when working with content-teaching.
  • Virtual agenda: to keep a course schedule. Students have the possibility to check their deadline homework, exams or important events.
  • Communities: they are useful tools for user interaction. Courses may profit from this resource that allows members to post as in regular journals.


Example links

Some teachers create a LiveJournal space in order to work through distance learning. This allows students to get in touch with their teachers permanently just by entering the web.

Others focus on a certain topic, subject or area, so people from different places of the world join the community where they can ask for specific information, start debates, share works, suggest or ask for sources, get to know about events or news published on the virtual board, find interesting and useful links, get to know people who share their same interest.


History Students

http://community.livejournal.com/historystudents

This LiveJournal has been open since 2003. It is an exchange space where members can publish essays, interesting articles, discuss about colleges and open debate that may be useful for research projects or thesis. But it is not a homework helper where students may ask questions as to find the exact answer.


Art Students

http://community.livejournal.com/arted

In this community merge two main areas: art and education. Its members are art students, art teachers artists or just art lovers. Open since 2001, this LiveJournal allows a space for education discussion (focused on art education) as well as a virtual place to promote lessons, get advice and vent.


Homeschooling

http://community.livejournal.com/homeschooling

LiveJournals may be maintained by teachers who want to accompany their students in their learning processes as well as by teachers, educators or people interested in educational issues who want to share educational experiences with others.

This is an example of a LiveJournal created and visited by people concerning about homeschooling. It was created in 2001. As it copes with rather a controversial issue, membership is moderated to avoid aggressive comments or flaming from people who are against homeschooling. Homeschoolers parents, homeschooled or parents with intentions of homschooling their kids, are participants of this LiveJ community.


Library

http://community.livejournal.com/libraries/

This is an interesting use of this web-service. It is used as a virtual library that people visit to enlarge information about any specific book, author or topic.


Universities and colleges

http://community.livejournal.com/agnesscott

http://community.livejournal.com/ottawau

Reallusion Crazy Talk

CrazyTalk is a tool that has multiple applications, for movie & video creators, web & game designers, artists & illustrators, and it has also proved to be extremely useful for educators and students, because it allows them to create sophisticated, zany or dramatic talking characters from an image or photo; and facial animation for video, websites and widgets, for unique digital content. If you use the photograph of a person or a drawing, this software guides you to give movement to the different parts of the face. All in all, Crazy Talk is used to give life to any kind of image that you like.


Main characteristics of Reallusion Crazy Talk

As it has been said before, Crazy Talk gives you the great possibility of bringing an image to life. For instance, you can insert animation and add facial gestures such as mouth, lips and eyes movement. You can also change the size, colour or brightness of the image.


Teaching and Learning possibilities

This tool will help teachers in their approach to improve their teaching techniques and to kindle learning interest in students. Crazy Talk is also useful for teachers to plan their lessons in an enjoyable way, since this program enables children to develop their creativity and they will be more willing to learn. What is more, those teachers who use this resource will immediately get their students' attention, because children can even use their own photos, or images of their favourite characters to give them life, by making them move, talk, etc.

As regards students, they will display their talent in designing and storytelling through their work. Besides, as Krashen says, their “affective filter” will be low, because the classroom atmosphere will be completely at ease. Even those students that are shy and introverted will express their ideas and thoughts through their characters, and improve their learning skills. The fact that children can work in teams, sharing and collaborating with others, will also help build up their self-confidence. Moreover, studens will share their work with their families, proudly showing what they have done, as a result parents will be impressed by the technology used in their learning processes.

This tool will also be useful for Higher Education needs for training professionals in an effective way. With time-saving and extensively-applied tools, teachers and students can achieve the goals of their subjects within their set period of time.Teachers will display their ideas quickly, introducing concepts that express their thoughts through visuals. Therefore, involvement and learning will be instantaneous and successful due to the use of visual aids.


Example links

Showcase

This is a video example from a variety of school showcases made by teachers or students with CrazyTalk.

Title: "We Love First Grade" Mrs. Morrill's First Grade Class 2007-2008 From: Clark County School

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHf95ND6uFQ


Review

We have chosen this video because it shows the whole classroom working together with the aid of the ICTs (Infomation and Computer Technologies.) Furthermore, it helps teachers realize how much students enjoy working with Crazy Talk since they indeed love anything related to the world of computers. In this video, you can see and hear how students talk about their work in class, their activities, and even about their teacher. In fact, you can appreciate how they express their thoughts and feelings through their own drawings. In the end, the teacher talks about her pupils through an animated drawing, apparently made by one of her students.


Conclusion

In conclusion, using Crazy Talk, students and teachers will engage in hands-on technology. Many students find language study to be tedious and boring. However, if teachers apply this wonderful tool for language teaching, they will have the great opportunity to turn the traditional learning environment into an interesting and enjoyable one. Consequently, the whole group of students will feel highly motivated and encouraged to participate and cooperate with each other and at the same time, they will develop self-confidence and group awareness.

Crazy Talk can be used to introduce new language or to reinforce the language learnt. We should remember that students assimilate the language best when they are relaxed and having fun. Teachers should establish the right atmosphere in the classroom to meet their students' needs and stimulate their interests. Since Crazy Talk seems to fulfil all these requirements for an interesting language learning classroom, this software will help teachers to increase their students' knowledge in an enjoyable way.

Scribd

Scribd is a social website in which users can share original writings and documents in various formats. These documents and writings are quickly and easily converted to an iPaper [1] format right after being uploaded, so that they can be viewed inside a web browser or embedded into your Website or blog. It resembles a huge online library in which everyone can publish and read documents, even books, online.

Scribd is said to be one of the largest social publishing companies in the world, as tens of millions of people make use of it each month. Many leading print publishing and media companies, authors, corporations and organizations, such as The New York Times, Simon & Schuster, Pearson, Obama’08 Campaign, Ford Motor Company and more, distribute content through Scribd.

[1] Scribd has developed its own iPaper which differs from traditional document formats, because it is viewed inside a Web browser and does not require additional software.


Teaching and learning possibilities

Scribd is a great source of material, communication and learni​ng. It is a website that can be very useful during a teaching-learning process. Teachers can select material from this site to work on according to the topics they are dealing with.

For students, Scribd can be a great resource, not only for research but also for publishing their works. It is very useful for beginning writers since they can get ideas from the site and upload their writings without having to go through a publishing company. Students can also search Scribd for any needed kind of material, having the opportunity to read it online, download it or embed the file in their personal blogs, for example.

Assignments can be submitted to Scribd, giving the teacher or even other people around the world the possibility to see them online and if necessary, use them. It can become very self-satisfying for students as they can monitor how many people read their documents and post comments and feedback.

Scribd is not difficult to handle, you can use it for free, even without having to sign in.


Example links

Reading on Scribd

http://www.scribd.com/doc/19585159/Paper-Moon

Miguel Ángel Mendaro Johnson, the author, describes his material as “An Illustrated free book for everyone. It's based on a story about 3 pages I wrote in Spanish. Instead of translating it, I did some drawings and the result is a children's book. I hope you enjoy it!”


School subjects:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/20149263/King-Cobras

http://www.scribd.com/doc/17609850/Beethoven-Moonlight-Sonata

These links have been chosen because they can be used not only to teach English but also to teach other areas of education such as Natural Science and Music.


Using Scribd to study grammar

http://www.scribd.com/doc/16147487/English-Grammar

This book can be used by teachers to deal with grammar , or by people who want to learn English outside the formal educational system.


Whole magazines

http://www.scribd.com/doc/18056914/The-Travel-Leisure-Magazine-JulyAug-2009PDFho

This magazine has been included as an example of authentic material that can be used by adults, teenagers and even kids who are learning English as a second or foreign language.


Different kind of activities

http://www.scribd.com/doc/19220929/Origami-Book

http://www.scribd.com/doc/926303/Kid-Halloween-Fun-Recipe-EBook

These can be considered activities for MI (Multiple Intelligences) and they can be helpful for teachers since all students may be stronger in one particular kind of intelligence and therefore may best learn the given material through a different approach.


Game: tongue-twist

http://www.scribd.com/doc/13288565/Tounge-Twist-ETL-Game

This link can be used by teachers as an economic and easy warm-up activity, as a way of practicing the alphabet, or as an excuse to exercise or train our memory.

Weebly

Weebly is a website creator that allows you to create sites and blogs very quickly. It is completely free to create and publish a website and users can add videos, pictures, maps, and text by simply dragging them to their website.

You are also able to customize the temple (which is a pre-developed page design in electronic or paper media used to make new pages with a similar pattern or style) of your site, or build your own with HTML (it is a kind of language used for web pages to describe the structure and content in the form of a text; it stands for Hyper Text Markup Language) and CSS - Cascading Style Sheets (it is a simple mechanism that describes how a document is going to be seen in the screen or how it is going to be printed. It offers total control of format and style of the document).

You can also create a blog and post your thoughts, experiences, feelings and receive comments using the slick blogging features. Weebly sites can be promoted by their users by sending emails to their contacts and posting to Facebook. It can support an unlimited number of blogs within the website with full comment moderation features allowing an open, moderated, or closed conversation.

You are able to publish a site with you own domain name (ie. www.teaching.com as an example, instead of www.teaching.weebly.com). Although you publish the page with this name, the website will still host for free. There is an option to purchase a domain directly within Weebly, or you can make some corrections and changes on a domain that you already own. There are some fascinating gadgets available for Weebly, such as Feed Reader, Adbrite Ads, Google Maps that you can add onto your webpage.

Here is a link in which you can learn more about the usage and facilities that Weebly can offer you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjY83SnrO1M

You can also visit our website to see how Weebly works and to visit some useful pages for TEFL: http://groupm-m8.weebly.com/


Teaching and learning possibilities

Through Weebly, you can find that a classroom website is a good way to stay organized. Here are some basic and very useful functions to take into account:

  • Announcements: Teachers can make important announcements, from a birthday to an exam.
  • Class Calendar: They can organize the class schedule and activities weekly or monthly.
  • Homework Assignments: They can upload homework, extra practice or activities to do while the students are on holidays or some of them were absent.
  • Supply Lists: Teachers have the possibility to add links of the material they use in the classroom or some extra one for the students to work on.
  • Pictures: It is very important and useful to add pictures because we always need visual aids, environmental print when learning, especially a foreign language.
  • Post Student Work: Teachers can post students’ work in the website so that students feel more confident and proud of their works.
  • Parent Involvement/Volunteer Opportunities: It is a good way of keeping in touch with the parents or caretakers. They are also able to help the children with the homework as weel as to do some research, or why not, to learn as well.
  • Links: Teachers can add links for different purposes: for fun (games, puzzles), for research (papers, articles) or for additional material.


Example Links

Here are some classroom websites built on Weebly

Mrs. Shields’ 3rd grade

http://ripplingpond.weebly.com/

This site gives 3rd graders tools to improve different areas of their learning. It includes lots of links and images related to teaching and learning. There´s a special link http://www.arcademicskillbuilders.com/games/viper/viper.html that English Teachers should use to teach grammar to their children.


Mr. Coley’s 5th grade

http://www.mrcoley.com/index.htm

This site gives 5th graders tools to cope with the corpus demands. Several links of different areas are included, such as Maths, Science, Social Studies, Art, etc. There is an interesting activity which says that each day, a student is assigned to be the Reporter. His or her job is to write a short article about what took place in class that day.


Ms. Roush’s Geometry

http://fhsgeometry.weebly.com/index.html

The intention of this website is to allow students to access the wonderful world of mathematics in a variety of new and intriguing ways. Throughout this site they can easily find different pages for each of the classes and a blog where they will find questions for expansion of classwork and to get deeper understanding of what we are learning.


Mrs. Lyon – High School Health, Physical Education & Sports

http://mrs-coach-lyon.weebly.com/index.html

This site provides information for students, players, and parents of Health and PE classes and varsity softball squad. Students can learn more about the amazing technologies that they will be using in their jobs in the future.


Jan Harding’s page for teachers – Teaching with Technology

http://jharding.weebly.com/

This site helps other teachers explore the wide variety of web applications available for easy classroom use to help teachers meet standards, motivate students, and save time.

Online Dictionaries

A dictionary is a reference book which lists words in alphabetical order, providing relevant information on each word, such as meaning, pronunciation, and etymology. There are different types of dictionaries: phrasal verbs dictionary, idioms dictionary, grammar dictionary, pronunciation dictionary, thesaurus dictionary, translation dictionary, etc. A dictionary is mainly a tool which defines concepts. These concepts refer to what is conventionally accepted. Therefore, we can look up a word to understand its meaning and usage in order to use it accurately. Online dictionaries offer definitions (which can be technical or non-technical), synonyms, antonyms, spelling, translation, games, listening, videos and activities to practice.


Teaching and Learning Possibilities

Some learners are not friends of computers. They experience aporia when using them. As they may get lost if they don´t know how to surf the Net, they prefer to use books. We, as teachers, must show them that by using online dictionaries they can access the meaning and the usage of a word. Besides, they will learn that computers are powerful tools for learning. Dictionaries can help students and teachers thoughout the learning process, for exapmle, by providing examples Online dictionaries help us to share constructive lessons; learners like to interact through the Net because it is visual and therefore easier to acquire. We can get the meaning of a word as quickly as you fill the blank on the front page. This is an alternative approach to teaching and learning; some learners don't like looking up words in the dictionary and so they try to understand words through the context while reading a story. The Net works as a facilitator along the learning process. We can provide students with activities in wich they will have to use the online dictionary, eg: fill in the blanks with the most suitable word in a text. They will have to check the meaning and the usage in context of each word by using the dictionary. They will also be able to listen to the word in order to check the pronunciation.


Examples Links

www.thefreedictionary.com

This on line dictionary offers:

Free

Dictionary/ Thesaurus Medical, Legal and Financial Dictionary Idioms Wikipedia Encyclopaedia


More Languages

www.wordreference.com

The WordReference Dictionaries are free online translation dictionaries. It has a number of tools that allow people easier access to the dictionaries.


www.merriam-webster.com

This on line dictionary offers: New dictionaries for iPhone and iPod touch. Word games. Daily delivery: a little bit of knowledge and inspiration to your email


We have chosen these pages because they provide different ways to learn the meaning of a word. They are reliable as they were the first pages which appeared on the net.

Wordle

“Wordle” is a free Web 2.0 Google App Engine (a platform for developing and hosting web applications in Google data centers) on-line application for generating “word clouds” from any text that is provided. It was created by an IBM researcher, Jonathan Feinberg.

It uses the frequency of occurrence of a word in the text to determine its size. The text can be edited by modifying the clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color scheme for the background and the font. Then, an image is generated and can be used for different purposes:

  • it can be printed out;
  • it can be saved to the Wordle gallery to share it with other Internet users;
  • the embed code found next to the created picture in the gallery can be used to insert the image in a blog, wiki or webpage;
  • it can also be saved as an image in the hard drive by using the computer’s screen capture (Print Screen) and then copying that screen capture to a software programmer like Paint or Photoshop to save it as graphic;
  • the screen capture may also be copied directly to other programmes such as a Word document or Powerpoint.

Wordle uses Java, a computer programming language which allows you to play online games, chat with people, view images in 3D, etc. As a result, Java's applets have to be enabled in your browser so as to be able to use Wordle.


How Wordle’s webpage is composed of:

Up above in the home page, the following hyperlinks can be found:

  • Home: it leads Internet users to the main page.
  • Create: it provides a link to the actual page in which the Wordles can be made.
  • Gallery: it directs Internet users to the gallery which shows other users’ creations with this application.
  • Credits: it mainly includes the author’s acknowledgments to other people that collaborated with him to make the page.
  • News: it leads Internet users to a blog in which further matters related to Wordle are posted and commented.
  • Forum: it provides a list of links to different topics posted and commented by Wordle users.
  • FAQ: it is the Frequent Asked Questions section; it is very complete and useful.
  • Advanced: it leads Internet users to a page in which more sophisticated “Wordles” can be created, as weighted words or phrases can be pasted there and then their colour and size can be changed; the background colour can also be specified by using hex codes (as a result, it is not recommended for Wordle-beginners).

In addition, there are several other links that lead Internet users to some “Wordles” created by other people, to the Wordle’s creator, to the “Terms of Use” and to the “Subscribe” link in which recent “Wordles” can be seen.

The following are examples of "Wordles" made by Internet users; these and others can be seen in the Gallery in http://www.wordle.net/

These are the titles and authors of the pictures above: 1) Wordle, by Group#10; 2) Declaration of Independence, by Anonymous; 3) Lincoln Bicentennial 1, by Anonymous; and 4) Words I can't spell, by Anonymous.


Teaching and Learning Possibilities

Because this application gives greater prominence to the most frequent words from the supplied text, the word clouds create a great learning visual for students: these reduce a text to its essential elements, allowing learners to approach it in a more accessible way. As a result, Wordle makes the process of working with texts more motivating. These clouds can be then made into posters, for instance.

As Wordle is in an electronic format, it can be easily transferred to a number of other media such as paper, interactive whiteboards, blogs, wikis, etc.

The word clouds this application creates can facilitate teachers and students’ approaches to texts in different ways:

  • as a reading comprehension tool, Wordle can be used by the teacher, for instance, in two different ways:

a) as a pre-reading activity: as the more frequent terms will show up bigger than others, students can make predictions about the reading (e.g.: plot lines, characters, genre, themes, etc.); and b) as a post-reading activity: students can create a summary of the text they have been working on. They may be even asked to keep a list of the words they believe are important/relevant in the passage, so they can show their own opinions or feelings about what they have read.

  • As regards the writing process, students can use this application to check the frequency of word usage in their own writings (i.e. if they are overusing words).
  • Brainstorming is a general use of the word clouds; it can also take place before, during or after a reading, and for opinions, feelings, vocabulary terms, etc.
  • It can also be used to compare and evaluate the different kinds of vocabulary employed in tabloid and broadsheet newspapers for a same article.
  • Wordle may be a useful way to get students introduce themselves at the beginning of the school term. They could create a word cloud which reflects their hobbies, interests, family members, favourite films and books, etc. Learners may also add their dreams and aspirations for the future: some time later, if they did so, they could create another word cloud, which could be used to see if there have been some shifts in those goals and/or ambitions.
  • Focusing on Grammar: When working with any text, the teacher can use Wordle to list the most relevant words in white; and once this has been done, the students would have to classify the words according to their grammatical categories by simply using different colours.
  • After reading a text, the teacher can ask the students to use Wordle to get the most important words of it; and then, work in groups, discussing to eliminate everything but the central ideas.
  • The teacher can ask the students to write a list of personal values, and then use Wordle with all the words they wrote, to see which ones are the most common, and talk about why they think those are so popular, and what they think about the rest.
  • Wordle can be used to analyse a famous speech (e.g. Martin Luther King's “I have a dream” speech). By highlighting the most frequent words, students can easily find the main themes, and then discuss about why are those the most frequent words and not others.
  • The teachers can use Wordle to carry out a poll on student's thoughts about how people are in their country, or the things they would like to change to make the world a better place to live in.
  • This application can be used to foster friendship: the teacher can ask the students to write at least one positive characteristic about each of their classmates. Then, finally, everyone should use Wordle to list all the good qualities that their classmates find in them.
  • When working with a movie, the script can be found on the Web and, by using Wordle, the students can focus on the most common expressions in different situations (e.g. colloquial English, medical English, business English, etc.)


Example Links

"The Power of Tags, The Power of Words" - Wordle Tutorial by Bob Sprankle

http://bobsprankle.com/bitbybit_wordpress/?p=461

This “Wordle Tutorial” is very complete as it explains what this application is and how to tackle it, shows us how to create a word cloud and give it format, and gives us several ideas to use it.


"Creating a Wordle" - YouTube Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiWeh208RvM

This is a tutorial in which a Wordle is created and then, we are shown how to insert it into a blog.


"Wordle: Using word clouds in a lesson"

http://www.boxoftricks.net/?p=103

This website provides us with one lesson plan in which Wordle was used.


"Wordle's Gallery"

http://www.wordle.net/gallery

This is the gallery of Wordle’s official page. It displays the most recent word clouds done but, by pressing the button called “Older”, we can access to the older “Wordles”.


“Nik's Learning Technology Blog”

http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/2008/09/using-word-clouds-in-efl-esl.html

This is a blog which provides examples about different ways Wordle can be used in ESL and EFL. It also explains how to create the word clouds.

Open Diary

Open Diary is the oldest online diary (a personal diary or journal that is published on the World Wide Web) community. It was founded on October 22, 1998, which made it an early example of social networking software, i.e., it aimed at building an online community of people who shared interests. Bruce Ableson, known as its creator, is considered The DiaryMaster. Some other cutting-edge features of OD (as it is often abbreviated) was the inclusion of blogs with comments (which then led to the creation of blogging sites), the possibility of indexing diaries by age and location, and friendly-only privacy (the possibility of choosing who can read your entries). OD allows its users to create private, public, or friends-only diaries. If the level of overall privacy allows it, within a diary the different entries, which are unlimited, may also be public, private or friends-only.

Diary entries on the site accept user comments, which can be linked back to the diary. Notes left on diaries can be public or private (only visible to the entry author), and diaries can be set to accept anonymous notes from people outside of Open Diary, or from members only. Both entries and notes may be examined by the Spellchecker.

The Diary Circles feature provides a place where entries of a similar nature can be posted together. These circles are linked to the Open Diary Boards, a message board component that was added to the site on in 2006. The most popular circles include "Depression", "Relationships", "Poetry", "Love & Passion", and "Advice Wanted".

Entries recommended by Open Diary users are listed on the Reader's Choice page. At the same time, users can create a "Favourites" list by bookmarking other diaries of their interest. They may also add a list of "Interests" to their profile, and search for diarists who have expressed interest in a particular topic.

A major upgrade to the Open Diary software was released 2003:the "Favorites Only" (later Friends Only) option for diary access, private notes, member interests, and other features for friends who could be selected on a person-by-person basis.

The inclusion of a new interface gives now users the option of including profile pictures. Moreover, OD provides free e-mail service, which is not restricted to OD members.

In February 2009, Open Diary 6.0, a broad upgrade to the site, was released. This new interface allows user to tag entries, store pictures, add videos and navigate more smoothly, among some other features.

OD introduced the premium service Open Diary Plus in 2001, a paid version of the original Open Diary. Apart from being free from advertisements, it offers several new features such as the possibility to block specific users from reading the diary or to organize the diary into chapters.

In 2004, after a major hacking attack, Ableson (the owner) decided to create $100 Lifetime Subscriptions, stating that this new membership level aimed at raising money since subscription rates had decreased, which caused Open Diary to go into debt. Lifetime members were told they would be given extra features, communication, and consideration beyond the OD Plus level.

As the site was featured a Yahoo! Pick Of The Week and membership increased rapidly by late 1998, Its creator decided to release two related websites: Teen Open Diary and Quit Smoking Diary.

Any entries or notes posted by members that do not follow certain rules, such as not using copyrighted materials, will be removed, and the diary account of the person responsible will be suspended or deleted by Open Diary administrators.

We need to take into account three important points to start our own diary: User Name Users should select a name that will identify them and differentiate them from the other people. They may use their real name, but not the real name of another person. Password The password chosen must be at least eight characters, and can be up to thirty characters. The password is case-sensitive, so users should pay attention to lower and uppercase.

  • E-mail

Users’ e-mail address is required to start a new diary. In case people forget their login name or password, the e-mail address will be needed to retrieve them.

  • Copyrighted Materials

Open Diary members must abide by all copyright laws when posting text or images in their diaries that were not created by them. In case they want to repost a text written by another diarist, they should get permission first. Therefore, members must not post copyrighted materials (either words or images) without explicit permission from the author or artist.


Teaching and learning possibilities

Teachers can create different uses of motivation strategies since this site offers various possible advantages in fostering English in the classrooms. It is important to highlight the fact the teacher should formulate the norms explicitly, and have them discussed and accepted by the learners, before starting to work on the site and develop a collaborative relationship with the students’ parents.

Develop an open-minded disposition towards the language. The teacher will promote the students’ awareness of the instrumental values associated with the knowledge and correct use of the language.

Finally, the teacher will work with the mistakes that students cannot correct themselves with the whole class, i.e. they will be working on common errors.

Having described the use of this Open diary as an effective and valid tool for teaching English, we have concluded that learners may maintain a positive social image while engaged in the learning tasks, guided and monitored by the teachers. It is thanks to the production of their own journals that students will promote self-motivating capacity and relieve the monotony of learning a new language in a different way.

Taking these points into consideration, we are firmly convinced that children are learning English through the use of technology, in other words, they are getting more used to dealing with computers.

Ning

Since it was first launched in October 2005, Ning has been an online platform for creating private or closed social networks. Unlike other social networks which are open for any user of internet to join, Ning allows to create private networks for a particular group of online users. Gina Bianchini, Ning co-founder, stated that Ning is a platform that provides creative freedom, that is, the ability to have more control over the user experience and data. In this respect, platforms are a step above social networks such as MySpace or Facebook in that they are programmable and give people control. A Ning network can be kept as private or as public as the creator desires, and each member can be granted different permissions and given different roles in the general running of the network. Overall, Ning is more open than other social networks in terms of the flexibility it gives users, and it serves a different purpose than Facebook and other social networks; this is shown by the increasing use of Ning in the educational field as both a tool and platform for collaboration. Users can opt to either take part in other members' social networks or create a network from scratch of their own.

Its name comes from the word "ning", which means "peace" in Chinese.


Main characteristics of Ning

  • Users can create social networks around specific interests with their own visual design.
  • The features and member data for a particular topic or need can be customized.
  • The platform offers the templates of website, photos and video combined in a single application, enabling anyone to easily create their own social network.
  • Safety options such as selecting who is allowed to edit the network, inviting or banning people, etc., can be customized by the Administrator.
  • Various levels of viewability and membership are customizable by the Administrator. Ning networks are subject to Children's Online Privacy Protection Act regulations.
  • Ning is free by default. Paid options include premium services such as control of the ads or lack thereof, extra storage and bandwidth, and non-Ning -URLs, in exchange for a monthly fee.
  • The social networks within Ning are programmed with PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (an open-source server-side scripting language, widely used for the development of dynamic web pages). Ning platform is built in Java (a technology developed for machine-independent softwares)


Gadgets

  • A series of Tabs organize the access to: My Page, Members, Videos, Events, Blogs, etc. On My Page, you can also access your Network's Private Messaging.
  • The network's discussions can be found in the Forum page.
  • Photos, videos and blog posts can be add as content; Photos by uploading the actual picture files, videos by embedding their code, from YouTube, TeacherTube or Vimeo.
  • Each person can have his/her own blog on the network, and blog posts will appear both on the Main Page and on My Page, the personal page of the person uploading the blog.
  • A synchronous chat room can also be included on the network. It may be opened and closed at any desired time, or it may be left open. It always keeps transcripts and requires members to be logged in to participate.


Teaching and learning possibilities

Ning networks have been a widely used tool for teaching. Its extensive use in education lies on the basis of the safety of a private network, shared by those who have been specifically invited and approved. Teachers are working with Ning into their classrooms not only for their students, but for collaborative work with their colleagues also. Examples of these uses can be found in university, secondary and even primary education level.

The teacher, as an Administrator, can provide students or colleagues with material and also encourage them to respond to it, allowing them to upload the material they create or find. A very useful measure, in the case of inappropriate content, is the teacher's editing or deleting of a piece of material. The security settings are of utmost importance if you are planning to use Ning with young learners.


Example links


WEBTAS Learning Community webtas.ning.com

Mary Hicko is a teacher who uses Ning for her campus learning community, which consists of staff, faculty and administrators interested in web teaching, in web 2.0 and in providing academic support services using these tools. They use Ning for all sorts of applications in teaching, academic support, tutoring, conference planning, and this enhances their professional development. Quoting Hicko, "It's such a flexible tool that even the critics seem to like it." We have chosen this example through the forum "Ning in Education", where Mary Hicko replied to a comment we posted.


Ning in Education FORUM **http://education.ning.com/forum

We want to share this website, not as an example link itself, but as a source of example links. This is an excellent forum, in which people from all over the world experiencing with Ning for educational purposes share and exchange problems, experiences, opinions, and keep a constant feedback on each other's work, in a very kind and collaborative way. If you are planning to include Ning in your curriculum, this is a website that will be most useful to you.

Jing Project

Jing Project allows you to capture images and make videos on the desktop. It's very useful because you can share a picture of your screen, record video of onscreen action, share instantly over the web, collaborate on a design project, share a snapshot of a document, narrate what is being displayed or show someone how to use different programs.

There is an icon with three links which lead you to different functions: capture, history and more. When you capture an image, you can either work with it just as an image or as a video. If you choose to work with an image, you can place arrows, write on it, draw frames, highlight special parts, and even choose different colours. On the other hand, if you prefer to make a video, you can record sounds and point with the mouse arrow. In both cases, Jing Project offers the opportunity to instantly upload your design in Screencast and share it, save it, and edit it. With the history function, you can view all your projects. Lastly, when you click on more, you get the following options: done, send feedback, preferences, help and quit.


Teaching and learning possibilities

  • Jing Project gives you the possibility of communicating with your students through the Internet by using your own voice, explanations and highlights.
  • It also gives your students the opportunity to work on the four skills. On the one hand, if you make a project for them, they can listen to what you have recorded, read what you have written, or write comments about what you have presented. On the other hand, if they use this software to create their own project, they can write and speak about the given topic.
  • On a real page, you can transmit what you think is important, what things you want to make a point of, and what things they should bear in mind.
  • You can lower their feeling of aporia by guiding your students through an explanatory video of what they are supposed to do afterwards.
  • It facilitates the teaching process because it is a kind of recorded lesson to which students can go back as many times as they need.
  • You can comment verbally on students' homework and correct their activities.
  • By using this kind of uploading for your projects, students can get to your work very easily and give you instant feedback to clear out their queries.
  • When applied to the teaching environment, it is the closest to a real class situation.
  • The use of this tool will help students to receive input from authentic sources, because this is the kind of recordings we can produce with JingProject, which shortly thereafter can be shown to our students. Authentic material is highly important because it has not been written particularly for teaching purposes and it resembles the kind of language we use every day in our lives representing situations we might encounter in the outside, like a future job, for example.


Example links


Jing Project

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX0vSXm4sp8

This video sets a problem and suggests Jing Project as the solution and explains why it is so practical and helpful. We have chosen this video because we found this approach interesting. By clearly expressing the problematic situation we become aware of how useful it can be. We also thought that the question "Why can't I share what I see?" expressed the moment of aporia we've been working with and on the other hand, it is a shared and common feeling among people.


Jing Project, Capabilities

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV5lZqgQP94&feature=fvsr

This video shows you all you can do with Jing Project: how to capture an image, how to make a video, draw arrows, etc. We have chosen this video because it explains the use of this software.

Signgenerator

What is it?

It is a website which allows you to create images, graphics or e-cards with customized text on them. One of the advantages of this tool is that users do not need to know how to use any design program as most of the work is done by this useful tool. Besides, you can take your own images from a digital camera, or DVD, take pictures from TV, from any social network, etc. This image shouldn’t exceed 650 pixels (height or width).


Advantages

  • You can either use a personal image and edit it, or choose from a collection of image generators, which are used to define individual picture elements that fit together to form the shape of a feature to be depicted.

How to work with it:

  • First you need to click on the image from the list that you like most and you will see the display of the picture with a sample text on it, and below that, a box with word processor features to type your text and change the text fonts. •Once you have set the text features, you just click on “change the message” button and you will see different options below the image, including a “download image” button.


Is it free?

The basic service is free, like most web 2.0 tools. However, there are charged features such as magnets, or images without the site landmark that appears at the bottom of each Picture.


Teaching and learning possibilities

This informatic tool is useful as teachers can create their own signs and images for exercises and exams, as well as to provide students with comprehensible input.

In making use of this tool, teachers can create matching activities where students have to match definitions to pictures.

Sign generators can also be used:

  • To prepare flashcards for your lessons as you can create innovative images. I would keep the format of the other items below, they all start with a verb in the infinitive
  • To add information to your texts in assignments.
  • To add thinking and speaking bubbles in dialogues.
  • To decorate the classroom (in order to learn) with:

1. Do's and don't's 2. Daily routines 3. Weather 4. Seasons of the year 5. Helpers' names 6. Birthday's dates 7. People's features 8. Opposites 9. New Vocabulary 10. Picture Dictionary

Among others …..and whatever you can imagine and create!


Example links

ImageTemplate

Main characteristics of a Template

A Template is a professionally designed empty document that can be adapted to specific user needs. It is a predetermined structure, layout or format which functions as the basis for creating new documents. This starting point for a new file remains unchangeable because although the new file is saved, the template keeps the original format. This kind of file, stencil, pattern, or mold (shape used to show how to make something) can be used over and over again without being affected by the use.

There are several kinds of templatess according to the use of them. A letter´s format, a calendar, a printable colouring picture are text or image templates. Files which are used by computer software, tools for generic programming, master pages to produce web pages are computer science and informational technological templates. If a template is used as a die or a mold to cut and shape a product it is a manufacturing template. A strand of DNA or RNA are molecular genetics templates. when a body vehicule adheres to specifications in a car racing it is called a template; this and other kind of templates are called miscellaneous templates.

An image or text template can be used as a basic format to create:

  • Fonts: a productive source (a book as source for example).
  • Bullets: in printing: a heavy dot for marking paragraphs or otherwise calling attention to or itemizing particular sections of text, esp. in display advertising. •A colour scheme: a planned combination of colors.
  • Background images: images that can be seen behind the main things or people in a picture. •Auto shape defaults: shapes that exist or happen if you do not change it intentionally by performing an action. •Animation: moving pictures.
  • Calendars: a printed table showing all the days, weeks and months of the year, events, dates, etc. •Agendas: a list of aims or possible future achievements.
  • Etc.


Teaching and Learning Possibilities

Children’s language development is enriched by being exposed to it. Environmental print in the classroom helps students, children, become literate (to be able to read, write and the construct of the meaning). One of the strategies for second language development is to create a positive classroom environment, and Templates can be very helpful tools. Children can learn and reinforce a foreign language from a text in an image template. Research suggests that images can enhance learning, by illustrating concepts and providing visual memory cues. An image can be used to facilitate learning and teaching.

Image or text templates can be used by teachers in order to create easily didactic educational material or interactive educational material. The newest information and communication technologies facilitate our work by letting us create our own material or download it. A template can be created by using Power Point or other similar programmes or by downloading interactive exercises, activities, images or graphics from the net.

This has a double benefit for learners: they learn a foreign language by means of fun and attractive material (which helps to keep them motivated and to make learning a memorable experience) while being educated also in the use of these new technological tools.

Visual elements (illustrations or images) support the children’s understanding. A template can be used to introduce a topic, can be used during the development of it or can be an ending activity (as response to a previous activity). It can be addressed from young kids (kindergarten) to older students (intermediate level or upper). The material can be used through the net (on line interactive exercises); or can be downloaded previously and presented to the kids on sheets of paper, as written exercises to complete, as pictures to colour, etc.

The links that appear below are examples of very useful templates that we can use to work with our students. There we can find images, that can be used as Wallpapers (for the room), Drawings for colouring, Drawings for building crafts, Printable Exercises, Build Printable Books, etc. The themes are varied and could range from Animals, The Weather, The Alphabet, The Numbers, The Colours, The Bible, The Seasons, to The Family, etc.

Examples of wallpaper: The Skeleton, The Weather, The Digestive System and a Bedtime Chart.


Example links


DLTK´s Sities Growing Together. About DLTK´s Crafts for Kids

www.dltk-kids.com


DLTK´s Growing Together. DLTK´s Crafts for Kids. Eductional Activities for Children

www.dltk-teach.com

Features: specially for children. It provides a variety of fun, printable, children`s craft, mini books, colouring pages and more including projects for holidays, educationale themes and some of our children favourite cartoon characters. This kind of material, or activities, can be printed but cannot be downloaded. You can print them in colours or in white and black.


Dr.LeBeau´s Home Page. A resource for Teacher, Students and Curious Adults

www.suelebeau.com

Features: It is a resource for teachers, students and curious adults. This page is a source of educational resources (several links). From it, you can surf trough the net to a new page according to the theme chose in the main page (suelebeau).


Learning English on Line

www.english-hilfen.de/en/index.htm

Features: You can learn vocabulary, grammar and basic English rules through on line exercises or games. From this page, you can surf trough the net to a new page according to the theme chose in the main page.


Templates. And Browne Templates

www.office-microsoft.com/en-us/templates/default.aspx

Features: You can get templates of calendars, invitations, agendas, letters, presentations, labels, etc.


Fake Magazine Cover

www.graphics.imagetemplate.net/magazines

Features: You can make your own cover of magazines, calendars by uploading a photo and adding a text.

Odeo

Odeo is a website which contains a directory and search destination for audio and video. It also has tools for the users to create, record and share postcasts. It is an easy way to find, play and enjoy audio and video from around the world. The website includes millons of postcasts and media sites classified in different categories:

  • Arts , business, comedy, education, entertainment, hobbies
  • Lifestyles, people, politics, science, sipirituality, sports, technology

For better understanding, I will define Postcast.

Postcast is a series of digital media files​ which are released in episodes. What differentiates postcasts from other ways of acceding to media files is the fact that postcasts are delivered episodically.

When a new episode is downloaded, the website automatically identifies the new file of the series and associate it with existing related files. This procedure gives the user a simpler access to episodic content.


Teaching and leaning possibilities

The use of authentic material in ESL classroom is worthy because it provides opportunities for them to interact with the real language. Learners feel that they are learning the language as it is used outside the classroom.

Odeo can facilitate listening skills supported by authentic audio and videos.

Teachers or students may choose a topic and search for an appropriate video from the website. Teachers can also do vocabulary and comprehension activities connected to the video.

Furthermore, the website has a category about Education and Teaching languages with audios and videos about everyday situations, suitable for students learning English as a second Language.

The following examples have been selected from the website:

  • A HERO

http://odeo.com./categories/27-Education/ Language: "THE ENGLISH DESK"

This episode consists of an audio material which tells the story about Terry Fox, a Canadian, humanitarian athlete and cancer activist. This young athlete became famous because he promoted a cross-country marathon in Canada, "The Marathon of Hope", in order to raise money for cancer research. Terry ran with one prothestetic leg.

The material provides an opportunity of listening to authentic, comprenhensible speech. Teachers can extend the resource by providing the students actitvities to evaluate how well the students understand the story.

Example of this kind of activities are: comprehension questions, listening to the recording and putting sentences in order, saying if the sentences are true or false.

Furthermore, advanced students, who are able to listen to details, can do a "fill-in-the-gap activity" concerning specific words that the teacher would desire to teach.

To support the activity, teachers can show the students a picture with the main character of the story.

  • LOST BEARINGS EPISODES.

These episodes are audio comedy/adventure stories about teddy bears that come to life. They tell us about their hilarious experiences in the city.

The material simulates the sounds that can be listened to in different places and situations in town (cinemas, bars, streets or taxis) giving the appearance or feeling of being real.

This listening tool can enhance the listening experience for our students. The setting provides contextual input for better understanding.

There are many things teachers can do with this material. Before listening, teachers can preview difficult vocabulary with students. They can also select some key phrases or sentences from the episodes for the students to predict the story. After listening to the episode, teachers should consider some questions to check comprehension. Moreover, students can create diary entries for the different characters.

  • UNLIKEY SITUATIONS. SHORT STORIES.

A selection of short stories originated from live perfomances on stages in New York City.

The material is valuable since storytelling gives meaning and context, invokes imagination and creativity and enhaces listening skills. Moreover, the perfomance skills of the narrator involves the listener.

Many activities can be done before and after listening to the story. The teacher can pause the story to check comprehension, wherever she thinks it´s necessary. Students can act out a free version of the tale, or draw a cartoon representing the main events in the story.


Example links


ODEO. VIDEOS AND AUDIO FROM THOUSANDS OF SITES

http://odeo.com/categories/27-Education

This is the address of the web site that has been described before. It is possible to find videos and audios. All the material is classified to facilitate the search. Although it is not an educational site, it is possible to find and select material for teaching to different age groups and interests.


ABOUT.COM. TEACHING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE

http://esl.about.com/cs/teachinglistening/a/a_tlisten.htm

It is an educational site which has good activites for listening and comprehension that can be used as complement to the audio.


TEACHER´S NET

http://teachers.net/lessons

This is another educational site which gives teachers the opportunity to access to a variaty of activities and lesson plans. I found an interesting description of activities for before, during and after listening stories.


BRITISH COUNCIL BBC

http://www,teachingenglishorg.uk

I recommend this site because it is very useful for teachers. There is a range of material from classroom activities to ideas for development. There is also a subcategory "Think" with very interesting articles about education and learning.

VideoJug

Videojug is a free resource where different videos about "how to do" anything that you may imagine are provided. Everyone willing to participate can join in, contribute with other videos, add information, or take part on their forum. In addition to this, Videojug has a professional team which is always working to provide new videos.


Main characteristics of VideoJug

This page shows you intermittently some of the videos available and also invites you to stroll around the 'channels', that are the general themes or topics under which you may narrow your search. You may use the 'Search' bar above as in any search engine as well. There is also a 'Take a tour' link available, which helps you understand better the web dynamics.

In addition, there is a window in which you can see 'People are getting good at,' that rates the most seen videos at the time, and a posts window with people' s latest questions, called 'People are asking.' 'Videojug loves' shows the favourite videos. Under 'What's going on today' you can appreciate the most seen videos at the moment.

At the top, you have other links to navigate through Videojug resources: Videos and Articles (most seen videos) Q&A (questions and answers members post), Community (information of videojug members and the possibility to join in) and Contribute (here you can upload your own video, create a slideshow, write and article or get and explanation of how to use your webcam)

In the top right corner of all the windows on this resource, you can see the 'Sign Up', 'Login', and 'Help' links, together with a 'World' one which displays the UK, the US, and the global banner, so as to indicate where you are connecting from.


Teaching and learning possibilities

Inside TBL (Task based learning) framework, this website can be considered a helpful tool. TBL implies involving the students in a concrete task through which they learn language naturally by accomplishing the task's outcome. Videojug provides students with the opportunity of having videos as models of a given task. For teachers, it is useful for getting students involved into a discussion about the content of the video seen. The task outcome may be the very thing that Videojug is explaining through its video, but fulfilled by the students unique way which may differ from the way presented in Videojug, in which case a discussion between the students can be promoted to decide which is the best way of fulfilling the task, providing in this way with a real, purposeful, communication in the second language. Or the task outcome may be producing a new ´How to do´ activity, but following the steps presented in Videojug, and chosing a topic they like, which may be related to previous topics seen in class. You can also use this resource in order to round off a lesson by making your students produce their own videos.

Not only Speaking and Listening skills are fostered by the use of Videojug, but also Reading skill may be developed, as text can be introduced into the videos.


Example Links


OLLIE BRAY: Creativity and Innovation in Education

http://olliebray.typepad.com/olliebraycom/2006/12/video_jug_and_t_1.html

Ollie Bray is a qualified headteacher currently seconded to work as National Adviser for Learning and Technology Futures at Learning and Teaching Scotland. In this page she cites Videojug as a useful place where to find didactic videos to use in class.


INSTRUCTIFY: Blog Archive

http://instructify.com/2007/09/10/learn-how-at-videojug/

This is is a site where teachers can stock their toolboxes with practical, time-saving classroom ideas and cutting edge methods of instruction. It’s where to find useful, free technology to use in the classroom, like the use of Videojug.


CAMPAIN FOR LIBERTY

http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=22758

In this site, where its authors aim at promote and defend the ´great´ American way of life, Videojug is cited to explain what Jury Duty is about, in order to educate their fellow countrymen.


OCEPS.CO.UK The Home of Primary School Resource Links

http://www.oceps.co.uk/educational_video_resource_links.htm

This is a site where teachers can find useful links of resources to use in the classroom.


ECONOMICS NETWORK The Higher Education Academy

http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/tips/

In this educational site, we can see how Videojug is used even to learn about the idiosincrasies of Economics.

VoiceThread

It is a collaborative application that can be used for collecting and sharing conversations anywhere in the globe . People can post photos, share documents, images, videos and add interactive group discussions to any website. Groups are easy to create, you can share a Voice thread with your friends, students, mates or just people you have common interests with.

Members can leave comments in many different ways. You can leave voice comments on videos, or if you want to voice your thoughts, or just comment on specific video segments, you can make drawings while you record your comment to add an extra explanation by just using webcam or mic. All this is possible thanks to its innovative Video Doodling feature.

Anyone who comments on another’s VoiceThread must be a registered user. It is very easy to use, you do not need to install any software and it supports dozens of standard file formats. Additionally, you have the possibility of embedding these archives in other websites and exporting them to MP3s or any other gadget to be reproduced later on as an independent document.


Teaching and learning possibilities

The classroom possibilities for using VoiceThread are extensive. It allows you and your students to collaboratively share your thoughts on video whilst watching simultaneously. It is a great tool for encouraging collaboration in your classroom. Students can create and comment on each others’ projects. This application gives students the possibility of creating digital stories and documentaries in a collaborative way. Additionally, by doing this, they will not only practise their language skills but also know more about other topics, such as foreign cultures and other geographical places, among others.

It holds great promise for the classroom. It allows group conversations to be collected and shared in one place from everywhere in the world, or it can be kept private for selected individuals.

The fact of sharing and creating media projects, may promote great enthusiasm for multimedia creation, Voicethread provides an easy way to listen to, to contribute or critique the narratives of their peers. It is a perfect demonstration of how digital media can be integrated into the curriculum.


Example links


VoiceThread

www.voicethread.com

If anyone is interested in knowing how Voicethread can be used, you can visit this site and watch the examples on the homepage. I encourage teachers to explore specially the classroom tab where you can find many examples of the use of Voicethread in the class.


Doodling

www.voicethread.com/about/doodling

I recommend you to watch doodling in action and you will understand how it works better, or find new ideas to your class. You can visit this page.


Wikispace

http://voicethread4education.wikispaces.com/

This is a link that will take you directly to a wikispace started by Collette Cassinelli in which you can find many contribution made by teachers who have already used this resourceful tool in the ELT classroom.

Yappr

Yappr is a website where you can practice your English language. This offers you a variety of multimedia material which will help you to improve your listening comprehension and your pronunciation, too. Different kind of videos by native speaker allows you to listen and read the subtitles and at the same time you will find a "video screen" and a "subtitle section" next to it. The web also gives you the possibillity to login in and chage the subtitles.

In this website you can find software that helps you to improve your pronunciation. If you want to download it, you should follow three important steps. Firstly, click on the buttom to install the "Eduspeak". Secondly, select "install this add-on..." Thirdly, select install.


Main characteristics of Yappr

1. Select a phrase of the list on the right to load it. 2. Click on "record" to check your pronunciation. 3. Keep your mark. 4. Click on "hear example" to listen to a sample of recording. 5. Record your voice again to improve your pronunciation. 6. To change the categories, click on "click to choose a phrase".

If you are not interested in watching video or in speaking, you can also play games focused on vocabulary and spelling.

1- Alphabet soup: This gives you the possibility of playing according to the vocabulary you have. You have to find as many words as it is possible in three minutes. The more words you find the more coins or points you will get. 2- Bank robber: This is a very interesting game. You have to alert the guard before the thief steals all the bags of money. You have to find out the word selecting different letters. Each time you choose a wrong letter, the thief gets a bag. Guess the correct word before all bags disappear. You should prevent the bank from losing all the money, and help capturing the thief. 3- Twist list: In this game you have to create words by selecting different letters. The more words you create, the higher you score!


Teaching and learning possibilities

Yappr is a very useful website full of interesting material for teachers and also for students. You can find videos, pronunciation sets and games, too. So, it is useful for adults and for little children. For example, children can acquire a large amount of new lexical items playing games.

Students can be exposed to the language watching videos; if they can not understand the video clearly they have the option of checking with the subtitles. Also if you have an advanced level, they can practice their pronunciation.

We know how difficult is to speak in the right way or to acquire all the specific vocabulary needed. In other words, Yappr is the key website because you learn while you play. You can also encourage your students to visit this website and play with the English language.

Using multimedia material is very important nowadays. Internet and webpages have become widely used in education because of their capability to present information in an orderly, attractive way. It is believed that it can improve the effectiveness of ELT.

SmileBox

Smilebox is a free new web service by which people can create and share animated ecards, slideshows, photobooks, scrapbooks, postcards, calendars or recipies. The user can email, print or blog them. It enables users to use their own photos or video from their computers, and to add music to their work. It gives everyone the possibility of communicating with friends and family using multimedia presentations for any occasion. To sum up, Smilebox creative messaging delivers a new medium for communication by which users have the invaluable possibility of sharing their thoughts and emotions. With Smilebox it is very easy to be creative, it saves time and it is highly personalized.

When you first open Smilebox a message will appear asking you to create an account. It is important to know that you do not need to create it in order to work there, but you will need it if you decide to email, blog or print your creation. Anyway, the creation of an account is free.

In order to use this application the user may:

- Choose a design. It might take the user some time to select a template since there are so many. On the right side of the screen you will find the design catalogue. There are more than 400 available designs. They are organized into categories, so the user selects the category he/she wants (seasonal, family, birthday, etc) and then the most suitable design for his/her creation. One thing to take into account is that the templates are all flash-based (Flash is needed before you get started).

- Once the type of design is chosen the user is allowed to personalize the card. This means, the user selects which media to load into the template, then you drag and drop the photos or video. You may add captions and even music and background to it. One very good thing about the photographs is that there is the possibility of zooming, rotating or turning them into black and white. And the same with videos, it is very easy for the user because you drag and drop them just like photographs. As Smilebox is not a web-based application, the user will not have to take the time to upload your photographs or video, they will be easily accessible from your computer.

- The third step is the preview. The user has the possibility of seeing the final version of his/her work.

- The fourth and final step is share, print or DVD. The user can: 1. email his/her creation or 2. post it to Facebook, blog or web.

In order to print or burn to DVD, the user must buy the premium version. What is free is the possibility of sharing your creation by emailing or posting it.

- After sharing or printing the user may save his/her creation.

There is a premium Smilebox version but the user must buy it. With this version, apart from e-mailing or posting, you can print or frame your cards and save them as JPG images, burn them to DVD or record them as a video. Also there are many more choices of music and there is no advertising.


Teaching and learning possibilities

This is a very useful resource for teachers mainly because it is very easy to use and it may be used for many different purposes with children of all ages.

Teachers and students may create newsletters, school memory books, their own cards or albums. For example, if a teacher wants his/her students to write about a state or a city, the teacher may ask students to choose one of the postcard design template and include text and images or graphics of the place they have researched.

It also gives teachers the possibility of sharing classroom activities and information about class projects or field trips with parents.

Since students work to combine text, images and music they become not only creative but innovative because that work did not exist previously and they also use their critical thinking to make the best choices for their work.


Example links


SmileBox

http://www.smilebox.com/learnMore.html

It explains what Smilebox is and how to use it.


Video tour of Smilebox

http://www.smilebox.com/tour/win/

Here you may learn more by taking a quick video tour of Smilebox.

ScreenToaster

Screen Toaster is a free web-based screen recorder. It is an easy way to share and also create tutorials, demos, training lectures and more by making screencasts.


A screencast is a digital recording of computer screen output, also known as a video screen capture, often containing audio narration. It is useful for those people who are learning, step-by-step, to use a computer. Or for educators who want to teach certain topics through this innovative tool.

Screen Toaster applies cutting edge technologies in order to make recorded screencasts look exactly like your screen.

Users can capture and save their screen activity, for example webcam images, in real-time. They only have to click on Start Recording, which is in the middle of the page, and they can save it and look at it the following day. Then they are able to share your (their) captures in a website, too. Users can also simply watch them (videos) by just clicking on a video (them) to launch the player.

One advantage of this software is that it doesn’t need any download to work and that it works in all browsers, so you can use it wherever you want. Additionally you can add audio, embed your video in a post, add subtitles, choose your thumbnail, describe and tag your video so other users can easily find your screencasts. It can be used with either Windows XP or Vista, Linux and Mac OS X.

Screen Toaster is currently in invite-only mode which allows you to watch and comment all the public videos but you can get (create and publish) one of those videos (not those, your own videos) quickly by supplying your email address.


Teaching and learning possibilities

  • Giving Instructions:

Screen Toaster is also a good choice when we plan an activity for our classroom. It's very useful when we need to teach "instructions". We can ask our students to divide the class into two groups. Each grupo (group) has to record a sequence of different steps by which you will get to some place. The other group has to look at your capture. They have to explain what you did by giving intructions (which they should have studied before).

  • Who is Who?

Screen Toaster can also take webcam images. It can be useful when we need to teach the "verb to be" and "has/have got". We ask the students to divide themselves into two groups. One of them has to take a picture of someone. The other group has to say who the person is by asking question such as: "Is it a woman?" "Is it a man?" "Has she got brown hair?" Good now and more complete!


Example Links

Screen Toaster is an excellent tool for educators and students. It is an easy and dynamic way of including technology (through screencasts, visual aids, etc) in your subject. It encourages the use of computers and Internet in the Teaching and Learning process. It makes students see technology not only as an entertainment but also as an educative tool.

The following screencasts are used for education in class:

The first link is about the web page My English Images and it is a tutorial. This page has very useful classroom activities for teachers (concerning grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary) and this (these) screencasts helps (help) them to know how to use the activities and how to take the most of that page.


My English Images , resources for teachers

http://www.screentoaster.com/watch/stUEhXQ0RIR1xeRFpUX1ldVFJU/myenglishimages_tour

The next link is for students who are learning Spanish, specially (especially) those who are just starting to write in that language. It shows a picture and its name in English, and the student has to complete a gap with the name in Spanish. If the teacher wants to work with that activity, she/he could send this (these) screencasts to their (her/his) students as an example of the exercises they have to make (do). Teachers could use this (these) screencasts for practising new vocabulary.


Hablemos español!

http://www.screentoaster.com/watch/stVUJcQ0JIR1xfQlpeWlJdV1ZQ/spanish_vocab_interactive_whiteboard_activity_by_aartpack

The last example of screencasts in education shows an interactive and graphic way of teaching hundreds, tens and ones. It shows a chart in which you classify these three new concepts and then students sum up and write the result.


Artpack Interactive

http://www.screentoaster.com/watch/stVUJcQ0JIR1xfQlpdWF5eXldW/math_activity_interactine_whiteboard_by_aartpack

Authors and Editors

TIMETOAST

Authors: Avesani, M. Victoria - Córdoba, José - Leguiza Tolosa, Daniel

Editor: Arca, Marina


POLLDADDY

Authors: Lisera, Emilce - Juarez, Lorena - Pallero - Georgina

Editor: Gianotti, M. de los Ángeles


TWITTER

Authors: Cruz, Rocío - Argañaraz, Marta - Lencinas, Claudia

Editor: Carballeda, Verónica


LIVEJOURNAL

Authors: Lucentini, Romina - Oshiro, Noelia

Editor: Carluccio, Antonella


REALLUSIONS

Authors: Terziche, Verónica - Stur, M. Fernanda

Editor: Cobello, Vanesa


SCRIBD

Authors: Minchilli, Carla - Marino, Romina - Martinez Casas, Ángeles

Editor: De Domenico, Sabrina


WEEBLY

Authors: Heguis, Sofía - Sampietro, Verónica - Tapia, Gabriela

Editor: Durán, Anabella


ONLINE DICTIONARIES

Authors: Soria, Susana - Sinigagliesi, Marina - Yacuzzi, Giselle

Editor: Farroni, Vanesa


WORDLE.NET

Authors: Amendolara, Vanina - Cáceres, José - Soria, Sara

Editor: Fernandez LAdo, M. Julia


OPENDIARY

Authors: Rosato, Daniela - Sordi, Yanina - Herrera, Rocío

Editor: Gómez, Cintia


NING

Authors: Cortea, Camila - Cabrera, Andrea - Cajigal, M. Soledad

Editor: Denise, Guerrero


JINGPROJECT

Authors: Sasso, Valeria - Chianello, Antonella - Vargas, Julieta

Editor: Lambert, Federico


SIGNGENERATOR

Authors: Cáceres, Laura - Rearte, Marité - Rodriguez Saracho, Viviana

Editor: Mazursky, Julieta


IMAGE TEMPLATE

Authors: Almasia, Roxana - Marenghi, Gabriela

Editor: Polite, Melisa


ODEO

Authors: Corigliano, Roxana

Editor: Thouluc, Jimena


VIDEOJUG.COM

Authors: Cozzolino, Andrea - Gimenez, Marisa - Batista, Diana

Editor: Lignassi, Débora


VOICE THREAD

Authors: Quiroga, Estefanía - Valerio, M. Soledad

Editor: Amuchástegui, M. Romina


YAPPR.COM

Authors: Alvaro, Anabella - Benzoni, Sabrina

Editor: Gándara, Mariana


SMILE BOX

Authors: Leiva, Verónica

Editor: Pilla, Melisa


SCREEN TOASTER

Authors: Staffolani, Julieta - Marchetti, Lucila - Rojas, Marina

Editor: Toucedo, M. Florencia

GENERAL EDITOR

Cuntó, Carolina Laura


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