Concurrent Session – Osman Çeviktay – Establishing Online Learning Communities

A word that kept recurring during Wired In or Out and is encouraging and motivating I think, is communities. This session by Osman Çeviktay included it in the title – what could be better?

Osman teaches EFL at Yıldız University and incorporates technology avidly in his courses. During his session, he stressed that the use of technology is highly conducive to students learning the language more effectively.

He uses all sorts of internet tools in his lessons – PowerPoint, flash games and files and wikis, such as pbworks.

Osman believes that by establishing online communities, the learning experience is enriched for the students.

Vicky Loras, Roving Reporter for Yıldız University, Istanbul

Concurrent Session – David Mearns – ICT in ELT and its Connectivity

David Mearns

David Mearns

David Mearns who is originally from Scotland, has been teaching inTurkey for almost twenty years. A central part of his work is ICT, which was the topic of his talk at Wired In or Out.

David mentions that there is a myth around the students who are engaged in technology – they become less and less interested. David’s work and talk come to dispel all this, as he has been using it effectively in his classes for years – he also mentioned that not using it altogether leaves the educator behind. There might be a digression, he says, but it is up to the educator to stay on top of the game and balance it all out.

David uses three tools effectively with his students:

Edmodo http://www.edmodo.com/

QR Codes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code

Flipbooks

– There is a plethora of video tutorials on David’s blog. Just click on the link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18edZYXuJEhWVcV_fgXMEawMLL0uGNwSKo1FEvDGyFYw/edit

To see more on David’s excellent work in e-learning and using technology in the classroom, visit his blog at http://davidmearns.blogspot.ch/

Vicky Loras, Roving Reporter for Yıldız University, Istanbul

Concurrent Session 2 – Michael Stout – Evaluating Web Technology Integration in Japanese EFL Classrooms

Michael Stout explaining some apps to attendees after his talk

Michael Stout explaining some apps to attendees after his talk

In Japan, they have a gadget for everything, says Michael. Most students and young people have mobile phones.

In 2006, 37% of all blog posts were in Japanese. 36% were in English.

You would expect Japanese people to be digital natives. Yes and no! At the University of Tsukuba, where Michael has been teaching since September, students are limited in digital literacy, but this phenomenon spreads to all Japanese students, he says.

Part of the research he presented was supported by a Grant-in- Aid for Scientific Research (23520696) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Mari Yamauchi (@m_yam) is the senior researcher on the project.

Most of his experiences in his talk were from his previous university, Toyo Gakuen University.

Michael has had a teacher blog for seven years now, as a learning management system. At first, Michael write alongside with them – he wrote about a topic he liked and then the students added their own projects and Michael showed them to the rest of the students and also made models for the next year as well. Then he started using it to assign homework.

He mentioned Web 2.0 applications and tools such as:

–         Voicethread: http://www.voicethread.com

–         Blogger: http://www.blogger.org

–         Quizlet (an online flashcard application but social network as well): http://www.quizlet.com

–         Fotobabble (a text-to-speech application): http://www.fotobabble.com

–         Posterous http://www.posterous.com

–         Extranormal

–         Animoto (professional looking music videos you can make) http://www.animoto.com

–         English Central http://www.englishcentral.com

–         Google Docs to make quizzes

–         Mindmeister

–         Twitter: it wasn’t compulsory. Michael showed us a pair of students who exchanged a number of tweets in English about shopping.

Note: Michael kindly sent us some of the bibliogra[hy he used in his research:

– McLean and Elwood. (2009). Digital natives, learner perceptions and the use of ICT.

– Handbook on research on Web 2.0 and second language learning (pp. 156-179). Thomas, M. (Ed). New York: Information Science Reference.

– A survey of Japanese university students’ computer literacy levels. JALTCALL Journal, 7(3), 307-318.

Vicky Loras, Roving Reporter for Yıldız University, Istanbul

Concurrent Session – Jamie Keddie – Withholding the Image

Jamie Keddie in his presentation (Photo kindly offered by Ann Loseva, Russia)

Jamie Keddie in his presentation (Photo kindly offered by Ann Loseva, Russia)

Jamie Keddie, whose primary focus is on the topic of images, showed the teachers in his talk many useful ideas on how to exploit pictures, especially in an age, Jamie says, when we have them readily available everywhere: on the internet, mobile devices, Google Earth and more.

He also mentioned that it is beneficial for students to combine these with a more traditional classroom resource: the mind’s eye.

Jamie was so kind as to offer his handout, which we attach at the bottom for you to look at and get great ideas for your students!

More ideas can be found on Jamie’s website, LessonStream.org

JKeddie – Withholding the image

Vicky Loras, Roving Reporter for Yıldız University, Istanbul

Jamie Keddie

Jamie Keddie

Concurrent Session – Işıl Boy – MLearning – More than an illusion of illumination

Işıl Boy – the organiser of the conference and a great speaker!

Işıl Boy, apart from being the great organiser of the event, also gave a great presentation on MLearning. She paralelled MLearning to a Portable Circus: the apps are a magic wand, but there is no magician needed. This magic wand, said Işıl, is beyond our imagination makes our life easier and is much much more than apps!

Işıl made a nice distinction between e-learning (which takes place beyond classroom walls) and MLearning (which happens with mobile devices – tablets, mobile phones and beyond computer screens).

She has come up with a very nice term: Teacherware (like software, hardware) with which she believes we can train teachers. She also has a new term: ME-Learning – a combination of e- and mobile learning.

She started off with a great website which is an app search engine: Quixey! Then she listed many useful apps for all skills in languages, storytelling, augmented reality apps (and made a demonstration with her tablet!) and M-Safety.

You can find Işıl’s tips on apps on her blog http://isilboy.com/

Vicky Loras, Roving Reporter for Yıldız University, Istanbul

British Council Turkey interviews Nicky Hockly

Nicky Hockly gave an interview to British Council Turkey – she gave a great plenary!

Note: Nicky mentioned a great project in her plenary, about which Ann Loseva, who is one of the co-founders, kindly wrote below:

Students Connected is a Facebook space designed to help learners of English aged 17+ get in touch, practise and improve their English in the most natural of all ways – by communicating with each other. It’s important to note that it is a closed group, and this provides safety of connections as teachers invite their own students and we trust the teachers we add.
If you would like to give it a try with your students, you can request membership in the group. You will see all activity on the wall. Scroll all the way down to see various wall posts from both teachers and students and decide for yourself if you think it’s a good idea to tell about this group to your students and invite them to have a look.
The group was created to be optional (and fun!), so there is no assessment, visible teacher control or assignments. There is no pressure to be ‘active’, so students are free to take part in the group’s activities when they have the wish and time to do so.
At  the moment there are students from Chile, Japan, Russia, Indonesia, Spain, Italy and India in the group, around 150 members altogether. Both teachers and students are welcome to initiate a discussion on whatever might seem interesting. They get acquainted, share pictures of their cities, towns, university campuses, meals and trips. They ask questions and discuss issues, conduct surveys and play games. They learn about cultures, traditions and lifestyles of other nationalities first-hand.
Michael Stout, one of the first teachers to support the idea, suggested extending the project into another type of social media – Twitter. So, for those students who have Twitter accounts and would like to use it for their learning, there is a hashtag #stsconnected and there soon will be created a list of Twitter handles to go with it, too.

It would be great to have more teachers and students joining us and making this experience even more enjoyable!