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

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Technology is useful tool if used to create and enhance comprehensible input

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Steven Krashen (Oxford University Press)
“Technology is a useful tool if used to create and enhance comprehensible input, a derailment if used to overemphasize conscious learning.”  
Emiritus Professor of Education at the University of Southern California, well-known with his Monitor Model of second language acquisition, Krashen was with us at Yildiz technical University 1st ELT Symposium.
Technology is an extremely useful tool if it is used in ways consistent with the Comprehension Hypothesis. Krashen recommended the articles he shares with the visitors on his website. Besides, he also says that he has a twitter account and he is on twitter.  He said that Twitter and facebook are underground ways of getting information for scientific researches.

Krashen’s talk was mainly on the Comprehension Hypothesis.  The Comprehension Hypothesis says that the so-called skills, vocabulary, grammar, all those things are the result of language acquisition.  On the other hand, the rival hypothesis, the skill building hypothesis, argues that the skills come first. The skill building hypothesis is delayed gratification. However, the Comprehension hypothesis is immediate gratification. He advised us to listen to good conversations, read books, have fun, watch good movies and have a good time. The more you enjoy it, the better your acquisition will be. To him, the winner of the game between these two hypotheses is always the comprehensible input. He said that skill building is not a hypothesis, it is an axiom. Krashen added that the people who read a lot always wins. He mentioned that especially the reading we have done just before sleeping help acquisition a lot as it is done without obligation, voluntarily.He supported his speech by the researches done for the last 25 years. According to these researches, free voluntary reading is the source of reading ability, writing ability, a lot of vocabulary. He told us that grammar is too complicated. It is not possible to know all the rules.  If you give enough input the grammar can be given . We don’t have to give specific input. The input should be comprehensible and interesting. Krashen shared some real examples that these people acquire another language by listening and integrating to social groups.
Krashen added that the books should be self-selected. The study shows that good readers are narrow readers. They stick to one genre at a time and one author at a time. He also gave a clue that if we start reading from the beginning, we can understand things easily. Steven Krashen argues that English for Specific Purposes does not work.

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He also told us the contribution of technology to acquisition. It is in tune with comprehensible input. Kids are reading from the computer and today Website reading is increasing. Besides, personal writing takes place by computers. Thanks to facebook that teenagers write a lot than past. The more the kids are on the Net, the more they read. This means that more literacy developed. To him, chatting is a kind of narrow reading.

Thanks to Krashen for his valuable contributions to the symposium. I realise that we should spare at least 10 minutes in class to read for fun with my students, not for any grades, just for fun!

Gülnur Sahin for British Council Roving Reporters Team

Some pictures from poster presentation session

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                            Deren Basak Akman & Mufit Senel
       Independent Learners with Virtual Classrooms
              The aim of the study is to use Voki, Web 2.0 tool to practise speaking in target language. Voki is discussed to weigh up pros and cons of it to  practise speaking in target language.

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  Esma Asuman Eray (Isik University)  erayasuman@yahoo.co.uk
         Class Wikis: promoting learning and collaboration
          The presentation was about “wiki” and the use of them in language teaching environments. Reflections taken from students were also shared.

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                    Sevim Acikgoz (Istanbul Bilgi University)
                                    Digital Storytelling
          Sevim showed us how to use digital storytelling through web technologies.

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                                      Ali Bostancioglu (University of York)
    EFL Teachers’ technological professional development through online communities of practice          

          This study is his PhD topic. The aim of this presentation is to compare and contrast different types of online communities of practice (OCoPs)and their impacts on EFL teachers.

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                         Irem Islim (Bahcesehir University)
Integration of Web-Quest Tool Into College Level EFL Academic Writing Classes
       The aim of the presentation is to depict how Web-Quest can be used in college level EFL academic writing classes to build the background knowledge the students need on the topics and the critical thinking abilities.  

Gülnur Sahin for British Council Roving Reporters Team.

Concurrent Session: Kristina Smith – Deconstructing a MOOC

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a type of online course aimed at huge-scale participation and open access using the internet as the method of delivery. MOOCs are a fairly recent development in the area of distance education, consequently there is no commonly accepted definition of a MOOC.

Nevertheless, two key features seem prevalent:

  • Open access: MOOC participants do not need to be a registered student in a particular school to take MOOCs. Additionally, they are not required to pay a fee.
  • Scalability: Traditional courses depend upon a small ratio of students to teacher, but the ‘massive’ in MOOC indicates that the courses are designed to support an indefinite number of participants.

Kristina's reward for her sessionKristina highlighted her own journey into MOOCdom, noting the above factors when relaying the fact that her first course involved 80,000 students from around 150 different countries. She looked into the workings of a typical MOOc, how resources spring up via its participants to support and enhance the course contents, and looked at how they represent incredible opportunities for learning.

Kristina encouraged participation from the audience and facilitated a lively discussion among the session participants.

Adam Simpson for British Council Roving Reporters Team.

Concurrent Session – Cecilia Lemos ~Technology in the ELT classroom: friend or foe?

Cecilia Lemos talking about using technology in class

Cecilia Lemos talking about using technology in class

Cecilia Lemos started her session with some definitions of technology and stated that technology is great and it helps the teacher a lot.

There are so many things we are exposed to and we sometimes feel we are drowning. Although technology makes the impossible possible as it

  • Saves time (save lesson plans, archive things, edit later)
  • Engage students
  • Promotes students autonomy
  • Gives the students a new skill

it can also be a foe

  • The result is smaller than the effort
  • Raises stress levels/ affective filters
  • For show

Some questions to consider:

  • Is technology going to improve the teaching or the learning intended in the lesson?
  • Is technology already known to students and teachers?
  • Am I thinking of the task and results before the tool?
  • Is the technology working/ easily available?

In the final part of her talk, Cecilia reminded that technology is just a tool.

It can be either be a friend or foe.

She also pointed out that the same technology doesn’t work for everyone

She advised the teachers to experiment, experience and reflect

And If everything has failed ‘Keep calm and teach on’

Eva Buyuksimkesyan for British Council Roving Reporters Team.

From start to finish: mobile technologies and language learning- MARK PEGRUM (The University of Western Australia)

            Mark Pegrum is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Australia. He teaches in the areas of e-learning and m-learning.   
           The graphics he shared with us, proves the increase in mobile literacy. During his presentation, Mark showed us 7 ways of using mobile technologies on educational purposes. These are podcasting, apps, polling, multimedia recording, QR codes, geosocial networking and augmented reality.

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               Mark Pegrum calls podcasts educational packages.Thanks to Mark sharing lots of useful addresses. You can reach them via the addresses below. Among these I like http://www.murmur.com. With it the students can have the chance to have dialogues by responding to others. You can download the supplement to Mark’s talk on: goo.gl/c4oI0,                                                                                            e-language.wikispaces.com,  elanguage.edublogs.org                                                            http://www.scoop.it/t/ubiquitous-learning                                         @ozmark17                                                                                   mark.pegrum@uwa.edu.au  
Gülnur Sahin for British Council Roving Reporters Team.

Blending, extending and bridging language learning in the digital age – Gary Motteram (British Council)

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       Gary Motteram, the senior lecturer in Education at the University of Manchester, was one of the plenary speakers of Day one at Yildiz Central Campus.   
       Gary shared the idea that having the technology in our hands for our teaching is much better than putting it out of classroom.  with his speech, Gary helped us face the contradiction between not letting students use mobile phones and spending a lot of money to encourage teachers to use technology in classes.                  

      People learn through seeing language or seeing mistakes and correcting them.   Technology is something like seeing the language and noticing the mistakes with the help of technology. Fun fiction; digital games can also help teachers engage students in learning. If we can join a community of practice of language learners, language speakers, language users around the world, they you can use skills effectively. With technology we can reach all these authentic resources, so we can not ignore technology.    
       To put it in a nutshell, technology plays a role in language teaching but the teacher makes it happen. Depending on teachers’ beliefs, the things work or don’t work in class.

Gülnur Sahin for British Council Roving Reporters Team.