A YouTube video I created to help explain the basics of using Google Documents within the Google Drive suite to create, edit and share documents. It was written for young adult learners as an alternative to purchasing Microsoft Word, and has the added benefits of being editable on portable devices.
When developing online courses, there are a number of potential design principles to consider, particularly if you have adult students. Some potential design principles might be:
(1) An effective, cohesive electronic community of learners with a strong sense of presence, perhaps involving personal introductions, email contact, forums and chat rooms.
(2) Provision of authentic, meaningful activities and feedback through real-world assessment, keeping a journal, or posting to a blog or wiki.
(3) Critical reflective practice, as evidenced by observations of/by colleagues, and follow-up feedback conferences.
(4) Learning that is interactive, collaborative, social and learner-centred, perhaps employing electronic white board activities, various technologies, group work and projects based on student interests.
(5) Dynamic, lifelong learning opportunities involving ongoing opportunities for communication between members and for further studies, possibly through an alumni association.
There are many possibilities for using word clouds in language courses. I've listed around 35 of them here with a few hints on what to do.
- preview a presentation or a text
- preview the current day’s lesson plan
- predict the content of a text e.g. topics, style, purpose, intended audience
- predict the content of a novel e.g. plot lines, characters, genre or themes as group work
- complete reading comprehension questions just from a word cloud, then comparing answers after reading the actual text
- summarise a presentation
- turn a text into a picture (essay, report, paragraph, article, etc.)
- identify the key words in a text based on their size in the word cloud
- expanding vocabulary (definitions, synonyms, antonyms, or brainstorm words associated with a new one, match parts of collocations)
- student-created flashcards of essential words (review, circle unknown, learn)
- discussion starter (student chooses one word from cloud to speak about)
- add to printed or online course materials
- use as a background for slides or online materials
- compare student responses (make one cloud, or separate ones to compare)
- explore a topic (students add own ideas to a question stimulus & build a cloud)
- take a quick class poll or track a poll over time (multiple clouds side-by-side)
- introduce new course, syllabus or module (provides an overview of content)
- introduce course objectives
- student ice-breaker e.g. all input hobbies, interests, future aspirations, family, pets, favourite films or books, country of origin, etc.
- highlight the main areas to focus on from rubrics to gain the best grades
- highlight examples of misspelled or overused words in student writing by inputting their own work
- illustrate contrasting ideas (show two clouds side-by-side), such as opposing arguments in essays or articles
- research texts from multiple sources then combine them into a cloud
- ‘find the words’ game (e.g. mix academic & non-academic in a cloud & identify)
- ‘guess the topic’ game, or combine two topics in one cloud and students separate them out
- ‘grammar game’ e.g. students classify words from a cloud into different parts of speech or different tenses
- ‘sentence structure’ game e.g. input a complex sentence or short series of sentences into a word cloud, and have students reconstruct them in the correct word order
- ‘memory game’ e.g. show a word cloud, take it off the screen, students write as many words as they can recall
- identify parts of speech (students highlight or underline in different colours)
- visual analysis of qualitative data (e.g. convert a table to a picture)
- curriculum mapping across multiple subjects
- checking the balance between course content and course objectives
Here is a multiple-lesson design thanks to http://tborash.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/designing-lessons-using-wordle/:
While not a flawless design, these six steps seemed paramount in increasing students' desire to learn:
- assists with motivation
- assists with thinking skills
- enlivens course content in all macro-skills
- appeals to visual learners
Places to Try:
http://abcya.com/word_clouds.htm (for young learners)
http://www.literature-map.com/ (more for readers of English lit.)
http://www.imagechef.com/ic/word_mosaic/ (has iOS & Android apps.)
http://tagul.com/ (each tag is linkable with a URL for navigation)
http://www.visualthesaurus.com/vocabgrabber/ (also has visual thesaurus!)
http://www.wordle.net/ (very easy to use, MOST favoured by teachers)
http://wordsift.com/ (from Stanford University ELL)
The word cloud illustrated above was prepared by myself using Wordle.
Abstract: Online learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) face many unique issues in choosing which program to study. The present paper begins with a review of criteria developed previously, and reassesses these based on subsequent pedagogical and technological innovations, particularly the evolution of Web 2.0 tools and “communicative language teaching” approaches. A new set of criteria were then applied to programs reviewed previously and to newer courses. These exposed ongoing problems of providers failing to adopt newer approaches despite most being available at no cost, a lack of standards, best practice models and external accreditation, and neglect in establishing a sense of community through enhanced student-teacher and student-student communication, which in turn impacts student motivation and the sense of isolation. The author suggests that more research effort it needed to encourage industry players to move forward, and to reassure learners of the quality and value for money of programs they may choose to complete.
The videos by Nik Peachey and George Siemens will not play in a Slidecast, so if you would like to view them you will need to go here:
Web 1.0 http://db.tt/U6kEP7L
Web 2.0 http://db.tt/nZfnlZz
Sorry for any inconvenience. Greg Q.
The link to the full conference paper is here.
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