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:
An excellent article by Simon Thomas on using word clouds in language activities can be found at: http://efl-resource.com/language-activities-with-wordle-and-word-clouds-2/. This includes links to several other resources as well.
- 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://quintura.com/ (has iOS app.)
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.
Are you looking for some useful resources for teaching elementary school EFL/ESL students?
Perhaps you want to know how to use Interactive Whiteboards or just need some resources for them?
Well, I have what you need - and FREE!
On the "Teach" link go to "Teaching Help" and you will find what you need. Select a tag that sounds like what you need and you'll be taken to my Pinboard weblinks page with over 2,500 pages categorised appropriately.
For those who don't yet "follow" me on Twitter @gregqbear, here are my tweets and re-tweets related to Education between 8th July and today. There are heaps of resources and ideas among them - please check out the links!
Today I sent a comment in response to an excellent article about reducing our use of pen and paper and making greater use of digital technologies.
Though there is clearly still a place in some forms of personal communication for the pen, this is increasingly less so in the work situation. So, I'm resolving to digitise (scan or type in) as much of my paper-based resources as possible over the next 12 months. This will not only reduce the clutter in my apartment, cut back on my excess baggage costs, but also make the materials more accessible to me and, in time, to you.
Here is my post today:
Greg said... Hi Lisa, following your article I've decided to digitise my current paper-based materials to reduce my home clutter.
I was wondering, for those of us who don't own a smartphone or have a laptop permanently stitched to our hips, what other tech. options would you recommend? If I could know of the available options I could go ahead and reduce my written notebooks.
Once again, thanks for this thoughtful post, which I've shared with my Twitter friends.
September 4, 2010 12:11 AM It was posted at http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2010/09/pen-is-no-longer-weapon-of-choice.html.
OK, so I've been reading about the benefits of using interactive technologies in learning and, as a teacher I get it. Like many others I have also been building my PLN so that I am locating the best sources of information, sharing ideas, asking questions and offering opinions. So what is the problem?
The problem is that my school environment does not support me. Although IWB's/SmartBoards are cropping up all over the place, and I have started to learn and be trained in their features, my circumstances conspire against their effective use.
This is where I'm hoping you can offer me some advice. How can I use SmartBoards in my teaching?
Here is my current situation: I work as an EFL teacher in elementary education in Taiwan. I don't have a computer for my own use loaded with SmartBoard software. I can share one of the school computers which do with a few other teachers, but obviously this has time limitations. Also, when I use a school computer, both the operating system (either Windows 7 or XP) and the SmartBoard software are usually set to Chinese (which I can't read). Since I don't have my own classroom I have to travel to 22 different ones each week. These classrooms may or may not:
(a) have a computer available (the classroom teacher might want to use it),
(b) have an overhead projector,
(c) have a SmartBoard,
(d) have batteries in the remote control for the overhead projector,
(e) have external speakers loud enough for students to hear the sound, or
(f) various combinations of some or all of the above
I could anticipate some of these issues by bringing spare batteries, speakers and a portable projector with me, but I'd have to carry these in addition to my teaching materials, stationery, etc. and lose precious lesson time setting them up.
My solution would be to be given a dedicated English classroom with an English-based computer and speakers, and set up with an IWB. Am I being unreasonable? Is this asking too much? Should I just be happy with a low-tech. solution? Should I develop two or more sets of lesson plans based on the available technology in particular rooms?
I'm finding the challenge of learning new Web-based tools enough in English, let alone having to learn them in Chinese as well. So, I would greatly appreciate any comments or ideas which might help not only myself but others in similar circumstances.
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