Friday, September 18, 2009

Back in the Saddle, Again!

After a three-month hiatus, it's time to fire up the old blog and get writing! There are a lot of things to share, but to keep from being too overwhelmed, I'm going to share just one.

Nik Peachey,whose teaching and technology blog I read from time to time, has just published a very, very handy guide for using Web 2.0 tools in the ESL/EFL classroom. In his guide, Nik talks about using such interactive tools as Penzu (a free, online journaling tool), and Voxopop. My favorite is Dvolver Movie Maker. Students in my lab have been playing with an earier version of this nifty tool for some time, now, and have always had a lot of fun with it. This upgraded version is much more flexible and allows for many more options in terms of characters and dialogue.

So, how to use these tools in the classroom? Penzu would be a great place for students to practice their writing skills in an environment they are already very comfortable with, the Web. Plus, teachers can read their student's work and comment on it without having to lug around a stack of papers! Save the planet!

Voxopop is similar to VoiceThread. It allows students to record speech, listen to it, and comment on their or others work. It's a very useful tool for allowing students to practice speaking, reading aloud or grammar skills. Similar to VoiceThread, it allows teachers to set up a prompt for students to respond to.

Dvolver has so many possibilities, it almost makes me want to go back to the classroom. You choose your setting, your sky, characters and then type in they dialogue you want. Check out the sample I made!

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