Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week 6: Creating Student-centered Classes and Interactive PowerPoint

Week 6: During this week we were asked to share ideas about what techniques might be useful in our own settings to create a student-centered environment. It is quite exciting to read and think of different possibilities to enliven my classes.

As you might remember, I teach reading comprehension courses. I teach all levels of an ESP course aimed at students majoring in Education. Well, thinking about what techniques and technology I could use to make my English III course more interactive, I think I can combine glogs and blogs. Yes! I think I can use glogs with small groups to make students more engaged and motivated in the reading activities. As soon as they have understood the readings, I would introduce blogs as a web tool for the students to summarize academic texts and make reflections about their language learning process.

Glogs are interactive and very attractive online posters. They are created on Glogster or EduGlogster. I have used glogs before and students love them; but I have never used glogs with my English III course. For many years, I have addressed my teaching practice towards summary techniques only, and I think it is time for a change. It is important to mention that I am currently teaching the subject and we are in the middle of a plan already set; therefore, I am not sure if I can implement the Webskills course project during this mini-semester due to time limitations. Anyway, I will do my very best, but if I can't, I will set up everything to implement it in the upcoming one.

Project Week 6: Implement the change

First, I will ask my students to create their intro glogs. This is something students love because they not only get familiar with the tool, but also have the opportunity to be creative and introduce themselves in a very original way. In their intro glogs, students will be allowed to use images, videos, audio and text. Here is my intro glog as an example. My plan is to start this week adding this task to their course in Moodle. I would add a tutorial on how to create a glog to support the students.

As soon as the students know how to create a glog, I will design a group project based on the PBL standards discussed last week. Besides, following the recommendations from Rick Finnan and Donna Shaw in their article Enhancing Learning by Engaging Students, I will set up five (5) small groups of three (3) students. Randomly chosen, each group will create a glog for one of the five (5) readings previously given in the course.  They will be asked to create a glog that reflects the main ideas of the text given. They will be allowed to use mind maps, graphics, images, audio and very short texts. They might also contextualize the topic with a YouTube video.

Finally, I will introduce blogs. Since this would be the first time blogging in my English III course, I have thought of creating a video-tutorial on how to create a blog on Blogger. I would use  Screencast-O-omatic and YouTube to upload the video.

Once the students know how to create a blog, I would ask them to create the course blog and make the weekly summaries. The glogs previously created in small groups will be of great help to organize the main ideas and write the text summaries. I also think I might create an interactive PowerPoint presentation on main steps to read and then summarize an academic text.

Interactive PowerPoint Presentation

During this week were also asked to create an interactive PPT. Mine is aimed at ESP  students who are majoring in Education. The presentation is focused on the main steps to successfully read and understand original academic texts written in the English language. The course "English III" starts with a review of the reading process already studied and practiced in English I and II. A second part of this PPT would focus on summarizing those texts in Spanish. In this PPT, I added several hyperlinks that jump from one page to another, two QuickWrite exercises as pre-reading and post-reading activities, basic questions for discussions, links to the Reading #2 that jump to an e-book I created on Issuu, and finally a reflection moment to make students think about what they have learned. For this, I was to supposed to design a survey on Google Form (Docs).
Hope you like the PPT. I added it to the Webskills wiki.  As soon as I finish the actual presentation, I will upload an updated version to, meanwhile, you may see it here:

I'm going to use this PowerPoint presentation with my current students. I think it will be very useful for future courses too. Thanks to Courtney and all her suggested readings, I can offer more enthusiastic, dynamic and interactive classes. You are cordially invited to have a look at it. Please, let me know what you think.