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Messages - MarthaAnne

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CMC Units / Final Project of CMC
« on: May 16, 2014, 03:29:33 PM »
Attached is a plan to teach ELLs about online communication through a message board community. 

Critical Reviews of Technology / Critical Review of Gaia Online
« on: April 19, 2014, 04:31:51 PM »
Gaia Online is an online message forum that encourages communication through a reward system that provide users opportunities to decorate their avatar. 

I've often wondered how much students should be introduced to "online speak."  Indeed it is most prevalent in MMOs, but it's really all over the internet, and I feel like everyday it's creeping more and more into everyday speech.  For a long time I was one of those people who always poo pooed on people who would actually say "lol", but now the more I think about it, it's the same way some of the older generation looks down on us for some of the changes we've made to language or words we've introduced into common use.  I wonder which of these terms are going to become really important for an ESL learner for everyday dialogue.

Funny or Cool Stuff / Re: Zombie-Based Learning
« on: March 20, 2014, 09:05:15 AM »
That is hilarious! It also sounds like it would be super fun!! I really like the emphasis on focusing on the students interests.  But it also seems like a really interesting way to get them to practice without that being their main concern.  Even though the life threatening situation is not real, it gives a definite focus that can be applied to many different tasks and give an over all theme that encourages planning and thinking about more than the just right here and now.  You would obviously need students that have a high interest in this kind of thing though or they might just scoff at it. 

A game that my family has been playing a lot is Pandemic ( and while it's fighting off disease rather than a Zombie Apocalypse, I think the theme could be used in similar ways to get students collaborating.  It would be interesting to do that with two different classrooms in two different countries and they have to monitor the state of the disease in their area of the world and report to the other class about it so they have to figure out information and mitigate the spread of the disease through CMC. 

General Links / Re: Oppia
« on: March 20, 2014, 08:46:09 AM »
Very interesting site! I wish the video was working.  When I went to the video there is just a black box.  Not even "this video has been removed" or any kind of message, so I'm not sure what's going on with that.

 I tried out one of the learning programs that was up there to learn Latin, and it was really interesting.  It had a nice progression of introducing new things while having repetition of old.  I'm not sure though how much of that is the site and how much of that is the individual who set up the exploration, but very interesting none the less.  The only thing that bugged me a little bit was, they say it tries to mimic how we interact one-on-one interaction, but the learner doesn't really have the opportunity to ask questions.  I always find that to be a vital component of actual classroom time with a teacher.  It kind of tries to guess and answer questions you might have, and I'm sure it could improve as time goes on, but It's kind of frustrating when you have a question and it's not answering it. 

Funny or Cool Stuff / Re: Engrish
« on: March 09, 2014, 12:04:21 AM »
My favorite engrish sign while I was in Japan (and I'm really sad I didn't have a camera on me) was in a hotel room.  There was a sign above the sink that in Japanese said that the water was safe to drink.  In Japanese there is a particle, "yo", used at the end of sentences for emphasis.  It was added to this particular sentence.  The funny part was they tried to incorporate it into the English translation and they came up with "This water be good to drink, yo!"

Funny or Cool Stuff / Stephen Fry Kinetic Typography - Language
« on: March 08, 2014, 11:56:07 PM »
One of my favorite discussions of language.

Funny or Cool Stuff / Re: Free international TV to learn languages
« on: March 03, 2014, 01:35:41 PM »
Wow, that is an amazing find!! I wonder how they get around the legality of that.  It's kind of pricey to get NHK (Japanese TV) with most television providers. 

What about message boards that send e-mails when something new is posted or when someone has replied to something you have posted?

The big thing that makes me favor a message board over e-mails is that it provides a nice neat database of the conversations and it's easy to follow.  Sometimes I find it very hard to follow conversations that take place through e-mailing lists because it's not always easy to keep all the messages ordered the way they were posted.  Plus if there is an ongoing conversation that you want to refer to old messages, I find it much easier to do that on a message board.  Trying to keep all the pertinent e-mails in your e-mail might make for a lot of clutter. 

We have been working with SecondLife a lot, but I find the technical issues to be quite a burden.  I understand it has a lot of flexibility, but in my opinion the downsides far outweigh the upsides.

I feel like a lot more could be accomplished using something that may have a little less flexibility in order to get a bit more stability. 

What do you think about this? Do you prefer to use Second Life or is there some other system you like? Or, do you feel there is a good way to utilize SecondLife that maximizes the benefits and minimizes the problems?

Would you consider the steep learning curve a plus or a minus to using this in a classroom?

I suppose it could be seen both ways as perhaps the difficulties would spur more communication between collaborators, but it still makes for a somewhat frustrating task for students. 

At what point do you think it moves from being a catalyst for communication to an obstacle for learning?

Language Exchange Site Links / Re: Lang-8
« on: January 28, 2014, 02:26:05 PM »
How regulated is this site? A concern of mine might be students getting suggestions that might hinder or be contrary to what they are learning in my class. 

I'm not to worried about people who just have differing opinions on what is important and the best way for them to learn.  As we all as language teachers are aware there are many approaches and everyone has differing ideas about what is best.  It also might be helpful to be introduced to different approaches to find what works best for an individual student.  My concern is, I've known some native speakers that , although well meaning, have ........shall I say "interesting" ideas about how their language works. 

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