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Messages - feichen.wen

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CMC Units / A techy narrative writing and pronunciation unit
« on: May 16, 2014, 10:21:22 PM »
This unit includes five lessons on narrative writing skills and five pronunciation skills. The lessons are divided in two sessions. The text used in the writing session is recycled in the pronunciation session.

Critical Reviews of Technology / critical review of Google Sites
« on: May 09, 2014, 01:44:10 AM »
Ever heard of Google Sites? It does much more than Blogger!

Not too late to have your all-in-one course website! Well, it

does take some getting-used-to, but it can be worthwhile!

Funny or Cool Stuff / Re: Check your accent
« on: May 09, 2014, 01:23:27 AM »
this is cool! I'd like to try that and see what accent mine is categorized into!


Well, I started looking because I was thinking if it'd be possible

to grade student essays with the computer. Turned out that our

essays might be graded by the computer first!


A list of tool-activity suggestions provided. They answer the questions

below. I tried a few tools, and they had their strengths and drawbacks,

but these tools could serve as starting points. Teachers could follow the

lead from here.

What are your Learning Goals?

I want my students to be able to create web based timelines.
I want my students to create web based mind maps / graphic organizers.
I want my students to publish their writing online for others to read.
I want real-time, online discussion with my students.
I want my students to search and evaluate web sites.
I want to create guided research activities for my students.
I want to connect my students to other students around the world.
I want my students to create online portfolios.
I want my students to create books, magazines, posters, or newsletters online.
I want my students to record or edit audio.
I want to use an interactive whiteboard effectively with my students.
I want my students to create and edit maps.
I want my students to draw or create comics on the Internet.
I want to create tests, quizzes, and games online.
I want my students to organize, bookmark and edit their research online.
I want to find or create rubrics for multimedia projects.
I want to connect to other teachers to share ideas and resources.

Wow, you do this with grad students in the writing class?
What kind of recordings do you require them for the course?
It sounds really exciting!

Funny or Cool Stuff / Smart Exchange: powerpoints teachers create
« on: April 15, 2014, 12:12:50 AM »

Smart Exchange is a platform where teachers exchange powerpoint
materials. One cool thing about the website is that users can
choose what standard they are trying to align with. After users
select a standard, the sub-standards are expanded, and powerpoint
materials are categorized accordingly.

Teachers can use the powerpoint slides as the archetypes of their
lessons. Alternatively, they may also choose to combine ideas they
get from different materials they find.

I agree the medium indeed makes the context really authentic!
I was thinking maybe finding long-term e-pals would do the trick
for both creating an authentic context and sustaining language
learning in the long run.

However, I wonder how the process can be monitored in some way,
as under aged students might face risks of inappropriate discussions/
languages that teachers and parents or even students themselves want
to avoid!


This is a website where you can create message boards that are basically in the audio format.
The builder of the board can restrict the board to a certain members, so I imagine this could be very interesting and helpful for asynchronous telecollaborations on pre-designed topics.

For example, for students learning different languages, they can record their answers on a specific question in the target language. If users just choose to play all recordings, they will hear the responses both their home group peers record and those from the telecollaboration group. It would benefit students because they not only hear what their home group peers say (content/words/fluency...) but also how the telecollaboration partners do using the second/foreign language that is their native language.

Such activity should be carefully designed, because both groups should share some interest/background, and they should be more or less at the same level of their target
language, creating a mutually dependent language learning group.

One feature I like about this board is that users can get RSS feeds, so they know if new recordings are available.

Social Networks and Supersites / Busuu
« on: March 30, 2014, 11:07:27 PM » is a language learning website that again strengthens
the idea of (native) langue learners helping (non-native) learners.

It offers for free a language you learn by levels and topics. Almost
every lesson has components of vocabulary, dialogues, listening, writing,
and speaking. After learners write and record their responses (scripts
they follow in a meaningful context), they can send their responses
to at most five native members on a list provided by Busuu.

Bussu functions similarly as Livemocha, but it offers learners more
initiative sending their written/recorded responses to native speakers
for grading. The reward system is like the Happy Farm game. You
correct others' responses/work and get rewards that come as plants
on your farm. This is very motivating in a sense. However, unlike on
Livemocha, no lessons can be purchased, meaning the lessons on the
sites are probably still very restricted. Learners might be stuck at a
certain level if they completely depend on this website for learning.

Since I have trouble knowing how exactly wikispaces:
work without a number of users registering as members in my wikispaces, I could
only speak with one of the uses of Google Sites--using it as Wikis.

I created a Google Sites page using the wiki template. It looks something
like this:

The idea is to use Google apps as tools for a project. Members in the project
can all be collaborators of this site per se.

From what I understand now, it seems that Wikispaces might
be able to show different content/access levels to different groups
of members (I really am figuring out how I can test out the functions).

For wiki on Google Sites, it seems that each group has to create its
own independent site so that the access to the wiki can be limited
to members in different groups. However, creating wiki on Google Sites
has its advantages. The site can be public, and it has good integration
of Google Apps.


This website contains a collection of modern and classic stories, and it also publishes apps for Apple mobile devices. Under "For Teachers":, we can see several games that teachers can use as templates for the stories they teach. One thing the website is trying to do now, is to encourage member teachers to create questions, games, lesson plans for short stories and exchange with one another.

Similar online book collections can also be found/downloaded on the Champaign Library website.
Under "Downloadables," members can access apps for mobile devices, PCs, as well as Kindles. My Urbana Library access prevented me from further exploring the service, but I think this can be a powerful resource language teachers can take advantage of!

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