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Messages - Ali Fuad

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1
WEekly - THE ONLINE COLLABORATIVE STUDENT NEWSPAPER PROJECT

hi folks,

Here is the CMC unit I have designed as a final project. Rather than preaparing a curriculum-bounded unit which could be employed only once a year, I have tried to come up with an extensive ongoing project that could be replicated throughout the year within the thematic scope of each unit. ;)

WEekly - The online collaborative student newspaper project consists of six major components:

* This week in Weekly,
* Travel Spot,
* Culture Exchange,
* News Center,
* I Learn X 
* EFL (which stands for English as a Fun Language) Corner

WEekly -The newspaper is designed to be published on a weekly basis. Therefore, I thought, WEekly would be a clear and understandable choice. As you might notice, the title has an unconventional spelling; because I wanted to emphasize the word “WE” which I thought it would reflect the collaborative nature of the unit.   8) 8)

Kind regards..
Ali Fuad

p.s: I would like to make use of this opportunity to thank Dr. Sadler and Eroz for giving us opportunity to become part of this course and enabling us to have experience to work our 'friends' (if I may) in Urbana-Champaign. We'll sure meet again..  :'(

2
another easier, 3-step suggestion would be :

1. Run Windows messenger
2. Click on Tools > Options > Preferences
3. The first checkbox says "Run Windows Messenger when Windows starts"
Make sure there is no check in the box..

 :D ;) nojy!  ;) ;)

3
Video for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / What does SKYPE mean??
« on: April 26, 2006, 09:23:16 AM »
"One of the names they came up with was “Sky peer-to-peer”, which got soon shortened to “Skyper”. But as happens in the Internet world, some of the domain names associated with “skyper” were already taken, so they thought what the heck, let’s just drop the “r” and make it “Skype”. It sounded good and the domains were available."

Source: http://share.skype.com/

4
hello!
why dont you combine both audio and video, dude??  ::)

5
Dear Pronunciation Master,

here is my weblink for your phonetics class:
http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics

Developed by U of Iowa, this site contains animated libraries of the phonetic sounds of English, German and Spanish. Available for each consonant and vowel is an animated articulatory diagram, a step-by-step description, and video-audio of the sound spoken in context. It is intended for students of phonetics, linguistics and foreign-language. There is also a diagram of articulatory anatomy.

Hope, it would be helpful.. 8)
Regards,
Ali Fuad

6
hello all,

all these failures in installing the necessary hardwares, during the online meetings (if they could be called 'meetings'), software problems, and other countless problems happened during the course of vide chat tool evaluations lead me to come up with another acronym for CMC:
                               
CMC ==> Computer-Mediated Chaos..

Let's see, who is gonna agree with me?? ??? 

7
thanks samphas and pelin for your comments.. :D :D
VOA's Special English is highly authentic and "learner-friendly" site since it provided great opportunity for their development. I'm glad if you liked the review.. 8)

8
thanks a lot sir, it was a satisfactory answer..

regards,
Ali Fuad

9
hello all,

While working on video conferencing tools, I remembered a good, old friend of ours: MS NetMeeting..(as far as I remember, NetMeeting is used for videoconferencing purposes) I wonder, why did not we mention anything about it?

p.s: Anyone could answer this question (not only Dr. Eroz or Dr. Sadler)..

10
General Links / User-friendly Internet Speed-o-meter
« on: April 12, 2006, 09:33:44 AM »

11
hello folks..

here's my critical review on the Voice of America's Special English..

Regards,
Ali Fuad

12
(A)Synchronous Computer-Mediated Audio/Video Communication

The use of audio/video in CMC could be either synchronous or asynchronous.

Asynchronous audio - The popular voicemail option could be regarded as an example for asynchronous kind of audio use. In asynchronous voice interaction, users could leave messages for one another by using a computer and a microphone. Such kind of interaction could be achieved between students-students and teacher-students.

Applications :   Wimba ---> http://www.horizonwimba.com/
You could import or export individual audio files into a Voice Board in a number of supported formats (spx, mp3,cwav), or import or export an entire board and you could share Voice Board messages via iTunes / iPod.

Asynchronous Video - Just like asynchronous audio transfer, asynchronous video transfer could also be employed by the users; though it is not regarded feasible. (Iis there anything called videomail??). Asynchrnous video is closely related to video transfer and therefore could be integrated and mentioned as a different (enhanced) version of audio voice transfer. Briefly speaking, audio and video transfers go hand in hand and comprise asynchronous A/V transfer in CMC.

Synchronous Audio/Video - The one to one as well as group (conference) discussions for synchronous audio transfer is actualized by using audio telephony or internet telephony (VoIP - voice over IP). This term is redefined by Cziko and Park (2003)  as "synchronous, computer-mediated audio communication" (SCMAC). They highlight the importance of such tools "when there is increasing agreement among L2 researchers and educators concerning the importance of second language input, output, and interaction for second language acquisition" and thus; "the use of SCMAC programs that allow verbal communication between L2 students who are learning each others' languages appear to provide particularly rich contexts for L2 acquisition with opportunities for L2 input, output, and communicative interaction along with the possibility for focus on L2 form".
Just like video transfer, this technology faces with sound quality and bandwith problems as well. One should be aware of the fact that delays in transfer or some data loss might occur in such interactions. The idea of internet/audio telephoning could be enhanced by integration of video by means of a webcam and a mic; thus, it turns out to be video conferencing.

Applications : NetMeeting, MSN Messenger, Skype

:: Teaching Ideas ::
==================
There are certain points that I would like to mention:

- The use of audio/video telephoning in language classroom requires high-level of expertise. Therefore, a teacher should be equipped with the all necessary knowledge.

REMEMBER!!
IT IS THE TEACHER'S RESPONSIBILITY TO TRANSFORM TECHNOLOGY INTO TE(A)CHNOLOGY IN CLASS..


- A teacher who intends to integrate audio/video telephoning into his/her language classroom needs to be aware that technological failure is very likely. (Remember Murphy's Laws - "If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.")

- A teacher should have a backup:a survival plan B. The most desirable and at the same time difficult option is to have the paper-and-pencil form of your CMC-lesson. If not, a teacher needs to prepare a lesson to achieve the primary objectives of that lesson.

Here are a couple of ideas related to classroom implications of Audio/Video telephoning:

- A teacher could make use of Audio/Video telephoning to develop students pronunciation skills. By  asynchronous listening and watching how the speech sounds are articulated in English (students are both exposed to real examples of articulatory anatomy as well as the sounds themselves), students will gain an awareness of pronunciation. By using synchronous Audio/Video telephoning, they could practice it.

Website: Phonetics: The Sounds of Spoken Language (by Iowa State University)
                            http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/

-Audio/Video telephoning could be used in testing students' oral abilities. Imagine while you are online at 7 pm, your teacher appears on Skype and tells that you are going to have an oral quiz. This would provide a great advantage for both students and teachers as long as the technology permits.

- Finally, students' oral performances could be collected and the data (in terms of mistakes and needs of students) could be examined to determine the emphasis of the forthcoming classes.

References:

Cziko, G.A. and Park, S. (2003). Internet Audio Communication for Second Language Learning : A Comparative Review of Six Programs. Language Learning & Technology Vol. 7, No. 1, January 2003, pp. 15-27. Retrieved from the following www: http://llt.msu.edu/vol7num1/review1/

13
hi bobby,

great comments!!  8) i particularly enjoyed the part you quoted from Brown about the distinction between cooperation and collaboration. brown's classification makes the life easier, i guess. using chat for cooperative as well as collaborative purposes have advantages and disadvantages. thus, a teacher needs to consider language proficiency level, commonality of the objectives for the both groups when choosing the way to follow..

good work!!  ;)
regards..

p.s: it deserves an applaud (karma).. :P

14
in addition to julie's acronym links :
                                                      www.acronymsearch.com
(one of my favorites)  :D

15
Text Chat for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / how do you chat???
« on: March 29, 2006, 08:20:04 AM »
here is our new poll..  ;D

16
Official Smiley Dictionary -   8) 8) 8)
http://www.smileydictionary.com/

Chat Word Dictionary  ;D ;D ;D
http://chat.reichards.net/

17
Text Chat for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / CHAT & CMC
« on: March 29, 2006, 06:52:43 AM »
Although the world’s biggest information database, Internet consists of static presentation of information, synchronous communication with other individuals from all over the world is becoming available day by day in parallel to development in real-time communication tools like chat (text-based messaging like IRC with lots of different topic-specific channels for users), videoconferencing (Microsoft Netmeeting, Skype, CUSeeMe), instant messaging softwares (MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and ICQ).Then, it is the ‘responsible’ language teacher’s responsibilities to derive the most benefit from these hi-tech tools for the development of his/her students.

Benefits of Chat to language learners (Mynard, 2002):
•   They allow learners to interact in an authentic context with native speakers (Skinner & Austin, 1999; Carey, 1999) without being restricted by location (Wilson & Whitelock, 1997).
•   They allow communication to take place in real time.
•   Chat activities promote active involvement (Bump, 1990; Sullivan & Pratt, 1996; Warshauer, 1996b; Carey, 1999)
•   Chat activities promote learner autonomy due mainly to the fact that the teacher role is minimized (Bump, 1990; Chun, 1994; Sullivan & Pratt, 1996; Warshauer et al, 1996).
•   Transcripts are generated which are useful for studying the language used (Carey, 1999).
•   Some studies suggest that computer chatting improves interactive competence (Chun, 1994).
•   Students have the opportunity to notice language used by native speakers (Schmidt & Frota, 1986; Schmidt, 1990 cit Brett, 1998).
•   Students are given the opportunity for skills development and practice (Sullivan & Pratt, 1996, Pica & Doughty, 1986 cit Brett, 1998; Chun, 1994).

Drawbacks of Chat for Language Learners :
   Being a powerful synchronous tool, chat could be applied to language classrooms for a variety of different purposes; however it also posits certain shortcomings.
Computer & Keyboard Skills - To begin with, even though students might have the potential to express themselves accurately in a foreign (target) language, they may not be computer literate. Since basic computer literacy is a must for the idea of chatting, students are to be equipped with the knowledge beforehand. Even if they are computer literate, the synchronous nature of chatting requires students to have ‘manageable’ keyboard skills in English in order to ensure smooth flow of conversation. Students are supposed to use the keyboard quickly and efficiently because (especially with multi-user chatting environments with native speakers) while constructing the ideas in a foreign (target) language, students are to read number of lines that is being scrolled down on their screen. It both highlights the importance of high-level keyboard skills as well as high-level comprehension skills.
Language Content - Another point to be considered about chat in respect to language learners is the language content. I preferred not the label this point as a drawback since it may be both an advantage and disadvantage for language learners. If the chat room is not specifically designed for language learners, as is the case most of the time, the language that is used by chat room participants frequently include slang, jargon or abbreviations which language learners have no idea about. Consequently, such language use might lead to serious comprehension and communication problems on the side of language learners. On the other hand, the participants who use such language (both native speakers and high-level non-native speakers) may feel demotivated hearing about questions like “what does XYZ stand for?”, “what do you mean by that?” and so on. Here are my potential solutions for this problem:
•   Design or create a chat room specifically for language learners, so that students feel secure to ask any questions without interrupting the flow of communication.
•   Maintain rules for your chat room that ensure security of language learners and foster language development. By this, you could lead native speakers (proficient non-native speakers) to help lower-level non-native speakers.
Advanced language learners(especially the ones who are eager to move one step forward in terms of language proficiency), on the other hand, might very well enjoy the high-level language content of the chat room with lots of abbreviations, phrases and so on because they view this as a chance to learn something new.

Lesson Plan Idea :
As for the lesson plan idea, I still insist on the fact that CMC tools are the best tools for enhancing or facilitating language learning, especially outside the class. The rationale behind this is that since students and the teacher are available during the class time, it would not be wise to allocate valuable class time for chatting (although i admit that chatting is used for academic purposes). The whole point is to make use of the tool to get in touch with each other synchronously. That is to say, when everyone joins the chat room, the chat room would become something more than a room but the classroom itself. Therefore, using chatroom for weekly follow-up discussion purposes at a specific time outside the class period seems to me the best option for this. Just like conversation clubs which are founded to maintain extensive speaking purposes to facilitate students’ speaking ability, chatrooms could be used for productive skills.
Language games could be maintained in a chatroom as well. The teacher could set up a #trivia chat room in which students are asked questions and supposed to provide the correct answer in seconds.

References :
Brett, P. (1998). Using multi-media: A descriptive investigation of incidental language learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning. 11(2) 179-200.
Bump, J. (1990). Radical changes in classroom discussion using network computers. Computers and the Humanities. 24, 49-65
Carey, S. (1999). The use of WebCT for a highly interactive virtual graduate seminar. Computer Assisted Language Learning. 12 (4), 371-380.
Chun, D. (1994). Using computer networking to facilitate the acquisition of interactive competence. System. 22 (1), 17-31.
Mynard, J. (2002) Introducing EFL Students to Chat Rooms. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VIII, No. 2, February 2002
Pica, T. & Doughty, C. (1986). Making input comprehensible: do interactional modifications help? ILT Review of Applied Linguistics 72, 1-25
Schmidt, R. & Frota, S. (1986). developing basic conversational ability in a second language: a case study of an adult learner of Portuguese. In R. Daly (ed.) Talking to learn: conversation in second language acquisition. Rowley. MA: Newbury House.
Skinner, B. & Austin, R., (1999). Computer conferencing - does it motivate EFL students? ELT Journal. 53 (4)
Sullivan, N. & Pratt, E. (1996). A comparative study of two ESL writing environments: A computer-assisted classroom and a traditional oral classroom. System. 29 (4), 491-501.
Warschauer, M., Turbee, L. & Roberts, B. (1996). Computer learning networks and student empowerment. (1), 1-14.
Wilson, T. & Whitelock, D. (1998). What are the perceived benefits of participating in a computer-mediated communication (CMC) environment for distance learning computer science students? Computers Education. 30 (3/4), 259-269.


18
Critical Reviews of Technology / Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia
« on: March 25, 2006, 06:39:19 PM »
hello everyone,

here is my critical review about Wikipedia, - the free encyclopedia..

Regards,
Ali Fuad


19
Blogs for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / RSS-Related Weblinks
« on: March 08, 2006, 10:40:12 AM »
RSS-Related Weblinks
A Tutorial about RSS

RSS Feed Creation Tool
http://www.feedforall.com/
Easily create, edit and publish rss feeds. New RSS feeds can be quickly and easily created with FeedForAll. Advanced features enable you to create professional looking rss feeds quickly. Existing RSS feeds can be repaired and enhanced with FeedForAll. RSS feeds generated by other means can be automatically repaired, so that they conform to the RSS 2.0 specification. Existing feeds can be enhanced to contain advanced feed properties.

Active Web Reader
http://www.deskshare.com/awr.aspx
Simply add all your favorite feed URLs and keep yourself updated without having to visit the web-sites again. Active Web Reader’s intuitive tab based interface makes it easy to view and read your feeds. It is like reading off a web-browser with easy navigation. You can also select from a number of styles to display the feeds and make reading them a pleasure.

FeedDemon
http://www.feeddemon.com/feeddemon/index.asp
FeedDemon enables you to quickly read and gather information from hundreds of web sites - without having to visit them.

FeedScout
http://www.bytescout.com/feedscout.html
Enables you to view RSS/ATOM/RDF feeds from different sites directly in Internet Explorer. You can even set your Home Page to show favorite feeds. Feed Scout is a plug-in for Internet Explorer, so you won't have to learn anything except for how to press 2 new buttons on Internet Explorer toolbar



20
www.blogcu.com <--- a Turkish Blogging Website ;D

21
Blogs for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / Blogging in Turkey
« on: March 08, 2006, 05:06:22 AM »
Hello all,

2.460.000 - the number of hits when you type "blog" and make a search on Google Turkish pages..  8) I know this is not a statistics however, it might give an idea about blogging in Turkey..

As stated in Wikipedia (Turkish version) that "although it has been an important phenomenon in the world, the weblogs in Turkey has not received considerable attention until 2005." The weblog provider Blogcu.com has 57.520 blogs registered..  8)

Ali Fuad


22
How to Write a Better Weblog by Dennis A. Mahoney
http://www.alistapart.com/articles/writebetter/
http://www.nahnu.org/?p=333 (Turkish version of that article)

23
BLOG STATISTICS (as of July 2005)
According to BlogHerald, here is the conclusion as of July 2005: there are now at least 70 million blogs in existence with 63 million blogs having been created on 8 leading blog hosting sites that host 1 million or more blogs alone.

Stats by Country:
Australia: approx 400,000
based on report in the Australian Newspaper 19 May 05 and allowing for growth since. Like other members of the Anglosphere though its hard to quantify blog numbers due to the dominance of US blogging firms

Austria: approx 20,000
Ref: Loic Le Meur

Belgium: approx 100,000
Skynet: 60,000, Loic suggests more again. There are problems with a definite Belgium count because of the split between French and Dutch speakers. It’s likely that some Belgium bloggers use services in the Netherlands and France, + naturally the Anglosphere offerings.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: less than 3,000
LJ: 1200. Rest unknown

Brunei: less than 3,000
LJ, Blogshares and others.

Canada: approx 700,000
approximation, difficult to ascertain due to the Anglosphere problem, LJ shows 260,000

China: 5 million and growing
ref: South China Morning Post.

Croatia: approx 40,000
Hugo Martin points to blog.hr which now has just short of 30,000 blogs + a little more for other sites.

Czech Republic: approx 5,000
LJ and others.

Denmark: approx 5,000
Loic Le Meur

Finland: approx 100,000
Media=blogi

France: approx 3 million
Loic and others. Skyblog has nearly 2.5 million alone.

Germany: 280,000
Hugo Martin

India: approx 100,000
Financial Express

Ireland: approx 75,000
Loic says 9,000, I don’t believe the figure could be low considering the “Irish economic miracle” of the 1990’s and Irelands continued status of growth and IT friendliness, although the population of just over 4 million people is always going to produce a fairly low figure. Problem again that most Irish bloggers would use Anglosphere blogging sites.

Israel: approx 100,000
thanks to Jariv

Italy: approx 200,000
Loic Le Meur, Hugo

Japan: approx 4 million
Original link lost but as per my report here + allowed for some growth. Joi Ito has some interesting general stats here.

Malaysia: approx 10,000
The Star

The Netherlands: approx 600,000
Loic Le Meur + comments to previous blog counts here indicating similar figures on Marketing Facts (although there is some suggestion that it may be closer to 750,000 but I’m going with Loic’s figure for now)

Philippines: approx 75,000
LJ + Pinoy

Poland: approx 1.4 million
I started at Loic but a quick look at the leading Polish blogging sites onet.pl (700k+), Tenbit (200k+) , Blog.pl (100k+) and Mylog (100k+) gives at least 1.1 million (Loics figure) + ad in minor services and Anglosphere services to 1.4m. The figures also indicates Poland is one of the fastest growing blog markets in Europe

Russia: approx 300,000
source: Mosnews refers to LJ as the most popular Russian service with around 185,000 users. Add figures from other sources. Loic claims 800,000 then provides evidence for 250,000. There is probably more than 300,000 but I’m yet to find some decent evidence.

South Korea: approx 15 million
There is little dispute that there is at least 15 million blog like sites in South Korea, the only question is whether they all count as blogs: Joi Ito doesn’t think they do, and states that there are 10 million “hompy” sites which “are personal home pages with photo albums, guest books, avatars, background skins, and background music” and 5-6 million blogs. However The Korea Herald reports (no longer available) have previously included these “hompy” sites as blogs. BlogCount.com reports on the same Korea Herald report here back in January but calculates 11.9 million blogs. The IHT refers to the Cyworld service as hosting “mini-blogs” in December. I’m siding with the MSM on this one, but have decided to note that there may be some doubt to the figure based on format. It should also be noted that at least 3 million are hosted on Yahoo! Blogs Korea and another 6 million on Planet Weblog Service (as at Jan 05)

Spain: 1.5 million
Terra.es reports 1 million MSN Spaces blogs in Spain alone, but no figures are available for Blogger. Loic reports 1.1 million but you’d have to think there would be blogs of Spanish origins on Blogger and other sites as well.

Ukraine: 50,000
Loic

United Kingdom: 2.5 million
difficult to count because of the Anglosphere problem with tracking country of original but we know there are 1.5 million UK residents using Spaces as of the end of June (Terra.es ). We know there are 200,000+ UK users on Live Journal. Traditionally Anglosphere blogs have flocked to Blogger as well so lets say at least 200-300,000. Thats 2 million. Then there’s the DIY bloggers and those using smaller services including Xanga, MySpace….could be more again. I also don’t think the British will like being beat by the French so expect more growth here.

United States: approx 15-30 million
Its impossible to put an exact figure on the number of US based bloggers because, lets face it, US based blogging services have members from all around the world, and there are thousands of them at that. There are 3.7 million on Live Journal, and other sites would be dominated by US blogs. US bloggers would also be more likely to have multiple blogs and abandoned blogs as well mainly due to the length of time the US has been blogging.

24
Blogs for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / Handbook for Bloggers
« on: March 08, 2006, 04:22:36 AM »
Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-dissidents

Here's a handbook for bloggers!! I also include the Contents below. 8)

Ali Fuad



Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they’re tremendous tools of freedom of expression.
Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest.
Reporters Without Borders has produced this handbook to help them, with handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical principles.

Contents:
  * Bloggers, the new heralds of free expression
  * What’s a blog ?
  * The language of blogging
  * Choosing the best tool
  * How to set up and run a blog
  * What ethics should bloggers have ?
  * Getting your blog picked up by search-engines
  * What really makes a blog shine ?
  * Personal accounts:
       - Germany
       - Bahrain
       - USA
       - Hong Kong
       - Iran
       - Nepal
  * How to blog anonymously
  * Technical ways to get around censorship
  * Ensuring your e-mail is truly private
  * Internet-censor world championship

Source (and for those who encounters problem in downloading) :
http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=542

25
Blogs for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / Blogging Software
« on: March 08, 2006, 04:09:36 AM »
:: Blogging software ::

Edublogs : http://www.edublogs.org/
Free open-source blogs for education professionals

Pivot : http://www.pivotlog.net/
Free blogging software

SixApart : http://www.sixapart.net/
Makers of popular blogging software including TypePad, Movable Type and LiveJournal

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