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Messages - ArielTheMermaid

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General Links / Google N-Gram
« on: May 07, 2014, 06:33:54 PM »
Google has started its own "corpus" site called n-gram viewer--here is the website:

Essentially you can see what words/phrases are being used more frequently over time. Help on how to use the site and input text is found here:

This site uses Google Books as their primary source of texts and up to this point, you cannot view your input text in context. However, this could be a good basic tool for seeing what words are being used, if you are unsure what word collocates with another word--such as : is it "give a doubt" or "raise a doubt" and you can see which one is more frequent. Could be cool to use with students, but I have not explored it much yet.

The recordings I asked them to do was a part of a voice lesson where the lesson taught them how to practice pronunciation. So, to continue with what they were learning, I had them record themselves speaking for 1 minute about a topic that I gave them, and I demonstrated the topic. Then, I went into FaceBook and gave them feedback on their pronunciation after they submitted their files. It went well, they all did a good job, all carefully focusing in on the way they were speaking. Definitely awareness-raising.

I also agree with this--in fact I think emails need to be paid even MORE attention to. I think it would be nice to have students from different cultures in the class present to the class how THEIR culture writes emails, then make some comparisons to the U.S. email style. I think it would be a good cultural awareness-raising lesson and it would let other students know how to write emails in many other cultures (granted how many are in the classroom, may have to assign some cultures to students). But oftentimes, we are thrown into a new place and do not know the cultural appropriateness of many things, including email-writing. I think it could be fun and also extremely beneficial for once they leave the classroom.

General Links / MemeMaker
« on: April 22, 2014, 09:08:11 AM »
I do not have a link to this because apps for the computer or phone actually work best. Mememakers on websites are froo-froo and commonly have other stuff you don't want to use. Apps on the computer or phone are easy to use, and all you have to do is save the finished meme to your computer and then upload to IMGUR--the only image hosting website you should ever use (

Memes are a good way for the class to study 1) meme culture, and 2) generally fixed language. Since memes have a "formula" which they must follow, all memes should be created equal. It would be a good way to introduce students to some pop culture, and also get their language learning on.

Critical Reviews of Technology / Critical Review of Jing!
« on: April 22, 2014, 09:00:35 AM »
Jing! is a screen-capture/screen-recording add-on to your computer similar in function to Camtasia.

Funny or Cool Stuff / Re: Make a Music Video!
« on: April 01, 2014, 12:38:46 PM »
AHHH I always have mini (actually really long) day dreams while driving or walking about making music videos with my students! I think this is an awesome idea to use in a classroom with younger students especially. I guess I am just wondering how long with this take? I think sometimes we view these fun activities as adjunct to the normal lesson--but personally I think it would be fun if a whole unit was about making a music video--with grammar, and other "language components" embedded into the activity. Because sometimes as teachers we think--"How can we fit that into the curriculum?" But I think the larger question is--"How can we fit the curriculum into that?" By making this a larger portion of the classroom curriculum, and embedding our necessary teaching requirements into this Music Video--we can use a fun, task-based activity to learn. And this way, the music video is seen a long-term project and will be taken more seriously by the students.

Podcasting for Computer-Mediated Language Learning / Blogcasts!!
« on: April 01, 2014, 12:33:15 PM »
I think that a new way we can incorporate podcasts into class is to have students make personal reflective blogs, but instead of writing posts (or in addition) they can make podcasts. I think sometimes we forget about speaking when our Ss leave the classroom, and always we encourage them to talk to native speakers and engage in society. But this is not always easy for our students. Maybe by having them making personal blogs where they speak instead of write--they can listen to themselves.

In order to do this, I would not use a blog website--too OLD SCHOOL. Instead the students should make their OWN YouTube channel, I think that could be extremely fun and exciting. Everyone has some method of recording these days, and YouTube channels can be private, and to be honest, no one is looking for your journal reflective channel. All students can have access to each other's channel and leave comments.

This, however, needs to be an integrated component of the classroom. They need to be taught how to use YouTube, and more importantly, how to record, and upload things. I would even suggest a recording management tool to edit recordings if necessary. This would indeed take up class time, but I think it would be worth it. They can track their progress and even track their accent! Great for personal autonomy of their own learning!!

Hey Feichen!

That site looks awesome. I agree that using voice recording is an essential tool for language learning, and often I feel our students either do not know about it or do not utilize it enough. Definitely bringing this into the classroom would be awesome.

Something else I have done, with graduate students. I had them record their own voices using apps on their telephone and uploading those to our class FaceBook page and myself and other students would comment on their recordings. The only issue with recording programs, you cannot account for outside noise influence--but then we have to make a big deal as teachers to make sure they record in a quiet location, with the proper equipment, etc. It can be a big issue, so it should be a large component of the class if necessary, because if it isn't, I find it may not be taken seriously, or done properly. Other than that, I think we all should start doing voice recordings in our classroom!

Social Networks and Supersites / FaceBook in the classroom
« on: March 11, 2014, 10:45:46 AM »
So--this idea to use FaceBook in the classroom was brought to me recently. It is an interesting idea to do with a unit on oral presentations. Typically, either the teacher or students record the video, upload it to dropbox or Google Drive, share it with teachers, then we write our feedback, send it to students, and other students write their peer feedback and then send it to the presenters. This approach is very convoluted and uses too many documents, and you have to spend a lot of time uploading, downloading, etc. So, a suggestion is to use FaceBook--I would suggest creating a "Teacher FaceBook" different from the normal one you may already have, and set up a group that you will invite the students in your class to. Then, students can upload their presentation videos here--comment on them in the FB forum, and everything is right there. It makes it simple and easy and give FB and special purpose in the classroom, other than stigmatizing it as something bad--it can also have an educational purpose. Then, students are also held accountable for what their post and it is easy to give students a grade when everything is right there.

So often, our students are unsure how to install dropbox, and we waste class time trying to explain it to those three students who do not know how to download it. In order to avoid this mess, I suggest using camtasia, or Jing in order to make a short video about how to install and use dropbox. In fact, you can make this for anything online---all you have to do is go to and install the video software to your computer. I know there are videos on YouTube, but that's not as fune as making your own. Plus, you'll get used to it and start to do it more often.

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