Thursday, December 6, 2012

Popplet for text deconstruction

Popplet is a great tool to improve reading comprehension by focusing on the key skills of deconstructing main ideas of text, paragraphs and supporting details. By unpacking and summarizing the text students can compare with a Popplet you have made to ascertain their level of understanding. Students work in pairs , one with the text on the screen and the other with the Popplet App.

They work collaboratively to deconstruct the text speaking English. You can challenge learners to find synonyms to summarize the text. The visualization is so powerful they can answer many comprehension questions without returning to the text as they are no longer reading superficially. Reading is a cognitively difficult  task as you must retain the ideas of the text and then input more information in the form of reading the questions . Many second language learners struggle with these two short  term memory tasks as their vocabulary proficiency may be inadequate to retain or map the information in their second language compared to their first language .

 Mind mapping uses the right side of the brain to map spatial visual connections and concepts. A visual frame is provided to hang the ideas and details. I have noticed a rapid change in their reading proficiency. They are all "at risk" and were below their expected level and had failed the reading course last semester. Now the average % for their reading tests is above 70 %.

Forget the number, they are now different students brimming with self confidence and engaged. The greatest difference is their level of persistence and extended attention span when reading in their second language using an IPad.

The use of the mind mapping App for reading was rapidly adopted by learners. Their reflections referred often to the fact they  didn't realize how deeply they needed to understand the text to answer the questions.

It is also a great tool for me to instantly visualize the students understanding of the text and provide immediate intervention as they process the text.

 There are many tasks that follow from this activity. One of my favorites is to make  a screen capture in a Screencasting App such as Educreations or Screen Chomp  and pairs of students retell the text . They take turns with their partner actively listening and assisting in reformulating the language.

If they tweet their Educateations screencast across to another team, the team can transcribe their spoken text , peer edit and publish their final text summaries.

Use an Ipad in ESL

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Audioboo for National Day Narratives.

Traditional reading and writing have to change and assessment needs to rapidly change.  Students need experience in new literacies required for the 21st century and ESL assessment needs to be overhauled to mirror the demands of new multi-modal literacies. 

How do we capture the past for the future with new literacies available in the IPad ? We transform learning by thinking of new ways of creating and producing language in a meaningful context. Some ESL teachers love testing discrete grammar points. Is this what language proficiency is about ? 

It is more meaningful for students to use a range of past tense structures to communicate what is important to their lives. Personalizing learning this week, we focused on the UAE National Day. 
The founding father of the UAE, Sheik Zayed said:

"Future generations will be living in a world that is very different from that to which we are accustomed. It is essential that we prepare ourselves and our children for that new world.” 

This new world  is one of digitally connected Emirati citizens,  building knowledge collaboratively and sharing with the world.. Students will not be filling in discrete gramnar gap fills in their future. They will need to communicate effectively in their second language.

We decided to transform learning by sharing and documenting the stories from the past by interviewing grandparents, finding old photos and translating the primary history narratives  into English for National Day. Our App of choice was AudioBoo because of :
-The sound quality and 3 minute recording length. 
-The ability to share on social media such as Twitter.
- Can embed an image.
Task 1 - Students explored different Apps for sound recordings such as Soundfiles, but we focused on workflow and how we could share our recordings with Twitter.  We found Audioboo.
Task 2 - Students discussed and tweeted their views of Audioboo and its use generally to improve language skills.

Task 3 - We discussed the meaning of National  and the stories the students know of the past and the importance of documenting history for  future generations.
Task 4 - Student scanned my tweets to find the word Audioboo and clicked the link to listen to our project task.
Task 5 - Students record National Day Narratives and tweet their Audioboos. 
Task 6 - Transcribe in Pages . Peer edit and revise. 
Task 7 - Screen capture with images - tweet and add to Flipboard and Evernote.
Task 8 - Write to Read - students read , listen comment and retweet.


Welcome to Ipads and ESL

 The SAMR model presents a framework to navigate when using iPads in ESL. 

The model provides an awareness to notice the stages of the journey for teachers and learners to personalize learning from enhancement to transformation. 

I have summarized the following examples from IPads in ESL. Refer table below (made in Keynote).

I used this model to plan or reflect on my lessons.  One day,  I noticed the iPad  transformed learning. There is a moment when you realize you could never do this lesson with a laptop. My moment was when we start integrating Twitter with a range of Apps to make workflows easier. 

This blog shares ideas to integrate iPads into ESL and Literacy classrooms.  Also,  many ideas can be transferred to content classes and particularly to content classes for ESL learners.

iPads have changed the way I teach and learners learn. I hope you enjoy trying some of my ideas and lessons in your classes. You can follow me on Twitter @Brigidwheel