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Technology Tools

 

Blogs: A weblog, which is usually shortened to blog, allows the owner to create entries similar to a personal journal or diary. For language students, blogs can provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or news and viewpoints about other cultures in relation to their own. Others are allowed to add comments, opinions, questions, or impressions with respect to the blog owners entries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. Most blogs are primarily textual although more and more people are creating photograph (photoblog), videos (vlog), or audio (podcasting).

Articles on blogging in language learning environments

Blogs and Wikis: Environments for On-line Collaboration: http://llt.msu.edu/vol7num2/emerging/default.html
Tag Clouds in the Blogosphere: Electronic Literacy and Social Networking:
http://llt.msu.edu/vol10num2/emerging/default.html

Tools for creating your own blogs

Blogger- one of many tools for creating a free blog. http://www.blogger.com/
Easyjournal-another free blog tool. http://www.easyjournal.com/

Chat- written or oral: In every day natural speech we, like our students, make mistakes but we still can communicate our ideas. Using tools, such as chat, to pre-prepare students for writing or speaking boosts their content and confidence when the focus is taken off of the structures which can be addressed later.  To further explore the use of chat, go to the links below:

Articles on chat sessions in language learning environments

Conversations -- & Negotiated Interaction -- in Text & Voice Chat Rooms     http://llt.msu.edu/vol9num3/jepson/default.html

Synchronous CMC, Working Memory, And L2 Oral Proficiency Development http://llt.msu.edu/vol9num3/payne/

Messaging, Gaming, Peer-to-Peer Sharing: Language Learning Strategies & Tools for the Millennial Generation http://llt.msu.edu/vol9num1/emerging/default.html

Tools for creating your own chat rooms

SigmaChat - a full featured, real-time Java chat software that embeds seamlessly into your web site. http://www.sigmachat.com/.

Gong - open source voice & text chat system. Allows for recording of chat sessions. Supports Chinese. http://gong.ust.hk/

Discussion Boards- written or oral: Short on time for discussing cultural topics and tying content to student experiences? Need to get students brainstorming before class or follow up content presented during class? Threaded discussion boards are a great way for students to interact outside of class on their own time giving them more time to articulate their ideas.

Articles on discussion forums in language learning environments

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum: Electronic Discussion And Foreign Language Learning http://llt.msu.edu/vol7num1/hanna/default.html

Processes And Outcomes In Networked Classroom Interaction: Defining The Research Agenda For L2 Computer-Assisted Classroom Discussion http://llt.msu.edu/vol1num1/ortega/

Tools for creating your own discussions

Gong: open source voice & text threaded discussion system. Extensive language support and voice editing tools. http://gong.ust.hk/

Horizon Wimba Voice Tools: voice & text threaded discussion and chat system. Extensive language support and a variety of other tools. Fee-based solution. http://www.horizonwimba.com/

Electronic Gaming: If you are looking for another way for students to present their knowledge, in addition to projects and posters; students as teachers moves them into the role of teaching their classmates and us about topics of interest to them while demonstrating their ability to communicate in the target language. An easy way for them to do this is through creating PowerPoint games. With games, students can teach us and others what they know.

Articles on classroom gaming

Messaging, Gaming, Peer-to-Peer Sharing: Language Learning Strategies & Tools for the Millennial Generation http://llt.msu.edu/vol9num1/emerging/default.html

Ten of the Very Best Reasons for Using Classroom Games http://www.thegamegroup.com/article1.htm

LInks to some easy to use downloadable game templates

Parade of Games: http://facstaff.uww.edu/jonesd/games/

PowerPoint Game Templates: http://www.internet4classrooms.com/on-line_powerpoint.htm#game

Email Collaborations/Keypals: this is an electronic version of penpals. There are a number of sites that help teachers find classrooms full of students or organize student to student penpal connections. While these collaborative exchanges can be very rewarding it is important for instructors to agree on clear objectives, content and a timeline commitment for communications. If there is not an equal commitment from students and instructors in all locations, students may become very frustrated and disappointed waiting for a response from their email partner.

Articles on email exchanges in language learning environments

Collaborative E-Mail Exchange For Teaching Secondary Esl: A Case Study In Hong Kong: http://llt.msu.edu/vol7num1/greenfield/default.html

The Development Of E-Mail Literacy: From Writing To Peers To Writing To Authority Figures: http://llt.msu.edu/vol10num2/chen/default.html

Tools for connecting to others for an exchange

Internet Keypal Exchanges: http://www.cln.org/int_keypals.html

ePals Classroom Exchange: http://www.epals.com/

Podcasting/Learncasting: traditionally an audio program in a compressed digital format, delivered via an RSS feed over the Internet to a subscriber and designed for playback on computers or portable mp3 players, such as the iPod. Now it may include video, hence the term vodcasting. Learncasting takes the digitized materials and adds learning activites which may include but are not limited to preparing students for the text they will listen to, active listening activities and additional post-listening exercises or expansions so students are able to demonstrate what they have learned and how they can apply this new knowledge.

Articles on podcasting/learncasting in language learning environments

Skype and Podcasting: Disruptive Technologies for Language Learning http://llt.msu.edu/vol9num3/emerging/default.html

Going to the MALL: Mobile Assisted Language Learning
http://llt.msu.edu/vol10num1/emerging/default.html

Tag Clouds in the Blogosphere: Electronic Literacy and Social Networking:
http://llt.msu.edu/vol10num2/emerging/default.html

Some samples of podcasts/learncasts for languages

Learncasts from the UW-Madison Department of German http://german.lss.wisc.edu/gdgsa/podcast/

ESLpod http://www.eslpod.com/website/index.php

The PiECast: Language-learning podcast from Partners in Excellence http://www.podcast.net/show/8715

ChinesePod http://www.chinesepod.com/

A Spoonful of Russia http://speakrussian.blogspot.com/

Teacher Resource Tools: You want to implement student-centered use of technology but you don’t have a lot of time and have no idea what you are going to have students do.  As you develop your materials, consider how you will bring students into the material, what they will know when they are finished, how will you get them there and how will it connect to their own lives. You may be developing web activities for all of those stages or just some of them.  Here are some links to help get you started.

4Teachers.org: a series of free tools for creating webpages, quizzes, student projects, rubrics and a number of other teacher resources. http://www.4teachers.org/

Rubistar: create a rubric for assessing student proficiency upon completion of a lesson. http://rubistar.4teachers.org/

MERLOT: a free and open resource of links to online learning materials with annotations such as peer reviews and assignments. http://www.merlot.org/

Videoconferencing: Looking to connect your students with native speakers outside of the classroom? Interested in reaching more students beyond your classroom walls but don't want to give up the face-to-face communication of a traditional classroom? Videoconferencing over the Internet (VoIP) has grown in popularity as the technology has improved. Large classroom videoconference requires specially equiped classrooms. Connections can be computer to computer, classroom to computer, or classroom to classroom. A couple common desktop videoconferencing options are Skype and iVisit.

Article on videoconferencing in language learning environments

Supporting Synchronous Distance Language Learning With Desktop Videoconferencing: http://llt.msu.edu/vol8num3/wang/default.html

Tools for videoconferencing for languages

Mixxer: Create a language exchange for your students. This particular partnering resource relies on Skype as the videoconferencing too. http://www.language-exchanges.org/

Web-based lessons: Looking for ways to organize and create lessons with current online information and interactive activities with ease?  Check out the links below:

Trackstar - create online lessons and activities by simply collecting Web sites, entering them into TrackStar, adding annotations for your students, and then you will have an interactive, online lesson called a Track. Create your own Track or use one of the hundreds of thousands already made by other educators. http://trackstar.4teachers.org/trackstar/index.jsp

WebQuest - an inquiry-oriented activity in which most or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the Web. WebQuests are designed to use learners' time well, to focus on using information rather than looking for it, and to support learners' thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis and evaluation. http://webquest.sdsu.edu/

Web-based workbooks/activities: Many textbooks are now coming with online workbooks and/or CD-Rom exercises. These tools provide students with additional practice and often extend learning outside of class sessions to include audio and video input in the target language.

Quia - offers a variety of game making options and quizzing features. Search and use those created by others or create your own. $49/yr. http://www.quia.com/

Flashcard Exchange: create your own or have students create their own flashcards with ease. Also search for already created sets to supplement your text and materials. http://www.flashcardexchange.com/

Worksheet wizard: create worksheets with this tool. http://wizard.hprtec.org/

Wiki: What if you could have students doing a task where they could be peer correcting and adding information of their own?  What if you could take an entire semester or school year for students to continually add to their content or that of others, working towards a final product?  Here are some links to wikis that would allow you to do just that:

MediaWiki - a free softwarewiki package originally written for Wikipedia. It is now used by several other projects of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation and by others who have installed the free engine on their own server.www.mediawiki.org/

Wikispaces - A free wiki host providing community wiki spaces, visual page editing, and discussion areas. www.wikispaces.com/

Wiki Engines –administer your own wiki, and/or find a list of engines and advice. http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiEngines

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Last updated: October 4, 2006
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