Friday, September 28, 2007

Started my Level 1 16-19 ESOL group on their blogs today. It took quite a while setting them up as the usual problems of remembering their email addresses and correctly entering data came up. But still, they seemed pretty excited by them and had a nice time changing the layout and fiddling with the font!

A few managed to get photos uploaded and a video. They were at a bit of a loss as what to write onthere...and it was dawning on me that they will need specific tasks to carry out in order for it to be useful/successful - I don't think that merely keeping an online diary will suffice.

Here are a few:

And Vivien sent me this link which really fuelled our imaginations: Think that this is an excellent use of the blog format and one that might work with the teenagers...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The problem i'm having at the moment is that I keep coming online to do something specific and then accidentally end up finding something else that is of interest like this:

It’s based on a larger report available from

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

e-learning – taken from summary EDUCATION AND SKILLS HARNESSING TECHNOLOGY of particular interest is the personal online learning space section...

What does it mean for learners? As a learner, you should have:

More ways to learn: the chance to develop the skills you need for
participating fully in a technology-rich society. Along with listening and
reading, you will be spending more time learning in groups,working with
other learners, being creative, learning through challenging, game-like
activities and materials that adjust to the level and pace appropriate to you,
and with clear personal goals that you help to set.
More subjects to choose from: you should have access to subjects taught
through partnerships between schools, colleges, and universities, or other
sources of adult learning, through carefully designed materials, with expert
support online, and networking with your peer group, in your community or
workplace, choosing from a wide range of topics provided by accredited
learning and training providers.
More flexible study: you will have more choice about where, when and how
you study, making it easier for you to create your own mix between studying in
a place with other learners, learning at work, learning at home, and learning
Easier ways to try things out: if you’re not sure you’re interested in further
learning, there will be online access to informal tasters, linked to leisure or
domestic activities, enabling you to progress to the next stage by means of
highly motivating short modules, as and when you wish.
A personal online learning space: where you can store electronically everything
related to your learning and achievements, course resources, assignments,
research, and where you can plan your next steps, and build links for
professional advice and support.And being online, it will be accessible from
home, from school, and, in the longer term, from each new organisation as you
Help to move on: you can find out online what courses are available, and which
ones might suit you best,with online questionnaires to assess where you are
now, where you want to be, and how to get there.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Delivered an ESOL training on the new layout Student Portal which was attended by 7 colleagues. It seemed to go well - I demonstrated what sts can do on the portal and suggetsed some email activities. I also linked some online listening activities that teachers can do live in class which went down well.

I do have concerns about keeping the page up to date though and fear that the resources linked may just end up in me choosing something that may not necessarily appeal to all as sometimes responses to my invites as to what to develop get missed by colleagues - especially at this rather frantic time of year. Still i intend to keep pushing it and advertising it to the Division.

Hopefully the video application will get sorted and we can get on with some worthwhile activities!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Have found my new e-buddy for this term! I am providing in class support to a Key Skills Comms lesson and so it will be the perfect opportunity for me to encourage Tim to get some e-learning going on his class.
In fact even today there were opportunities which could have been developed. It will be interesting to see how these students respond to what we come up with and indeed if using ICT makes a difference to their learning experience. We'll see how things go and I may be able to sneak some Web 2 applications in...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

w/c 10 Sept - Met Penny and talked about 'personalising' the ESOL Hammersmith Community page on the Student Portal. Think that this is much better for our ESOL learners as they do not have to try and wade through reams of info to find what they need adn we can personalise the info that is displayed.

Then met with Rachel and David (ESOL PAMs) to present it and get some feedback on what they thought we should feature on it.

a couple of issues - in order to keep it up to date, it's going to take quite a lot of work. I'm happy to do it but I do get collared (as do Rachel and David) to help out with any random IT related ESOL queries which eats into my time! Secondly, that in order to keep students' interest; it will need to be regularly updated. We discussed having revolving levels of resources from Beginner up to Advanced so that various students can benefit.

Back to Penny then with our suggestions and I had a go at putting a couple of links on there - seems pretty straightforward! i'm going to produce a handout for the ESOL team and encourage comments about what we should feature on the page via our ESOL Discussion board. Hope to get some student feedback too - what would they find useful there?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Commercially available online learning materials and their availabilty/accessiblilty - some considerations

There is loads of good ESOL material on the web - a lot of teachers already access it and make great use of it but it does have restrictions:
  • time is sometimes wasted in directing students to it once in an IT suite as they cannot easily work through the links to find it - webpages are 'very busy' and ESOL students' scanning skills are weaker in English than in L1
  • the teacher presents or adapts it for class use therefore restricting students' independent learning after the class has ended
  • some podcasts/downloadable materials have a limited access life

When we find an activity we need to be able to quickly and easily link it to either a teacher homepage which students can be shown how to get to - anotehr idea: students could set up readers which informed them of new additions to teacher's page - or get it onto a class SoW.

Last term i had some useful materials for my tutor group to access on their SoW though other students in other classes couldn't gain entry. i think that the idea of a teacher's homepage might work slightly better - in that way I could show any student or indeed teacher where to find a particular activity adn i could update it.
I plan to use this activity for example, during induction as a guided in class listening exercise but there are more listening materials that students could work on in their own time on the same link. I would like to be able to put this link somewhere and be able to point (any) students/teachers to it as and when they wanted it.

Monday, September 03, 2007

So, back for another academic year and got lots of ideas for new stuff to try with students and the rest of the team.

Am hoping that will be able to get a few more on board - will try with the 16-19 Tutors first as we might have more success with the younger learners first. If my tutor group is anything like last year's was then they'll be showing me how to do things I have no doubt!

Will continue with the Buddy system and try and get Ayesha to now buddy someone else. That's really important I think - getting people to support and enthuse each other as the rigours of teaching and tutoring can wear us down.