english4blogging

Nives' endeavours as an English Teacher


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CO 17 Connecting Online Live Conference 3-5 Feb 2017

It’s on again for the eighth time, the Connecting Online Live Conference begins on Friday 3rd February to Sunday 5th February. A back to back from 8am to 4pm EST (Eastern Standard Time zone) with brilliant presenters world wide, logging in from their country to share their expertise in a field of interest.

Here is a video intro of the presenters…

Joining in to watch and participate live in the chat or on the moodle is absolutely FREE so why not join us as we share our experiences, knowledge and thoughts on Connecting Online. Link to the Moodle site. Use your social media to log in, no need to register! There are badges for attending and also Certificates for Reflecting on the Live Webinars.

Having presented with Tom Hodgers in CO15, this year we team up to talk shop… TEAMWORK in Online Collaboration. Teachers participating in online courses, training sessions or conferences via the moodle are sometimes required to work in Teams. Tom Hodgers has been managing the virtual teams for some years now, so with our experience working together as a Team and working with other colleagues online has equipped us with a bundle of information that we are willing to share.

However if you can’t make it to the live sessions, you can watch the recording via the moodle or YouTube playlist. Find out more here in Google Doc.

See you online !

 


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#MM9 – A reflection

The end of MM9 arrived Sunday December 11, 2016 and for the graduating alumni it was a wonderful ending after a month long [50 hours] professional development using Moodle for Teaching. The whole course designed, created by Dr Nellie Deutsch and managed on Integrating Technology -Moodle for Teachers site was an amazing experience. Not just for me but for all the participants in the Moodle course.

The Moodle has it’s own fascinating story which will not be dealt with here, but visit this page for more. Suffices to mention the acronym for Moodle – “modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment”. Whereupon we notice the all important word ‘learning’ and that is in essence the Moodle for use in today’s society and more importantly in Training and Education – more simply Facilitating Learning. Because that’s  what the moodle platform enhances without any doubt. An environment that facilitates learning be it professional training or simple courses for education, such as are English Grammar courses.

Let me get back to the very important topic at hand … MM9 – in my own experience it was a turning point in that it culminated into the finality of obtaining almost all the badges and final certificates that would be possible in any such course online. Including a special Presenter Certificate and Badge! The main presentation titled “Teaching Online with Moodle” was in conjunction with Thomas Hodgers (a constant colleague in online presentations during any Moodle Mooc with Dr Nellie Deutsch). The almost being for moderator … in my honest opinion and from past experience – being a moderator and teacher in training cannot possibly be carried out to its full potential if you have any normal existence. The hours involved are many and do not preclude time for dilly-dallying if the weekly tasks and activities and responding to ALL the participants need to get done in time. Sometimes those participants reach the thousands!

The whole course unfolded over five intense weeks of online work to complete set activities and tasks within a weekly time frame. Most of the tasks in this MM9 were ‘easier’ as it required making a video of one’s exercise in carrying out the tasks. Easier because it cut down time on preparing slides which then needed to be turned into audio visual presentations, as was the case in previous Moodle courses. The 3rd and 4th week were carried out in collaboration with set teams (set by the system but with the ability to change and join another team) this though proved to be as difficult as it is easy to fathom.

Why?
Well firstly because creating a Team may not seem difficult, but getting that team to communicate within a set time frame and complete activities with (in our Group B team) three diverse time zones. Add to that personal and professional work commitments outside the moodle. In fact the Moodle 3.1 site offers many advantages of setting up teams and working separately to other teams, that is each team has the possibility to communicate in a common forum without ‘seeing’ the other groups or teams working within the same moodle and access to the exact same forum. This is an amazing tool for a Teacher that does not need to go far when keeping an eye on all students in groups in one unique forum area. Also the amazing tracking system of the moodle enhances the Teacher’s own control of the students within a moodle for education.

Rounding up the Team experience brought about many conclusions and highlighted some areas which need to be ‘polished’ for teachers to work well and co-ordinate their online collaboration. Areas which can well be adapted to Teachers understanding the needs of their students in their own future moodle courses. We must succumb to the idea that online teaching and learning can only be carried out effectively with Teachers themselves understanding the mechanics of the rudimentary elements of working online and within a group. It will only ensure that when a teacher has had to go through the same motions that the student will eventually have to process then it can only benefit both Teacher and Students. After all most Teachers that have been teaching for at least 10 years have not had any experience with fast forward moving (& mobile) technology or LMS [Learning Management Systems] in their own learning. Most likely their learning involved very little use of technology at best a computer (for preparing essays, reports, etc.) overhead projector in lecture theatres, computer assisted library research and perhaps some online digital experience. This is only a generalization and it is sure that some were much luckier and had access to more modern technology for the year 2000. Also the use of emails and search engines did already exist, but how many of those at University in the late 1990’s actually relied upon the internet….? Not many I’ll bet.

The outline of the Moodle Mooc 9 course:
Overview of the Syllabus; Live Online classes (weekly webinars plus opening and closing webinars)
Week 1 – Introduction (learning about each other) & Video Tutorials
Week 2 – Course Design with Resources and Activities
Week 3 – Blocks available to a Moodle Course Manager
Week 4 & 5 – Collaborative Course Design
Bonus tasks – Manager of a Moodle 3.1 site (activities over and above the usual completion for certificate – resulting in a Bonus certificate for those that were able to complete the extra activities).
Badges for every week and final Certificate for Teacher & Manager of a Moodle Course.
All the work carried out in the tasks and set activities was exported into files within an Exabis folder which every participant has the possibility of exporting onto their own computer or external drive.
The final week saw the presentation of each Group Team Showcasing their work in an online live event.

This amazing experience has fulfilled my own desire to complete and attain a more in depth understanding of using the Moodle for online Teaching. It is the next step in my curriculum to prepare a self paced language learning course within a Moodle site.

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Final Presentation slides on SlideShare


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MM4: Opening Ceremony

My reflection on the opening ceremony

1. MM4: Opening Ceremony and Introduction to Moodle MOOC 4

          Presented by:Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Date: Sunday, June 01,  2014

Course details: http://www.wiziq.com/course/48101-moodle-mooc-4

2. The opening ceremony,  presented by the organizer of the course Dr. Nellie Deutsch, was not only an opening to a month long event of learning but a real introduction into getting into ‘moodling’. Dr Nellie led the way with a visual presentation of the program for the event and showed how to follow the tasks on the moodle platform. The MM4 (moodle mooc 4) was open to those with no experience in using the Moodle or WizIq platforms as well as those experienced on both or one of the platforms.

3. WizIq is a brilliant layout for learning and teaching especially in a group format, while the class is being carried out live by the presenter, the learners can interact in the chat box. On this first day I was lucky to see some old faces and many new, I quickly caught up with Melissa and Tom, also Safaa, got an Italian greeting from a new to me connection David.  Most importantly though is the full on connection also with Dr. Nellie who does take the time to ‘connect’ live by greeting everyone verbally during the beginning of the presentation and as others join in during the presentation. This whole ‘connection’ makes the process so much more human and fathomable!

4. The many questions in this first encounter were mostly centred on ‘how’ to use the moodle platform and what was the difference between ‘beginner’ and ‘non beginner’. These were important questions as most of us had to either join in the course using our moodle login from a previous session or sign up as a first time user of the moodle.

5. The content in this lesson was important as it paved the outline of the expectations of the whole course and as Teacher-Learners our commitment to understanding the system in order to ‘get around’ without getting lost.

6. The main thought running around my head was the negative sensation I had with my first encounter in the moodle via a previous moodle mooc and which I was constantly losing my way around the moodle. This time I was promising myself to persevere and ‘learn’ as the moodle platform is also an integral part of the learning strategy for the Italian regional study program for whom I often teach.

7. The engaging lesson by Dr. Nellie Deutsch, together with the ongoing chitter chatter in the chat box made me feel part of a growing learning community with world-wide connections meeting together in one place. A sort of ‘brewing stew’ of learning and connecting online. It created a sense of strength and personal satisfaction to be lucky to be here participating in an invigorating live event.

8.  The challenge was getting started with the ‘real’ tasks in the moodle set up by Dr. Nellie Deutsch and facilitated by Tom Hodgers. Two people whom worked very hard and spent many hours putting up such a workable learning program. My personal challenge was to avoid my eternal attention blinks, caused unfortunately by a brain running forward while my eyes are foggy on what’s happening in front of me. May sound confusing….imagine me!

9. The main step to avoid getting lost or confused in the moodle for me was to stop and think, read and re-read, then if all else failed reach out and ask for h-e-l-p! This was done easily enough via the ‘support lounges’ throughout the tasks in the moodle, thank goodness!

10. My objective is to become a Moodle Manager and be able to use the Moodle platform as naturally and easily as I would a textbook for teaching. Why? Because Teaching is what I do, I teach English as a Language, English Literature and English Drama – and I am looking forward to doing away with textbooks for good! I believe in ‘Blended classrooms’ and use online learning management systems (OLMS) with any text book I use, but I also believe that the blended and flipped classroom is also a step in the right direction.

11. Two questions came to mind in this particular presentation: How do we go about creating our own Moodle environment?  How reliable is the Moodle tracking system? – Both of these questions came to mind quickly in that when I use other means of ‘tracking’ my students’ progress online I am able to see what the programmer of that system has made available. Sometimes as a Teacher I would like to see many other details that are not always included, so if I could create the ‘tracking’ path I require then it would also need to be reliable.

 

Slide Speech presentation    

http://slidespeech.com/s/cdAHJm2Jen/

 


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MM4: Formative Feedback Strategies and Digital Marking

Talk Presented by: Andreas Molander : in WizIQ on 5 June, 2014

What an interesting presentation, so what did I learn from this presentation:

  1. There is help with correcting English (or other languages as are available on word documents) using a specific tool created by Prof. Molander
  2. Attendees of the MM4 have an opportunity to download and install the software for a free trial period. BUT must be downloaded before 8 June.  All on the proviso of participating in surveys to help the owners of the software understand the usability stats etc.
  3. The annual price for the software is approximately $99 p.a. or $199 for 3 years. Need to check this on website.
  4. The tool used with Microsoft Word becomes a Tool bar on the page and can also be modified by the Teacher. The tool can also be turned off when not needed for paper correction, this is handy.
  5. The Tool bar can also be used by Students whom can, if willing, also re-adapt it to help their own understanding of common English language errors.
  6. Important name of the Tool: LANGCORR   website: http://www.langcorr.com
  7. Video link to watch : 
  8. still thinking

A little bit about this tool, the most important and useful element of this tool is that it cuts down on time spent correcting, and I am one of those teachers which not only crosses out the mistake but I am constantly writing the correct way in the side columns or on the bottom of the paper. This is so time consuming too. So sometimes the student does not always ‘learn’ how to avoid the mistake next time, meaning there is a high probability that particular error will pop up again on another paper.

The LANGCORR tool actually helps the Teacher to help the Student correct their own paper, the tool highlights the error and makes a comment on the side bar of the word document, so the student can work out what mistake they made. Then the Teacher can also work through the paper by cutting down the ‘help’ comments and leaving only the error highlighted with the type of error so the Student will have to actually work it out. In this way we actually are helping the student to overcome their problems with certain repetitive errors.

My opinion: GREAT we have a helping hand in correcting ‘writing papers’ that will check and highlight common errors adding notes to the document allowing the Students to follow and understand their mistakes — aiming at diminishing repetitive grammatical errors. I can’t wait to use it, only problem … we have a 2 month break before any papers start appearing on my desk again! Guess I’ll have to wait for the next year students bright and fresh in September.