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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THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE “TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG”

Let me be the devil’s advocate on being ‘Contrary to Blogging’ – although I have just shortly begun to blog when until only 12 months ago the whole idea of ‘blogging’ did actually seem absurd. So allow me to show you the reasons why I was so ‘au contraire’ to this medium of communication. Then you, like me, can reach your own conclusions on the ‘to blog or not to blog’ issue.
Why am I going to tackle this subject now after becoming a novice blogger…well I aptly thought in lieu of the upcoming Fall Blog Festival on WizIQ http://www.wiziq.com/course/53478-fall-blog-festival someone should offer the other side of the coin if only to prove the right or wrong reasons to start blogging. And perhaps just somehow make blogging at all seem worthwhile at best. After all in a healthy debate one would assume to be able to foster both sides of the argument well enough to convince the jury of listeners. Many years ago one of my Law Studies Professors said that if you could argue both sides of the case equally well then you would know your opposition’s moves with all the right armaments to carry on the battle till the end and may even come out on top. Not all may agree but this is really just another way of understanding ‘empathy’ – if you can empathize with your enemy then it’s so much easier to empathize with those you do not hate. Empathy is something Teacher’s do need to have in their tool boxes to deal with their colleagues, administration, parents and mostly with their beloved ‘students’ – or at least that’s how I see it.
Firstly allow me to describe the motives why some time ago the whole idea of blogging would have sounded absurd. Following is a list of the reasons why you wouldn’t want to start a blog:
1. Privacy issues – with all the problems of identity scams etc. why on earth would you want to air, publicly for that matter, your personal information for others to perhaps ‘steal’ or endanger you in some way.
2. Black on white (print in any form) will still be around even when you’re not and will it be a fine legacy of your thoughts or the bane of your family’s heritage – a point worth considering.
3. Opening up one’s feelings and thoughts just for others to trample upon with vile criticism (even if sometimes criticism in any form could be perceived constructive) doesn’t seem viable in my books.
4. Creating a public profile to better equip your curriculum of personal endeavors could backfire on you with your next possible employer. Any reason or even a snide remark of the wrong political taste and the company doors are suddenly slamming you out on your tail.
5. Aiming for those 15 minutes of fame that many feel belong to them, do you really want others to see you in all your facets and lose your anonymity which could have been your safe haven till now.
6. Inviting others into your world of knowledge is like opening the gates to the garden of Eden/Pandora’s box and forever giving away your ‘ideas’ for others to copy and even develop further. It’s just natural to think your life’s hard work can be easily plagiarized once it’s openly visible to the whole wide world – even if you only have a meager 100 followers reading your blog posts – and that can be a lot just imagine their network of communication.
7. Baring yourself to buffoonery on the part of ‘smart alec’ students who may try their damnedest to take their Teacher’s down a peg or two just for fun. (Of course this would depend on what type of Teacher you are too – the one who controls the class or the one who is controlled by the class which has nothing to do with the Teacher’s height by the way).
7.1. NB: your colleagues can also use this ‘tool’ to either mark you for destruction or ridicule your methods of communication, which is another point to ponder before embarking on writing a blog.
8. A blog is none other than a type of diary, just like some of us may have had in the pre-technological era, the school friends diary, the travel diary, the work diary, etc., you may reiterate that some did eventually turn into famous literary works like “The Diary of Anne Frank” for example. So are you prepared to have your ‘diary’ opened on a public playing field, if not, then blogging is not for you.
There is one thing I’d like to say at this point ‘thank you to all the recipe bloggers’ ever since I discovered a taste for cooking I’ve delved into the labyrinths of the internet by reading and following many a recipe blogger picking up on a technique here and there, learning about food and wine in general. Not to mention eating better too!
The best thing about the internet is that it is like your own portable library (if you use it properly) of information always at hand either on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Thank you IT gods I couldn’t imagine living without a good connection or latest hand held device, where would I be – even my mother well into her 70’s uses a smartphone and tablet to send me VoIP messages or links to Google photo’s, my Dad is the ever Skype fan always (almost daily) using it to keep up with family across the globe. How would we connect without this modern technology, the old days are so far behind now there’s no turning back plus I wouldn’t want to either.
Back to the topic at hand, to Blog or not to Blog? that is the question! Obviously having just recently embarked on the road ‘to Blogging’ undoubtedly I will continue slugging on, slowly mulling over my words and thoughts so as not to invite unhealthy critical acclaim to my name. The Teacher as I have come to experience first-hand is somewhat the be all of the education system itself, running on their own merits and sometimes falling down incredibly hard but nonetheless remain mostly constant battlers for the main purpose of churning out bright young populations of students willing to continue on the path to learning skills for life.
Not an easy battle preparing young teens for learning in a moment of economic downturn, when entire families under the strain of the times often turn to the Teacher for help in the ‘moral education’ of their child. The job of the Teacher is to provide the right environment for learning, this does not mean preparing a room or choosing a book as some might think. But it really means getting into their student’s minds (in a sort of fashion) and helping them find their way around the learning jungle with the right tools to absorb, analyse, relate and eventually put to good use.

2014-09-02 21 59 52There is another interesting point to note that Blogs are also being used by Teachers to get their students to use blogging as a means of learning (like writing, reading critiques, communicating, team work, etc.) in a blended learning format as well by other Teachers to flip their classes. So the ever popular form of ‘to blog’ is encompassing a myriad of activities.

Hence will you too learn to blog and join in the blogging hemisphere unleashing your thoughts into an unharnessed wilderness of readers and followers sometimes commenting, oftentimes not. One other thing to bear in mind is the location of the blog and how to market your blog on the internet – these are issues that are also akin with professionals or companies selling their wares, a long long way from the bartering days I dare say!
Remember your blog writing is also normally enhanced by the social media sites too!
If I have not convinced you ‘to blog or not to blog’ yet, then do join a healthy and cheerful lot in the FALL BLOG FESTIVAL on WizIQ it’s free and packed full of experienced bloggers sharing their trials and tribulations of such a wonderful way to communicate…here’s the link: http://www.wiziq.com/course/53478-fall-blog-festival See you live in the Chat box!

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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.


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Reflections on the Moodle MOOC 4 in WizIQ

The Moodle Mooc 4 organized by Dr Nellie Deutsch via WizIQ : what is the course about? Firstly it’s about getting Educators together to learn how to collaborate and most important for newbies like me ‘how’ to use the Moodle for Teachers.

Today is the 3rd of June and already there have been 4 presentations. I will try to outline each one as the days unfold, leaving behind a journal so to speak, of each particular presentation and its effect on me and my future teaching development. Hoping not to bore those that hover over my ramblings here and there.