Thursday, September 29, 2005

students & technology

One of my latest concerns is student use of technology in general. How do they use it - especially to learn languages, in this case English - and are they using it to their full potential? If not, why not? There are a number of barriers to their using it to its full potential, and, if I cannot eliminate them, can I at least identify them? Alleviate them?

Teachers, including myself, are not using technology to its full potential. Yes, we have the whole program on weblogs, more or less. But what about listening exercises? Grammar exercises? More about this later and on cesl teachers, where I'll try to develop it.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Blogging handbook

Reporters without Borders is putting out a new handbook, but rather than link you to it, I'll just link you to Dan Gillmor's blog, since that's where I found out about it. He's a contributor, too. Might as well take you to the source, as opposed to, say, making it directly accessible from here. I myself, being of the pleistocene era, will probably read it in its paper form...over the weekend maybe..he-he

Saturday, September 10, 2005

This is your brain: This is your brain on weblogs!

The theme of a new round of presentations: the first will be Sun. Nov. 20, 7 AM (I hope) online, at the Bridges across Cyberspace Online Convergence referred to below. Why would I hope to present at 7am? It's complicated. This would actually be a good time, I figure, on the world time map.

The title above is actually my favorite, as it implies that weblogs sizzle, and they affect your mind, which they do. But most of my actual presentations will have more conservative titles: This is your class, this is your class on weblogs. This is your program: you get the picture. Maybe I'll get tired of it. For now, I'm liking it. I'm doing research on what individual people do with individual weblogs: personal patterns, that is. I find them very interesting. They're hard to keep up; hard to improve; hard to maintain, etc. And I'm sure not an expert. And, I'm here operating in my own native language, one I know and teach: I am really in awe of the ones people do that are in second languages... But I"ve found some pretty cool ones out there. More later on this.

I'm also working on a Living History Project (this could get complicated)...not to mention a number of other things. A busy time.

Friday, September 09, 2005

an apple for the teacher

The first thing I thought when I found out it was Teacher's Day in China tomorrow (Sept. 10) was: 1.2 billion people can't be wrong. Kind of like Father's Day, I feel like leaning back and saying, bring it on. And I did...say that, anyway. That's because at the moment I'd been doing a lot of teaching, and, it was Friday. But the more I thought about it, the more I figured, no, what I really need to do is reach out to those teachers who influenced me and tell them, thank you, thank you for your kind patience, and your wisdom. I was not an easy student, you could say.

But here goes: Thank you, Dr. Heywood, Dr. Thomas, Dr. Givens, Dr. Ault; Dr. Iversen, Dr. Kotsoudas; Dr. Zinn; thank you, Mrs. Fernstead, Mr. Miller, Mrs. Leal, Mr. Blanc, Mrs. Spyby, Mrs. Condon. And to the many, many others who have influenced me, one way or the other, in the best way they could!

Sunday, September 04, 2005


I've got to tell you about the webheads. I'd just say, they're a bunch of esl/efl teachers, worldwide, who are into using technology in the classroom, but that doesn't do them justice, quite. Maybe it's just that in chatting myself, I find myself close to each of them (some I knew already, actually) I know them, and I wonder if that's common to chatters everywhere. I don't use chat in my classes, because I can barely use it myself, yet I know many of my students do it, in their own languages at least, and often in English. But that's not all. At the same time I'm talking to these folks, my friends, one in UAE, one in Denmark, one in Canada, one in Kuwait, etc.....they start up using Skype, or teleconferencing, or one of several other kinds of technology- usually free, usually worldwide, usually interactive....

Now all this happens on Sunday mornings...usually I'm holding a baby or negotiating with a terrorist, so I can't say I'm using all this technology at this moment. But I will say this: before you use it in your classes, you've got to use it yourself. Before you use it yourself, you've got to know it's there, and talk about it with someone...

I've come to respect Vance Stevens as one of its driving members: I can't say this is the best page for getting involved, but it's a start. It took me a while, but I did it, and I"m really glad. Here are some of the folks....just like you & me, only somewhere-else-ville.

Scroll down the template for a cfp: one of their conferences. The first, maybe. I'm interested. I'm working on my head, if nowhere else...

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