Wednesday, March 31, 2010

TESOL Presentations

Leverett, T. (2010, March). Making sure they know from Wikipedia. Teaching Tip, Writing IS, TESOL Convention 2010, Boston MA. Presentation homepage:

Leverett, T. (2010, March). Grammar technology for better or worse. Internet Fair Classics, and Internet Fair, Electronic Village, TESOL Convention 2010, Boston MA. Homepage for presentation:

For the Wikipedia presentation, I'm really feeling like I have to get more organized than I am; I have done a number of things (which you can access by clicking on Wikipedia below), but since it was mostly directed at this exercise, the wider base of resources I have threatens to be scattered and not focused here. Two things happened that brought home how important Wikipedia is to the ESL education business. One: I met a guy from Tajikistan who had written, himself, thousands of entries translating Wikipedia into Tajik, and representing Tajikistan on the Wikipedia base. Wikipedia had been careful to cultivate him as a resource and translator, web designer and template manager for the Tajik version. Second, people's comments indicated that Wikipedia played a crucial role in places where its translations and "watered-down English" version of things were the only resource available to ESL teachers trying to communicate with, for example, Bengali children in US schools.

The grammar presentation featured me fumbling a little to set up ESL Assistant, which requires software loaded onto a computer, and also saying quite frankly that I don't recommend that teachers put all their students on this technology, particularly if they are at a lower level, but that, as someone said, it's quite clear that they will be on it anyway. The research is quite frankly scaring me; the stuff they are told by the machines is in some cases quite odd. But in a sense I'm on my own home turf here; I've been studying how to explain grammar to ESL students for over 30 years, and I'm not surprised that a Microsoft computer geek can't quite meet my standard. If we were to work together, then, you never know. But that hasn't happened yet.

I'll have pictures soon, promise.

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