Friday, December 2, 2011

Week-10: Reflections

I am shocked to see that my course has come to an end but I'm very elated as I am now equipped with many webskills applicable for teaching English language skills. Before this course, I only knew how to browse google for some particular topics and check emails and send back replies. In addition to this, I learnt many new techniques of using the internet for multiple purposes. The most effective were creating a blog, adding links to delicious page, making rubrics from rubistar, preparing a technology enhanced lesson plan, making interactive powerpoint slides, creating a nicenet class, preparing online survey or needs analysis questionnaires, one computer class techniques, knowing about learner autonomy and addressing them accordingly. The fusion of ideas and discussions every week guided by the topics was like sharing innumerable practical problems and solutions from teachers worldwide. The purpose of all these is to equip ourselves with new interactive ways of providing better teaching to our students so that it fosters more learner autonomy and less teacher authority. I'm going to apply as many of them as possible in my future classes. In fact, among the techniques I applied so far in my classes during this course period, creating a blog and sharing ideas through it, interactive powerpoint slides, rubrics for presentation etc. have proved to be more successful and learners liked them very much.
I suggest future participants also to work regularly online and integrate these techniques at home and schools and pave a very smooth way for learners so that they can meet online for any type of solution of any problem or difficulty that arises. Moreover, a teacher should guide students by linking some important website addresses in the delicious page so that they can browse at home and work on their own.

The LoTI framework given in Week-10 is very interesting to me. I cannot but claim that I've found myself in level-4a:-Integration: Mechanical stage as I engage my students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources. I desire to reach level-5: expansion stage by the next year though it may take a long time to reach the final stage of level-5: refinement. I am gonna create collaborations extending beyond the classroom for authentic student problem-solving and issues resolution. Emphasis will be placed on learner-centered strategies that promote personal goal setting and self-monitoring, student action, and collaborations with other diverse groups (e.g., another school, different cultures, business establishments, governmental agencies) using the available digital assets. It is very much possible here in Bangladesh and the diverse groups will accept it very warmly. In fact, our teaching context requires a person who can guide the way towards the optimum use of technology for language learning.

I'll end my discussion with a hope for creating a better teaching context for my learners in future and expect the same from each and every present and future participant of this course.

Finally, I cannot but thank the instructor Robert for his well-guided outlines and resources he has given us all throughout the course time.

A 'big thank you' to Robert and my dear course-mates. See you online in near future. So, no 'goodbye' or farewell but always warm welcome for you all.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Week - 9: Reflections

I was very busy almost this whole week working on my project paper. After submitting my paper, I felt greatly relieved. It seemed that I did a lot of reading and brainstorming to prepare the project paper. I felt also sorry when I found greetings from Robert reminding me that the course is coming to an end by the next week. The fusion of ideas of teachers from different parts of the world will turn into a sweet memory soon. But the lessons we all learnt will keep alive among us if we try to implement changes in our teaching with the help of these online techniques. I think the blogs and delicious sites will be floating in the web for all of us where we can continue our discussions over and over again.
This week I have gone through some articles on Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences. They have shown that teachers should consider students’ multiple intelligences and accordingly adjust their teaching styles. The learning styles of different learners are different due to their multiple intelligences and we as teachers must be careful to take individual learning style into account before applying technology in teaching them. There is much to learn from these articles. I will carefully go through each and every article that I have found this week. Terry O'Connor’s article on “Using Learning Styles to Adapt Technology for Higher Education” has changed my outlook about my learners. I never thought much of students’ learning styles and multiple intelligences but from now on I’ll take these issues more carefully.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks and greetings to my instructor Robert and all my dear fellow course mates. I will miss you all so much.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week -8: Reflections

This week has shown all the guidelines and directions for creating a Nicenet class, a class blog on Blogger, a class survey using Google docs and a class website or wiki on Google Sites. Not only that it has taught me how to make exercises online to print out, make exercises to use online or offline on a computer or to print out and make exercises online to use online. ANVILL is a free Course Management System (CMS) which is really wonderful to work as a teacher. All these will definitely bring new dimensions in my teaching. I've never used all of them in my teaching career but from now on I think they will not only benefit me and my students but also my colleagues and other teachers whom I'll help about these techniques of webskills.

This has been a very hectic week as I had to work hard on my project draft. The project draft template has been of great help. I'm still exploring many of the techniques I've mentioned above and I'll keep making exercises to use online or offline on a computer or to print out using the sites given.

Overall this has been an excellent week for me as I learnt many new things. If I can apply many of these in my teaching it'll be superb teaching experience no doubt.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week 7: Reflections on Learner Autonomy and the One-computer Classroom

Avery hectic week for me. Not only the pressure of course work but also the biggest religious festival Eid-ul-Azha has brought a lot of religious and social responsibilities on me. Unfortunately, I missed the deadline for my mid-week post on nicenet for the first time. It was due to the technological impediment as my internet modem failed to perform in my village home even though there was complete network. This has upset me and spoiled the mirth and merriment of the festival. However, I'm now back again in the active zone. Thank God I could read some articles on 'Learner autonomy' and strategies on 'one computer class' which has drawn my attention a lot.

In this age of global communication, we as teachers are no longer in the role of a dominant sage in the class. Rather we tend to be guides and facilitators for our learners. So, giving freedom to them is one of our biggest concerns. In this regard articles on learner autonomy this week have once again disclosed the facts related to the present teaching environment. But the new concept for me this week is the one computer classroom. It is really interesting to read about the techniques of one computer class. I've been using a computer in my class quite often since 2008 but never ever I've used it for other purposes except for powerpoint presentation. This time I've got some new ideas of using computer in manifold ways. Recently, I've used a computer with internet connection in my class. This computer was connected with a multimedia projector which has made it much more visible to all. In one of my presentation classes, I've been able to show my students a model presentation and a presentation with many faults. Learners found it of interest and there were discussion sessions on the videos. The plus points of it were many. For example, students felt motivated and clearly saw what they should not do during presentation. They also visualized correct gesture, posture, voice quality, standing position, pronunciation etc. The minus point I found was that using internet takes a lot of time sometimes. So, instead of going live on internet, we should download materials and use them in a pre-planned way. Another problem is the frequent load shedding that completely stops the action. If it is a laptop, there is back-up energy, but what about the multimedia? That is why, it sometimes can spoil the whole plan. In this case, teacher should have some back-up plans on the same topic.

Finally, I'd like to say that I'm still finding it difficult to sign up for a partner as the link does not open in my computer. Hope to hear from Robert, my course teacher, about it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Week-6:Project task -4 reflections

I had only two classes before my university went on a long vacation from November 2, 2011, for the holy 'Eid-ul-azha',the happiest and biggest sacrificing day for the Muslims. The courses are ENG 105: Business English and ENG 101:English reading and composition. As most of the technological changes I suggested so far are for Business English, I've also implemented one change in the last Business English class. As I mentioned earlier, I gave my students a topic 'importance of brand, logo and color in business: special focus on mineral water in Bangladesh' for presentation. I have prepared a rubric for this with the help of I told students to visit "" and get clear-cut ideas about the presentation to obtain maximum points. Secondly, I told them to send at least two problem questions through emails regarding the preparation of their paper and poster presentation during the vacation, which they already have started to do. Thirdly, I told them to mention the links of websites that they found useful to prepare their presentation in the reference section of their project paper. Finally, I've given them two deadlines for submitting their project paper (For hard copy - November 26 & for soft copy - November 30, 2011). Many of my students liked the idea of sending soft copies through emails as this will save their paper and printing cost and also their time to meet me personally. This time I think they are going to meet the deadline, otherwise they will lose points (-0.5 points per day late). I look forward to seeing their seriousness this time.

In my 2nd class of ENG 101, I've used the interactive powerpoint slide show that I've added in the 'powerpoints' section in the course wiki. The topics are most common ones but they are presented through interesting passages that you can collect from anywhere and give the students in the class. That means the slides give clear vision about what the learners need to do and there is nothing to be dependent on them. They were given handouts with passages and exercises. Students liked this class very much as they saw the instructions on the slides with animation and performed the activities sometimes individually and sometimes in pairs and groups. This was a class where learners had complete concentration on what they did for long 80 minutes. Do not forget that all these learners' level of language proficiency varies from secondary to intermediate.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week-5: Reflections on Project-based Learning, WebQuests, and rubric

Every week new resources are equipping me with innumerable strategies to teach ESL/EFL in a very interactive and motivating way. This week I've read an article on "Less Teaching and More Learning" by Susan Gaer. The project based learning is positively an innovative technique to foster learner liberty in teaching and learning. Though it is not a new concept in the university teaching of Bangladesh, it is not much practiced in schools and colleges here. In secondary and intermediate levels (schools and colleges) lecture based authoritative teaching is prevalent though it is said that teaching should be done through communicative language teaching (CLT) approach. I think the scenario will change soon but curricula first need to be changed by the govt. here. In university on the other hand, I'll be able to apply many of the techniques and all the new concepts I have learnt.

It is good to read many of the technology-related changes that many of my coursemates have suggested to implement in their case. As I said before, I am teaching a course named 'Business English' where most of the students are from Business and Engineering schools. For this course I have some plans to implement the following technology-related changes as solutions to many of the present problems in teaching this course.
# as learners are late in submitting the hardcopies of assignment, I'll rather receive softcopies online through emails and send feedback that they will read on emails. This will make a good habit of checking and sending emails and enhance their reading skills.
# Blogs can serve the purpose of interaction among the learners who will get motivated through working at liberty, by reading and sending subject related posts and by talking and consulting about their problems among themselves even before coming to the teacher finally.
# I'll refer to,, etc for specific resources and tell students to use search engines like to find new resources related to their tasks and assignments
# I've planned to set up some online quizzes for make-ups and extra-credits so that students can feel instrumentally motivated and at the same time sit for the tests online.
# Finally I'm greatly motivated to see the rubistar that can generate excellent rubrics for any task and I must create rubrics and lesson plans for all types of assignments and lessons. I have already created a rubric on designing a poster paper on "importance of logo, brand and color in business: especial focus on mineral water in Bangladesh".

If these can be implemented, I think there will be positive changes in my teaching style as well.

As Susan Gaer showed in the article "Less Teaching and More Learning" that her students learned more through project based learning, it may not be always true. In Bangladesh alternative and project based learning is encouraged, but the teachers have not much training. As a result, they still are in the same traditional lecture based teaching zone. But to work as a 'guide on the side' not as a 'sage on the stage", we as teachers need continuous training before applying these techniques. Again training only will not do if the teachers do not practice them in school and later share their reflections with the colleagues. Finally they should be applied on a large scale, even though techniques may vary based on the situation and context.

About the webquests, I'm still in doubt. It seems that webquests are store houses of lessons and resources from where students can collect information and learn even being home. It is excellent but I've confusions about how to make webquests. Hope it will get easier soon.

Above all I'm greatly enjoying the new techniques and strategies that I'm learning every week.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 4: Reflections on Skill-building Websites for Reading/Writing Skills and Technology-enhanced Lesson Plans

My joys are a lot as I see that the Webskills course is introducing me to manifold uses of the web resources. Every ween comes with something new and interesting that was in the past quite unexplored by me. I feel like quoting from "On first looking into Chapman's Homer" that 'much have I traveled in the realms of gold, many unknown kingdoms seen' but I was quite blind to this web chapter until Robert (like Chapman)has exposed me to this wide horizon of online resources. This week was a very prolific one. There were three important articles, one on "Lesson plans from the Innovative Technology Center at the University of Tennessee", the second was on "Using the Internet in ESL Writing Instruction (2000)" and the third was on "Three Extensive Reading Activities for ESL/EFL Students Using E-books (2004)". I read all three and found them interesting. First of all, the technology-enhanced lesson plan appeared to be a very innovative and new technique of teaching in my context. I've tried to prepare one that I've posted in the nicenet. Secondly, I gained knowledge about integrating web pages, e-mail connection and class websites for teaching writing. And finally, I've learned how online resources enable ESL/EFL learners to get access to authentic materials and communicate online where e-books can also be a workable option especially for kids. I've downloaded an e-book on teaching prepositions through pictures for kids and the URL is:

As yet I've not been completely successful in implementing all the strategies in my class due to some constraints such as limited access to the computer lab, very few courses taken this semester etc and above all, I myself am in the learning stage. but from the very beginning of the next semester in January 2012, I am hopeful to use my webskills as one of the most effective tools for enhancing teaching and learning in my university.

There is much to learn from the discussion posts in the nicenet. Every teacher is sending something new every week that requires time to read and store. I'm not sure whether we as teachers can have an easy access to our posts even after we end up getting certificates by successfully completing this course. That is why, I'm saving most of the documents in a private file.

Nice being with you all (my coursemates and instructor). Thank you.