Sunday, February 05, 2006


I've been blogging on LJ since 2002. Then in Jan 2006 an online LJ friend in a TESOL community posted a link to EVO. Having been a techie for far longer than I've been a teacher I had to wonder how I never thought more about the use of the internet in ESL.

Sure, I had used the internet as a resource for teaching but never actually taught online. I've had email contact with former f2f students but I wouldn't say that the emails 'teach', more that they give access to authentic materials (my email banter) and at a suitable level (moderated vocabulary dependent on the student.

So I signed up for Becoming a Webhead, Tips and Tricks, and Podcasting. Eventually, 3 weeks late, I signed up for Blogging.

My impressions and thoughts so far:

I've only really been lurking in Tips and Tricks. Deena Ferguson's presentation on the dos and donts of online teaching was a highlight. Everything she said made sense and is what the majority of teachers do f2f. The point she was making, I think, was that these dos and donts are even more important in online teaching because of the different challenges that the teacher faces. (ie technology, no visual clues, etc)

The Podcasting group is interesting but again I've just been lurking because while I am already familiar with recording and posting mp3s online I'm not in a place in my teaching life where I am ready to use it. So instead I have been harvesting useful links and will go back to it later.

BAW has been great. Such a vibrant and helpful group. Tim Berners-Lee's vision of the internet was to facilitate sharing and updating information among researchers. By making his idea available freely, with no patent and no royalties due the internet has become what it is today. In many ways the webheads are doing this by sharing their resources and information freely and for free. I just love to see collaboration on the internet.

Last but not least is Blogging. I signed up for this a stunning 3 weeks later after Bee's presentation on the use blogging for EFL teaching. For me her presentation raised more questions than it answered and left me hungry to find out more about how I can use a technology that I love dearly to help my students improve their written English. Already this week I have also had the great opportunity to play on Elluminate as a moderator.

Thoughts on new tools:
Alado, Elluminate and Tapped In are all new resources to me. I have been lucky to not encounter any problems. Well that isn't entirely true but any problems I have faced have been my own fault for doing too many start-arse things to my computer.

Alado and Elluminate are great. I can immediately starts see how they could be used. One possible problem is the need for a second moderator for cat herding duty to get everyone in. 2 moderators has also proved useful in sessions where one is doing the presenting and the other is dealing with questions in the chat room.

I'm not sure about Tapped In. It seems to be developed as a tool to do many things but mainly to replicate reality. IMHO A tool should be developed with the function and the user in mind. Further investigation is needed before I would use it without hesitation.


Blogger Dafne said...

Dear Kat,

Thanks for sharing your insights about the EVO sessions you are attending. I wanted to follow the podcasting session, but unfortunately, things do not always come up as you plan them :-( I will have to go back to it when I have the time.
LiveJournal is my favorite blog, too: Blogging my thoughts away.

I love your food photos :-)


10:43 AM  
Blogger Gladys Baya said...

Great reflections, Kat! :-D
For the time being, Edublogs is my favourite blog, though I've tried Blogger and Live Journal too. Yet, I'm a baby in cyberspace, and my interest in new technologies is sparked by their potential for EFL teaching, so I might be missing a lot! (I still find it difficult to insert links using HTML, as Daf has just done, but you can find links to my blogs under BAW links,or from the page below, should you be interested MY APOLOGIES!)

3:53 PM  
Blogger carla said...

Hi, Kat,

I loved your insights and the food seems delicious, not to mention your friends, who seem to be so cheerful and funny!


4:07 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

Daf, thanks for visiting my blog and thanks also for all your great work with the webheads.

Gladys, I will certainly be following your blog. It is so interesting to see how different people use them.

Carla, Burn's Night is usually a formal affair but I prefer to spend it with close friends. We are quite unusual in this way because the younger generation don't tend to celebrate it. There are speeches, toasts and formalities involved in doing it 'properly' which we embrace in our own fun way. ;-)

5:03 PM  

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