|03 October 2006 at 10.30|
|Videoconferencing in the classroom|
Videoconferencing can help promote real communication and global citizenship, says MFL teacher Joe Dale
has great potential for connecting classrooms anywhere in the world and motivating language learners in authentic conversation.
Educational establishments from primary to university level have been exploring the possibilities of the technology recently to allow learners to communicate with each other and share ideas in real time.
‘Whodunnit?’ is an article written by Primary Consultant, Alison McGregor in the Autumn 2006 ELL Bulletin
from The National Advisory Centre for Early Language Learning
(NACELL) about a videoconferencing event which took place in Oldham this year.
The article describes how Alison and the Oldham City Learning Centre
(CLC) supported local primary and secondary schools to use their videoconferencing equipment in a themed murder mystery day. Pupils got into the swing of things by:
- dressing up in different disguises
- questioning witnesses
- making a photofit picture
- working out the whereabouts of the murder suspects
- making arrests
View full article...Source blog
Simply put, theme based teaching is teaching around a theme. Let's say you choose eskimos. You may teach your students by showing a video on how they live, their language, history, the food they eat, the animals in their area(along with their biology), and have them write up their individual findings. Through thematic teaching you cover many different subjects in the same class, and it can be much more fun and engaging for your students.
I've found some great sources on the net that put this type of constructivist teaching to new heights, and through in my two-cents as well.
-Online word processor where multiple people can access and edit the same document
-site designed to organize multiple web sources into one page. Teachers could use this to organize all their students blogs into one page so they only need to go to one place to view everyones blogs.
* Chat programs
-theirs many Instant Messenger programs out their and many children all over the world already use them, like:Yahoo IM
, MSN messenger
, and AOL instant messenger
. Thier are also many all-in-one messengers that allow you to speak to anyone regardless of what program they are using. One such program is Trillian
. Many instant messengers today also come with a live videoconferencing option that is free to use.
-video sharing site where students and teachers could upload video for anyone to view. Their are other similar sites like Vsocial
. I just listed Youtube because it's one of the more popular video community sites out there. This service would be great to use when sharing lesson plans with others, and you can post the videos on your own site/blog.
-many people are familiar with the online collaberate knowledge site Wikipedia, but you can also get your own free online wiki that lets you create and organize your own content. In most cases you can even costumize options like who can add to the site.
* Language translation
-their are many sites out their that let you write letters and translate them into other languages, as well as translating whole sites. Here's just a few: Google Translations
, and Dictionary.com Translator
I'm sure there are many more WEB 2.0 sites out there that let people share, collaborate, and communicate in many ways.
When we start learning how to better communicate and work with people all over the world, and at an early age, we are better prepared for the new global economy we live in.
I encourage you to read the full article and come back here and share your ideas and comments with me.
Hilly mentions some things she learned from different cultures. I highlighted those selections from her blog post. I just wanted to add to my above example on things kids could learn from other cultures as they try to communicate and work together. Thematic teaching really is a powerfull tool.
The Sumie Beach Camp was a wonderful experience, each and everyone of us adults and kids learned a little something about a different country in those 2 days. I for one, learned about fishing with a gigantic net. We pulled the net in, in two separate teams. I even caught a fish bare handed! Granted, the poor fish was also stepped on accidentally by me while I was trying to catch it. It was rather freaky holding on to a live (but dying) fish - especially one that is barfing blood. eek!Oh, and did you know that it takes 13 hours to get to London by plane from Japan? Or that 500 Euro is approximately 70,000 yen? And the Southern Cross is a part of the Australian flag? Those are some of the things we managed to glean from our country presentations.
(Unfortunately, our American intro sucked in comparison to all the other countries... so much for not packing the night before and end up forgetting important stuff! すみません！)
(click on photo below for the set of photos)
This is me looking disgusted after I realized my fish was vomiting blood. Poor fishie. We ended up eating them deep fried with some awesome light batter... really yummy too!