SLA Theories Come to Everyday Life in Prezi, Online Comic Strips, and Fakebooks

It’s an exciting time to be in education!  Teaching in the online and hybrid environment is fun on so many levels.  One of my favorite aspects is taking a good assignment and seeing how the available technology can push us to the next level.   It’s an ongoing progress that involves some play.

Here’s one assignment for my TCE 572 online and hybrid courses that I’m in the process of playing with.  In short, students work with Second Language Acquisition theories that many of them are encountering for the first time.  It’s a lot to take in at once, so in looking for alternative methods for them to work with the theories and express themselves, they choose from a variety of levels of technologies: Prezi (challenging), online comic strips, or Fakebook. Since technology is also an objective of the course, they get exposure to it and discuss how they may be able to use it with their language learners in the K-12 environment.  Putting this into perspective, it’s a small assignment, so I encourage them not to spend more than an hour, but I know many of them spent more than that.  (Note to students: Thanks for your dedication to your learning:-)

This was my second time of giving this assignment a whirl.  There were a few glitches, but they worked through them.  The Fakebook site seemed to work about 85% of the time and seemed to load best on Internet Explorer for me.  Although I imagine it caused some frustration, many of those who had trouble with the site did problem solving and took screenshots.  In future courses, I will suggest they screencast them.

A big thanks to all the students who may have stepped out of their comfort zones to work with this technology and content!   Here are the debuts of those who chose the option to post them here!

Prezis on SLA: (For information on Prezi Educator’s account, look here.)
Schumann   http://bit.ly/JE4QM2
Vygotsky   http://bit.ly/J4f2ci  

COMICS on SLA:  Humor is displayed in several of these comic strips made with Make Beliefs Comix
Approaches to Grammar Instruction  http://bit.ly/KdYOTD
FAKEBOOKS on SLA THEORIES:  This is a spin-off of the Facebook/social media idea in popular culture.  ClassTools.Net is the site used.   Several debates between theorists play out in some of these.  Some are in a question/answer format.   One student has a conversation with one of the theorists.        

Assignment Reflections:  We had an interesting discussion in my hybrid course about how this type of technology allows students to bring in their everyday language. They talked about how they could use it to compare/contrast academic language.  These assignments could be done in different languages as well. We also discussed following through with oral presentations to give language learners an opportunity to speak, explain, and ask questions.

It also made me reflect on the assignment when one student first made her own Prezi for her kindergarten class using content that she was familiar with in order to become comfortable with Prezi.  She did this prior to moving onto working with the new theory content.  Her Prezi with bright pictures shows how this could be a useful tool for teaching at this level. http://bit.ly/KrlE8w 

Extension for my students to consider:
  • Fakebook was working about 85 % of the time.  If this happened with any technology in your class, but you really liked the assignment, what would you do?
  • How would you grade this type of assignment in your own class?  
  • Here is a related site: ifaketext (See Tammy Worcester's suggested ways of using it.)
Thanks again to my students for their creations and interesting discussions.  Here’s a link to the first time I attempted this assignment.  Happy creating!


Connect Using Screencasting and Web 2.0 Tools Presentation

Here's my Ecampus Spring 2012 Faculty Forum presentation. It highlights a few ways I try to engage and connect with students in my online courses. These can be used in online or hybrid settings.  Click on the arrow to get started or watch a recorded presentation of it here

Links to screencasts and web 2.0 tools can be found on the web 2.0 tools page.  Scroll down.  Main web 2.0 tools discussed in the presentation are listed under screensharing tools, timelines, online collaboration, and visual words.

Happy learning!