Archive for the 'communication' Category

90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities ebook

90MobileLearning.SHaving been both a  technology integration teacher and a district technology administrator, I realize that teachers accept and implement a technology when they feel that the technology will help their students to learn and it is easy to implement. Often times, teachers have no idea of how to to use the technology in their classrooms.  Frequently, professional development gives general examples such as those from the technology company but it does not provide examples specific to a subject area. As I thought of how to help more teachers integrate mobile learning into their classes and, particularly, their modern language classroom, I decided to create a book which shows a wide variety of mobile learning activities.

I focused on a book  to improve  to students’ modern language communication and culture awareness through mobile learning tools and apps. I developed  in-class and out-of-class learning in fourteen different categories of mobile learning (mobile pictures, internet search, internet image search, timer, poll and survey, QR code, voice and video recording, phone, video chat, media, apps, texting, twitter, Facebook, Wikis and Websites).

Over 70% of these interactive mobile activities help develop students’ speaking skill; other language activities include listening, reading, writing and assessment.  The students participate in authentic culture through these mobile activities.

I developed mobile activities  that are easy to integrate.

Please share this ebook link (http://bit.ly/90mlact) with your modern language teachers, modern language chair,  professional development person, and technology integration person to help them see the many ways to use mobile learning in modern languages.

My three formative assessment books, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students,  Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, and Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, are available at   http://is.gd/tbook

My modern language blogs are  now at  http://bit.ly/imprml

I have developed 25  Spanish activities  and 4 Modern Language Visual activities that allow students to begin to express themselves in the modern language and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Analyzing a Modern Language Textbook for Authentic Communication

Recently I analyzed a textbook for its communication value. Of the 25 activities in one chapter, there were 17 textbook only activities.  A textbook activity deals what is in the textbook such as questions about a picture.   For example, the book showed a tv schedule and asked students about the schedule.  There were  8 activities that encouraged students to talk about their lives .  Each of the 8 activities followed a strict formula in which students substituted in their answer for the given one.   What did your father eat yesterday? He  ate …….  What did  your mother eat?…  Only one activity was longer than 5 lines. The students do answer  questions but they do not react. None of the activities lead to a  free flowing conversation  in which students honestly reacted to each other. None of the personal activities lead to  a  full conversation.

Some questions to ask about your textbook:

1 How many of the exercises are personal ones in which students tell about their lives?

2 Can students tell many things about themselves or does this exercise really focus on practicing a  specific grammar /vocabulary point?  For example, I get up at six. I eat at 7, I lunch at 12.  People really  do not talk that way unless they are recounting their day and then they would add in more details.

3 How long of a conversation does the book encourage?  Do the students say a 8+ line conversation?

4 What part of the conversation is spontaneous and free flowing as opposed to strictly following the formula/questions?

5 Do the students’ statements and questions follow the logical fashion they would in a real conversation ? Or does it twist, in an unnatural way, to present a grammar point/ vocabulary term?

6  Would a target language speaker actually say this conversation?

Let’s help students to communicate not “grammarate”.

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation.

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

World Language Speaking – The Power of Asking and Answering Questions

As I looked at a modern language  textbook, I saw that it had mini-conversations of 2-3 lines.  For example, “Who is looking at the car? ….. Chris is looking at the car.”   In reality, such conversations simply practice the recently introduced grammar of the unit. These conversations do not communicate anything other than grammar.

For me, the ability to ask and answer questions is key to being able to converse in a world language. However, students do need to practice in asking and answering questions.  They need not only to understand what the question word means but also to know how to answer the question word. For example, the Spanish question word, ¿Dónde ….?” means “where” and the student answers with a place.  My students practice in asking and answering questions.  During a recent summer school final, my students, working in pairs, asked  ten questions and gave ten answers based on a randomly selected  common topic in a three minute period; they had no time to prepare to talk. They just began their conversation.  To develop that skill, I have my students do activities like Spanish Question Words Speed-Asking Partner Speaking (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spanish-Question-Words-Speed-Asking-Partner-Speaking)  in which they practice seeing how many questions they can ask about a topic and Spanish Questions Modified Speed Dating Whole Class Speaking  (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spanish-Questions-Modified-Speed-Dating-Whole-Class-Speaking) in which they ask a question from a card and their partner answers the question, then the partner asks a questions.  Students need much practice in asking and answering questions before they can do it spontaneously  to find out information from a partner.

How much do you have your students practice asking and answering questions about common world  language topics?  How well do your students communicate in a conversation.

My 20+ Spanish spontaneous speaking activities such as Modified Speed Dating -AR verbs, Modified Speed Dating -Leisure/Sports, Spanish Conversation Topics- Partners, Multiple Sentences  Speaking Board Game, Describing a friend, Talking about classes, Preterite Game & Speaking, and Clothing Spontaneous Speaking Mat are available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

Also, my book Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education,  includes a procedure to assess all students in the class in just three minutes. It provides, for each of fifteen language functions such as socializing, asking for and giving information, and explaining, ten different speaking strategies to help students to improve. http://bit.ly/Tutbks.  Also, my Formative Assessment Responding to Your Students, and    Student Writing Through Formative Assessment books.

Modern Language Spontaneous Speaking Find Someone Who +

Many modern language/ foreign language teachers use a form of the common Find Someone Who activity to get students speaking. For example, the teachers may ask, in the target language, for the students to  find someone who has five pens, has two books, has a blue notebook or find someone who sings, bikes, swims, etc.  Students enjoy asking each other questions and hearing the answers. Usually, the answering student simply repeats the question as a sentence.

However, with just a slight modification, this modern language activity can turn into more spontaneous speaking.

1) Usually, if the answering student answers in the negative, Do you swim?  No, I do not swim, then  the asking student moves on to another student. In a variation, if  the student answers No, he changes his/her answer to be a positive.   Do you swim? No, I do not swim.  I do bike or No, I do not swim.  My father swims.

2) When a student answers in the positive, he /she adds at least one more piece of  information.  Do you swim? Yes, I swim when it is hot,  Yes, I do swim in Lake Ontario, Yes, I swim with my friend, Bob.

3)  When a student answers in the positive, the asking student asks a follow-up question such as Where do you swim?  When do you swim? The answering student answers the additional question.

4)  After the answering student answers, the asking student agrees, “Me too” or Me neither” or  disagrees, “I do not like to swim.”

How do your get your modern language students to speak spontaneously?

I have  nine + Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

No Basic Differences in Textbooks in 50 Years: Go Virtual

I examined two textbooks that are fifty years apart, a Spanish textbook from 1960 and one from 2010

Both:
Teach the same grammar – present, present irregulars, preterite, preterite irregulars, imperfect, …..
Teach the same basic vocabulary- family, occupations, house, …. The 2010 textbook does have more modern words such as cell phone, computer…
Start each lesson with  written dialogue
Focus primarily on grammar- almost all the exercises are grammar focused
Have images – The 1960 has black and white illustrations and the 2010 has many colored photos.
Include cultural information
Have dictionaries

Some differences:
The  1960 textbook contains 200+ pages while the 2010 textbook has 500+ pages.
The 1960 has some testing/practice material while the 2010 textbook has  much online grammar practice.
The 1960 textbook has a story line of a family with a father who travels to Latin America.  The 2010 does not have a storyline.
The 1960 textbook teaches practical vocabulary essential to daily living and traveling while the 2010 teaches specialized vocabulary such as words to describe art in a museum.
The 1960 textbook follows the grammar translation methodology while the 2010 follows the grammar use methodology.

The 2010 textbook, once all the colored photos are removed, is essential the same as the 1960 textbook.
Do modern language teacher still want to focus primarily on grammar instead of communication?

For your subject area, how has the textbook, the staple of most classes, changed over the last 50 years?
Does it scaffold information to make it easier for students to learn?
Does it include strategies to help the students better learn the material?
Does it organize information in a way to help students see similarities and differences?
Does it build in self tests so students can measure their progress in a formative assessment manner? Does it provide formative feedback?
Has it gone to the “less is better” with more concentration on critical learning  or has it gone to “the bigger is better” way of thinking?

I’ve written several blogs about textbooks Smartphone (Mobil Learning Apps as Alternative Textbooks)  and Why a Physical Textbook?

Think of creating your own virtual textbook that truly matches the state goals and your district’s goals.

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Why a physical textbook?

It seems so “yesterday” to use a physical  textbook such as in a Spanish classroom. Any instructor can easily find PowerPoints, Youtubes, etc. that teach and practice the   grammar and vocabulary in Spanish.  Any instructor  can easily find online sites that explain grammar and drill that grammar.  An instructor can find Internet sites that have vocabulary lists or can easily post such lists to a class  wiki.  Imagine if a department asked each instructor  to create one activity such as a spoken conversation or  a listening comprehension that takes the grammar and vocabulary to the level of communication. The instructors can find current pictures of the culture from Flickr and other sources.  Students can converse about the daily culture that relates to  the situations in the virtual textbook.  Students can communicate about the situations.

With a few handouts made in Google docs and the links to the grammar, vocabulary, communication activities, listening, reading,writing,  and culture, the instructors could run a whole course without a physical textbook.   All the resources can exist in the class wiki.  Students can have access to theses resources 24/7.   Since the resources come from various sources, there is more of widening  of the students’ learning. When instructors use  virtual textbooks, they can add more resources in areas where students demonstrate weaknesses (formative assessment).

In addition, students can contribute to the virtual textbook.  As they do activities such as writing five important questions about the situation, these questions  can be posted to the virtual textbook for other students to answer.   I believe that within a year, instructors could have a virtual textbook that outshines the limits of the physical textbook. I have used  a virtual text and feel that it best meets the needs of my students.   The virtual textbook can fit the specific goals of the instructors while meeting national goals. The virtual textbook can be easily modified as better resources become available.

The virtual textbooks will not cost any money! Also as students migrate to smartphones, their phones become a valuable learning tool in class.

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Standardized Terms for Common Understanding

I am constantly amazed that we, in education, have not standardized learning terms.  Is a benchmark a 3-4 a year comprehensive test of the skills in the course? Or is a benchmark the level at which the students are to arrive? What’s a standard? The list of generic skills from the state?  The quality we expect of students?  What is formative assessment? Student observations that lead to improved lessons for next year?  A student observation that leads to instant feedback for that student?  Each new educational movement brings in its interpretation of a term.

We cannot even have an educational discussion because we use the same word to mean different things.

The Federal Gov’t wants to clarify the end product of learning instead of having states have their own standards. I agree. Even more the federal government should publish a dictionary of what educational terms mean so that everyone can use the words with the same meaning. A common vocabulary means that teachers within the same building, within the same district, within the same state, and within the same country can have a common meaning.

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Talking to Babies Makes Them Successful in School

Christensen, Horn and Johnson in their Disruptive Class argue that one of the most disruptive ways to improve education is to have children 0-3 years hear more “language dancing” (Risley and Hart term) where the parents  engage in face to face conversation with the infant and talk in adult, sophisticated language.  The business talk  of  “Let’s get in the car”  or “Eat your peas” does not contribute much to language development. They quote research to show that a significant portion of a person’ intellectual capacity is determined in his/her first 36 months and the most critical is the first year. Risley and Hart affirm that some working class parents do talk to their children and some affluent parents do not. Race, age, or income are not factors, simply the amount of time that parents talk to their children.

I would like to propose a  serious change in education.  I advocate that the federal govt or state pay retired teachers to go to talk to young babies for two hours a day for five days a week. Even if the teachers are paid $10 an hour or twenty dollars a day or $100 a week for a total fifty two weeks or  $5,200 a year, that would be a tremendous Return on Investment (ROI).  Imagine students going into school having heard 48 million words as opposed to the 13 million words.   Hopefully, the children’s parents after hearing the sophisticated talk of the retired teachers will change their talk to their children. We could get rid of HeadStart and use that money.  Many of the reasons for universal Pre-K would be eliminated.  All students would start school at a high level of language.  All students could start off being successful and continue to be successful.

Let’s starting talking to babies now!

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Pre-checking for Student Engagement Through PowerPoint

Like many teachers, I use PowerPoint to guide the lesson. I like that I can have all the images, videos, quotes, essential questions, class activities, etc. in one place for the lesson.  Lately, I have been thinking more about student engagement during class. I’ve come up with a simple way to verify that students will be engaged.  I use a distinct color such as dark blue  in the PowerPoint to indicate  all the  student activities  such as questions to be answered, small group discussions, and  comparison charts to be done. Before I teach a lesson, Iscan my PowerPoint slides to see how often I am engaging the students- I simply look for the dark blue text.  Since I’ve begun doing this, I find myself  wondering how I could be talking/showing for so long without students being asked to think through the topic.  I find myself adding more opportunities for students to  become engaged with the material.

Go dark blue and see what happens in your class.

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Students, is available through Eye-on-Education.

Reponding to Your Students

Twitter – Meaningful or Trivial -Up to the Writer

I recently read an article saying that twitter is another example of technology dumming down education. It stressed that nothing important/worthwhile can be said in 140 characters. I disagree; much can be said in those few characters. More important than the word limit is the intent of the writer. Some writers tell about their daily existence while others try to share with others. Here are some of my tweets:

Do we evaluate students’ technology based experiences on their excitement, instead of their in-depth learning?

Do teachers give online pretest/survey before a new concept? If not, then they teach with blinders on,not aware of students.

What do students remember about writing paragraphs? Spelling, grammar & punctuation! Not the writing process, not expressing ideas. Oouch!

I’ve noticed concept maps often limit students’ thinking. They fill in the boxes & then stop thinking. Maps are starting points

Weight lost program says man lost 100 lbs (“results not typical”). Are our students’ technology-based learning typical of higher learning?

If teaching is to impart (or stuff in) knowledge & educate is to nourish (or pull out), which do we use technology for?

My twitter is http://twitter.com/HarryGTuttle.

What do you use Twitter for?

Twitter More Reaction

My reaction to my limited trial of twitter:

In education, Twitter communication would work great in a department or team situation where you have an established circle of people that want to be in touch but may not have time for face-to-face.  I can imagine a teacher writing “Science water lab from the kit  did not work. Who has had  success with it?” or “In writing, used a fishbone graphic organizer helped students to see cause and effect. Worked well” Short nuggets of success or concerns.

I see Twitter as disjointed as early email non-threaded conversations were. As times I feel like I standing in the middle of a busy intersection watching the cars go by. They are going in every direction (from serious to silly). So far, I have not find a car that is worth the time of following.

Technology as Device or Communication

I started my educational career by teaching Spanish. When I discovered computers (TRS-80), I realized that they could help with communication. I have always seen technology as a communication tool. It helps me to communicate better to my students, it empowers them to develop high-level thinking activities, and it permits me to let students know how they are doing academically.

I see technology not as a strange device that gets in my way but as an extension of how I am as an educator. I view each new technology through this lens: How it help me to better communicate? It helps me to judge the potential of a new technology for the classroom. For example, if my school prohibits cellphones in the classroom or my students cannot afford text messaging, then using a cellphone as a communication tool does not make sense to me. A videoconferencing tool like Skype that enables two people to talk to each other from any distance is a great communication tool.

How do you communication with technology? What lens do you use to evaluate new technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Speaking World Languages Through Technology

Does technology contribute to conversations?

I am trying to help my son get ready for his first year of teaching Spanish. He’ll have three preps. I am amazed that there are not more online resources to help him in a conversational manner. There are plenty of grammar and of vocabulary sites. I have not found any that promote communication. (I’m counting basic restaurant dialogues as vocabulary since students memorize the conversation.) I do not see collections of pictures that students can ask questions about, pretend to be the people in the situation, explain what is happening, etc. A picture of a statue of Don Quixote does not promote communication. A street scene with a store and people doing things encourages real language use. Likewise, I do not find many real conversations that he can play/download for his class. Sure commercial companies have teaser ones but I could not easily find real conversations (a great use for podcasting). So much technology and so little real life language use. So much technology being used for lower level skills but not for the actual purpose of language which is to being able to converse with another person.

How do you promote real conversations using technology in your World Language classroom?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Being Global Communicators -NECC

Globe
Many years ago, I started my teaching career as a Spanish teacher. Communication was my focus as was the culture of the Hispanic world.

Alan November at NECC on Wed advocated that our students communicate and work with people in other locations. In addition, he stressed that our students have to develop global perspectives on issues. I was amazed that although he talked about helping our students to develop other perspectives, he used English only resources. If we are going to be global, then we have to begin to use another language.

My students used email to correspond in Spanish and to develop projects with students in Hispanic countries. They learned the views of Spanish speaking people (from Spain and Latin America) as well as the cultural values of these people. Were I teaching Spanish today, I would have my students interact through multiple technologies with Spanish speaking people.

How do your students become global citizens through technology?

 

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

 

School Communication and Collaboration: A simple solution






Recently I had an emergency trip to the hospital. I was infuriated when I was asked the same medical background question by five different people. There seemed to be a lack of communication.

 

I visited with a high school teacher who was bemoaning the lack of communication in his school. I thought back to being in a very small department and in a large department; both had a lack of communication.

 

Why do schools not use an online collaboration tool to communicate within the school? All announcements can be sent out and archived for future reference. All forms can be accessed at anytime. Surveys can be given out and the results instantaneously produced for everyone to see. Department meeting notes can be posted so that future meetings do not cover the same ground. Progress or lack of it on long term curriculum projects can seen easily. Teams can keep track of “at-risk” individuals more closely.

 

It is time to change the present school culture to be an information sharing and growing one.


RSS Education with Technology

  • Tech Integration Teacher, What time is it? August 23, 2016
    When someone asks what time it is, that person wants to know the time, not the history of the clock, not how a clock works, and not what other types of clocks there are. Classroom teachers want to help their students improve their academic learning through technology. Sometimes they need help with technology so they go […]
    hgtuttle
  • Curriculum Focus, Not Technology Focus July 28, 2016
    In my public school career I have been a classroom teacher, a technology integration specialist and a technology administrator. In my technology role, I served under the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction. She had a simple mission: Improve students’ academic learning. My mission was equally simple: Improve students’ academic learning through technology […]
    hgtuttle
  • Students React to Digital Badges: Pros, Cons and Interesting June 22, 2016
      ISTE 2016 By Harry Grover Tuttle, Ed. D. College World Language Students’ Preferences Digital Badges – 52%        Paper Certificates – 48% World Language: Can-Do Digital Badges Digital Badges Pro- – Breaks down proficiency more – Shows all badges at once – Is more attractive – Is more appropriate since we use […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Naming the Badge October 29, 2015
    Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior (http://www.academia.edu/9074119/Grading_and_Whether_or_not_Grades_Accurately_Reflect_Student_Achievement). Equally important, a letter […]
    hgtuttle
  • World Language Students Use of Mobile Devices in the Classroom October 5, 2015
    Do world language students use technology n the classroom? Do their  teachers go beyond having their students use technology simply for the drill and practice in vocabulary and grammar? Students can use laptops and mobile devices to hear authentic language, read authentic texts, read tweets about famous performers, see up-to-the-moment culture,  watch video […]
    hgtuttle
  • Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges? September 12, 2015
    The idea of digital badges sounds appealing for the digital children in classes. As teachers start thinking about digital badges, they have to figure out what badges will be awarded. The teachers can award social or academic badges. If teachers decide to use academic badges, then the teachers may base their badges on the Common […]
    hgtuttle
  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
    hgtuttle
  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
    Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare Why teach about other countries? Location: Large view to small on maps. Culture or culture. Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.) Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that […]
    hgtuttle
  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]
    hgtuttle

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