Thursday, July 30, 2009


In getting geared up for the next CCK09 course on connectivism and connected knowledge, I plan to use primarily blogs as a means for exchanging ideas. My hope is to find a variety of interesting blogs that share common and interesting perspectives that for me are more likely to extend beyond the course itself. There will also be a Moodle site for the course where many discussions take place, so I may "dip in" there from time-to-time as well. There also is a course wiki and a Facebook group where the former is definely useful whereas the latter not so much as far as my own PLN goes.

I also will be feeding my blog to my twitter and friendfeed but am not sure really how helpful these two will be yet. Time will tell.

Oh, and I will use NetVibes as my main aggregator as well as the The Daily in order to attempt to organize the huge amounts of information that this type of course generates.

Well, this is what I have in mind at this point.

Here is how someone else plans to develop their PLN for the upcoming course.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Assessment in language learning

I enjoyed reading Ending the semester, Lessons Learned (Part 4: Assessment) as it gives some helpful insight into the assessment process from the perspective of the language learner. Having learners set out their own goals, articulate how they are to achieve those goals, then self-assess at the end is a good way for learners to be more autonomous and more active in the learning process. I would add that implementing this type of exercise also depends on the sociocultural background of the learner since some may not be used to taking on this new role.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

UVM Final Projects

UVM teachers conducting their final projects:

Great job everyone!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)

How do or could you use the principles of ZPD and scaffolding in your own teaching practice?

Related sites:

Other sites:

What Teachers Make

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided the best option in life was to become a teacher?”

He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”

To stress his point he said to another guest: “You’re a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest, what do you make?”

Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness, replied: “You want to know what I make?” She paused for a second, then began…

“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a 6.0 feel like the Congressional Medal of Honour. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can’t make them sit for 5 without an ipod, Game Cube or movie rental…

You want to know what I make?” She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table.

“I make kids wonder. I make them question. I make them criticize, I make them apologize and mean it. I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions. I teach them to write and then I make them write. I make them read, read, read. I make them show all their work in maths. I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know in English while preserving their unique cultural identity. I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe. I make my students stand to sing the Mexican National Anthem, because we live in Mexico. Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.”

Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.

“Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant. You want to know what I make? I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make?”

By Taylor Mali

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The e-learning gap

I like this presentation but I agree with Downes in that the title is misleading. For example, in slide two he puts instruction and assessment (i.e., formative and summative) in separate categories, when they are really general terms that refer to many of the other terms mentioned in the same slide. Moreover, instruction and assessment often overlap as well.

The title of this slide reminds me of similar, "empty" phrases that are meant to capture the attention of the audience, but are really open to a wide variety of interpretation: no child left behind, teaching the whole child, etc.

It's not only a skills gap but an understanding gap as well, understanding how current technologies can contribute to curriculum, assessment, and instruction. As a teacher and student, it's also about how technologies can serve as "teacher", "tutor", and "student" when defining roles within educational contexts.

Needs analysis

Reflect on what we discussed today regarding the importance of doing a needs analysis in your own teaching context. Create a needs analysis that would be most appropriate for your own CLIL course. Some things that you might consider follow.

Teacher perspective:

  • Name of your class (teacher perspective)

  • Brief description of your class (teacher perspective)

  • Class objectives (teacher perspective)

  • Your expectations for your class (teacher perspective)

Student perspective (source):

  • Personal Details:



    Main Language:

    Date of Birth:


    Contact telephone number/email address:

    Professional Details:

    Current Job Title:

    Basic Duties:

    English Language:

    Number of years you've studied English:

    Rate your skills in the following (1-10, 1 being poor, and 10 being excellent)







    Which of the following would you like to improve:







    What is your main goal in studying English?

    Is there anything that you'd like to focus on specifically?

    Other comments:

Feel free to adapt this needs analysis as you see fit! Submit your needs analysis by responding to this post (comment section).

helpful sites:

Needs analysis

Needs analysis 2

Monday, July 20, 2009

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

Visit the following three websites and add what you learned, what you already knew, and what you would like to know more about as they all pertain to CLIL:

CLIL Consortium
Isabel's ESL Site

Respond to this blog entry, one post per each of the above sites (three total).

Related sites:
BBC Learning English
One-stop CLIL

CLIL Debate



In your own words, paraphrase the most important points mentioned
in this video and explain them in terms of your own teaching context.


Click here to go directly to the voicethread.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

UVM-Aguascalientes teachers’ blogs

Here are some blogs from teachers at UVM-Aguascalientes:

Jorge Gallegos
Alejandro Padilla
David Arellano's blog
MiSs GaBee'S bLoG
Agustin Padilla takemyclass
Bertha Castillo
Luz MarĂ­a Carrillo
Leonel Gonzalez Blog's Site
Arturo Mejia
Eduardo Guerrero M.
Monica Marquez

Hector GarciaEveryone's doing a great job getting their blogs up and running!

Wetpaint adds news feeds

Wetpaint just added a great new feature to their site…news feeds.

I particularly like how readers can insert comments under each feed. Also, I´m posting to this blog using Windows Live Writer.

Computer mediated communication

Today's session will focus on computer mediated communication: VLE, PLE, PLN, LMS, etc. We will particularly be looking at Moodle and how this platform can be an option for complementing what you do face-to-face (f2f). Check out NineHub - a free Moodle hosting site - if you're interested in setting up your own Moodle page.

See how other UVM teachers are developing their pages:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sclipo web meeting

This web meeting will address the following:

* How to use Sclipo to teach
* All about courses, your library, live web classes, and live web meetings
* How you can make money teaching on Sclipo
* And anything else you'd like to ask me

To attend this live web class, just click here (feel free to share this link with your friends and colleagues).

See you in the live web class!

Authentic materials and technology

Review the following resources available for implementing internet-based activities within your own teaching context:

  1. wikis
  2. blogs
  3. podcasts/videocasts
  4. webquests
Which of these resources would be most appropriate in your own teaching context? Find examples of how other teachers are using these resources in their own classes (including the link to these pages), and state what you like about these sites (i.e., organization, content, design, etc.). Include at least five examples (along with their respective links).


Top 100 educational blogs

Educational wikis

The Education Podcast Network (EPN)

Podcasts Videocasts Wiki

Zunal (examples of webquests)

Collecta (real-time search engine)

UVM Training Blogs

Check out what other UVM trainers are doing throughout Mexico:

UVM RedNova Summer Course blog created by Sam Mace, RedNova consultant in Lomas Verdes

UVM RedNova Monterrey blog created by Steve Edmunds, RedNova consultant in Monterrey

As we learn together as a group, so too do we learn from what others are doing. In a learning community (as a community of practice), participants openly share ideas and experiences in a way that suits both the individual and the group.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Balancing Blended Learning

Today we are continuing our discussion on blended learning and the different web 2.0 tools that can be used in your own classroom: PowerPoint, internet, video, audio, podcasts/iTunes/twitter, chatrooms, social networks, wikis/blogs, and smart boards. Since PowerPoint presentations are used quite a bit in the classroom, I thought it appropriate to include a humorous "tutorial" on what not to do when creating your own.

In a prior class, we videotaped ourselves:

Here are the notes generated by each group:

Session 6 Group Feedback Notes

To embed this video to this blog, I did the following:
  1. Downloaded the video to my computer
  2. Converted the video to flash (I used Free Studio Manager)
  3. Uploaded flash video to BlipTV
  4. Copied the embed code from BlipTV
  5. Pasted the embed code to the blog
One of the key concepts in blended learning is understanding when to use synchronous and asychronous communication, both from a technological and non-technological perspective.

  • Discuss the following by responding to this thread: a) your content course, b) synchronous, non-technological ways to deliver information, c) asynchronous, non-technological ways to deliver information, d) synchronous, technological ways to deliver information, and e) asynchronous, technological ways to deliver information. Which of these will be use the most and the least? Why?

Monday, July 13, 2009


"Love your audience and they'll love you back."

"Instead of focusing on self, [focus] on the beauty of the audience and the whole event..."

"I never let that leave me. I would start with that. I would start with loving my students. And it's striking how much my teaching has changed in five years, as a result of that. It's basically about shifting form getting people to love you,. to you loving them. It has four parts (Fromm, 1956):
- caring
- responsibility
- respect
- knowledge"

"Interesting example: compare the 'expert' (me, 34 years of life experience, been to 10 countries) and my students (4000 years of life experience, been to 50 countries). You become a learner among learners, just a part of the community. Kevin kelly: "Nobody is as smart as everybody."

These quotes really stuck with me when I read this summary of a talk by Michael Wesch. Enjoy!

Blended Learning

Today we are discussing blended learning. Some sites we'll be using this week are the following:

Here are some sites we will be using this week:
  • Wikispaces
  • This blog
  • Sites from your colleagues (to be listed in our wikispaces site)

After watching this video, review some of the following sites to determine which would best serve your own content class:

  1. How do you feel blended learning can improve instruction and assessment within your own teaching context? What technologies would and wouldn't work? (include your name when submitting post.)
  2. Go to our wikispaces and add any links to websites that you currently use, both as a learner and educator.
  3. As a separate post, but posting to this same thread, answer the questions to the project found in lesson three, exercise six (unit 1).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Literature Circles

Watch the following video:

Considering your content courses, what ways have you or could you implement a similar technique in your own class. Start off by explaining the context of the course and then a detailed discussion as to what this activity would look like (at least 250 words).


Watch the following video (the one we saw in class):

In reflecting on what you learned this week, discuss what you knew before, what you learned, and what you would like to learn in terms of English skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening, and speaking), grammar, teaching techniques, strategies, activities, and key concepts.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tools for reading, writing, and thinking

Visit Tools for Reading, Writing, and Thinking and find those graphic organizers that you feel are most appropriate for English language learners taking your content course. Explain your content course and your rationale for choosing these graphic organizers. (Reply to this blog entry.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Voicethread for CLIL Teacher Reflections

This VoiceThread can be accessed either from this blog or directly from VoiceThread itself.

Promoting creativity in schools

Sir Ken Robinson presents a great talk on creativity:

Think about the content course that you teach and how teaching this same content now in English will change your teaching approach. Describe this change and explain how you will promote creativity in your class.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

CU traffic

Current traffic map for the Collaborative Understandings blog:

PMELT Presentations

This performance task was designed for pre-service Mexican English language teachers - PMELTs - (Freshmen in college) and integrated the following technologies: Ted Videos, PowerPoint, video, BlipTV, and Wetpaint. Additionally, one group demonstrated a software application with their own computer as part of their presentation. PMELTs were given the choice of selecting their TED video (approximately 20 minutes in length) and determining how they would present it to the class (e.g., everyone choice to use PowerPoint as opposed to it being a requirement). The criteria for doing this performance task was as follows:
  1. Everyone must speak about the same amount of time, using cue cards but in their own words. (pronunciation, fluency, accuracy, vocabulary, grammar, non-verbal communication, etc.)
  2. The group should articulate the "moral of the presentation". That is, what was the "lesson" learned by watching the TED video.
  3. The group was to explain the most interesting details of the TED video.
  4. The group was to provide supporting information that was relevant to the video but was not included in the video itself. (This requires them to research the topic.)
  5. The group was to include some personal experience related to the TED video. They were also encouraged to create a dialog with their audience, having their audience discuss an experience related to the TED video as well.
To see the TED video with the corresponding presentation, click here.

Comments/suggestions are appreciated, either here or in Wetpaint!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Differentiated Instruction

Handling a classroom of learners who share mixed abilities can be a challenge. Differentiated instruction is a good way to meet this challenge. Take a look at the following videos:

Teaching content courses to English language learners will require a great deal of differentiated instruction.

Question: When reflecting on your own experience in the classroom, how have you differentiated content, process, or product, taking into account the learners readiness, interests, and learning preference? As content teachers, how might this change when teaching content language as a foreign language?

Did you Know?

Check out this video:

How will this impact what you do in your classes?

Getting Started (UVM summer course)

I just want to welcome everyone to day one of our three-week, sixty-hour summer course. We covered a lot of information today and everyone was very patient in getting started.

Here are a few sites that you might find useful (courtesy of Sam Mace):

A resource bank for CLIL

Site where you are to complete your online work for the course

Blog for CLIL trainees


Don't forget to complete the following homework for tomorrow (July 7, 2009):

1. This course will be a success if…

2. Something I would not like to experience in this course is…

3. Something I would like the trainer to know about me is…

4. Something I am particularly worried about is...

5. By the end of this course, I expect to...

Please also include your full name and username and password of MEC and either email ( it to me or hand it in to me personally.

I´m excited to be your facilitator for the course and look forward to hearing your insights as we all learn together!

Here is my Wikieducator user page should you want to know more about me.

And here is our class Wiki that we'll use later on during the course.

Question for you: What websites are you using or would like to use that you feel would help you in your classes? (I encourage you to post a comment to this thread!)