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Webinar: Making the most of the Business Result Online Interactive Workbook

Business people having discussionKeith Layfield, lead editor on the Business Result series, introduces his upcoming webinar on 17th April entitled “Making the most of the Business Result Online Interactive Workbook“.

Have you used the Business Result Online Interactive Workbook, and are you getting the most out of it? Are you interested in using online resources to provide self-study material, supplementary classroom material, or a more interactive blended learning package?

My upcoming webinar is suitable for any teacher of Business Result. I will be providing practical help and ideas for using the Online Interactive Workbook, whether for self-study, classroom material, or for blended learning.

The webinar will provide an overview of the following:

Online practice and other resources

Business Result Online Interactive Workbook is a motivating self-study item that supports and develops themes from the Student’s Book. Each unit offers a series of interactive exercises practising the main sections of each unit – Working with words, Language at work, and Business communication – which are marked automatically and added to each student’s gradebook.

The interactive exercises also develop a number of skills: email writing and extended reading, plus there are video activities and discussion forum topics to encourage free writing practice. And there are extensive student resources – unit glossaries, sample emails, class audio – plus a unit test for each unit in the Student’s Book.

In the webinar, we’ll explore how you can make the most of these features, inside and outside class.

Gradebook and communication tools

I’ll also be exploring the automatic gradebook, which gives students and teachers instant access to grades. It saves time on marking and enables teachers to quickly track progress of all students.

Each unit of the Online Interactive Workbook has its own discussion topic related to the theme of the unit. This encourages communicative and collaborative learning, as students (and teachers) are able to read and reply to discussion topics. During the webinar, we’ll look at how to get the most out of this, and we’ll also focus on the ‘chat’ functionality, which enables students and teachers to communicate outside class.

The Online Interactive Workbook also allows teachers to add, create, and manage their own content. Teachers can add their own tests, create their own discussions, assign due dates for activities to be completed, add new activities, and many other things using a number of teacher tools.

So as you can see, the Business Result Online Interactive Workbook provides teachers and students with an exciting range of resources and tools to choose from! I look forward to exploring all of this with you in more detail during the webinar.


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Using Video and ICT to Present Grammar

video helps grammarIn this post, David Mearns, a teacher in Turkey, discusses the benefit of using video to show grammar in an authentic context and gives a few tips on how to teach grammar using video.

I have been working in Turkey as an ELT practitioner for seventeen years.  I became very interested in ICT-ELT two years ago, and began explicitly including it in my syllabus, as a way to further engage Turkish teenage students. At the tail-end of 2010, after having presented on the subject at many conferences, I realised that many of my colleagues were also very interested in the paradigm shift happening in ELT. So, I started to put the ICT-ELT message out to the Turkish provinces.  Now after a year of observing teachers, and receiving a great deal of feedback on ICT-ELT, I can see an extraordinary change in people’s attitudes to the exciting possibilities of using technology in (and out of) the classroom.

Since grammar is now having a much welcomed resurgence in popularity with teachers (oh how I despised those, for the most part, years of ‘language acquisition is the only way’ in ELT), I feel it only right to concur with the new focus on grammar, and share a great way for teachers to help make it much more affective for both teachers to present, and for students to enjoy learning the structures they generally find tedious to work at.

I propose that by using video to show how grammar is used in an authentic context, and by having it in the syllabus as both a scaffolding and consolidation stage of understanding structure, students will (and do) engage much more across each form being learned.

I appreciate that the use of video is not new, but I reckon that with it being included under the umbrella of ICT-ELT it has even more effective and affective outcomes.

ICT-ELT

Tildee logoThe website I started using last year, and have continued to do so, is www.tildee.com.  This amazing website is a free platform that allows you to upload tutorials with consummate ease.  It acts just like a Word document when you are typing and putting pictures, video or links to enhance your grammar point.  Here is a Tildee Video Feed-Forward that I made to show how easy it is to access and use.

Now that you have seen how easy it is to sign up and use (you don’t have to sign up, but it is better to do so, as you then have your own account where your video tutorials are stored), it is time to see which videos I have used to help students further engage with the process of learning grammar structures.

Note, although I condone video as a means of teaching grammar, I still believe there has to be a balanced mix of traditional and ICT methods if it is to be successful.  Yet, even so, it is the ICT-video springboard paradigm that makes it so appealing to students.  With this method of presentation and practice, students can re-watch or watch the whole experience at home, or even on their smart phone.  It has 24/7 accessibility; thus e-learning, m-learning and total-learning is what we can achieve with this marvellous tool.

Examples of My Tildee Tutorials for Teaching (TTT?) grammar through video:

An Ode to CAN      Used to/ Didn’t Use to         Star Wars: It’s Present & Simple

Now that you have seen examples of my Tildee tutorials, I’d like to share another video feed-forward to show you how easy it is to add grammar content and videos from YouTube (only YouTube btw for now) to the website:

Video Feed-Forward: How to add vids, text and pics on Tildee

I hope you find the tutorials useful for your students.  If you like the style, please contact me and ask for some more.  I will email you the links.  However, I reckon, once you get the hang of it, you will want to make your own from your own favourite films.

Read David’s own blog at www.davidmearns.blogspot.com.

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Making Your Digital Classroom More Interactive

Zuhal Aydin takes a look at some popular resources you can use in your classroom to make it more interactive for your students

In recent years ELT researchers  have  become increasingly interested in designing digital classrooms and an inter-connected web-centric world. There has been a spate of interest in cutting-edge technology. To ‘digitize’ a classroom means to implement technology into the classroom. The teaching techniques have to catch up to the new pace of learning.

There is a huge need to involve learners in communicative activities. Web technology is changing rapidly every day and the Internet has become an important part of life for people all over the world. The powers of technology are constantly improving. The implementation of technology integrated method language learning has brought some serious changes that can be benefited from. In this interactive environment we try to involve the students into the classroom and we incorporate blended learning. This is a combination of interactive digital learning. You can enhance reading, writing skills in an authentic real world context and provide opportunity for creativity. Learners can communicate easily and collaborate with other students. Unlike a teacher-led classroom, students can participate in an active way.

Teachers can use technology to enable students to meet people of different cultures, explore new worlds, do source research. In this case these materials appeals to students and motivate them. It opens up a new world for the students. It creates  flexible learning paths in learners’ minds. Teachers as  facilitators try to involve learners in the class by using Web 2.0 tools.

Here are some great tools which you can use to digitize your classroom:

  1. FutureMe – This is a website about writing letters to your future self. The student registers and writes something about their life so that they’ll practice writing in English.
  2. Penzu – Penzu is a simple online tool for creating a personal journal.
  3. Storybird – This is about digital story telling. You as teachers can create digital stories and you can read these stories in your class. You can also create one account for your class as well. The students will enjoy it!
  4. Animoto – Here you can create videos to share in your classroom. You can upload some photos for these videos and any kind of music to accompany it.
  5. Staged Project – A digital tool for creating animated comics. You can make your stories easier to read and understand.
  6. Voice Thread – Digital storytelling program that enables users to upload pictures or documents.
  7. Domo Animate – Animations to bring students more fun in their learning.
  8. Little Bird Tales – Capture your student’s voice with a creative story and share them with their family and friends.
  9. Vocaroo – Voice recording service.
  10. Soundcloud – Share your sounds!

How do you digitize your classroom? What resources do you use?

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How using apps and online resources benefits ESL students with limited resources

Teenage girl using smartphoneIn this post Justin Birch explores how using apps and online resources can benefit ESL students with limited resources.

From spelling to grammar to intonation, learning a new language can be difficult. With its exceptions and broad geographical influence, the English language is no different. However, times are changing. Non-native speakers of English now outnumber native speakers 3 to 1. With the enormous increase in the number of students taking on English as a Second Language (ESL), especially those with limited resources, an array of wallet-friendly apps and online resources have cropped up to make the learning process speedier and less tedious.

Apps and online resources can make learning English fun. Instead of repeating common English phrases in a classroom setting, ESL students can play games and complete exercises while learning the ins and outs of the language, even if they are far away from a real teacher or school. The Internet TESL Journal created a site comprised solely of quizzes, tests, exercises and puzzles for ESL students. With thousands of contributions from teachers, students can take advantage of exercises that suit their needs. Users are allowed to choose their level of difficulty in grammar and vocabulary quizzes, and even crossword puzzles. In addition, the site offers a range of podcasts and YouTube videos, including those that allow students to listen and read along. For the technology savvy, the site is also accessible from the iPhone and the iPod Touch.

Though ESL classes can be extremely beneficial, they can also focus solely on the basics. Online resources and apps can supplement basic skills to allow students to learn slang and idioms. This creates more natural sounding dialogue and allows the student to better understand phrases and terms that aren’t available in a dictionary. Sites like ManyThings.org, not only feature games, quizzes, exercises, and vocabulary words, but also a collection of slang terms, English songs, proverbs, jokes, and American stories. Podcasts such as the Learn a Song Podcast, Jokes in English, and Listen and Repeat Podcast can also be fun ways to not only learn the language, but soak up the culture as well.

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