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Using Classroom Presentation Tools to deliver engaging lessons

Primary students in a lesson using tabletsSince I started this beautiful journey as a teacher, I knew it was going to be a great challenge. We all know that we must spend a lot of time planning classes that keep our students engaged and motivated. During these twenty years teaching, I have witnessed all the changes and advances in English Language Teaching, from working with tape recorders, using only print books, and designing materials to fit the right level to all the fantastic classroom presentation tools we have today.

Classroom Presentation Tools have come to make our lives easier. We need to take advantage of all the benefits we get from them. They help us create an interactive learning experience, deliver engaging lessons and save time when planning. What are those features that make Oxford University Press’ Classroom Presentation Tools unique? Well, grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy this tour.

Let’s start with the amazing Oxford English Hub, where you can now access Classroom Presentation Tools for our best-selling international courses. Along with accessing Classroom Presentation Tools, Oxford English Hub provides one place for easy access to ALL your digital course materials, for every step of the teaching journey. With interactive content and smart tools to save your time, and integrated professional development tailored specifically to your course, to support your teaching.

Let’s take a closer look at the features of Classroom Presentation Tools. Although all of them are important and useful, we are going to highlight five of them:

1. Embedded audio and video

All audio tracks and videos are just one click away and embedded in the right place in the Student Book or Workbook. The audio player provides great listening practice! You can adjust the speed of the track to support your students when they don’t understand or challenge them to listen to it faster. With the AB loop, you can select one specific part to play on repeat.

The video player supports your teaching by showing students the use of the language they are learning. One recommended strategy is to play it without sound first to make your students guess what is happening and help activate their schemata about the topic. Some videos have the script embedded in them to use them for role plays or discussion.

2. Focus

Focus is an effective tool to help students concentrate on one task at a time and make it easier to answer in class. By opening an exercise full-screen, it allows you to project one activity and not the whole page. Within this tool, you have access to all the other necessary tools such as Draw and Highlight, Check Answers, Show Answers, and the audio and video players.

3. Show answers tool

Most of the time, the answers to all exercises are in the Teacher’s Guide. However, having them embedded in the CPT saves you a lot of time! You can show all the answers at once by clicking on the big eye or request individual answers at the small eye. It will help students to check, correct and review their answers.

4. Notes tool

One way to use the Notes tool is to write or record reminders for your classes. However, you could also use the Text Note to write instructions for specific tasks. You can substitute writing on the physical board, a platform board, or dictating. Alternating them is a way of breaking with the traditional way of teaching.

5. Switch books tool

Saving time has become a key element when planning and teaching your classes. In your planning and teaching, you may use two CPTs: one for the Student’s Book, and one for the Workbook. The Switch books tool helps you change from one book to the other in one click in your CPT. Imagine that you assign an activity in the Student Book, and you’d like to complement it with the related pages or exercises in the Workbook. Simply click the link to switch to the relevant page of your second book. You can go back to your first book using the Switch book icon in the toolbar.

These are just five of many features you have in your Classroom Presentation Tools, available on Oxford English Hub. I’m sure you’ll love them as much I do!

 

“Bring your coursebooks to life in the classroom. Simply present your learning resources on screen for highly engaging lessons either face to face or online.”


Andrea Espinach Roel is a full-time Oxford Educational Consultant for Central America. She holds a master’s degree in Educational Administration. Before entering the publishing industry, she taught English as a second language for twenty years in Costa Rica to all age groups (kids, teenagers, young adults, and adults). She’s been an Academic Coordinator in different institutions and has experience in designing English Programs for all ages in areas such as English, Science, Business, Technology, and Electromechanics.


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Blended Learning: A Q&A with Pete Sharma

blended learningSome of the many teachers who attended our recent webinars on Blended Learning (BL) were already in enforced lockdown, having had their face-to-face classes cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. This made the topic of BL especially relevant, in particular the concept of ‘face-to-face online’ classes. The webinars were given at a time when thousands in the UK were just starting to work from home which caused a huge spike in online use. Here are some of the questions that were raised: Continue reading


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Blended Learning: From Theory To Practice

blended learning

I have long been interested in ‘Blended Learning’ (BL). It remains a ‘buzz’ term in language teaching, although it means different things to different people. This blog post explores some key aspects of BL.

A good place to start unpacking the various definitions of BL is the ELTJ article ‘Key concepts in ELT: Blended Learning’ (2010). Common definitions include: Continue reading


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The Complete Guide to Running a Blended Learning Course

Blended learning - students working together on laptopsWhat is blended learning?

Blended learning is both flexible and dynamic. By ‘flexible’, I mean it is not just one thing (a fixed combination of X and Y) but rather, it can be many things depending on your teaching context. By ‘dynamic’, I mean that the components which make up blended learning are constantly changing. A recent incarnation of blended learning, for example, involves students donning headsets and practising a talk in VR (Virtual Reality) in preparation for giving a presentation in real life.

The classic definition of blended learning combines teaching in a ‘bricks and mortar’ classroom with web-based learning. The latter is usually ‘online’ but could be ‘offline’ and might not even involve the Internet at all, such as doing exercises on a CD-ROM or using a ‘native’ app – an app which ‘lives’ in your mobile phone and does not require a Wi-Fi connection to function.

Another approach to blended learning involves blending the use of print and digital resources, effectively combining the traditional and the new, analogue and digital.

 

When should teachers use blended learning?

In a very narrow definition of blended learning (such as face-to-face plus online) the answer to this question is: when studying online is a realistic, feasible option. In a broader definition of blended learning, such as that described by Sharma and Barrett ‘face-to-face plus an appropriate use of technology’ (Pete Sharma & Barney Barrett, Blended Learning, Macmillan, 2007), the answer is: ‘All the time!’ In other words, teaching in this new digital age should use the technologies which students meet in their everyday lives, such as the Internet, laptop, smartphone and tablet.

 

Why blend?

There are many reasons why teachers decide to run a blended learning course, as opposed to (say) a 100% classroom course like those I ran when I first started teaching, or a 100% online course.

One is time. There’s simply not enough time in a course to cover everything. Moreover, some language areas are really suited to be studied outside the classroom. Extensive reading and practising difficult phonemes, for instance.

Combining the best of the classroom (live interaction with the teacher and classmates) and the best of technology (anytime, anywhere guided practice) in a principled way can produce a ‘better’ course for students. In other words, the best of both worlds.

 

What is the value of blended learning?

Flexibility is one advantage. Students taking a blended learning course are frequently offered choices. We all know a class of 12 comprises 12 individuals, displaying different learning preferences. Students can match their path through the material to suit their own learning style and approach.
Similarly, from the teacher’s point of view, blended learning enables the implementation of ‘differentiation’.

We are all familiar with the restrictions imposed by the teaching timetable. The English language lesson is at 16.00 on Thursday. Yet this is the age of u-learning, ubiquitous learning. The distant part of a blended learning course can be done anywhere, anytime – in a coffee shop with Wi-Fi, at the airport, in a hotel … , this ‘best of both worlds’ (the classroom and online) is a key feature and benefit of blended learning.

 

Different approaches to blended learning

The approaches taken to blended learning are as many and varied as the different types of teaching: YL (young learners), business English, CLIL (content and language integrated learning). One common approach would be to issue the students with a printed coursebook and have them use the code on the inside to access their online digital materials. I focus particularly on this approach in my series of articles on running a blended learning course.

 

Different types of digital activities

Here’s a snapshot of the vast range of tools available for blended learning:

 

  • a vocabulary memory game on an app to review new language
  • a podcast; students can listen as many times as they wish, using the pause and the slider to listen intensively to selected parts
  • a video, with on-demand sub-titles or a transcript
  • a discussion forum; students answer a question before their in-class lesson. The additional time helps develop critical thinking skills and contrasts the real-time pressure to reply in the classroom

 

How to run a blended learning course

Looking for some practical advice and tips? Read my complete guide to help you prepare, set-up and run a blended learning course:

 

Download the guide

 

References

Blended Learning, Pete Sharma & Barney Barrett (Macmillan, 2007)

 


 

Pete Sharma is a teacher trainer, consultant and ELT author. He works as a pre-sessional lecturer in EAP (English for Academic purposes) at Warwick University, UK. Pete worked for many years in business English as a teacher trainer and materials writer. He is a regular conference presenter at IATEFL (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) and BESIG (Business English Special Interest Group) conferences and has given plenary talks and keynote speeches at conferences around the world. Pete is the co-author of several books on technology including Blended Learning (2007), 400 Ideas for Interactive Whiteboards (2011) in the Macmillan ‘Books for Teachers’ series, and How to Write for Digital Media (2014), and most recently Best Practices for Blended Learning. Pete was the Newsletter Editor of the IATEFL CALL Review (2008-2009) and has a Masters in Educational Technology and ELT from Manchester University.


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How can I use print course books in blended learning classes?

shutterstock_274481441Ken Wilson is the author of Smart Choice and in all has written more than 30 ELT titles. His first ELT publication was a collection of songs called Mister Monday, which was released when he was 23, making him at the time the youngest-ever published ELT author.

We asked teachers from around the world who have been using Smart Choice what one question they would like to ask Ken. He will answer three of these questions in a series of video blogs this month.

Today, Ken discusses the best ways to use a course book like Smart Choice in blended learning classes. Blended learning is a term increasingly used to describe traditional classroom tuition mixed with self-guided online learning. How can teachers integrate blended learning in to the classroom using a course book like Smart Choice? Ken suggests practical techniques – such as lesson flipping – and shares examples to demonstrate blended learning in practice.

What are the best ways to use Smart Choice in blended learning classes?


References:

Harrison, Laurie (2013). The Flipped Classroom in ELT.

Oxford University Press (2016). Smart Choice Third Edition.