Mar 16, 2012

Week 10 - Reflections

Well it is the last week of the course and I can only say that it has been overwhelming regarding the knowledge acquired.

In this last week we took the LoTi survey and I have to say again, as I have in my Nicenet post regarding this task, that the results were not surprising for me, as they represent the exact situation as I expected it to. My biggest fight for overcoming the present situation and applying the LoTi instructions would be to try and have a language classroom equipped with computers so that I can fully implement everything I learned at this course.

We also had to give our own advice to future participants and here is what I wrote on Nicenet and what are my advice:

1) Read all of the Readings links at the course site and a couple of additional links too if you have any doubts

2) Read all posts made by colleagues from the course because it will help you form your opinion and enrich your post
3) Make your posts on time, do not leave everything for the last minute because I have done so a couple of times and it is exhausting when you need to do everything in a short period of time
4) And last but not the least, never give up, because there may be times when you find a certain discussion or a task to be not so interesting but then "right around the corner" you find out about invaluable tips, tricks and tools and you enrich your in-class experience in a way you never imagined.

And I will use this media as well to thank our core instructor Janine one more time. And I am not being falsely grateful when I send my biggest gratitude to Janine, our core instructor. Janine thank you, it has been a privilege to work under your guidance and I wish you many more successful courses which will enlighten you and your students with new skills and knowledge.

Mar 11, 2012

Week 9 - Reflections

This week was all about Final Project, at least that's the way I saw it, and we had to go through the checklists our peers made and to make final touches and corrections before handing them over to Janine's hands.

So I have posted my Final Project on the wiki on time and I hope that it will suffice.

Also this week's discussion topic was interesting and it was about learning styles and intelligence types that exist with different people. It was interesting to remind myself of the learning styles I prefer and the days at faculty when we were learning about this in the first place. Regarding this topic and the posts we had to make I found the following link to be most helpful

I also plan to take the quiz found on the link to all the classes where I teach to see the results and then try to apply different tech based tools and solutions to address different styles with students and although it won't be easy the goal is to make them feel comfortable while acquiring new knowledge so that they can all learn with the same ease.

We also had to fill out our course evaluation, which I did, and there are no secrets here. I have been saying this from the start. In my opinion the course is great and all the knowledge that has been transferred here on us is of great value and we will definitely use some, if not all of the tools acquired during this course to better educate our students in our schools.

So our journey is coming to an end, who would say that there is only one week left.

Mar 4, 2012

Week 8 - Reflections

I will be very brief in my reflections on this week for a sole reason of me being sick, which is also the reason why my posts were so poor in content and in depth, so I beg you for understanding and I apologize for not contributing to the discussions as usually but a virus of some sort chained me to bed for four good days and I am even doing this with utmost difficulties. 

So, the leading role of this week was given to PEER REVIEW of our project drafts and writing the drafts in time in the first place, which we all did, I hope.

Second we learned about ANVILL at and what a great tool it presents and what capabilities it has to offer.

We also had to make an online exercise, which I did using a cool site 

So that would briefly be my inadequate summary of the week 8, for which I apologize once more, but my health condition is preventing me to make a better one.

Feb 26, 2012

Week 7 - Reflections

Well this week was somewhat easygoing and relaxing, but I see that this was maybe intentional because all the extra time we had from reading and posting related strictly to this week should be spent doing our final project drafts which are due by Wednesday Feb-29.

 Both this week's discussion and task were related to the use of the one computer inside the classroom. (At least I have opted for this discussion thread instead of "Learner Autonomy, simply because the use of one computer in class is closer to my heart, so to say)
I have exploited one of the lessons from the week 5 since it was a typical one computer lesson and I have posted it, with certain revisions both at the discussion and the task conferencing topic of this week, so that is where I invite you to go and to check it out, since I believe it is a good lesson and widely applicable when it comes to proficiency levels and I have tried it recently in several of my classes and the response is great and what is even more important, the acquisition of new vocabulary is outstanding.

This week also saw us group for a peer review of our final project drafts and I am happy to say that I have a very cool group with Rade Petricevic and Fernando Beconi (three of us characterized above) :-) and I hope that we will contribute to each other in the formation and creation of great final project papers.

So this week is typical for seeing us finally apply and connect all the "bits and pieces" that we have learned in this course, first into a final project draft for the peer review and eventually into the final version of the final project, so to say. I hope that we will know how to grasp all the knowledge gained at the course and pour it onto a decent final project paper.

Week 8, wish us luck, here we come!

Feb 19, 2012

Week 6 - Application

This week I have slowly introduced the changes I plan to make, technology-wise, into the class of medical technicians, as described in my post from Week 5 under the conferencing topic Week 5: Project Task: Describe a technology-related change. So far I have only done the introduction and I have handed the texts to students which are divided in groups. So there is not much to report about at this early phase, but I have explained them the rules and what will they do and the interest seems high at the moment, so I have given them time to examine the texts, find unknown words and come prepared for the final in-class "showdown" which will happen this week, so I will report on this topic more after the completion of the "game".
Further information will be posted on this same blog topic.

Stay tuned! 

Week 6 - Reflections

This week the main word was INTERACTIVE, so we learned lots of interesting methods of creating interesting lectures and making them interactive, student-involved and oriented.

We could all learn what a great interactive solution Blackboard is, what possibilities does it offer, testing, grading, following your students' progress, and all this done with such speed and ease. I would definitely like to work with Blackboard one day.

I have also discovered Quandary and what great tool it can be and how versatile its application can be made, whether we use it in its original form, or afterwards as a source for speaking and writing skill exercises.

We have also learned how Power Point can be used to make various interactive games and exercises and I have made a Jeopardy game for a class of medical technicians about human body systems. You can check it out at our class wiki.

So it has been an interactive week, I might say, and I sure liked it and I bet my students will like what I bring into the classroom too, based on this week's course curriculum.

Come on Week 7!

Feb 12, 2012

Week 5 - Reflections

Now was this week interesting or what!? I sure did find it to be such, because I learned lots of new things and more importantly the knowledge we acquired is really applicable, it is not just some theory, but something we can really use and bring into our classrooms.

First to be mentioned are Rubrics, PBL and WebQuests.
I don't know where to start. Each of these methods has left such a huge impact on me and they will definitely find their way into my classroom. I found out what a great assessment tool rubrics are and that they should be introduced slowly, perhaps with checklists at the beginning as their predecessors. I am particularly fond of rubrics when it comes to class debate grading since I believe it can make the teacher's job much easier and the students also know what is the value scale and how they rank on it. This rate of introduction goes for PBL too and projects we might hand out to our students should be on a small scale at first before moving onto a more complex ones, but nevertheless they are such a great method. WebQuests are also the story of their own and I find them to be a great way for self improvement and a great way to hand out interesting homework and stimulate self education.

Next we got to create a rubric of our own and I we did this using a perfect website for the job,
I have created my rubric with ease for the class debate on the topic "Abortion; Pro Vs. Con" and you can check it out at

Finally we had to describe a technology-related change that we will implement to help with one or more of the issues we have mentioned in Week 4 and I thought of a little competition which would raise the vocabulary level and motivation in the class and you can check it out in the corresponding topic in our nicenet classroom.

All in all, I really liked this week and its tasks which were put before us because I sure learned a lot, and perhaps I was delighted most with knowledge gained from this week in particular, but who knows what is hiding behind the corner in the upcoming Week 6.

Let's find out!

Feb 5, 2012

Week 4 - Reflections

This week, like all weeks before, had offered its share of useful knowledge from which we will benefit.

First we were "digging" for useful web-sites  that would work for us in our class and I have indeed found a web-nugget called PIZZAZ and it can be found at although the other sites will do their share of work too and they will definitely find their way into the classroom.
With the web-sites we have found we can now develop our students' skills far more easily and also in an interesting and fun way.

Second, we have learned how to make technology-enhanced lesson plans.
This knowledge will also bear its fruit, because our lessons will be more organised and goals and objectives will be set from the start and students will be familiarized with them. All this will definitely lead to higher level of language and vocabulary acquisition. 

And last but certainly not the least of this week's assignments was to locate issues in our class, define them and try to find a way to address and resolve the same.
I have noticed that a number of my colleagues from the course have stated motivation to be one of the issues in their classroom, and so did I. Hopefully once we incorporate all of the knowledge gained in this course that won't be the case any more.

Week 4 is "setting" and Week 5 is "rising" slowly bringing us precious new knowledge.

Frankly I am looking forward!

Jan 29, 2012

Week 3 - Reflections

Week 3 has been somewhat more relaxed when it comes to the quantity of the assignments but the quality was definitely there.

First I must single out our oral skill building assignment and all the readings and sites related to this assignment were really eye-opening given the quality of the facts that I have acquired, and I think that my colleagues from the course will agree when I say that this will definitely help us make our classes better and most importantly teach our students in an easier and more efficient way, all at the same expense. And I do have to say that I am mostly looking forward to developing missing oral skills of my students mainly by various listening exercises found at since listening exercises are mostly suitable for the equipment we posses in our school, but nonetheless I think that benefits of such exercising are paramount!
Second great "acquisition" of Week 3 was a bookmarking website and I think that the main advantage is that one can access his/her bookmarks from any computer and this goes for students too. I believe that it is a really cool site and I am looking forward to exploring its possibilities when it comes to in-class usage. Feel free to "drop by" to my Delicious URL and see if there is a bookmarked website you might like at this moment, since it might be bookmark-poor at the moment, but I will be adding more and more bookmarks as the time goes by and as it slowly "gets under my skin".

Finally we had to read one of the final project reports from past Webskills classes, comment on that report in our nicenet post, briefly describe what the person did in his/her project, and discuss what we liked about the project.
I have chosen to comment on the project by Aleyda Linares from Universidad Pedagogica Nacional Francisco Morazan of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
You can check out what I wrote in that comment in the corresponding nicenet conferencing topic Week 3: Project Task.
The thing that I liked about this task was that we were given the opportunity to see the samples of past final projects and I will speak for myself and say that this has definitely chased away the last speck of the unknown factor about this course which was, sort of, intimidating me that I won't understand how to complete the course successfully.

All in all, Week 3 brought lots of useful skills which we can now take into the classroom.

Week 4 here I come!

Jan 22, 2012

Week 2 - Reflections

Week 2 was a handful so one might not know where to start and might be afraid of missing to write something.
But I will try to recollect everything.
First task during this week was Web searching and as I described in my post on Nicenet all of the search engines listed at  are, if nothing, worth investigating and some of them might prove quite rewarding and they might bring something that Google failed to present as relevant, as was the case with the site found on Intute (, because it was not offered by Google although the search topic was the same. So benefits are definitely there but they need to be explored and found.

Second, we had to make an objective which we would see through in a certain class using ABCD style (Audience-Behavior-Condition-Degree).
I certainly hope that my ABCD style plan is OK and I will share it here with you as well, besides Nicenet, and I will color it as seen on

Given the definition on perfect tenses and sentences with auxiliary verbs have, has, had and will have and with the main verb standing in the brackets in the infinitive form(C), the students(A) will be able to put the verb from the brackets in the past participle form and after that observing the auxiliary verb determine which perfect tense are we reviewing, present, past or future(B), without making 4 mistakes out of 24 sentences(D).

Third task was to describe one class where we teach and how it would benefit from making a technology-inspired change and we had to describe our students and class setting, and also to list the technology we and our students have access to now, both in and outside of school. 

For this task I described a class of medical technicians (nurses) as you can see on Nicenet under the topic Week 2: Final Project - Describe a Class.

Having listed all tasks correctly, hopefully, I can say that this course will definitely bring a lot of positives to us teachers and through us to our students, since it tries to utilize computer technology as a tool for teaching English which is great because it might prove to be an excellent and above all efficient way of teaching.
Having completed the reflective blog on Week 2 as the final task of this week, I am looking forward to the next week and its challenges.

Jan 9, 2012

Week1 - Creating a blog

       While creating this blog and exploring the possibilities of blog usage I learned that blog can be a very powerful tool when it comes to teaching EFL as well as teaching in general.
       As I have learned at i.e. from Aaron Cambell there are three types of blogs for use with language classes, The Tutor Blog, The Class Blog and The Learner Blog. I have to say that I am mainly attracted by the characteristics of The Tutor Blog and The Class Blog and I can see myself utilizing their possibilities to create better learning environment in classes where I teach EFL. Using a blog is something I did not do so far to work with my students namely because not all of them have constant access to the Internet and not all of them have computers at home but I will try to make the best possible usage of the computers available at school and introduce blogs and blogging as a new method where I will provide students with some extra reading and writing practices and many other practices, and generally try to increase students' activity as well as their will to learn EFL. With these types of blogs students could interact more freely between themselves and also this would provide a significantly relaxed method of communicating with the teacher as well, maybe in a way of Q&A between the students and the teacher where they wouldn't hesitate to ask everything they didn't understand during a certain lecture.
      To conclude, one has to say that the options are limitless and it is upon the teacher to make new and interesting ideas of using the blog with his/her students and in that way making them achieve their main goal, learning EFL in an interesting, new, modern and maybe even funny way.