Thursday, June 10, 2010



I can't believe it. We've come to the end of ten blissfully, exciting jam packed weeks! Now I have to do the impossible, decide which week was the best. I feel like one sitting with a bag of your favourite Lindt chocolates having to decide which your favourite is. I know, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE! So let me give you a peek and you’ll see why it is so difficult to select the best learning week;

Week 0: It was great to meet everybody from around the world. Suddenly the world was an oyster in my hand.

Week 1: To BLOG or not, you’re must be joking! How exciting it was to learn about blogs, personal and class blogs were most useful to me. I have already decided to make this part of next semester’s writing activities.

Week 2: Well the alphabet starts with A, so too learning. It is all about the audience. Here I was reminded to how to focus my energy and planning to best suit my student’s needs. At the same time I was saving time and energy because I did what I set out to do and enjoyed the reward of meeting my objectives.

Week 3: What a little sweet treat Delicious was! My favourites organized and available when ever but best still where ever I am. This tool came at the right time for me. I remember during week 3, I travelled 800km away from home with my Delicious page waiting for me. It saved me the hassle of transferring documents.

Week 4: I was introduced to this great resource for reading /writing skills. Authentic texts with-wait for it- its own completed exercises, and the cherry on the cake, with the answers!!! Now isn’t that grand?

Week 5: How wonderful it was to be introduced to Webquests! Make no mistake it takes some time to put everything together but oh that great sense of pride once you webquest is published.

Week 6: Rubrics came served on its own platter, Rubistar, your one stop rubric shop. It was so easy to create new rubrics. It was interesting to be reminded of the different learning styles of students but the best part was how to adapt your lessons to reach them.
Week 7: I had never liked power point! That was until week 7. Now I too believe this great tool has a valuable place in my teaching. We were also introduced to great tips on handling large classes. The same techniques were also suitable for smaller classes.

Week 8: We were reminded to make the learner the focus of our teaching. At the end of the day our task is to help develop learner’s sense of independent learning. The examples by Susan on the one-computer classroom were interesting and helpful.

Week 9: I think this was my best, best week. It was during this week I had to defend the incorporation of technology in our courses. The information during this week aided me in my presentation which led to the green light given to incorporate technology in my courses.

Week 10: I feel a bit bereft. Not that the LoTI assessment tool is not interesting, it’s quite the opposite. I have a tool which will help me progress in the use of technology in my classes.
Well all good things must come to an end so too this course. I wish to thank our facilitator, Deborah for the great job she had done. I learnt, was empowered and feel ready to conquer.
Now I’m off to the States for a short break.

Wishing you all a wonderful technology incorporated time ahead

Tuesday, June 8, 2010



We had endless problems with our sysytem resulting in me only uploading my post today.

This week was absolutely amazing in terms of all the Teacher Resources online we received. The best part was that it came at the perfect time. Just this week we, all coordinators/supervisors were called in to discuss our e-learning component of our courses. I shared my desire to incorporate blogs, podcast, power point presentations and using the www to help with searches. My colleagues were stunned that I knew so much. Yet I felt like I only scrapped the tip of the techno ice-berg.
I had created my first nicenet page and it was quite easy. I managed to create the first 3 pages. I look forward to next semester to see my students’ reaction to this far more user friendly site.
I felt quite spoilt by all the resources shared to help us create more fun exercises to print. I especially liked the Test Maker; it allows you to change the format of tests.
This week I learned not to give up.
If you wonder whether to use technology in your class or not, save yourself the time and start using it. You’ll be surprised at the world out there waiting to be explored.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Week 8:Learner Autonomy, One-computer classroom


This was a very emotional week for me. My colleague lost her 3rd son in a car accident on Wednesday. It was so sad.

Amidst the sadness, I manage to submit my draft project. It was actually interesting to submit my work for on-line peer evaluation. This project made me reflect on some of my successes since incorporating technology and some of the other theory we had learnt in this course.

This week I was reminded of learner-centered learning. What does it really mean? The learner takes charge of its learning as quoted by Holec in Thanasoulas. The only concern I have with learner autonomy is that the learner must be mature to realize its learning is dependent on itself and not on the teacher. The reality is that so many learners expect the teacher to perform whilst the learner sits back and watch. I was so taken aback, stunned when a learner told me another lecturer had sent him to me as his English lecturer to improve his English. I don't know when I became God to quickly fix fossilized errors. The irony was that this very same student didn't bother once to apply any of the things I had shared concerning his poor spelling.

For teachers to embrace learner autonomy they to should experience autonomy. Smith suggested to use the loophole in the system to create teacher autonomy. Sheu suggested some ways to incorporate learner autonomy by encouraging students to read other types of material, like newspapers, magazines, watching and listening to English programs. Learners can also make their own vocabulary cards or keep diaries. students must be encouraged to learn outside the box.

Furthermore we also looked at the one-computer classroom. We don't realize how privilege we are to have computer labs for our classes. We learnt how to use a very basic technological tool, like a laptop, to enhance the effectiveness of a lesson. We received numerous valuable resources/websites that we can use. I liked the one by Susan Gaer, her handout to various activities for Low Level Activities for Adult ESL. It is complete, relevant, varied and useful.

We had a visiting moderator, Jeff. who showed us some other tools. I even create a wordle. It was great fun. I will definitely use it in class.

Well, it was great to learn something new. The challenges of becoming better teachers should keep us motivated to try our best.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

MY powerpoint game


I managed to create my first ever powerpoint game. It was an interesting experience.
Now my work is part of our group's wiki, julesjeopardy.


Large classes, and INTERACTIVE powerpoint


Wow what a week! We are facing the end of a semester and it was really hectic. In addition I had to travel to Cape Town. The learning this week was interesting.

I’d never liked PPT. The worst punishment was listening to a presenter reading from their slides, expecting me to stay awake or worst, show interest. Most of the time, I would leave a presentation and just ask for a copy of the presentation. I never thought PPT can be interactive or very effective to be part of my lecturers. Since I never liked boring presentations, I had no desire to use it.
However, I’ve learnt PPT can be a very useful tool as part of the class. I can use PPT to continue class outside class use as part of the tutorials. This is great in that it allows the discussion/work to continue outside class. In Incorporating Multimedia in Your Teaching, the author states that we need to include as many of the learning strategies to teach as many of the learning preferences. The author further stated that 65% students are visual, 35% auditory and 5% kinaesthetic learners. Since the majority of learners need visual stimulation, proper use of PPT can be effectively incorporated to enhance learning. PPT further highlights/ illustrates speech and does not replace handouts. Another advantage is that it allows you to include a variety of media; sounds, videos, music, etc., to enhance teaching and learning. PPT can further include interactive games using action buttons. This amkes PPT a very useful tool indeed.
Best Practices in Presenting with PPT, presents any user with very useful tips on creating quality PPT. The fonts are classed as Serif; with tails like Times News Roman and Georgia best used for large amounts of text and Sans Serif fonts; no tails like Arial used for small amounts of text. Secondly the size of the font must be big enough to be read from any angle by all in the class. A size 36 was presented as suitable for the body text. Also Arial and Times New Roman was presented as the better font options. I further learnt to keep to (7/7)25 rule: 7 words, 7 sentences not more than 25 words per slide. It is advised to keep the slides as simple as possible yet interesting .I liked the fact that the author emphasised the fact that PPT should accompany the lecture and not dominate the lecture/class. Before presenting your PPT lesson, make sure to practice, knowing your moves before presenting the lesson to a class.
I’ve learnt that PPT, if used interactively, can be an effective lesson aid. I am looking at PPT with new eyes.

Best Practices in Presenting with PowerPoint: Teaching Effectiveness Program, Academic Learning Services.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rubrics, Alternative Assessment, and Learning Styles


I've been using rubrics for some time. It is an indispensable tool. I find that it helps me to stay objective of what the student had achieved. In addition, it ensures that all lecturers in LPB mark consistently and marks are awarded fairly, irrespective of the marker. In addition, I found some great examples of rubrics; - an easy to use rubric for presentations.
A great student friendly- Student Friendly Writing Rubric- that will help the student to edit its work before submission,
Nilufar also created a good presentation rubric, Begibaeva_rubric.doc.
If you are stuck with creating rubrics, visit,, they will even help you to create your own rubric.RubiStar is a very user friendly tool;

This week I was reminded of the importance of knowing how my students learn, Learning Styles. I must admit, I did not pay much attention to this. Now I have the opportunity to properly provide for my students learning styles when drafting our new course workbook.The article on technology and Multiple Intelligences, presented good explanations on the various [9] different intelligences and the bonus was what to use to help the different type of students learning style. If you wish to test your student's learning style let use this link, here you'll find a questionnaire with 40 questions. The student completes, submit and learns about its learning style. If you are still in the dark about Learning Styles, read Sailing the 5C's with Learning, It's a bit long, 5 chapters BUT believe me it was worth the read. The best part of it was the tables used to illustrate the various styles and how to teach them.Lots of useful strategies and examples.That was just Chapter 2!
According to Rick Finnan and Donna Show, a teacher must have knowledge how the student learn to transform the student into an active learner. The workshop handout, Teaching Large Classes II, Enhancing Learning by Engaging Students, Oregon University, was very helpful.The best part was the practical tips to help enhance learning in large classes and conduct alternative assessments. I was challenged to use different assessment methods other than the traditional test. I was reminded that students are part of assessment. I don't have to be solely responsible for my student's learning. If we, student and teacher, assess student's work, we share the load. The student would be motivated to work harder. However, I must confess, I enjoyed the article by Rick Finnan and Donna Shaw, very useful,
Here you'll find some very practical ways to rejuvenate your large classes. I particularly liked the small group informal learning activities, Think-Pair-Share, Concept Test, Quick-thinks, Minute paper and Concept Maps, simply because I can use them immediately in my class.
Well it was an interesting time.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Project-based learning and Webquests

Many a time I am amazed at the prehistoric picture people have of Namibia, lions roaming free with people running from elephants, that are found around every corner. Hahahaha. Yet I felt quite the dinosaur when we started. Every week I am pleasantly surprised at how technology can liven up teaching. This week we learned about webquests. I asked my colleagues and students if they knew webquests? Only to learn it is a term not known and an activity not used.

This week I learned about valuable tools, project-based learning [PBL] and webquests. Susan Gaer, describe PBL as a dynamic way of teaching. Imagine, teaching becoming vigorous, energetic, and full of life! Indeed PBL and webquests open a new world of learning. The teacher is not the central component but the student. A real student centered practice. The student is given a real problem and allowed to explore ways to solve the problem or create a product. The student becomes a creator in its learning process simultaneously developing different skills, like language. Dr. Bernie Dodge of Santiago State University defines a webquest as an inquiry-orientated activity that uses resources on the World Wide Web ( The picture that comes to mind is not the one of the teacher with a stick, but of a teacher standing with the world in its hand presenting it to the student with the instruction, “Here, use it, explore, learn and have fun creating.” With webquests, students become independent learners, learning at their own pace. In the process they unconsciously improve/ develop language skills while focusing on developing a project. Students can work on their own or in groups further developing interpersonal and social skills. The best part is the student is motivated to finish the project.

Since I want my teaching to be full of life, I will most definitely incorporate webquests and PBL as part of my curriculum next semester. I concur with Susan Gaer’s article title, Less Teaching and More Learning, cause surely the time has come for teachers to step back and allow student greater autonomy in their learning process.

I found it quite daunting to create a webquest but the instructions on
were clear and made it easy to create a webquest. The best part of this site was the access to already created webquest with the option to adapt them for your class.

Would you believe, I actually created a webquest. I still have to add some more pictures but it is there. the experience was worth the time. It was not even difficult. If you plan to create a webquest, I would advice you first find all the pictures, music, videos and quizzes you want to use. I am very excited and can't wait to use this new tool. Believe me it was an absolute joy creating the webquest. Try it for yourself,

Let’s throw those spoons away and give our students the globe, step back and enjoy their learning.