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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Marisa in Edtechland

My Intermediate and First Certificate classes have started this week and I have managed to encourage my students to start their learning year in a motivating way by putting into practice what I had learnt thanks to my PLN members.

Some of my students felt flabbergasted to see I had devised a blog for their class. In this class blog I included a link to a Wallwisher for my students to share their plans, expectations and wishes for this learning year. I have also introduced a link to a dictionary for my students to look up words and phrases at home. Besides, there is a link to a picture dictionary so that my students can develop visual and auditory skills as they can see the picture, read and hear the word. Apart from that, I have included a Website through which they can practise pronunciation in a motivating way.

As I enjoyed Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and found it interesting for teenagers, I decided to use it as an introductory conversation topic for the first class. I started the class by asking the whole group about the films they had seen during Summer holidays. Then, I asked them if they had seen Alice in Wonderland and made them work in pairs to create a chart with what they knew and what they would like to know about this movie (plot, characters, setting, ending). When my students had completed their charts, we talked about it with the whole group and I showed them the movie trailer for them to check if they were able to find replies to what they would like to know. Finally, we watched the video of the soundtrack, for which I use safeshare TV and my students were supposed to identify words and phrases from the lyrics. As all this material is linked in the blog they can continue watching and listening to it at home.

We are going to use this blog as a tool for communication with my students and they can make comments or solve their doubts. I have also invited them to share what they find helpful. I have designed one page for each of the students, where they can do homework and upload material.

In brief, I have managed to encourage my students to become independent learners and to do extra practice after class in a motivating way. I am extremelly grateful to my PLN members, with whom we have shared all these helpful links via Twitter, especially to the soul of my PLN: Shelly Terrell (@shellterrell), whose generosity is endless.


  1. How is the adventure into Edtechland going for your students? I can't wait to read your follow up post on their reactions. My students love the wiki, but at first they had struggled with an online learning platform like Moodle. Did you find any problems?

  2. Thanks, Shelly for your comment! Last year I used the wiki and my students didn't have much trouble joining and making use of it. This year with the blogs they need more help. Many of them created a new blog instead of accepting my invitation to join the class blog. It's not a problem for me and I can follow their blogs. The question is that many of them have felt at a loss. Before a class starts, I help them to solve their problems in the language school. Anyway, the communication is fluent and most of them send comments to me in English and I reply so they're using the language for real communication.
    In my next post I'll write about it.

  3. Hi Marisa,

    I love the idea of using Wallwisher as a way to enable your students to share their plans, expectations and wishes for their learning year!

    I too find Twitter a fantastic place for sharing information and help, and for building a PLN - I wouldn't be without it now.


  4. Thanks, Angela, for your comment. I've had your same experience. I started in Twitter at the end of 2008 because I was curious and I've met so amazing colleagues that I've got hooked. I wouldn't live without it, either.
    By the way, I'm @Mtranslator in Twitter. Feel free to follow me.

  5. Hi Marisa !! I just discovered your blog by reading Adam Simpson´s tweet! Love your ideas, I sort of made the same this year: Padlet, Edmodo...some tools to spice up my Cambridge exam students! Best wishes and meet you online!

    1. Hi Fabiana,

      As the saying goes 'last but not least', I've just seen your comment. I'm ashamed to admit I haven't written a post in my blog for quite a while.
      Anyway, thanks for making a comment and sharing your experiences.
      See you around!