Friday, April 12, 2013

Absolutely Intercultural Podcast

This week, I find this podcast episode, internationalize yourself at home through simulations in teaching to overcomesocial barriers and culture shock very interesting.  The episode is divided into four parts: Absolutely foreign, absolutely privileged, absolutely real and absolutely simulated. In the first section, absolutely foreign, they have university students to share with audiences their own experience of how to prepare themselves to be internationalized by study abroad or work abroad. In the second section absolutely privileged, the episode focuses on a game called “How far can I get in my society.” The game makes people aware of the social barriers in a society visible. In the third part, absolutely real, it talks about it is very helpful if you have already experienced what you will encounter for intercultural preparation. Zydrune shares her own experience in Germany in this part. In the final part, absolutely simulated, the university lecture intercultural communication helps a lot with interviews about advantages and disadvantages of simulations.
I find this podcast episode is very useful especially for language teaching. In the future, I want to go back to China to teach middle school students English. Since studying abroad is still a very hot issue in China, most of my students will be interested studying abroad, that means most of them will encounter something like cultural shock. I think this podcast is very helpful for them if they could listen to other’s real life experiences and use strategies to get them better prepared to be internationalized. Also, language learning is always about culture learning too, so it is necessary for them to be aware of cultural issues even for those students who do not want to study abroad. It is still a good tool to help them gain a global view.

Monday, April 8, 2013


After exploring the ePals site, I found it a very useful website that offers opportunities around the world to collaborate in learning using technological resources in different subjects. There are many featured projects on this website such as “Class in China Seeks Partners forInvent It! An ePals Project”, which is a collaborative writing project between Chinese second year college students and native English speakers. The project is about learning, cross-cultural communication, environment and global awareness.  They will use resources like Key Steps of the Invention Process, Invention Reading List, Innovative Lives, Invent It Challenge, Invention Educational Materials, Power Point Template to correspond by email and write at least once a month. The project also culminates with students creating multimedia presentations that name, explain and sell their new inventions.
There are other features of this site like Finding a Classroom, teachers can find a collaborative classroom that they are interested in. Also, the website offers instructions of how to use ePals in classrooms, and there are searching categories like specific region, project type, duration, collaboration and common core. This website has so many features that I would definitely use in my future language class to assist my teaching. The most interesting aspect that attracts me a lot is that this website focuses on global collaboration which is a trend especially in language teaching and learning and language learners will definitely benefit a lot from it!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Digital Storytelling by Stupeflix

This is my digital storytelling by using Stupeflix, which is a free a tool that I can add pictures, music, text or even my own videos to make a short digital story.
 I really enjoyed creating my story through this great tool. It’s easy and convenient to conduct and can be very creative since you can upload your own materials. I think in my future English class, it’s a great tool to let my students using digital storytelling to practice writing skills and strategies. They can upload a series photos and add texts on them to narrate their own story by applying specific grammar knowledge and particular writing strategies. Also, it’s great for teacher to conduct collaborative writing activities. Teachers can upload creative pictures and let their students work in groups to write with their imagination. In my future class, I would definitely try Stupeflix for English writing class!

Interesting Experiences on Voice Thread

Among our peers’ voice threads, I enjoyed participated in Miao’s Get Acquainted with Each Other very much. Her class is the ESL class which focuses on communication for international students. She used voice thread to let everybody get acquainted with each other and let everybody talk about their own experiences of studying abroad, either interesting things or difficulties. Her voice thread is very suitable for her teaching purpose because for a speaking class, the purpose is to get everyone speak. To avoid awkward, she come up with these topics that closely related to international students so that it’s easy for students to talk about. And by sharing their own experiences, they can know each other better by having the same feeling in others. 

Also I enjoyed Li Ying’s Princess Class as well, the instructions are very clear by giving examples. She provide an interesting topic for younger learner, the topic will let students engage in the activity with various answers.
All in all, both of their voice threads are very suitable for their teaching purposes and I enjoyed them a lot!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bookr for Digital Story-telling

I'm very enjoyed using Bookr to create my story, it's very interesting and easy to operate on computers. I have discussed the advantages of digital storytelling for language learning for students. And Bookr is such a good tool to incorporate Flickr photos.
In my future teaching, I would use this tool for culture teaching in a language class. My objectives would be culture teaching. As we all know, culture is very important for language learning because it enables students with more communicative competence rather than only linguistic knowledge. In my class, I may use Bookr to let students create stories about English festivals, historical events, food culture or any aspects that they are interested in. I would let them work in groups and present their digital story to the whole class. It's an interesting way to engage students in culture learning and also a more creative way to do presentation.
Although there are limitation about this tool, such as limited photo resources, it is still a wonderful tool for both teacher and student to use in language class!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Digital Story-telling with Flickr

Minibees English Preparatory School - Batman, Mary & Laura Have The Answer!
Photo by school Principal Okc
The picture above is an English class in Minibees English Preparatory School in Guangzhou in China. The  children in the photo seems very engaging in the class. I hope when I come back to China to teach English, I can organize such a great class.
As I read in Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling, digital storytelling is a computer based tool to tell stories which basically suitable for all subjects. The main idea of digital storytelling is to combine the art of telling stories with a variety of multimedia, including graphics, audio, video and Web publishing.
“Digital storytelling is an emerging art form of personal, heartfelt expression that enables individual and communities to reclaim their personal cultures while exploring their artistic creativity.” Through using various kinds of multimedia, it is easier for student to create their own story more vividly and has more visual impact on audiences.
When it comes to L2 teaching and learning, digital storytelling is a great choice for both teachers and students. For teachers, we can use this tool to facilitate us to illustrate new concepts or present new materials. It’s also an engaging way to attract students, especially those visual learners. For students, digital storytelling gives them an opportunity to express their own ideas in a more creative way. Sometimes, language learning is not only about learning linguistic system, it also has something to do with cultures. In my future teaching, I want my students to use digital storytelling to create stories about their own cultures and target language cultures. I think they will benefit a lot from it.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Third World Farmer

As I read in Wikipedia, serious games are simulations of real-world events or processes designed for the purpose of solving a problem.  Serious games are not a game genre but a category of games with different purposes. This category includes some educational games and advergames, political games, or evangelical games and they are primarily focused on an audience outside of primary or secondary education.

Among the serious games, I played Third World Farmer for several times. This is a game that puts you in the shoes of a family of farmers in one of the poorest areas of the world. This remarkable simulation lets you make the important decisions that will determine if your family will prosper, or starve. Upon my experience, it is really not easy to play well. I had six turns but I only had 34 dollars left. Every decision you make should be very careful. You should think twice before action. If I would use this game for my future language teaching, my teaching objectives would be also teaching vocabularies. There are words like corn, cotton, wheat, chicken, cattle and so on. Since it is an out classroom game, I can add my students as family members in this game and I can keep interacting with them and see how they get along with the game. To assess the learning objectives, I would ask students how they make the money in this game. They would describe their selling and buying process by using target vocabularies. And I will also occasionally arrange a competition for them in class to assess their learning outcome of these vocabularies. Thus, through playing the game, they would acquire vocabularies in such a fun way!