Report on Workshop for RIFLI Staff on Integrating Technology
Wednesday, April 19th, 2006 at Providence's Rochambeau Branch Library
The workshop was a combination of presentations and hands-on interactive exercises. The goals of the workshop were:1) for ESL Computer Teachers Amy and Liz to give other RIFLI teachers some of the internet resources, research techniques and teaching methods they learned in the AEPro course; 2) to model how to instruct students when teaching technology and using the internet; and 3) to give participants experience using and talking about the recommended resources, as well as experience using the online research methods presented.
At the beginning of the workshop, teachers listed how they currently use technology with students. Responses included using PowerPoint, writing in Microsoft Word, accessing myspace, sending email, playing games and typing. Teachers also listed what they hoped to learn in the workshop which included how to make integrating technology more interesting to students, how to emphasize language skills and how to manage multi-level language and multi-level computer abilities. It was also discussed how some students want more computer time and others want less.
Teachers then did an internet scavenger hunt (this can be one way to show internet sites/ resources to participants), circulated around to one anothers' computers to see what they've found/learned/created, and created a technology integration lesson plan. Liz and Amy had teachers search for resources using methods they learned in Google and LINCS and also had them review an educational website and evaluate it based on certain criteria. For a full copy of the workshop's PowerPoint presentation, please contact Karisa Tashjian (email@example.com)
Report on Online Discussions on Technology Integration Topics for RIFLI Staff
March-April 2006 at www.nicenet.org
RIFLI teachers were invited to participate in an online discussion about teaching activities and strategies related to computer integration in our program. The discussions were not in real0 time -- allowing teachers to read and share ideas on their own schedule.
To meet the most pressing professional development needs and interests, they were asked to complete a short online survey. Based on their responses, the four topics were chosen and planned to be discussed for two week periods in March-May 2006. Liz Westhead and Karisa Tashjian served as the moderators.
The discussions were held via www.nicenet.org. Two discussions are complete: "Strategies and tools for using the computer to help with writing for beginner ESL students" which was moderated by Karisa Tashjian. (nicenet - Key G259552D92) and "Computer activities, software and websites for children as well as family activities" which was moderated by Liz Westhead. (nicenet - Key E259552D82). To see the discussions, logon to http://www.nicenet.org, click on Students, Join a Class and enter the Class Key. You will need to set up a free account with a minimal amount of information. After the account has been created, you will only need to logon and use the class key.
The active discussions were held longer than originally planned (3-4 weeks each). Staff participation was lower than expected for several reasons including a very busy teaching time, spring break, nearing the end of the session and not sure everyone fully understood how to access nicenet and contribute. Due to this situation, it was decided that the remaining two topics "Using email with beginner and intermediate ESL students" and "Productivity software lesson plans - use of Microsoft Office programs and integrating them into ESL lesson themesÓ would be held in Fall 2006. The remaining two discussions will be open to all interested RI teachers and advertised in the LR/RI bulletin (more details to follow).
This was our first time organizing and moderating a staff development online discussion. It shows a lot of potential as a learning and teaching tool (including for our beginner and intermediate ESL students). However, several lessons were learned in this experiment. First, it should be anticipated that this type of modality will take time to grow and catch on. Second, it may be useful for participants to sign-up for email reminders/alerts from nicenet. Nicenet is a tool where you have to logon to whereas email is sent to the teacher which requires no reminders. Third, nicenet is an excellent free online discussion area, however, the level of technology skills needed (is there an intimidation factor?) is not clear. It seemed seamless to many of the teachers but perhaps it was a barrier to participation for some. It was certainly unfamiliar to all.
Report on Teacher Share Meeting on Integrating Computers
Tuesday, April 11th at Providence's South Providence Branch Library
Twelve people attended the share held on Tuesday, April 11th. Teachers were very interested in sharing and hearing about innovative ways programs are integrating technology into the ESL classroom in RI. Participants answered the following questions: "Why integrate ESL and Computers," "What are the successes and challenges?" and "Do you integrate technology into ESL? Or, do you teach computers separately?." RIFLI ESL Computer Teacher, Liz Westhead, led the group in brainstorming a technology integrated lesson on the theme of employment. She also shared favorite websites (see nicenet.org). Share participants logged onto http://www.nicenet.org and listed their favorite websites with short descriptions. (class key QZ62046X89).