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ON-LINE BASED COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS are usually built upon authentic learning activities that engage student interest and motivation. There are many advantages of integrating them in the language curriculum, such as: they are based on skills and content combined with the use of information and communication technology, students keep contact with other people using the target language to communicate and reach similar goals as well as do some research and learn about it.
However, some disadvantages must be taken into account before starting an on-line collaborative project. First, many schools are not equipped with the necessary hardware and software to carry out these projects. Second, teachers must be trained, able to work in teams and encouraging to make the most of this experience. Third, adult learners may be reluctant to new ways of learning using ICT. In this case, they may need an extra teacher support.
Despite all these drawbacks, I would like to work on a on-line collaborative project next year. I think it is a challenge and worth trying it.
CONTEXT: Lessons last 2 hours at EOI, so I have created my didactic unit considering this time. This lesson is intended for 3rd or even 4th level students. It could be done in one class or even mixing Ss from different classes, making it funnier and more challenging. I hope Ss enjoy it!
- WARM-UP: (5′ – 10′) Ask Ss what they know about online dating. Have they ever dated anyone on the Internet? Have they ever had a blind date? If the answer is “Yes”, would they do it again? Do they know anyone who has had online dates recently? or anybody who has had a blind date? Was it successful or a failure? Do they think it is important to go on a blind date prepared? If so, what useful tips would give a friend who is interested in having a blind date?
- LISTENING: While-Listening: (20′) Ss watch a video about blind dates. In pairs, ask Ss to write down the tips and discuss them. Do they agree with them? Comment on their opinions in groups. Can they think of any other practical tips? Ask Ss to create their own list of helpful tips in groups. Follow-up (optional): Present their lists in class.
- WRITING: Warm-up: (10′). Ss watch a video about how to write an eye-catching online dating profile and comment on the valuable tips Jonathon Stewart gives us.
- While-writing: (30′) Ss create their own online dating profile using Slideshare. In the previous lesson, the teacher must ask Ss to bring some eye-catching photos in a pendrive to perform this task in class. Ideally, the teacher must have previously asked Ss to read the slideshare tutorial so that they are somehow familiar with this tool from web 2.0. Ss put their profiles on the class blog.
Follow-up: (30 – 40′) Ss analyse their classmates’ profiles. Choose at least 5 potential “ideal” partners according to what they have read in their profiles. Open accounts in Twitter and follow their potential “ideal” partners. Exchange short conversations with the students they follow. Try to find their ideal partner.
Get feedback from Ss after having done this activity.
If you are interested in learning what eTwinning is all about, click on the mind map below.
E-TWINNING is one of the most dynamic and successful initiatives for inter-school activity in Europe nowadays. The European Comission aimed at encouraging schools in Europe to form collaborative partnership using many forms of collaboration technology. Moreover, it is a challenge for teachers because it makes them experiment with new methods of teaching, new technologies and new ways of performing traditional tasks. Etwinning projects can be easily adapted to whatever topic or subject you are teaching, not to mention foreign languages, since there are more than 7158 related projects. If you want to participate in an eTwinning project, you have to sign up first. There you find a partner, develop your project and use the collaborative platform, which offers a wide variety of free tools for collaboration and communication such as private chat room opened 24/7, mailbox, forum and calendar.
In my opinion, eTwinning is one network project to be considered and included in a language curriculum. I thought I could adapt this initiative in the future but my students are generally older than 19 years old, so I am afraid this could be an inconvenience unless I could find a partner to develop a common project with.
YouTube, Skype and Facebook are some of the most useful teaching tools from web 2.0. according to my personal teaching experience. There are many videos available in YouTube which can be used in class. The only problem is that not all classrooms have a PC and Internet connection, at least at EOIs. Whenever I wanted to exploit a video from YouTube last school year, I used to prepare an activity and provide students with the activity and the link for students to watch the video at home and do the exercises.
Skype is a useful digital tool to practise listening and speaking with foreign people at any time. Students can try to contact people from all over the world and maintain free conversations with them. It can also be useful when teachers want to do coaching sessions with their students but they do not have much time available or they do not want to do them in class. Skype allows them to do the coaching sessions at any time from anywhere.
Finally, Facebook is also useful to contact not only those old friends one has not seen for ages but also people with similar interests or problems. One of my students last school year joined a group of people from all over the world who had the same eye illness as one of her daughters. They shared their problems, worries and discoveries through Facebook.
One of the most popular summer festivals in the UK is The Notting Hill Carnival, which is held each August Bank Holiday. It is the largest Carnival in Europe. The streets of West London come alive, with the sounds and smells of Europe’s biggest street festival. The Notting Hill Carnival usually gets under way on the Saturday with the steel band competition. Sunday is Kids’ Day, when the custome prizes are awarded. On Bank Holiday Monday, the main parade takes place. For more information, visit the Notting Hill Carnival official website.
Watch these videos from You Tube. They show two completely different sides of the Notting Hill Carnival. Compare them and write a composition giving your opinion about this London’s must see event. Would you like to go to the Carnival this summer?