The Flipped SALC?

I’ve been reading quite a bit recently about the idea of a flipped classroom – delivering content via video lessons that students watch at home and using class time for asking questions, working through problems, etc.

It got me thinking about the way we currently deliver the SALC orientation. We offer orientation in a video format, followed by a Q&A session. This should be similar to the idea of the flipped classroom, but I feel as though this could be taken even further.

Extend the orientation video? Create an “interactive” orientation experience (watch the video and complete a series of questions/online activities to ensure comprehension)?

Upon reflection, I believe that I will try creating an interactive orientation for next session. First, it means students can come for orientation at any time and we would be able to get them started at a computer as soon as they come. Second, we can have a final “score” pop of with their answers to the questions – 100% correct could garner a prize. The more I think about it, the more I think this idea has legs!

 

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QR Codes

In what could be considered either a flash of genius or a lightning bolt of insanity, I decided that the SALC needed a QR code:

Why? I’m not sure what sparked this idea. I had seen QR codes around for quite awhile now…perhaps it was the recent purchase of an iPhone that made me more aware of the codes or perhaps it was the desire for something new and interesting, but this was the result.

Honestly, making the QR code was quite simple. I found a free online service that generated the QR code after simply inputting the URL of the website I wanted the code to point to (which, in this case, was the SALC website).

I then simply printed out a bunch of paper copies of the code and hung them up around our buildings with enigmatic statements like “Scan me!” I’m hoping it increases our web traffic and perhaps gets more students to the website – students who aren’t yet using it as a resource.

The digital age of teaching: You don’t need to be a digital expert (via Oxford University Press – English Language Teaching Global Blog @OUPELTGlobal)

Great perspective – we don’t have to be experts, we just have to communicate the desire to learn.

The digital age of teaching: You don’t need to be a digital expert Shaun Wilden, a freelance teacher trainer and materials writer for OUP, gives us an insight into the role of the teacher in the digital age, as well as a reminder that you don't need to know everything! Twenty-first century teaching is no longer about the four walls of the classroom. There was a time when a learner of English had to rely almost solely on what went on within those walls. A really … Read More

via Oxford University Press – English Language Teaching Global Blog @OUPELTGlobal

Analytics

I am completely geeking out over Google Analytics! I tied the SALC website to it and it is so incredibly interesting. I can tell that I am going to spend hours looking at the data….and I’ve never been a data-driven person, but this is just so fascinating! What are people searching when they find us, where are they viewing us from, what pages are they viewing…incredible, and I can’t wait to use this as a tool to inform website development.

 

Personal Learning Network

I’ve been working to create a functional personal learning network for myself and the process has most definitely not been foolproof. I find it decidedly difficult to juggle Google Reader (to follow blogs), Twitter, Classroom 2.0, and the other social media outlets that I browse on a daily basis. In this initial period of absorption, pretty much everything is making the cut of “what I read.” I am hoping that eventually I will be able to winnow down the number of people and blogs I follow to those that seem to be most pertinent and most helpful. Of course, it takes a period of observation before being able to do so.

That’s where I am now – trying to read and process what feels like endless amounts of information in a day. It is exhausting, but at the same time professionally very fulfilling. I run across at least one fantastic idea a day. Now if I could only start putting more of those fantastic ideas out there….

 

Weather trends?

I have noticed that attendance and number of SALC users drastically increases when the weather is poor. I think students are waiting for it to get better before they try to leave the building!

We appreciate the extra traffic…..now if we could just get some of them to focus less on Facebooking (in their home language) and more on learning English, that would be perfect!

Time to stroll around the room with the English reward candy.

Interactive Presentation Tools

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with some of the (free) interactive presentation tools that are out there on the Internet. The two I have recently been working with are Glogster and Prezi.

Gloster was so fantastic and easy to use – I love the fact that you can just drag and drop items around the board and you can see pretty much everything you are working on at the same time. The graphics here are more “fun” and would lend themselves well to presentations of a more personal nature (think: “What I Did on my Vacation”, not “The Effects of Acid Rain on United States Farming”).

Prezi has the great zoom and fly feature that makes the great presentations you often see posted on YouTube or included in TED talks.  It was not as intuitive as Glogster, and finding and adjusting the tools was a bit more complicated, but overall it produced a more polished product that would be appropriate for a more formal presentation or a corporate atmosphere.

That said, I think both tools could easily find a place in our classrooms at the ELI. Students and teachers alike are bored with Power Point and there are so many other great tools out there….