April 2nd


SpeekPeek


SpeakPeek is a very original online portal that allows ESL teachers to create interactive speaking and listening exercises for students to complete and submit on the same portal. Using a microphone, students record themselves doing the speaking exercises, and their results are saved on the site for teachers to listen to and grade. Teachers have the opportunity record “solutions” to the exercise in their own voice, and they can provide personalized feedback individually to student for each exercise.

As explained on the official website, it’s very simple to use. First, you create your speaking activity. Second, your students record their answers. The final step if for teachers to listen to their students and grade them.

peek

Advantages

I found a nice blog , written by an EFL teacher, discussing the use of Speech Peek. The author list a variety of advantages I definitely agree with.

1. It is a great way to create digital assignments that can be accessed anywhere.

2.The students receive personalized feedback online.

3. It is a great way for students to practice speaking and listening.

4. The lesson can be as precise as the teacher wants.

5. The students are able to record and listen to themselves, making changes and monitoring their own production in order to improve pronunciation.

6. Teachers can provide recordings of their own voice.

Disadvantages

In order to complete the tasks, students have to have access to a computer with a microphone at home, which might not be the case for everybody.

Pedagogical aspects

Speech Peek, in my opinion, is a great tool for ESL teachers. This kind of tools is very interesting, both for the teacher and the students. The fact that it is a speaking practice tool is very engaging and amusing for students. I believe this tool could be a good motivator for students who are a little bit more sky that others to speak since only the teacher can hear them do their exercises.

Furthermore, it is much more original and alluring for students than typical written exercises as homework.

I conclude that this is a great tool that teachers should use, but only if all their students have a computer and a microphone to work with at home. There are many advantages to this tool, and it is very unusual and stimulating for both teachers and students.

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March 26th


Quill.org


Quill.org is an  interactive grammar tool. This is a lesson based,or exercised based website. This is used by teachers to teach grammar lesson by lesson or by whole units. They can assign the lessons to individual students or to whole classes. Each lesson begins with an introduction and diagnostic paragraph for students to read, proofread, and rewrite. As explained on this website, the writing and the editing is done directly within the interactive tool. Within the lessons, students read sentences and correct them by typing an edited version. It looks like this:

quill

Advantages

I agree with Amy Lauren B. a teacher who wrote a critique about Quill.org. She states that “learning grammar and writing skills in an authentic context reinforces learning and helps foster transfer”. As a future second language teacher, I believe that grammar learning should be acquired in the most accurate and realistic situations. Furthermore, real time feedback is an aspect of this tool that I really like.

Disadvantages

With regards with the disadvantages, I, once again,  agree with Amy Lauren B. She states that it would be better if explanations were not hidden until after answers are corrected by students. This would help them with errors which they have no clue what’s wrong with.

Pedagogical aspects

This website is helpful for teacher because it gives access to precise, targeted grammar lessons that teachers would have to create otherwise.  Indeed, lessons are adaptive; students get immediate, instructive feedback as they progress. Since the grammar lessons are adapted from grade 1 to 8 second language teachers can target the grammar level their students is at.  The color code is easy to distinct for teachers.  This code is: green for mastery, yellow for difficulty, and red for review needed. A negative aspect of this tool would be the students’ motivation. Like Jessica L. explains in her critique, since students have to rewrite the whole sentence, it demotivates them.

As a conclusion, I would recommend this grammar tool, but to be used with moderation. I don’t think that this tool can replace grammar lessons or a grammar book entirely.

March 19th


SuperTeacherTools.net


SuperTeacherTools.net is a fantastic classroom management website. As a future English teacher, I find this website to be very easy to use and very helpful.

The first step is to create a group by creating a user name (your e-mail address) and choosing a password. The second, and last step, is to create a class. When I tried this tool, I named my first class Group 1A. After naming your class, you write your students’ names where asked, and that’s it! When you class is created, you have the choice to use three different tools. The Seating Chart Maker, the Random Name Generator and the Group Maker.

The Seating Chart Maker is a tool to make a classroom plan with the assigned desks. You can add desks, change the shape of the class, have the tool place your students in alphabetical order or in random order. I named my students a, b, c, d, f, g etc. and choose to have them seated in alphabetical order. The Seating Chart Maker created a classroom plan that looks like this:

seating

I find this tool very useful for teachers. It helps the making of the class plan. It is simpler and easier to do and you don’t waste time drawing a plan or trying to put your students in alphabetical order all by yourself. Mandy Mackin explored these tools and did a nice review on her blog. I do agree with her that the Seating Chart Maker could be more complete and that some of the manipulation could be more elaborate.

After, I tried the Random Name Generator. This is a tool that generates random names from you classroom list. It looks like this:

generator

And when you press on NEXT, the generator randomly chooses a name. It looks like this:

name

The lucky student is student “h”. You can continue generating random names by pressing NEXT again. I find this tool very useful for giving out prizes. Instead of writing the names of your students on little papers and drawing a name from a box or a hat, you only have to press NEXT! What a time saver.

The last tool offered on this website is, in my opinion, the most useful one. This tool is the Group Maker. This tool created random teams and looks like this:

groupmaker

You can choose to form your groups by the number of students you want in each groups or by the number of groups you want in total. I choose to have groups of four students. The Group Maker tool created groups like this:

groups

I find this tool to be very interesting for many reasons.

The most important one, in my opinion, is the pedagogical aspect behind it. This tool is quite useful for teachers who use cooperative learning groups and do cooperative learning activities. The use of random teams has its advantages. Kagan, the co-author of the book Cooperating Learning, states that random cooperative teams brings : Fairness, novelty, variety, fun and that they are quick and easy to form.

As a future ESL teacher, I will certainly use cooperative learning teams, and this tool will be handy for team formation.

In conclusion, I recommend the use of these three tools: The Seating Chart Maker, the Random Name Generator and the Group Maker because it makes life easier for teachers.

Anne-Marie Garneau-Beaudoin

Future ESL teacher

February 26th


Citelighter – Say goodbye to note cards: Research and citations made easy for students.


Citelighter is a tool for students to use when doing research and composing research paper or essays. This interesting tool works like a toolbar attached to the web browser of your choice, from a computer or on a phone. Its functioning is very simple. Students find an article or a text on the Internet, and when they find a quote or a paragraph they find interesting, they use the toolbar to highlight the said part. This tool keeps the citation or paragraph highlighted in memory and automatically creates a bibliography. In addition, students can writes note that are linked with the excerpts they want  to keep. This toolbar also permits students to export their work to Google Drive, Words or an E-Mail address. In addition, there are  tutorials offered to help students with difficulty.

I find this tool absolutely amazing. As a future ESL teacher, I will have students write papers and essays with multiple sources. I think this tool can help reduce plagiarism in a significant way. Since the tool automatically creates a bibliography, there are no more excuses for un cited excerpts or citations.

Furthermore, I believe this tool can really help students do their work effectively. This tool keeps them organized without any effort. I know I will have to deal with students that are unorganized and that some of them might tell me: I lost my page, I don’t remember where I took this quote, I don’t remember from which text this excerpt comes from, etc. Using this tool, their work is organized and saved for them.

Amy Lauren B., a teacher that did a review and a critic of this tool, says that “the automatically compiled bibliography may encourage student passivity rather than inquiry into the why of the citation process”.  I do not agree with her. I believe this tool, unlike what she states, can actually help students develop a habit in writing their sources and being organized in their research and note-taking process. However, I totally agree with Yuliana Bagan, who says in her review that this tool has many advantages.

In conclusion, I recommend this tools for ESL teachers as well as other teachers for all the advantages this tool offers to students. This tool makes it easier for students doing efficient research, and therefore helps them being efficient in their writing process.

Anne-Marie Garneau-Beaudoin

Future ESL teacher