Category Archives: SMiELT08

First Webhead Meeting in Buenos Aires

What is a webhead?

A webhead is according to Dictionary.com a compulsive or frequent user of, or contributor to, the World-Wide Web.

If you look for the word webheads in Wikipedia it says: You searched for webhead No article title matches.

It is just amazing that the most famous free encyclopedia doesn´t have the definition of WEBHEADS.

How do webheads describe themselves?

Let´s read what they  say about themselves.

  • I always find it difficult to tell in a few words who the webheads are. There’s so much to tell…
  • Webheads is a family of specialist on F.U.N!
  • Webheads is a group of enthusiasts keen on learning as much as possible about the role of technology in education and just as eager to help one another on our individual paths to learning and discovery.
  • Webheads  encourage one another to enhance our networking skills, learning the tools most appropriate for this as we use them with each other. We model for one another the most appropriate systems for enhancing connectionism and the sharing of knowledge within our distributed learning networks.
  • Webheads is such a community of online practice which addresses the needs of the educator’s changing role in the Digital Age.

Webheads is the most active online community involved with computer mediated communication in the field of English as a Second or Foreign Language. Members from nearly every country on the planet are represented. Its 700+ active members represent the most robust online manifestation of the 40-year-old, 14,000 member TESOL organization.

Who created Webheads in Action? The creators of this community in 1997-98 were Vance Stevens in Abu Dhabi, together with Maggi Doty in Germany and Michael Coghlan in Australia.  What started as a writing and grammar online experimental class for students (http://wfw.webheads.info) has evolved into a thriving online community of educators with common enthusiasm and shared interest in exploring the uses of computer-mediated communication (CMC).

Webheads in Action

Webheads in Action itself (http://webheads.info) was created as a TESOL Electronic Village Online EVO session in 2002.  Many of the members are language learning professionals. Webheads is a community of practice which offers learning professionals, both seasoned onliners and novices, the opportunity to self-direct their professional growth in a supportive online environment driven by their own enthusiasm, energy, generosity, and the support of the resulting collaborative community.

The purpose of the community is to help learning professionals understand the potential benefits of the appropriate integration of available Internet technologies into their teaching practice by first experimenting and learning in a hands-on, low-risk online environment before engaging their own learners.

You can read more about webheads in the Index of Webheads’ sites and blogs compiled by Teresa d’Eça

Did you know they even have a song?

Lyrics of Michael Coughlin’s new song - A Webheads Theme (December 2008):

CHORUS
Webheads – all over the world
Webheads – we’re all over the world

24/7 – we’re online
It doesn’t really matter – whatever the time
Someone’s there to answer the CALL

CHORUS

You want to know how to do it right
Or maybe you’re lonely in the middle of the night
Someone’s there to answer your CALL

CHORUS

You want to join your class up across the world
Or you want an expert to talk to them live
Someone will answer your CALL

CHORUS

You’re going on a journey to a foreign land
Want to meet a friend there to show you around
There’ll be someone there to answer your CALL

CHORUS

Learning together – sharing our views
Living together – sharing our news
Always someone there – on the same wavelength

CHORUS

By Michael Coghlan

On Sunday 18th Argentine Webheads met for the first time. In the following pictures you will be able to observe the wonderful time we had. I want to thank all Argentine webheads

Rita Zeinstejer, Nelba Quintana, Susana Canelo, Vicky Samuell, Gladys Baya, Alicia Barbitta and Laura for being there and special thanks to the International webheads that made us all meet Gavin Dudeney and Nik Peachey.

I want to expess my gratitude to all the International webheads that are constantly inspiring us Vance Stevens, Dafne Gonzalez, Teresa D Eca, Moira Hunter, Barbara Dieu, Dennis Oliver and so many MORE….all this would have never been possible without your constant sharing and shinning around the world. Big KUDOS to all Webheads and thanks for making Argentine Webheads dream come true….to finally meet face to face.

| View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book
Sources for this blog post

IATEFL Poland Computer Special Interest Group

Microblogging

tumblr.pngtwitter.pngjaiku.pngpownce.gif What´s microblogging?

Wikipedia explains that Micro-blogging is a form of blogging that allows users to write brief text updates (usually less than 200 characters) and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, email, MP3 or the web.

You need time to blog but having to write something in only 200 characters is wonderful if you lack time. My baby and my daughter are very demanding and microblogging allows me to be in touch with educators that share my same passion. Claudia Ceraso told me about Twitter in a face to face meeting we had in a Chinese restaurant called Todos Contentos in Buenos Aires. At the beginning I didn´t understand what it was all about but I can assure you that I learnt more in 2 months with Twitter than in many conferences.

There are many microblogging tools and if you can´t decide among Pownce, Twitter, Jaiku or Tumblr just post to all of them at the same time and after figuring out all their features you can decide which one is the best according to your teaching objectives.

How is microblogging being used in ESL classrooms? Below you will find a short list with some examples .

  • Twitter limits each entry to 140 characters (about the length of this writing so far) before the entry is saved and made viewable to others. Other Twitter users, “Twits,” can then respond to the original twit. This is a great way to get reluctant writers or students who are having trouble getting ideas for creative writing to brainstorm with each other. Source: Free Technology for Teachers
  • For Tuesday your primary homework is to use and become familiar with Twitter. You don’t necessarily need to follow everyone in the class but add in at least ten to get the Twitter experience. You can also choose to follow people who are not in our class. Source: Storytelling for New Media
  • Pownce is a great utility for starting conversations about events in the news. Post a link to a news story and have students reply, the formatting of Pownce allows users to reply to replies or to the original post. Pownce is a useful application for continuing conversation after class has ended. In their replies students can add related videos, web links, and images. Source: Free Technology for Teachers
  • Take a look at this great post on Twitter for Academia.
  • I think Twitter could be ideal for reminding students about homework, trips and such things, especially as they can enter their mobile phone number to be alerted when one of their ‘friends’ updates their account. The advantage is that you don’t need to know the phone numbers of students to get messages onto their device: they are the ones who authorize their mobile phone from the website and they subscribe to your Twitter feed. Source: Teaching.mrbelshaw

WordPress launcheda new microblogging feature last week called. Prologue. “Basically how it works is when someone has the ability to post to a blog they see a short form at the top of the home page with a post box and tags. There they can post short messages about what they’re doing.”

How are you planning to use these tools this year? I still have to continue researching and investigating but can obviously observe the great potential these tools have. I´m a technervy teacher!!!! This means I do what I can to show my students how to use technology.

Web 2.0 Language

Is there a special learning place where nothing but learning happens?  The proper place and best place for our students to learn whatever they need or want to know is a place where until very recently almost every students learned it-in the world itself. 

We daily observe that between what our students learn and the real world, the world of our student senses and common sense, there is no connection. One of the main things we try to do in schools is to give students a tool-language-with which to learn, think and talk about the world they live in. If we have to consider one the most important creations in education we can definelty name the Blackboard. I still use it daily but complement my teaching with Web 2.0 tools such as Blogs and Wikis.

I want my classes to be:

  •       Available 24 hours therefore students can share ideas outside the classroom.
  •      Not closed but opened to collaboration .   
  • Be visually interesting.
  •       Not to be Teacher oriented but student oriented.

On the other hand I want  to show them ways of using the language that would to some extent rise above their limitations and Web 2.0 tools are helping me achieve this.

  

EVO Session SMiELT

social-media-in-elt-logo.png 

 For six weeks I will be co-moderating Social Media in ELT (SMiELT). It is sponsored by Tesol CALL IS and conducted as part of the Electronic Village Online (EVO) sessions. It will run from January 14th to February 24th, 2008.  

Social Media in ELT has been designed for teachers who already have a level of familiarity with blogs, wikis and related technologies and who would like to review, extend their technical/pedagogical knowledge and develop a critically reflected understanding of social media, focusing on their use and implications in language teaching. We will also be connecting with educators involved in the Future of Learning in a Networked World, weaving our comments and reflection on themes that will emerge from this networking experiment. “

 Drupal is the new platform we are experimenting with. There is a helpdesk forum and in the Primer syllabus you can observe the weekly activities. In the Social Forum participants start introducing themselves. Participants have to sit on Magical Chairs  in order to know each other better.

After several weeks preparing this session together with the rest of the wonderful Moderators and Co-moderators I can say that SMiELT is:

Connecting, Collaborating, Sharing, Understanding, Learning, networking, Reflecting and socializing.

Preparing for this session I once again felt like a student and found teachers who constantly:

  • Cared about giving the best for the Team and wore no disguises.
  • Shared from their hearts not lessons from books but life where they are.
  • Took time to help and tutor
  • Showed new ways of learning and teaching

Thanks SMiELT Team for this unforgettable experience that has just started!!!

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