Monday, December 7, 2009


Assessment and Evaluation
First of all we have to be aware of the difference between evaluation and assessment. According to the Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, the former frequently involves gathering information on patterns of language use, language ability, and attitudes towards language; it uses both quantitative and qualitative methods, a mark is assigned. While the latter is the measurement of the ability of a person or the quality or success of a teaching course; it may be by test, interview, questionnaire, observation, among others.

What are the purposes of assessment?
Kellough and Kellough (1999) identified seven purposes of assessment:
1. Improve student learning;
2. Identify students’ strengths and weaknesses;
3. Review, assess, and improve the effectiveness of different teaching strategies;
4. Review, assess, and improve the effectiveness of curricular programs;
5. Improve teaching effectiveness;
6. Provide useful administrative data that will expedite decision making; and
7. To communicate with stakeholders.

What is assessment? What is e-assessment?

According to Wikipedia, educational assessment is the process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs. Assessment can focus on the individual learner, the learning community (class, workshop, or other organized group of learners), the institution, or the educational system as a whole. E-assessment refers to the use of information technology for any assessment-related activity. This definition embraces a wide range of student activity ranging from the use of a word processor to on-screen testing. E-assessment can be used to assess cognitive and practical abilities. Cognitive abilities are assessed using e-testing software; practical abilities are assessed using e-portfolios or simulation software.
E-assessment is becoming widely used. It has many advantages over traditional (paper-based) assessment.

What are the advantages?

The advantages include:

  • lower long-term costs
  • instant feedback to students
  • greater flexibility with respect to location and timing
  • improved reliability (machine marking is much more reliable than human marking)
  • greater storage efficiency - tens of thousands of answer scripts can be stored on a server compared to the physical space required for paper scripts
  • enhanced question styles which incorporate interactivity and multimedia.

Among all the assessment tools there are, we can mention concept maps, concept tests, knowledge surveys, exams, oral presentations, poster presentations, portfolios, written reports and rubrics.

Richards, J.; Platt, J. & Platt, H. (1992) Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics Essex: Longman

Exploring virtual environments for learning

Virtual learning environment (VLE)
According to Dillenbourg, Schneider and Synteta (2009) in Izquierdo (2009), a VLE is a design information and social space where educational interactions occur. In this VLE, students are not only active, but also actors, they co-construct the virtual space. A VLE is not only for distance education, it also enrich classroom activities. Some VLEs used for learning are: moodle, WizIQ, Elluminate, Aladonet and Second life.

Moodle (Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)
It is an online course management system, an adjustable environment for learning communities, a software package design using pedagogical principles and designed to support a social constructionist framework of education. It is an open source and freely available.
It supports: small and large learning communities, different learning and teaching styles, delivery of learning activities and publishing of resources, collaboration and communication and compatibility with different standards and tools.

Izquierdo, E. (2009) Virtual learning

Web-based lessons, design and evaluation

What is a web-based lesson?
According to World Education Literacy Division (2005), a web-based lesson is a lesson that incorporates a Web site or some Web sites. It can be conducted entirely online or in a traditional classroom lesson with an online component.
There are different purposes for a web-based lesson such as: research, reading. writing, publishing and collaboration with other teachers and students around the world.

What are the advantages?
• More interaction and dynamism
• Development of creativity
• Promotion of critical thinking, original activities and collaboration
• Opportunities for all learning styles
• Improvement of interaction teacher-student and student-student
• Usefulness for language learners because they are exposed to a variety of formats, images, video and sound

What does a web-based lesson plan include?
• Date
• Teacher
• Class / Level
• Topic
• Objectives
• Web sites used
• Name of web site 1 (2, 3…)
• Rationale for selecting this site
• Other materials
• Teacher preparation
• Steps for learners
• Description of pre-computer/classroom activities
• Description of computer/online activities
• Description of follow-up activities

Web-based lesson

Teacher: Ayleen Trujillo Ruiz

Class: English II Level: Intermediate

Topic: Translation techniques

Aim: Students will practice previous knowledge and apply translation techniques


  • Students will analyze sentences taken from the text

  • Students will translate and explain the technique used

  • Students will summarize the text

Materials: The Boy Who Drew Cats (short story)

Warm up:

  • Students on WIZIQ make a word map based on the title of the story with words they expect to find in the text

  • The professor explains the basic techniques used in translation with a Power Point Presentation

  • The professor explains basic vocabulary. If students do not understand any word they can look it up in (an online dictionary)

  • Students go to the web page and read the text


  • Students answer oral comprehension questions about the text on WIZIQ

  • Students answer a True/False exercise

  • Students analyze morphological and syntactically some sentences taken from the text shown in the blackboard (WIZIQ)

  • Students put the events in the order in which they occur on the class blog

Wrap up

  • Students translate some paragraphs from the text and explain the techniques used in the translation on the blog.

  • Students by turns will summarize (in Spanish) the text orally and then they will do it on the blog, including images, etc.


Communities of practice

Communities of practice: Flickr

Community of practice (CoP) is a term that describes a group of people who share an interest, a craft, and / or a profession. It is through the process of sharing information and experiences with the group that the members learn from each other, and have the opportunity to develop themselves personally and professionally.
On the net we may find some communities (CoPs) such as: facebook, twitter, edmodo and flickr. People can join these sites and share their profiles, hobbies, interests, pictures and so on.

What is Flickr?
Flickr, created by Ludicorp in 2004, is an image and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, the service is widely used by blogger to host images tat they embed in blogs and social media. Flickr offers two types of accounts: free and pro.

Educational uses of Flickr
It is a powerful application which holds enormous educational potential (Ricardson, 2006). Flickr is commonly cited as an example to define Web 2.0. Participation in social networks will allow learners to use the intrinsic motivation which lies within all students. Since many language learners may fear participation whether oral or written, here are a few examples of how Flickr can help to overcome linguistic barriers and begin to promote visual literacy skills: commenting on flickr, blogging with flickr, digital storytelling, bubbling comic dialogue and trading cards, among others.


Webconference Social Networking 2009 in AVEALMEC

According to the web page, social networking is a powerful educational resource for language teachers and students; not only because it encourages the development of social and communication skills, but also because it responds to a different way of processing the exponentially growing information on the net.
AVEALMEC (AsociaciĆ³n Venezolana para la EnseƱanza y Aprendizaje de Lenguas Mediadas por el Computador) and ARCALL (Argentine Association of Computer Assisted Language Learning) are two associations interested in promoting the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the language classroom. They have organized the first regional event, called “Social Networking 2009”, to help spread the word on the role of ICT in language classes, where they offered 12 video-conferences.
Here you can read the summaries of three of the conferences.

Before and after Twitter: personal learning environment
By Graham Stanley (UK – Spain)

Professor Stanley affirms that a Personal Learning Environment is a system that helps people take control of and manage their own learning. The rise of Twitter and other Web 2.0 tools have made easier the management of learning and professional development of teachers, and communicate with their colleagues.
He states that in 2009 Twitter was the first more used social network and that it has a very important place in the landscape of Web 2.0 tools. As you can see in the following picture it is in between blog communities and micromedia, but also in lifestreams. Professor Stanley affirms that after twitter people is blogging less, in fact, he is blogging less.

Twitter is for staying in touch and keeping up with friends no matter where you are or what you are doing. At the beginning the idea of Twitter was for mobiles, SMS text messages; but now Twitter has become a very important and useful tool, specially for teachers, due to the wide range of activities and applications it offers. It has become a very valuable tool for English teachers, a place where they can go for help and support from their colleagues. It is very useful skill for learners too, because it leads to language in use, language practice and students autonomy. There are many activities that may be used by teachers in order to help students in their learning process, always taking into account the development of students’ autonomy.

Flickr: design that connects
By Carla Arena

Professor Carla Arena begins her presentation with a definition of Flickr: it is much more than just an online photo sharing space. It’s a hub for educational experiments, networking and visually appealing inspiration to any educator.
She explains that Flickr has gone beyond the power of images by enabling the creation of networks and the connection of like-minded educator, schools and students through the various tools it offers, such as a photo sharing space, creation of galleries and slideshows and mail.
Flickr, according to prof. Arena, is one of the most powerful Web 2.0 tool because it promotes interaction between people around the world and because it allows people telling stories with images.
Regarding the educational uses, Flickr may be used to create flashcards online for classes. It also may help students developing critical thinking through pictures. Flickr may help teachers creating discussions and conversations about any topic using the pictures. Students may also post their pictures and describe them and/or comment on them.

Second Life

Second Life
Second life is a virtual world created by Linded Lab in 2003 and it it available in Internet. Users are able to interact with others through avatars that they create. In this world you can socialize, participate in individual or group activities, create and trade properties, travel around the world, have some holidays and do a lot of fun activities. This program is for people aged 18 and over. Users have to be careful because there are no restrictions to be in this world, so you can find anything you can imagine.

Educational uses
This platform, Second Life, is used in education by many institutions, such as Universities, Colleges and Government entities. It is very useful not only to teach any subject but to conduct research as well.
In Second Life learners become immersed in education. This platform can provide and deliver a unique educational setting in which students are able to communicate, participate and practice the target language.
In this 3d virtual world, students may be engaged in role plays, scavenger hunts, guided tours to places they are studying in their real world classrooms. Students can learn by doing (creating objects) and share information with other students (from their classrooms or from any part of the world). There are many vocabulary activities, for instance, students can look for objects that contain the definitions inside. In second life people can find tutorials, simulations, language translators and professional networks.
If you are interested in educational uses of Second Life you may visit

This is me in Rave Beach.

Here are some pictures:


Monday, November 16, 2009

Web 2.0 Voice and video tools, podcasting, voice mailing

Audio and Video Podcasting
Podcasts are web 2.0 tools. According to Wikipedia, a podcast is a series of digital media files, usually either digital audio or video that is made available for download via web syndication. It is generally in mp3 or AAC format. Podcasts, videocasts or vodcasts can be downloaded and retrieved later by the user in a computer or portable audio device. The more popular podcasts hosts are audacity, podbean, podomatic and There are other Web 2.0 audio tools like: skype, snapvine, google talk; and video tools like you tube, for example.
Podcasts allow you to capture any show and watch it at any moment or place and as many times as you wish, usually for free.
According to Podcasting in Plain English there are three main reasons to podcast: the first one is that anyone can do it because it is very easy; the second reason is that you can subscribe to any web site that has great podcasts and the third reason is you can take it with you in the computer or in an MP3 device or an IPod.

Educational uses
There are many activities that you can design for students with podcasts in order to help your students practice the language. You can do role plays, news programs, podcast dramas, spelling bee and book talk. This way, students can be more involved in their learning process and they may be more comfortable due to the fact that they are used to deal with technology all the time.
Here is my first podcast:

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This is my first voice message at Snapvine:

Podcasting in Plain English