Thursday, September 27, 2012

Screencasts

I learned a lot of hands-on skills. I did not know that I could capture the screen and insert narration at the same time for free. One of the reason that I stopped learning and using technology was because I could not afford it. As a lecturer, I did not have fund to try new technology in my teaching. I was amazed by how easy Screenr is. A few weeks ago, one of my colleagues asked me how she could make online teaching materials with audio files included. I wish I had known about Screenr at that time. Immediately, I called her and shared my new learning with her.

One thing that I know from my experience is that learning videos should not be too long. The viewers will not watch all if it is too long. It is better to divide one long lesson to several short lessons. However, when I created my screencast for custom animation in PowerPoint, it was so hard to make a short, concise, and easy one. It took a long time to prepare and created the screencast. But it was definitely fun. I also learned new things from others' screencasts. I liked the idea of making a movie in Window Movie Maker with PowerPoint slides saved as images. I also learned that there is a free tool that I can create a conversation with my students. Everyweek, I learn new things. I look forward to learning new things next week.

Library resources online

I was very happy that I could access UHM electronic database. One of the reasons that I am taking this class is to have an access to the UH Manoa libaray system. After I finished my degree in 2008, I couldn't read adademic journals. Even though I work for the UH system, the electronic journals are only for UHM students and faculty. Now, I can search and read journal articles because I am a UH student. Yeah! I learned that many things have changed and improved in educational technology. I mainly read technology in language learning and learned that educators and researchers are interested in blogging, video/audio conferencing, social network tools, etc., which we try in ETEC622. I downloaded and read several articles. I also investigated general educational technology. Many new things to learn! I am excited about new learning in ETEC622.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Brain research & online learning

It is interesting that our brain can process visual and textual/auditory information separately and simultaneously. It supports what I try in my Korean language. Instead of textual and auditory drills, I present visual and textual/auditory drills. On PowerPoint, I provide a picture describing a situation, and a sentence describing the situation with the target grammar coded in red or blue. When I pursue my Ph.D. degree in second language acquisition, I got interested in connectionism based on brain and neuron research. Linsuists in connectionism argue that language is learned by frequent input and that learners can use language well if the elements of language are well connected. For example, a novice ESL learner may activate its meaning in his or her first language when they hear the word "donate"; a native speaker of English would activate when he or she heard the word, who said the word, and how to create a sentence with the word, etc. I realized that language learners may not receive enough information about language use because textbooks provide only simplified information to ease learners' understanding. But they may need more authentic and complex information to use language. Using pictures, I try to present complex information that I cannot explain one by one orally. It is good to hear that our brain can process complex information simultaneously.

As a language teacher and researcher, I have been fascinated by the potential of online course but worried about difficulty of interaction. About 10 years ago, online courses included reading/listening, multimedia materials, grammar activities, asynchronous bulletinboard discussion, and teacher's feedback. Oral communication was difficult due to technical issues. Now, we have a lot of audio/video conferencing tools. Maybe we have too many tools to choose, and it is hard to select a tool appropriate for our needs. I would like to try to develop an online Korean course using those tools.

Quality Matters Rubric Standards provide what to consider in designing an online course, from introduction to assessment. It will be useful not only in designing an online course but also in evaluating an online course.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Succeeding in an online class


• What are the two most important tips for succeeding in an online class?
Interaction with the teacher and classmates seems to be one of the most important tips for succeeding in an online class. It will include synchronous/asynchronous/face-to-face communication and collaboration. It is easy to hide in an online class. Students should be visible to others in class and be engaged in interaction. Another tip would be to be brave. In the first week, I was worried that I was the only one who got lost. At the class meeting, I was relieved that other people also got confused. We should ask for help bravely when we get lost.

• How would a course designer or instructor address these tips?
A course designer or instructor can encourage and facilitate students' interaction by providing timely feedback on students' performance. Instructions for tasks should be as brief and clear as possible. The instructor also has to inform students how to ask for help.

• Twitter in education
I created an account for Twitter last year but never used it. I did not know what to tweet and whom to tweet. It seemed that Twitter was only for famous people who were often blamed for their careless comments. I learned what I could tweet from the article "can we use Twitter for educational activities." However, I still do not know what to tweet. I at least started enjoying checking tweets from whom I follow. Twitter seems to be a useful tool in creating a learning community. I am considering making a Twitter account for students taking my Korean courses. I could tweet information about Korean language and culture. And students can tweet each other about K-pop info. Then I can keep in touch with students after they complete the course. I am just worried that there might be someone who sends irrelevant or rude messages. Should I "protect my Tweets"? How could I prevent undesirable tweets?