domingo, 10 de enero de 2010

A Summary of my Final Project / Un resumen de mi projecto final

Being a technical university, the foreign language requirement at Universidad Simon Bolivar centers on English for Specific Purposes (ESP) which is taught as " Reading Skills" or as the name of the subject in Spanish reads "compresion lectora para la adquisicion de destrezas para material tecnico o cientifico". This is a basic requirement for undergraduate as well as graduate level. However in 2007 a Foreign language Education programme was implemented by Desarrollo Profesoral to help teachers with their English language requirements for their academic needs. My project is aimed at teachers who are in this programme. I will develop reading activity using the Internet where the teacher as well as the students have easy access to it and multimedia class rooms are available for these courses on campus. The objective of this project is for students to develop their reading skills by looking for and finding information on the web (pre determined by the teahcer)which they will eventually use for a final project of their choice. Each reading activity will have specific exercises such as vocabulary, reading comprehension, and/or critical thinking skills.Possible web tools: blogs,wikis, images and video. All this activity will allow for language study. Students can be assessed by carrying out specific language activites provided by the teacher.


viernes, 8 de enero de 2010


In teaching there are two terms that often lead to confusion these are Assessmnet and Evaluation.

Prof. Evelyn Izquierdo( Escuela de Educacion/ UCV ) offers two definitions:

Assessment- requires the gathering of evidence of student performance over a peripod of time to measure learning and understanding. Evidence of learning could take the form of dialogue, journals, written work, portfolios, tests, along with many other learning tasks.
Evaluation -on the other hand, occurs when a mark is assigned after the completion of a task, test, quiz, lesson or learning activity. A mark on a spelling test will determine if a child can spell the given words and it would be seen as an evaluation.

E-Assessmnet can be defined as the use of information technology for any assessmnet related activity. This definition embraces a wide range of student activity ranging from the use of a word processor to an on screen testing. Due to its obvious similarity to E-learning, the term E-Assessment is ecoming widely used as a generic term to describe the use of computers within the assessment process. Specific types of E- Assessment include Computarized Adaptive Testing and Cmputerized Classification Testing.

E-Assessmnet can be used to assess cognitive and practical abiliites. Cognitive abiliites are assessed uding E-testing software; and practicla abliites are assessed using E.portfolios or simulaton hardware.


Assessment as well as evaluation can be complex and subjective at times. An authentic assessment tool of great use is a R ubric. It is used for assessing criteria for formative types of assesssment. A Rubric is like a template where assessment criteria can be clearly established and quite easy to follow.

In her article ¨Understanding Rubrics ¨Professor Heidi Goddrich Andrade says that Rubrics is a scoring tool that lists criteria for a piece of work or it lists ¨what really counts ¨for example in writing it is purpose, organization, details, voice and mechanics.

Whan used as assessment tool , Rubrics help teachers clearly communicate epectations for students work or projects. They can also support student learning.Rubrics can help students know exactly what they did wrong and how they can do it better next time, not just just that the performed task was¨¨bad¨. Rubrics can be used as authentic performance E- based assessment.


http:// www. wikepediaecyclopedia

http;//www. rubrics for

My ICT experience

To those of us who are not Information Technology fans, just dealing with a new computer program can be an ordeal. If you happen to be like me who learnt how to handle a pc and the corresponding software rather recently and gradually; you will be surprised at how far technology has advanced not only in general terms in our daily lives with devices and servicess (telephones, cameras,gadgets and so on) but how information technology is giving us 360 degree turn when it comes to the handling of information and how information is made available in a relatively short period of time. In the field of education and more specifically in language learning, technology and its related tools in information and communication has made enourmous strides and has gone beyond our imagination.

ICT in English Language Teaching (ELT)is a required course for those seeking a master´s degree in ELT at UCV. Most of us in this programme are practicing teachers and I must confess I was overwhelmed at first at not only the variety of tools available but also at the number of possibilites for communicating and teaching that each one has to offer. From a simple a 140 charcter message in Twitter to an interactive web site called Wiki that can carry a recorded message, a video and can be edited everyday to a virtual classroom that can be set up for any audience from anywhere the world with a tool called WIZIQ. It is an infinite universe that we at ELT have been exposed to thanks to the knowledge and effort of professor Evelyn Izquierdo who calls herself a ¨Web Head¨(Yes this is a new term which means web versed)and through her guidance, we have had 16 weeks to get to know, explore and apply all this fantastic information for ELT. At this course blog I would like to share my experience with all those who like my self are what I would call WEB YANOMAMI. Welcome!

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jueves, 7 de enero de 2010

Social Networking/ Communiites of Practice

Etienne Wenger´s Webseminar on Communiites of Practice was in my opinion one of the most complete of AVEALMEC´s live forums. Although a new topic for me, it is not a recent concept.

A community is by definition a group of people with common interets living in a particular area. So then what exactly is a Community of Practice? (COP). Is a COP a group of people who share a concern or passion for something they do and learn and how to do it better as they interact regularly. So any group of passionate people who get together often are a COP, right? wrong !!
According to Professor Wenger who has written extensively on the subject, for a community to be a COP it must have three characterisitics.
The first one is Domain, which is an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership implies a commitment to the domain and a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people.
The second one is The Community, that is members engage in joint activities and discussions, helps each other and share information. members must learn and interact together, otherwise it is not a COP.
The third characteristic is the practice, defined as people who share a repertoire of resources, experiences, stories, tools and ways of addressing recurring problem; in other words a shared practice. it is the combination of these three
elements that constitutes a COP.
In education COP´s help to focus knowledge challenges. The first applications of COP´s have been in teacher training where the concept has been used with success. It has also been used for example, for providing adminitrators with access to colleagues thus providing and helping foster peer to peer professional development activites. COP´s are fine exaples of social learning and learning partenerships. COP´s can make a difference when having to face recurrent problems and how to solve them. In the area of education and of language learning.
COP´s can provide trachers with not only the value of information, and shared experience which is a quite valuable resource, but an added value: to estimulate teachers into working together and to make a commitment to continue growing in their chosen field and fields of interest and passion - teachin

lunes, 4 de enero de 2010

Exploring Virtual learning Environments for Learning

According to Wikipedia, a virtual learning environment (VLE) is ¨a software system designed to support teaching and learning in an educational setting, as distinct from a Managed Learning Environment, (MLE) where the focus is on management.¨ A VLE will normally work over the Internet and provide a collection of tools such as those for assessment (particularly of types that can be marked automatically, such as multiple choice), communication, uploading of content, return of students' work, peer assessment, administration of student groups, collecting and organizing student grades, questionnaires, tracking tools, etc. New features in these systems include wikis, blogs, RSS and 3D virtual learning spaces.

A VLE should make it possible for a course designer to present to students, through a single, consistent, and intuitive interface, all the components required for a course of education or training. Although logically it is not a requirement, in practice VLEs always make extensive use of computers and the Internet.

VLE´s are not restricted to distance education as they can also enrich classroom education. A VLE is a social space, educational interactions occur in the environment. Students are the actors as they construct virtual space. Most virtual environments overlap with physical environments. Some learning environments for learning are: Moodle, Second Life, WIZIQ.

For example the Modular Object oriented Dynamic Learning Environment also known as MOODLE is a software package for producing Internet-based courses and web sites. It is a global development project designed to support a social constructionist framework of education, it allows teachers to apply programes that can allow among other things, to be able to show things to students, the practice and grading of assignments and the creation of course design.

My personal experience centers around WIZIQ the technical platform that allows the setting up of a virtual classroom anywhere and it allows itself perfectly for distance learning. What is really important is that it is relatively easy to use, all you need is to open an account with them to participate and you become part of this huge learning network whereby classes can have chats, video and presentations in real time or if you miss class by any chace, then you can listen to post class recordings.

The world will never be the same again !

"Learning is breaking out of the narrow boxes that it was trapped in during the 20th century; teachers' professionalism, reflection and ingenuity are leading learning to places that genuinely excite this new generation of connected young school students - and their teachers too. VLEs are helping to make sure that their learning is not confined to a particular building, or restricted to any single location or moment." Professor Stephen Heppell, Yorkshire and Humber Grid for Learning Foundation (YHGfL) in Britain.