Friday, October 28, 2011

What can we do in the TV Room?

A brief history

The TV used to work!

  • It was linked to satellite and students could watch news and sport in English.
  • However, it seems this can't happen any more.

At present the TV room can be used for speaking practice, or for short readings, jokes, magazines etc, or just as an overflow study room.

What are your ideas? What could we do there? Post your suggestions!
Please bear in mind that :-  
  • The SAC has no budget, and operates on donations and teacher created materials.  At the Staff Meeting Eda Hn did mention that she might be able to get some money.
  • There would have to be someone on duty if  anything of value was there (apart from the students that is!)
  • Running any sort of 'club' would also mean someone needs to be there to organise and help.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The things we do...

Here is a thumbnail of a bar chart of the responses to the poll on the use of computer and data projector in class.  Click on it to see the full size version.

The things we do with technology appear to fall into several broad categories:

  1. Typically, over half of our use is to deliver content--the bulk of this is delivering content based on files/media created and stored on the computer, with a smaller portion being content that is accessed via the Internet.  
  2. Almost one-third of our use of the computers is going beyond straightforward delivery of pre-determined content, but rather interacting with Internet resources to access content live in the classroom.  
  3. While almost 90% of our use is either delivering or accessing pre-existing content, we can see a trend developing to create our own content based on the specific needs of the students and to fill any gaps in the materials. 

Since we have a lot of pressure to keep pace with the curriculum and syllabus, the amount of time to create content will remain limited.  Quite naturally, we have seen teachers sharing content (flashcards, animations) to maximize the value of the time we can find to create materials.  In fact, this blog is one example of how a community of practice  can be built by teachers to share ideas and creative output to the benefit of the students.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Poll on the use of computers and data projectors in the classroom

It's been over a month since we started teaching, so it might be useful to see what trends have been emerging about the use of the computers and data projectors in class.

  • The following poll is on POLLDADDY, so the responses are anonymous.  
  • Just tick as many of the uses of the data projector that you have used in the class, and we can get a general picture of the emerging uses of this technology.
  • You can see the results as they come in.
Thanks in advance for your input.

Commonwealth Scholarships

Just saw details about 2012 Commonwealth Scholarships via Facebook.

Goanimate - TNF unit 10 lesson 1

Thanks Gülşen for sharing this!

This is a really great example of using GoAnimate to provide a bit of variety in the class.

  • I haven't used this 'scene' before, but I like the way you can control the characters' movements! Neat! 
  • Also, hats off to you for combining two scenes in one. Did you do this using the YouTube video editor? Very professional!

Gülşen--I am really curious to know what your students' reaction was, and how you exploited it in class.

  • I wonder how long it took you to put this together? Upon reflection, do you think that the time it took was well spent? 
  •  In fact, like the example of Erhan's flashcard stacks, I guess it would be possible for teachers to form a small working group, and create a set of these to share.  What do you think?

Flashcards in practice

Really inspiring to see how teachers can take a few ideas from a workshop or a friend, and build something truly remarkable.  We all have to walk a tight-rope between trying to cover the syllabus while at the same time attempting to find time to create opportunities for meaningful learning.

The vocabulary 'journal' is a good case in point, and thanks to Erhan, we have a nice example of how such a resource can be made more 'interactive' and more 'fun' for students. Erhan has been plugging away at the target vocabulary for the past few days, and has already amassed a considerable number of flashcards in his 'channel' at

  • I really like the way he has numbered the stacks, making it easy to sort them and find a particular set matched to a particular point in the syllabus.  And, as Talip showed us in his workshop, you can 'tick' multiple stacks to create activities (I love the hangman game) to use directly in class. Combining words from multiple stacks means that students can start to see how learning vocabulary is cumulative, and not just learning words one week and then forget about them.
  • Also, the PRINT option to create crosswords, wordsearch puzzles, and matching activities as a worksheet to use in class is a great way to add variety to a lesson, and have on hand when the technology lets us down.
  • Also, it is possible for students to download these to their smart phones, as Talip showed us.  

In fact, it might be an idea for teachers at one level to 'share the load', and each do one stack apiece and share the results.  Of course, as Algi mentioned to me in the hall, it would be even better to shift this responsibility onto the shoulders of students, and get them to build the stacks for us. Now that prospect is really attractive....


Thanks to Talip for his excellent workshop on using flashcards in and out of the classroom.

  • His technique of using a simple table in Excel to capture lexis during a lesson using the data projector is a great example of how easy it can be to meaningfully integrate technology into the classroom.  
  • However, it was a revelation when he showed how in an instant he could upload the words and definitions written by the students in class, to an online flashcard site ( before the lesson finished.  

What was truly mind-boggling was how the students could use their smart phones as they walked to the canteen to download the flashcards just published from the classroom, and start using them on their phone before they had ordered coffee.

  • This is truly a glimpse into where technology is heading in terms of education and individualized learning.  
  • Makes me almost want to run out and buy a smart phone!  To whet your appetite, just watch the video below that illustrates the power and ease of use of flashcards on smart phones.  Thanks to Talip, we now know that we have this power at our fingertips in class, and how we can take just several clicks to move words we focus on from the keyboard in our classrooms to each individual student's smart phone in their hand.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5 Non-Verbal Ways to Do Error Correction

Here is a nice reminder about 5 Non-Verbal Ways to Do Error Correction in class. The site is a 'social staffroom network' where ESL and EFL teachers post ideas and share worksheets. Worth a bookmark, and you can share your ideas there as well.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

11th METU ELT Convention: Claudia Harsch talks at the 11th METU Internationa...

One of the invited guest speakers at the 11th METU ELT Convention: Claudia Harsch talks at the 11th METU Internationa...: Dr. Harsch is currently an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Applied Linguistics, The University of Warwick, United Kingdom ...

Friday, October 14, 2011

full time instrument: Follow me on twitter!I am not a new twitter user...

Not sure how many of you use TWITTER, but if you do and wonder how it could be used in teaching, this is a really nice find by Buket Cam, one of the teachers-in-training in the ELT programme at METU that I follow.  If you have no idea about TWITTER and are curious, then this is a good introduction. 
I've been trying to use TWITTER for a couple of years now--I have been making use of it to build my personal learning network, but I haven't yet been effective in using it in teaching. The video that Buket found gives me some inspiration to keep trying. :) If you have experiences to share about your use of social media in general, or TWITTER in specific, please comment. Here is the link to Buket's post.

full time instrument: Follow me on twitter!

I am not a new twitter user...
: Follow me on twitter ! I am not a new twitter user. Actually, I want to make a list about why I use Twitter. * It is easy to get news al...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Death by Powerpoint

I'm sure many of will have seen this classic 'What NOT to do with PowerPoint', but I have watched this over and over again and still find it amusing.  Perhaps MLP ENG211 students would benefit from watching this too?

BUZZWORDS poster - affect/effect

Dindy is publishing her collection of language point posters in SCRIBD. Here is an example of one of them.  You can join Dindy's channel on SCRIBD and get updates of new posters as they appear.  If you have a poster you want to share, send it along to Dindy to add to the collection.

Affect Effect

Sunday, October 9, 2011

ELTons 2012 - Call for Applications!

I am a member of the Lexitronics research group, based in North Cyprus.  Our research group (John Eldridge, Nilgun Hancioğlu and I) were nominated in 2009 for the ELTons awards and the nominated again in 2010. Although we didn't win either time in the International Category, it was a good experience to help focus our research interests and projects. 

The ELTons, sponsored by Cambridge ESOL, are the only international awards that recognise innovation in the field of English language teaching.   They have some interesting new categories this year...maybe you are involved in an area that would qualify for entry? The Macmillan Education Award for Innovative Writing is also open to any ELT author who has not yet published any of their work. The winner receives £1,000 and the opportunity to publish their work. 

Find out more about the categories and how to apply on the ELTons 2012 websiteThe deadline for applications is 2 December 2011.  Any queries should be addressed to  

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Steve sent me some sites for JAZZ CHANTS, which I used to use a lot previously. If you want to add a new dimension in your classroom teaching, I've got a copy of some of the books and the audio files.  Come to my office or send me an email and I'll share my copies with you..

This is a good video, aimed at teaching young learners, by Carol Graham who came up with the idea in the 1970s.

Good luck

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs at the iPhone launch (Jan 2007)  BBC Picture

Let's remember what we owe to this guy.