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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching

Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching is a book, authored by Jeff Stanford, that I've been slowly working my way through since the beginning of the year. Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching could really be described as two books in one. Because of the extensive directions provided throughout the book, even if you've never used Moodle, you can utilize the strategies described in the book. As a case in point, the second chapter of the book is 72 pages long and is dedicated to teaching teachers everything they need to know in order to create a quality online learning environment for their second language students.

Chapters three through eight of Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching offer a combined fifty-five concrete examples of activities for teaching second language skills through a Moodle environment. Each of these teaching activities is outlined with detailed directions for making them work in Moodle. Directions are easily identified in each chapter by the heading "here's how to do it." Attention is given in the directions to pointing out common pit-falls and how to avoid them. I was really impressed by chapter 8 of Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching. Chapter 8 offers seven listening activities that can be done in Moodle. It may be because I've never taught second language learners, but I had never thought of creating listening activities in Moodle.

Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching wraps up with a chapter on assessment and a chapter on extended activities. Included in these chapters are directions for creating assessments in Moodle and record-keeping in Moodle. Also included in the final chapter are ideas for student e-portfolios in Moodle.

Overall, Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teachingis a very good resource for second language teachers who are looking to build an online learning environments for their students. The "here's how to do it" section included with each activity make it possible for new Moodle users to confidently try online teaching activities.

One last note before you run out and buy this book, it's important to note that the book assumes that you already have Moodle installed on a network that you can access. The book shows end-users (classroom teachers) how to use Moodle, but does not give directions for installing Moodle on a network. If you're in need of Moodle hosting, Global Classroom is one of many good Moodle hosting services. If you're not sure if Moodle is going to be "your thing" or not Global Classroom offers a free plan that will accommodate up to 50 students. I have a free account that I use for testing out different Moodle tools.

FTC Disclosure: I did receive a free review copy of Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Learning.

How Millennial Are You? Take the Quiz

How Millennial Are You? is a quiz developed by the Pew Research Center. The fourteen question quiz is designed to assess how much you are or are not like the average member of the Millennial Generation. The average of your responses to the questions (with the exception of the last question about your age) determines how much your are or are not like a Millennial. The entire scoring process is a bit more complicated than that, but that's how I interpreted the explanation offered by Pew. Interestingly, when I took the quiz my score, 63, put me on the edge of being a Millennial while still ranking me as a member of Generation X. Chronologically, that is where my age, 31, puts me too. So in my case the quiz is fairly accurate.

How Millennial Are You? is just one part of the Pew Research Center's larger resource Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next. Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next is based on the Pew Research Center's reports on the behaviors, values, and opinions of teens and twenty-somethings.

Applications for Education
This quiz could be an eye-opener for some parents and teachers. To see how well you know Millennials take the quiz once answering as yourself then take it again answering as you think a teenager would.

Use Drop.io's Upload Widget to Collect Student Work

If your students are in the habit of emailing essays, slideshows, and other creations to you, you know how quickly your inbox can get crowded. One way to resolve that problem is to get all of your students using Google Docs. But if Google Docs isn't an option for your students because of school policy (yes, some schools discourage the use of Google Docs) or other issues, Drop.io offers a solution you might want to explore.

Drop.io offers a simple upload widget that you can embed into your course blog or website. Place the Drop.io upload widget on your blog and your students can upload their work directly to your Drop.io drop from your blog. You can then view your students' work on your Drop.io page and keep your email inbox clutter free. Embedded below are directions for installing the Drop.io upload widget on Blogger blogs and Edublogs blogs.


Here are some previous posts I've written about Drop.io:
How Drop.io Saved My Morning
Present.io - Free Web Conferencing from Drop.io
Phone.io - Podcasting With Drop.io

TED Talk - The World Needs All Kinds of Minds

In this TED Talk recorded just a few weeks ago at TED 2010, Temple Grandin explains how people with autism view the world. Temple Grandin, who was diagnosed with autism as child, shares how the unique way her mind works helps her to solve problems. She goes on to explain the unique skills possessed by people with autism. You might not completely agree with her assessment of what schools are doing for students with autism, but she does raise some great points that should be considered by anyone working with students who have autism.


If you're viewing this in RSS you may need to click through to watch the video.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
15 TED Talks to Watch Before 2010
Put TED Talks on Your Desktop
Teaching With TED Talks

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