Sunday, June 29, 2008

Connectivism and Connective Knowledge

Tangled Web by Gruno Girin

There will be an exciting experiment of an open online course offered by George Siemens and Stephen Downes in Septmeber. The details of the course show that it covers the following topics through various techological means:
Week 1: What is Connectivism?
Week 2: Rethinking epistemology: Connective knowledge
Week 3: Properties of Networks
Week 4: History of networked learning
Week 5: Connectives and Collectives: Distinctions between networks and
Week 6: Complexity, Chaos and Research
Week 7: Instructional design and connectivism
Week 8: Power, control, validity, and authority in distributed environments
Week 9: What becomes of the teacher? New roles for educators
Week 10: Openness: social change and future directions
Week 11: Systemic change: How do institutions respond?
Week 12: The Future of Connectivism

I'm very much looking forward to the course which starts in September. However, since my own courses start at that time, I'm trying to do as much reading as possible beforehand.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Buenos días, Grandma

I found a recent CALdiget article from the Center for Applied Linguistics on current research on raising bilingual children. Two points that refute assumptions that many parents and pediatricians hold are that

  • Although many parents believe that bilingualism results in
    language delay, research suggests that monolingual and bilingual
    children meet major language developmental milestones
    at similar times.

  • Despite many parents’ fear that using two languages will result
    in confusion for their children, there is no research evidence
    to support this.
    On the contrary, use of two languages in the
    same conversation has been found to be a sign of mastery of
    both languages.

I found this recent research particularly interesting because I live in a household with newborn twins whose mother is a speech and language pathologist. Although everyone in the household had agreed that it would be beneficial that I speak Spanish to the infants, we did wonder about the "speech delay" issue. My own background is in linguistics and bilingual education, but I hadn't heard about the concept of speech delay until talking with my daughter-in-law. We had both unsuccessfully searched for relevant research previously, but now we have this excellent article with references.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Embedding Music in Your Bog

Aaron Campbell recommended a site called Seeqpod which lets you search for your favorite mp3 files or music videos and put them on your blog. He tells how he used this in his own classroom.

Here are the instructions from the Seeqpod site for creating a playlist and adding it to your site. Here in blogspot you would use the resulting URL to "create a new element" under the Layout tab.

How do I make and save a playlist?
Quite easily. First, register (it's free and only requires an e-mail address and password), then search for some playable results. To make a playlist, simply press the green arrow that appears alongside a selected result, or drag a result to the player, then repeat. You can add as many results as you like. To save, simply click the Save button and title your playlist. At any time, using the nearby buttons, you can share and embed your playlists, as well as create new ones.
How do I edit a playlist?
To delete a result from an existing playlist, just press the red X that appears alongside it. If you'd like to change the order of results, simply click, and then drag, the result to your preferred placement.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Online EFL Teaching

I have long wanted to do some online EFL teaching, and now there are many sites which facilitate that. Talkbean is one such site. The company posted a job description on the TESOL site. Personally, the time commitment of everyday discouraged me. I would like to do some tutoring but just 2-3 times a week. I'm going to investigate other sites from a list I received from Meri Aaron Walker's site called mawstoolbox as well as Myngle.

Each of these sites offers connections of teachers and students through the use of webcams, whiteboards and chat technologies. So not only conversational language skills can be developed, but reading and writing as well.

The whole concept of connecting language teachers with students who can benefit from intereaction with native speakers is a concept that holds a lot of promise.