Friday, June 11, 2010

It was just like yesterday!

Today is the last day of the course and we have no chance as in a normal classroom to meet and share feelings before saying goodbye. We do it here on our blogs for somewhat similar in a different way. I have mentioned what I have learned from the course in most of my posts in this blog and on All were great and useful and I have nothing to say more about the course or what I can learned from my friends and experienced from the readings and practice.

I wonder whether I can talk about something else, a suggestion for a better and meaningful course in the future from the University of Oregon. I am going to takk about it now.

I wonder if it is possible for you (my admirable instructor - Deborah) to put at week 2 or 3 or the course one group or class project. We, the class participants, know each other from what we share on Nicenet and our blogs. However, if you and the course could provide us with a place where you decide who will contribute to do something on that and the project will be doing at the same time with what we have done. At the last week, we have to give comments and refinement on our together-project.

Of course, it could be difficult if you do not have a clear instruction and share of work on doing it.

If we have done that, we would have an international-teaching project by the teachers from many countries. All of us can be proud of our product and it can be used in many colleges and universities with our names of the creators on it. That's cool!

So far so great! I plan to do the evaluation next week as usual to create a feeling of having the course for one more week with one task only.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

A week to go!

I could not believe that I sent my final project and created two websites for the course as part of the requirements this week.

I started this week very slow on giving feedback to my friend - Susana and worked on my final project. As I mentioned in the discussion on Nicenet, I have problems with creating the pages on google sites. I have tried sometimes and had some blanks sites with my names on it. None of them seems to be mastered or managed by my limited experiences about using it all in one site for my class.

Although the course is designed for the future,I have no idea whether I will be allowed to teach the course using the proposed methods or not. I think that I have created 2 very simple web sites but they are mine and for my classes.

After creating the web for putting things together at one place, I try to study and practice using Hot potatoes for creating an exercise for a lesson of the course. It took me sometimes to do that and of course, I accomplished it again 2 days ago.

Then, I go to our class wiki and have realized that most of my friends post theirs there. I posted mine too and starting to continue working on the final project which dues today. I have learned a lot from my friend peer-review sheet and I use those information to fix the problems on my project plan. Although I have downloaded and read some of my friends' final project for references, they have different type of project as I am planning. I learn from them but not much as I expected.

Finally, I finished it and just posted it on the class wiki at the last minutes. I feel much better and hope that there will be less work for next week to relax a little bit. It was a very intensive course, plus interesting, useful, and productive.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Time flies while I was walking!

I have no idea of what is going on to my working schedule this week. I have been working very hard and still could not finish all the posts within a week.

Time flies. I spent the first few days of the week to focus on the first draft of my project and of course it was sent to my partner before the due date. However, I am still working on my partner’s first draft. It is still with me and I have a plan to give her feedback no later than midnight on Tuesday. I am interested in reading this project and hope that my feedback will be comprehensible. I am not sending it a few days ago because I am a little bit busy and confusing about my feedback.

It was terrible to travel to the city where I had the graduation ceremony in 8 hours. It normally takes 3 to 4 hours. I was exhausted after the trip and when I got back I have no time left for the postings. I tried a lot to accomplish at least one post on each topic this week and I am feeling really sick now.

I have spent 2 nights to read my friends’ posts and one night for posting my idea. The topic this week is very interesting to me. I like to study more about learner autonomy. I have learned about this notion since 2006 and I have realized that Vietnamese learners all need this kind of knowledge and practice.

No matter what could happen, I am posting what I have done last week (I mean week 8) and will read my friend’s blog tonight with a goal of sharing comments with one of them.

I hope luck will be back to me. I really had a bad week at work.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Done at the last minutes!

I am not lazy and I am good at time management. However, it is impossible to control myself this week when people seem to ask me to accomplish all my work of a semester in 7 days.

I spent a lot of time readings all the links and even print them out for reading when I am not with my PC. Most of the information and hints are very familiar to me. I do not mean that the reading this week was not meaningful, but it gives me another idea. I am pretty sure that I have known about 80% of them and applied the techniques for building interactive powerpoint many times.

I have an idea of why I do not try to focus on writing these experiences using my own language (both English and Vietnamese) to share with more friends and teachers who are not familiar with English. I bet that some people have done that in my country; however, it is better if the ones who do that focus on teaching and working experiences to be shared.

I posted most of my ideas this week late - at the end of the week since I have some things to do in the remote area where the internet access is quite difficult. I have read any of my friends' blog this week but I did view most of my friends' powerpoint files on our class wiki. I have just posted mine there too and spend time to write a new post before I head back to read the rest of my friends' discussion in Nicenet.

I have started the project, but I still find problems with the notion of "changes" or conduct some changes to the current teaching courses. Why? I am excited to work on a course of problem-solving skills which I am not teaching right now and it is quite difficult for me to modify it when it has not happened yet. Of course, I have some other courses right now. I am still confused to give decision on what I should do as I usually ask Deborah for what have posted if the posts are related to the course that I am developing.

I have learned a lot from my friends this week. They give me a different view of using powerpoint in teaching although it is somewhat simple to me. The other hard-working week is waiting and I still face a lot of problems with my current job because it is the last weeks of an academic year. Good luck to me and peace to all of you!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Busy week, but still fine.

Last week was awful to me. I had to spend about 2 full days for meetings and there will be three days with no power, including tomorrow.

I have searched and read many interesting ideas and theory about the intelligences which I have heard somewhere a long time ago. It could be interesting that I always tell my friends, teachers, and students that I am a visual learners. I can learn better when I see on my eyes (please show me what I need to do.) I think that I do not really understand what I should discuss this week on learning styles. Of course, I did but with a little bit hesitation. I think it is normal because the term "technology" this time means too broad (although it is clarified a bit).

I also have some minor problems with the alternative assessment and the rubrics. Since I am currently teaching some courses such as general English, Pronunciation, listening and speaking... and the course of "problem-solving skills" is what I am going to teach next semester (after September). And I am developing it every week and I try to focus on it. That is the reason why I am confused of what should I post.

I do not have much time to read my friends' blogs this week and hope I will have time to do it on Sunday. I have enjoyed reading many blogs. Blogging in this course teaches me a lot on how to help my students develop their self-studying, critical thinking, and writing. I remember the reasons that I started my first blog was that I want my students to spend time online doing something useful for their major, not in their own native language.

Oh, I have visited and read the rubrics from Rubistar and it is great too. However, I decided not to sign up for an account on it this week. I am having a lot of things to do this week with a very limited of free time. I have difficulties with the power and the computer I used could be from any Internet services. I should do it at home on my own computer so that the firefox can remember the account and password easily. Of course, it is safe at home.

To make sure that I will be back to Rubistar later, I already add link to my bookmark on Delicious. I also upload a file of rubrics on our wiki. But I am not sure that it is the right place to post it or not since Prem and Nalini posted them on the Participants files.

I wish for peace to all of you and a better luck of next week for myself.


P/S: I am going to travel to the university that I took my M.Ed. in TEFL to attend the graduation ceremony by the end of this month.

Friday, May 7, 2010

It has been productive and I have my first WebQuest!

I have to agree that the tasks this week cost me a lot of time to accomplish. I think we - the participants of this course - should be given 2 weeks to finish all the tasks of this week.

Since it is the first time that I created a webquest, I found it interesting and I prefer to have some more practices in this matter. I do have a lot of plans NOW and webquest is a suitable place for myself and my students to try something new. Although I have heard about it before, this course brings me the opportunity to create it.

Webquest is good, but it may cost money if we would like to have more than one. Free account hits the limit of only one webquest. However, nothing could prevent me to continue on another webquest which will be very useful for my students. I create another account and what I need to do is to find a place to memorize the other username and password. It's fun.

I have visited the "Student Projects Sampler," by Susan Gaer and I am not able to find out the ways to accomplish my tasks this week until Ruslana posted the webquest on the Nicenet. It is much easier and I continue to spend more time in reading materials for my chapter in webquest, searching and downloading the appropriate information for it. It is a sort of failure to launch and when Ruslana provided a hint, it is much easier and brings more fun.

I have read most of the materials and links this week, but could not find time to share on the discussion of Nicenet. I will try to do all of them by the end of this weekend. If I do have some more freetime, I will keep finishing my second webquest as another practice.

I bet you agree with me that when we are finding something useful, we better try to do it several times. Doing that will facilitate it to become a skill so that I can do or share what I have learned to my colleagues in the future.

I still have a few posts ahead to accomplish and a thousand of chores in my office since it is the end of the semester. Good luck to me!

Thanks Deborah, another wonderful lesson and tasks for this week! But do you think that the due date should be modified this time?


Friday, April 30, 2010

It is somewhat harder but useful!

I have to convince myself this week that the tasks are quite difficult but very effective. I was worry at first that I will not have enough time to accomplish everything in time (The power has gone out for 16 to 20 hours everyday and we have a long 4-day off for national holidays).

I commented on a friend's post about the issues in teaching language which share a lot of similarities with the context of language teaching in my country. I have been suffer for those situations even when I was student at university. My friend's issues again give me a broader overview of the Asian viewpoints and attitudes to language learning.

I have not spent time to read my friends' blogs yet this week. I will do it soon and give comments tomorrow. After what I have done, I think I should reflect what I learned first. And the lesson plan is still waiting for me to do it.

Basically, I have learned that when I focus on writing the issues and the ABCD objective for my class, it seems that I understand my students even more. The actions give me more opportunities to think thouroughly about what I should plan and teach for every lesson. I find that learning more about the course which I am going to teach and what I have practiced for planning every week trains me how to do my job better. The tasks always raise my awareness on what should be done and planned.

I also tried to access and register to a free domain in the free pages that Deborah suggested me. The web page is useful when it introduces many free hosting domains. I will be back soon to this one and figure out how to create my own sources.

Again, everything is fine with me although finding some websites for my course of "problem-solving skills", particularly for reading and writing, costs me a lot of time.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

A long great and fruitful night of learning!

It is never too late to learn. This week brings me a lot of new information and useful solutions for using technology in teaching.

I have learned and created a place for keeping the bookmarks which could be shared to many students and colleagues later. Delicious is an interesting place for posting the good and useful links as easy as my account to be created. This website resolve a disadvantage of the saved bookmarks on other web-browsers that the bookmarks will be deleted after a certain period of time. It is very useful when we can see that the Delicious account can be accessed at any time and anywhere while the bookmarks I stored on my laptop could not be opened when I used another computers during a working trip. Many useful and interesting URL have been shared and posted. I think that these useful tools would help me even more in my real teaching in the coming time after I explore them.

It could be seen that most of the participants this week showed their experiences in using technology as a useful tool for EFL teaching. I have learned many different ways of using, teaching, or integrating the skills to the web sites. Hundreds of excellent web-sites have been introduced. For further learning objective, I would prefer to learn from anyone of this class a way to post the MP3, wav. files, or videos to a free web host. This could help me create my own sources for listening courses in the future.

In addition, the readings are also very interesting and I could see different perspectives from their writings. For all what I found, the most valuable thing from their articles is the confirmation about the philosophy of using technology as a tool of EFL language teaching. It is not a teacher, but a tool. Using this tool with a clear purpose or objective brings us the most effective results.

It has been useful a lot after a week of reading the discussion. It is unfair for me this week that I do not have enough time to read and give comments to all of my friends' posts. I will continue doing that and hope that my friends pay some attention to my posts as well.


Friday, April 16, 2010

It is effective!

It could be seen that this week task focuses me on starting and refining my teaching course which I tried last week. After one more week, I think that we have done very well the class requirements - discussion - which it is quite difficult of may not work well in my college where nobody has started it.

I actually learned from different class situations and settings from different classmates. Every of them brings me the different senses.

At first, I think it is also weird that the professor ask me to discuss about different searching engines since most of my friends use GOOGLE.COM. It is great when we know and share to the group more useful search engines; however, passive students in my college may only use the search engines that I recommend to them.

I also see more meaningful tasks in the way that I will work on my objectives and soon will be the teaching project at the same time of learning the course. This idea is significant to my teaching philosophy. We teach students what they can learn and apply as a trial when they are learning. This level of acquisition could be seen as one of the highest one in the Bloom's Taxonomy. We do what we learned and we learn from what we have done.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Great Opportunity!

It could be nothing to everyone, but this class means a lot to me. I have actually learned about the design of this course. It seems a little bit easy, friendly, but professional. I have chances to learn from the excellent ideas of the participants as I am.

I also made an important decision today that I am going to create a class account. This class will start soon next week. This is the first time that I try to do something new at the same time that I am learning how to do it.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Obvious objectives and preparation for the learners

Up to now, what I could see from the course is the obvious set of objectives, rubrics, guides, and samples for the learners. It's great. I have tried like that before but it was still not that far.

I am confusing about the actually time for doing things or accomplishing the tasks of this week. Time flies and I am not sure where I have enough time to read all my classmates' excellent ideas and respond to them before April 4th or not.

I am happy that I am studying with many people from different countries. I hope that we can learn from each other not only the content of the course but also our differences.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Online Teaching & Learning

Online teaching and learning currently holds a positive and solid position in the new era of EFL classrooms. Questions have been raised for the reasons that Internet becomes a useful tool for EFL teaching as well as many other different aspects of life.

I always try to convince myself and my colleages that applying IT in teaching English should be considered for the broader uses. The reason for this idea is that IT is a tool for everyone to explore oneself and the world of knowledge in the good side.

"I don't know how to use a computer and I think it is difficult for me," a friend of mine try not to follow the running stream of using a different tool for his career.

"I like IT, but when I apply IT in my new powerpoint lesson, I don't have enough time for the teaching," another friend complains.

From these examples, I just want to stress on the function of trying something new as IT for teaching. It is even clearer in this situation of online learning and teaching.

My first online class for my students was in 2007 using for some parts of writing and translation. At that time, I believed that this webpage give my students a chance to access to more than one assigned paper, but the whole population. The first trial webpage was a kind of burdens and challenges for my students when no teacher has asked them to do so before. I gave them money for computer using fee in the Internet Cafe around the school. They learned something for real.

My second online class is for a group of volunteer students. It started last month using It is different from what I have learned before. My students can hear and see me through the webcam. Some students can say something or answer my questions orally when I give them the permission. Of course, there is a chat room in one corner of the webpage so that we can chat during the lessons. I can use the Whiteboard as in the real classroom or share the sources and the links that I have. Everything has gone well except for the part that all members must be online at the same time.

I also have a personal blog but for a teaching purpose as well. I wrote the blog
because I try to encourage my students to spend their time on something they like to do rather than on the similar kinds of blog in their mother tongue. I realized that most of my students had their own blogs and all of them were in their language, not English. Two days after that, I tried the blog and tell my students to write their own step by step in English.

Actually, I am just a new learner in this field. I have done not much yet for the online teaching. However, I should say that I have learned a lot from my students, more than what I expected. That is why I wrote a slogan for my blog "Sharing life is one of the best ways to find yourself"