Wouldn’t it be nice if language students could manage their own discussions?


Students managing themselves in a “Round Table” discussion is one example of a Collaborative Learning activity. Not only do they provide benefit to the students in developing learner autonomy, but as a teacher they can provide a new way to lead students in critical discussion.

Continue reading

PenPal Schools: Share a course with native English speakers

PenPalSchoolsFor those who want to try something new in their classes there is an opportunity for interaction with English native speaking students in many different countries.

I have known Joe Troyer for years through PenPal News. He started by putting students together on the web, much like Pen Pals. As it grew, he began to put together entire classes. I have not been able to participate because it has been limited to high school age.
This year, PenPal News is expanding and has over 30,000 people involved. Because it now serves university students as well as international students, the opportunity is open to us all. And fortunately, the schedule is right for those of us in Japan. If you sign up by October 15, you can start on October 27 for the six-week session, with 6 topics like Immigration, and Poverty.
It is designed to be self-contained so you could do most of the work outside of class. But I am going to integrate these topics into discussion to facilitate their outside work.
Take a look at the details. I will be doing it with about 50 students; 2 sections, plus a few who are just plain interested.
You might be too.

Connected Courses

Connected Courses new MOOC about MOOCs without using the word MOOC is about to start on September 15. The line-up of speakers and leaders is outstanding. Jim Groom, Alan Levine, and Howard Rheingold are getting people set up for the class now. This entails getting your blog linked to the course. Most of the content is created on individual blogs and aggregated at the site. To participate you write blog posts after reading and discussing with other members.

CC2014Week 1 starts off with speakers like Cathy Davidson, Mike Wesch and Randy Bass. And goes on from there with top people in the field.

The University of California Irvine has sponsored this 12-week course about how to make open courses, and more important, why open courses are going to change education. This looks like the best prepared course of its kind I have seen, but will keep you updated on the content. But I do recommend this to anyone interested in developing online open courses in the future.

Converting text from analogue to digital using OCR


Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is used in the process of digitizing paper based text.

In trying to keep up with the digital age, there are many solutions for those seeking to go paperless, or at least looking for more options concerning how to utilize resources. Converting static analogue texts over to digital documents allows for these resources to be manipulated, altered, stored and distributed in a variety of new ways (Of course, we must be careful not to infringe on someone’s copyright).

OCR technology has been around for a while. There are many options for those with big budgets for this sort of thing. Thankfully there are also some options for those without corporate financing.

Continue reading