Friday, November 03, 2006

Things I should have done and Things I shouldn't have

On reflection of the course, I have feelings of things of I should have done and those which I shouldn't have, which is probably par for the course. I don't know if anybody else has these regrets.


I think of thing I could have done to improved my website, but I guess in a way that is rather a healthy thing, as my knowledge has grown even since I first designed my website.

When I look at some of the wonderful sites that all of my colleagues have posted I get rather envious. It is probably unfair to single out any one in particular, but I really enjoyed Basim's approach to the assignment and I guess I like it when people demonstrate their creativity and do thing differently. Nilly also added some videos which showed some inventiveness. So many good ideas.

Overall I got a sense of satisfaction from this whole course although it became very frustrating and difficult at times. I particularly like the last testing and feedback part, as the comments by our peers were interesting as well as polite.

The comments were the source of much thoughtful reflection about the course and its value of technology in the modern classroom. It also reinforced the value of feedback, which has probably become an under-rated resource in the grind of everyday teaching. It was only through completing this last part of the course that I rediscovered my belief in this valuable resource.

Jeff

Thanks to all who helped me over the course

I would like to thank everyone for the help you afforded me during this most difficult, but rewarding course. I think most would agree that without the assistance of our fellow classmates it would have been a lot more difficult.
I can't remember of too many occasions during courses I have taken where there was such a sense of camaraderie among fellow students and through it all we have all made some good friends.
Thanks to Nilly, Mahsa, Yvonne and Kylie for making comment on my website and, while I think you were too kind to me, I appreciate your input and I gained a lot for it.

Jeff

Reflection on feedback for my website

I was fortunate that my colleagues who commented on my website were far too polite to make any really critical comments, so I had to read between the lines to see what they were saying. It was good to receive comments from such a diverse group of people from varied backgrounds - Kylie, Mahsa, Yvonne and Nilly. They trialled my website designed and supplied me with not only useful, but also very thoughtful feedback. Each person had different, but relevant, comments to make about the activities. I will attempt to address the negative comments, as I consider them much more valuable than the positive, if I am going to improve my knowledge and design skills.

Both Kylie and Mahsa brought into focus the dilemma of choosing the correct format (e.g. picture resolution, page width and colours, etc.) when designing a web pagel, as these problems related to colour perception problems and the overlapping of information on their screens. Formatting is an important consideration as it relates to the equipment the target audience is likely to be using. However, there would appear to be no clear answer to this, as any decision would be a compromise, due to the variety of formats being used in a vast array of computer equipment (Austin, 2004). The only obvious option for a designer, if the types of machines were unknown, would be to take the middle road, ensuring the largest possible audience.

The activities were designed to supplement lesson by reinforcing the language being taught, therefore answers to the activities would be pre-taught prior to the students attempting them. The pre-teaching of the target language would probably eliminate most of the Yvonne's concerns regarding difficulties with the vocabulary activities. The lessons and activities are aimed upwards of mid-teens with competency levels around the upper-intermediate to advanced - to answer to Nilly and Mahsa’s questions about age and skill levels. However, the activities could be adjusted to accommodate any level.

Difficulties in completing the quiz and cloze activities as highlighted by Yvonne, Nilly and Mahsa could be addressed by time-trialling the activities with a representative target audience, thus solving Yvonne and Mahsa's concerns about the time allocated to complete the activities, such as the length of the cloze exercise. Nilly’s comments concerned her personal preference for statements instead of questions is also a worthwhile consideration for such activities.

Nilly suggestion about re-phrasing the instructions wording for the mix activity illustrated that more thought is needed when wording the instructions. Yvonne’s suggestion to link the index to the activities to make it easier for the students to access the information is an area also needing attention.

The value of feedback

Feedback in all areas of education is important for both the teacher and student, but for this type of activity it is most vital, because it provides information not always apparent to the designer.

I was fortunate have a diverse group from different countries to trial my website, as I was able to gain a lot of valuable feedback to reflect the opinions of a broad range of students who would be expected to complete the activities. Feedback from such a group allowed not only correction of the obvious spelling and grammatical errors, but also consideration of areas such as the degree of activity difficulty, descriptions of the instructions and problems relating to formatting.

Reflections on feedback

The feedback illustrates just how important it is to trial such a project, as a wealth of information that can be gained. The following are important points to be remembered when designing web-based learning tasks:
• Use a format that will give enable the widest possible involvement in the activities;
• Consider the audience i.e. their ages, abilities and what is to be learned and build the activities to suit;
• Make sure all of the instructions are in plain English and are easy to understand;
• Make sure the allocated time gives the students enough time to complete the exercises;
• Pre-teach the activities so that the tasks have relevance to the target language;
• Select a broad group of participants who reflect the intended audience to trial the activities; and
• Take note of the feedback from the trial and consider how it can be used to improve the design and activities.

Adherence to these details would assist in designing an activities website suitable for use with a lesson where the teacher wants to reinforce the language being taught.

Conclusion

From the start to the end of this project where members of the class made comments on each others work, this exercise has proved worthwhile and very reflective, particularly this last part. It has shown the importance of trialling a project such as this to gain feedback to improvements it – something that is probably not possible without this information. Commenting on fellow classmates work is a difficult thing to do, howewer a lot of useful information was gained. While the information in itself was directly helpful for improving the project, it is the reflection on the underlying reasons for the comments that has proved most helpful. It has given much food for thought, which can only improve the web-based design skills for producing successful web-based second language activities, which is something that will prove to be valuable in future.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sorry, I forgot to put where I posted my website

I have amended my original posting as I made an error in stating where I had put my website. It is in my Wiki under website and also in the student projects page. Anyway if you click on Website you should be able to access it.

Thanks
Jeff

Website now completed

My website is now on the my wiki and is I am ready for your comments. It has been quite a learning experience, but one can only think that it is worthwhile as this medium opens up a whole new world in teaching English. It can be used in a multiple of ways and for a number of situations. As stressful as it has been learning this I am glad I have done it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Glad that's over

I don't know about anybody else, but I had a huge sigh of relief when I finally placed my Webpage on the project page.
However, there is a sense of achievement (I think) and would now feel comfortable creating another one, but further on down the line - not now.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I (think) am moving forward

Now that I have been able to get into this blogging business, I have been experimenting with it and have now completed my profile. So, I will now be posting regularly, hopefully being able to add something positive to the course.

I must note that this is all down to Nilly, who I can only imagine as being a wonderful teacher because she was able to articulate the answers to my problems so simply that even I was able to understand and learn from her. Thanks very much Nilly.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Finally

Whew! what a relief, I have finally been able to post something on my blog page. Thanks mainly to Nilly who has very kindly assisted me to do it. It is really quite easy when you know how.

I will try to post quite regularly from now on.
Jeff

Friday, July 28, 2006

Just Starting

This is my first go at creating a blog.