Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


by AJ

Its full speed ahead on collaboritive projects. Mick (in Ubon) and I are slowly brainstorming about a joint project between two of our classes next semester. Aaron in Kyoto is ready to go now.. so his presentation tech. class and my BAS class will be doing a joint project together.

Mick and I have discussed using a forum and file hosting website as the communications hub for our classes... perhaps Ourmedia. He and I could upload text, audio, and possibly video to the site. Students might also be able to do this. They could team up using the forums... plus whatever other tools they preferred (blogs, email, chat, Skype, cell phones....).

Aaron has already created a Moodle site for our collaborative project... and it looks great. We're still brainstorming on the details.. but Ill post them here once we get something worked out.

These two projects illustrate, to me, the revolutionary power of the internet. We have fantastic tools at our disposal now. Maybe boring textbooks were necessary decades ago (though I doubt it)... but now, there's no reason to rely on them. Students and teachers can get authentic (ie. not contrived for language students by publishing companies) language quite easily. They can access audio files of native speakers. They can talk to other students around the globe. They can make internet friends with Americans, Brits, Aussies, etc. They can access a huge amount of web text content. They can access free online dictionaries at the same time.

And now Skype, Google, Yahoo, and others have created the opportunity for FREE international phone calls. Ring your friends in Japan and America... and talk for hours!

Teachers can now create projects and courses which tap the oft-stated goal of internationalization. Forget talking about it.. do it! When your Chinese student needs to communicate with her Thai and Japanese project partners... she'll quickly understand the benefits of acquiring English. Now she has a compelling reason to communicate with real human beings from other countries. What an opportunity! We should exploit it as much as possible.

This is another way in which we can "break down the walls" of the classroom. Our classroom can now envelope the entire world. Our students can have classmates in Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, Iran, India, and Thailand...

The world is open to us now... Lets seize the opportunity!