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Tools for Engaging the 21st-Century Students.pdf

Tools for Engaging the 21st-Century Students.pdf

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Published by Jonathan Acuña

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Published by: Jonathan Acuña on Jun 12, 2014
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08/30/2014

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Tools for Engaging the 21st-Century Students 
By Professor Jonathan Acuña-Solano Wednesday, June 11, 2014
To start with and put my professional life in perspective, I am an English Language Instructor at Universidad Latina mostly working with students who are enrolled in ELT (English Language Teaching) and whose professional goal is to teach high school or adult students. And although I do not teach online courses
per se 
, I have tried to empirically run courses in which I have successfully implemented the use of Web tools to enhance student commitment to the class and learning of the subject-matter studied in class.  Among the different online tools that I have been using for about five years, I have two
 –
that combined with additional software or simple html understanding, students can produce better results. On the one hand, I have my own channel on youtube.com along with videos I have produced with the help of freeware to edit audio and videos, both by NCH Software: 
Wave Pad
and
 Video Pad 
. Once videos are produced, edited, and polished, they are uploaded onto youtube.com and/or later embedded on the class Moodle LMS or on my personal class blogs for the students. On the other hand, since I do not really like the layout and display of the forum tool in Moodle, I have always been drawn to use Nicenet.Org to host class forums and
 
exchange of ideas. In Nicenet the threads of conversation are visible and readable by students as soon as the conferencing rooms are open. Learners can visualize the whole different threads of communication among class members, but in Moodle the visualization
or display of conversation threads is “hidden” ma
king students click more times to be
able to read their partners’ entries and to respond to them. Additionally, if students are
trained to use Nicenet with some simple understanding of html, they can include pictures, presentations hosted in sites such as SlideShare.Net and Scribd.Com, etc. Because you do not usually find tailor-made content for your class, I decided to create my own English pronunciation videos to help students understand and visualize vowel segment differences. The class explanation combined with the content introduced and displayed in my class blog have helped students for almost five years to better understand and assimilate subtle differences in American English pronunciation. And because Nicenet has a better display and layout when compared to Moodle forums, students find this other Web tool more appealing for the amount of extra features it includes to share ideas, links, documents, messaging, class members, and teacher contact information. To fully comprehend the scope of this teaching reflections, it is highly advisable that the following topics must be expanded further:
 
Freeware to edit audio and video
 
Forums on NiceNet.Org
 
SlideShare.Net
 
Scribd.Com

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