MA ELT (Multimedia and ICT) Profession Practice Core Module

student no: 1163612



MODULE NAME: PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE (ICT) – ET960 [Type a quote from / TILLY HARRISON MODULE TUTORS: RUSSELL STANNARD the document or the summary of an interesting point. You can position the text box WORD COUNT: 6394* *Includes approximate word count for part five as shown in part six ASSIGNMENT QUESTION:

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MA ELT (Multimedia and ICT) Profession Practice Core Module

student no: 1163612



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I propose to introduce the use of the asynchronous cloud-based software tool, myBrainshark, into the English language programme syllabus on the International Foundation Course (IFC) at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Beijing, MyBrainshark is created and operated by the Massachusetts technology company, ‘Brainshark’. I am proposing to demonstrate the free version, and persuade the institution to adopt this. Although I have previously been employed as a language teacher on the IFC, I wish to take the perspective of an external advisor to the institution who will run a six-hour training course for the both the art and language teachers to use the tool for developing speaking and presentation skills with the students. I will produce PowerPoints for six interactive classroom sessions. I will also use Camtasia Studio 7 to produce some instructional videos demonstrating the tool, which will be accessible at any time. MyBrainshark enables different kinds of content to be uploaded and shared online. A voice recording (narration) can be added, with many editing possibilities to the individual slides. Content is automatically converted into a shareable format. Because it is free and an email registration is all that is required, there is no financial barrier either to the student or institution.

CAFA’s foundation year course is a prestigious institution for Chinese born teenagers wishing to study art and design abroad, full-time, in overseas institutions. Alongside the requirement to build a physical portfolio of work during their art studies, the students are required to sit IELTS tests with a view to increasing their scores, in order to be offered a place. This tool would have the dual benefits to students of enabling speaking practice in the target language and to formally present their work. There are a number of potential obstacles with this proposal, not least in convincing both the institution and teaching staff alike that this tool will be effective. I will discuss this in more detail, as well as the educational requirements, in later sections.



In this section I will firstly discuss what MyBrainshark is and how it has been implemented already. Secondly, I will discuss the theoretical underpinning of e-learning and the theory of learning behind designing activities using innovative web tools, such as MyBrainshark. Thirdly, I will discuss the situational context and the relevance of learner autonomy with Chinese students. Finally, I will link this with out-of-class learning activities, before setting up my rationale. What is an innovation and what is an innovative tool? According to Collins (2006), an innovation is ‘something newly introduced, such as a new method or device’, or ‘the act of innovating’. Being innovative is ‘using or showing new methods or ideas’. A ‘tool’ is anything used as a means of performing an operation or achieving an end. An innovative tool, therefore, is a new method or device used to perform an operation or achieve an end. For the purpose of this paper, MyBrainshark can be considered as a digital technology tool, asynchronous cloud-based, web-based software, which enables users to present using multimedia formatting. An innovative tool does not necessarily correlate with efficiency. Once designed and made available to the public, a digital technology, such as MyBrainshark, is dependent on the way it is used, but not necessarily subject to the purpose for which it was designed. MyBrainshark is intended for corporate business, sales and marketing teams, or ‘enterprises’ to produce multimedia presentations. The company website acknowledges its usefulness in e-learning, although its detailed use in education is hardly mentioned and there is nothing about it being used for language learning. There are hundreds of ‘enterprise’ case studies on

the Brainshark website, effectively advertising the software, but no empirical or objective academic research. After contacting the company for teaching examples, they could only offer two tiny case studies. One was an American high school teacher (Heisey, 2011, see image below left) who used it for personalisation purposes. He introduced information about himself by narrating a PowerPoint which uploaded, before getting students to embed their own presentations onto the educational social networking site, Edmodo.

The other (VanderMolen, 2011) was an American Health and Nursing lecturer who used the tool as a visual/audio discussion board. The lecturer used it to present developing lecture material to students, including some questions. The students apparently benefitted from the nuance of the discussion by hearing the tone of the lecturer and other students’ voices as they subsequently re-edited the material. A further example I discovered was a recent blog entry by a Spanish teacher demonstrating five A2 level students using MyBrainshark for presentations on geographical landmarks (Cabal, 2012, above right). I could not find examples like this, however, on the company website. Despite only sporadic examples of educational use, the tool clearly has a major relevance for language learning at the macro-level of speaking because of the facility to talk over slides, edit and perfect recordings. It could therefore be used for personal narrations, commentaries, interpretations and even translations or dubbing. The idea for the latter uses comes from a paper (Danan, 2010) which outlined a ‘dubbing’ project at a military language school, using standard issue iPods and Tablet PCs equipped with Windows Movie Maker. A crucial point was made here with regards to motivation:

Since the completed projects were to be shown to classmates, teachers and possibly other classes, the performance element was likely to heighten the non-routine nature of the experience and be a strong motivator. Danan (2010: 446) MyBrainshark could be useful for creating lecturecasts to post on a course blog (Byrne, 2010) or uploading the new Slideshare for Box application which enables users to upload their finished PowerPoints and share using their iPads (Byrne, 2012). MyBrainshark has some similarities with the free cloud-based application, Present Me which enables presentations to be uploaded with a videocam narration very easily. Other similar presentation tools are Slideshare, which also allows users to upload audio onto essentially PowerPoint presentations, Google Docs, Empressr, Slide Boom and Prezi, to mention just a few.

A presentation by Ian James of tefltecher (2011)

THEORETICAL UNDERPINNING I will now discuss the theoretical underpinning of using a tool like MyBrainshark by first quoting some statements about technology and learning, before highlighting some specific pedagogic principles for language learning.

According to Diana Laurillard (2007):

We still focus the majority of technology provision on what we already understand […] rather than using it to tackle the really difficult problems presented by our ambitions for universal and effective education. Imaginative and innovative use of digital technologies could be transformational for teaching and learning, taking us well beyond the incremental value of more accessible lecture presentations. (Laurillard 2007 in Beetham and Sharpe, 2007: xvi) In teaching and learning, she continues, we […] use technology to support more traditional modes of teaching. That is to say, we tend to use technology to improve the quality of lecture presentations […] and to engage otherwise non-attentive students. (Laurillard, in Beetham and Sharpe, 2007: xv) In instructionist pedagogy the main focus is on the delivery of materials in which information can be more effectively transmitted by teachers and understood by learners. At this year’s IATEFL conference in Glagow, Laurillard indirectly referred to this instructionist pedagogy. She rhetorically asked ‘why do we look to technology’ in learning? Her argument was that teachers who use technology should ‘pull back from putting stuff onto the web and beaming it onto students’ computer screens’ (Laurillard, 2012: 3) as many practitioners still do. Laurillard’s opening remarks echoed Paiget’s assertion that ‘conceptual development occurs through intellectual activity rather than by the absorption of information’ (Beetham and Sharpe, 2007: 17). The cognitive perspective of learning involves interpretation and Understanding is gained through active processes, personal construction of meaning.

experimentation and observation. Four essential areas, she argues, of learning through technology, are: Discussion – synchronous webinars, with chat and playback; asynchronous text forums; Practice – adaptive digital interactive tools with meaningful feedback on actions; Collaboration – role play simulations with user-generated scripts in interactive games; Production – user-generated digital multimedia combinations of film, animation, sound, images, captions. (Laurillard, 2012: 4)

Of these, ‘practice’ and ‘production’ are especially relevant to MyBrainshark. Students’ speaking and presentation skills could be practiced using meaningful, digital multimedia tools such as being proposed. But which learning theories draw on personal meaningfulness? According to Biggs (in Beetham and Sharpe, 2007: 14), there should be a ‘constructive alignment’ of learning theory, based on a constructivist approach, where learning activities lie at the heart of the process. Constructivism is ‘a humanistic model […] where learners construct new ideas or concepts by making use of their own knowledge and experiences.’ (Beatty, 2010: 99). To this we can include ‘Schema Theory’, the psychological model of Discourse is interpreted with reference to the background aspects of the world or of the self that is structured in such a way as to facilitate the processes of cognition and perception. knowledge of the learner (Nunan, in Beatty, 2010:99). Finally, we can add the particular situation of the institution under discussion and the learning outcomes of this particular group of students. This social perspective reflects how knowledge is ‘situated in the practices of communities and outcomes of learning involve the abilities of individuals to participate in those practices successfully’ (Mayes and de Freitas, 2007: 18). Underlying the slightly different perspectives above is ‘an assumption that learning must be personally meaningful. […] Activity, motivation and learning are all related to a need for a positive sense of identity […] shaped by social forces’ (ibid). I will make further reference to ‘constructive alignment’ when discussing the proposed course in the rationale. AUTONOMY IN CHINESE LEARNING A critical aspect of using tools like MyBrainshark is the extent to which Chinese students would need to develop some autonomous learning in order for its use to be effective. I will now briefly discuss the perception of learner autonomy amongst Chinese learners before looking at the potential to overcome this. In 1995, an examination took place of Chinese cultural traits as an obstacle to the promotion of autonomy (Ho and Crookall, 1995: 235). What kind of obstacles might be encountered by a teacher in promoting learner autonomy in a traditional Chinese institution and how might these obstacles be overcome? While personal autonomy appears ‘universally desirable’, they wrote, ‘it is exercised within the context of specific cultures ... the culturally-constructed nature of the classroom setting needs to be taken in to account’ (ibid: 236-7).

One such traditional ‘obstacle’ is seeing oneself as part of a ‘relational hierarchy’. The Chinese students’ respect for authority and their view of the teacher as the authority figure is very important. Scollon and Scollon (1994) generalise the fundamental differences between Asian and Western perceptions: The Asian focuses on the care, nurture and benevolence (or their absence) of the person in authority while the westerner tends to focus on the restriction, limitation and dependence of the person over which the authority is exercised. (Scollan and Scollon, 1994: 21) Closely linked to this, is the Chinese pre-occupation with ‘face’. In communicating with another person, one must ‘protect the other’s self-image and feelings, [as] he or she is not confronted directly’ (Ho and Crookall, 1995:237). There is a reluctance to challenge a teacher’s position, and to maintain their teacher’s mien-tzu or ‘face’ (ibid). Presenting opinions that differ from those of the teacher, coupled with the notion of working independently suggests that it is extremely difficult for Chinese students to learn to exercise responsibility for their own learning. The development of learner autonomy, however, does not need to be impeded by assumed cultural barriers such as these. A constructivist, situated pedagogy can develop autonomy without conflicting with cultural values. Furthermore, a web-based tool that requires the majority of the learning to be done outside of the classroom lowers any potential face-loss while developing confidence. Littlewood (1999) argued that the view of autonomy being a Western concept unsuited to East Asia which has different educational traditions is unfounded. The different aspects of autonomy, however, need to match with the characteristic and needs of learners in specific contexts (1999: 71). The ‘autonomous interdependence’ (Ryan, ibid: 74) required by the students means the teacher still has a large role to play in developing learning, setting goals and encouraging. Gao (2008), more recently, has highlighted the non-native presence of ‘English corner’ social communities in Chinese cities, which ‘enhanced autonomous learning and fostered subtle

changes in their self-indentites’, away (ibid: 60) from the classroom.

He argues that

traditional Chinese pedagogy suffocates the students’ capacity for developing their autonomous learning. It is not recognised, utilized and enhanced in the pedagogical process leading to negative impact on their language learning experiences (ibid: 65). The idea of transportable ‘self-identities’, allied with perceptions of English as a ‘must-have educational skill is a motivational cornerstone itself (Ushioda, 2011: 206). The average Chinese 19 year-old student now could be considered amongst the ‘digital natives’, (Prensky, 2001) born into an already digital world. It is commonplace for students at this age to be familiar with using interactive web 2.0 and mobile technology, which has taken the Internet from being full of ‘expert-generated taxonomies to individual-created folksonomies’ (Beatty, 2011: 40), where anybody can and does create, contribute to and edits content. A more involved editorial and creative role for many is the popular media ‘mashup’, combining two or more sources (ibid). These technologies, though often played with for fun, present real innovative opportunities for language teaching. This is the highly interconnected, interactive world of the current net generation, which can be tapped into as a motivational resource, as participation becomes such an integral part of their identity, motivation and place in the world (adapted from Ushioda, 2011, 207). CONCLUSION With unfounded beliefs about Chinese learner autonomy postulated, I will conclude this section with reiterating how the use of MyBrainshark would disregard assumed cultural barriers, draw on many of the learning theories mentioned and set up my rationale for devising materials where the tool is used purposefully and meaningfully. Although I propose that the ‘speaking class’ remains part of the curriculum, the majority of the learning will be done outside of class, away from the teacher and in the students’ own time. Fairly recent studies suggest that students needing to improve their second language acquisition ‘engage in out-of-class learning activities more frequently than their teachers believe, often showing considerable creativity in situations where opportunities for out-ofclass learning appear to be limited.’ (Benson, 2007:26)

Any concerns about classroom speaking performance and the potential loss of face are immediately overcome by the use of MyBrainshark. Although some might argue that if these students are going to study at western institutions they should not be accommodated in this way. I believe, however, it would help to generate more output, provide something meaningful and personal to the learner and, importantly, provide a permanent record and evidence of improving speaking skills. As I conclude this section, it is important to mention that, so far, I have not discussed the skills needed by the teachers to carry out this proposal. Hampel and Stickler (2007) have reported on the training of tutors to teach languages online and, in particular, a skills pyramid (ibid: 316-319). Although writing specifically about an Open University programme, they have important pedagogical issues for my study. Again, I will save further discussion for the rationale.



The Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) is the leading Art Academy in China, internationally recognised for its expertise across a range of over 20 disciplines within six schools including Fine Art, Design and Architecture. It is also the leading Art institute for Research in China. The one year International Foundation Course (IFC) aims to prepare students who are interested in Fine Art and Design and wish to study, full-time at an overseas Art institution at undergraduate level. They each specialise in one area of study and for In any one academic year there are 2009-10 this is shown in the graphic below.

approximately 100 students enrolled on the course. CAFA has close links with several overseas institutions, such as California College of the Arts, University of Arts in London, Birmingham Institute of Art and Glasgow School of Art. The students are all Chinese nationals, coming from provinces all over China. The age range is generally between 17 and 19 years of age, with most of them having graduated from school or college the previous year. They have to demonstrate a high level of motivation and interest in working in art and design as places are limited. All of them are required to attend English tuition, predominantly to improve their IELTS score. Depending on which overseas institution they are applying for, a mark of 5.5 is an absolute minimum, although 6.5+ is preferred. A few students receive special dispensation if they have already achieved their required grade or do so during the year. The majority, however, need to attend one of four streamed classes, consisting of around 20 students, depending on overall entrance level, which in my experience was as low as 3.0. The students are encouraged to take practice and real IELTS tests at regular intervals throughout the year.

There is a significant constraint placed on the English language teachers as the institution accepts gifted, artistic students from well-off backgrounds who have otherwise shown little progress in their English acquisition throughout years of compulsory foreign language instruction in school. There are a number of organisations, tied up with publishing companies who promise guaranteed success with intensive English courses, where a student can increase their IELTS score by two or more within a short space of six months. This kind of unrealistic expectation has an impact on a evidential learning on the language programme. Other constraints include the early morning timing of the English classes, the tendency of the institution to change the syllabus mid-term and, as discussed in part two, cultural perceptions of the teacher’s role in the classroom. Furthermore, my proposal would undoubtedly require a greater level of learner autonomy. I will return to these constraints and proposals to overcome these in the rationale. The English language teachers employed on the programme are expected to be bachelor degree qualified and possess a minimum Celta certificate or equivalent. They should have substantial knowledge of teaching IELTS, and preferably have previous employment with

The British Council as an IELTS examiner. They should have reasonable experience of studying or working in an international higher educational setting. The performance of the language teachers and/or their contracted employer is measured, as I have already suggested, by improvement or otherwise in students’ IELTS score. In addition, academic skills classes are welcomed, as well as a focus on English for the specific purpose of working in art and design. There used to be a sole contract with one external language provider who supplied the teaching staff. Now all contracts are directly between the institution and the locally and internationally sourced teachers. The facilities on campus for the IFC include access to various studios, such as printmaking, oil painting, product design, photography and computer art. There are accessible computer labs for the students, although all students have a laptop and usually at least one other technological device, such as an iPad or similar Chinese tablet equivalent. Facilities for the English teachers are not great, with run-down, 1960s behaviourist language labs and oldfashioned lecture theatres. A front-screen projector is available, however, in all rooms, allowing for documents, presentations to be shown and allowing (state monitored) Internet access.



In this section I will describe the materials which I have designed. I will include my justification for using MyBrainshark in the context chosen. I will explain my choices in designing the training materials and show examples. MyBrainshark has not been used extensively within second language learning. Despite its great potential, it has so far been used predominantly within marketing and business and, as I mentioned in the literature review, some e-learning outside of language teaching. I propose to deliver a six hour training course for the English language teachers working on the International Foundation Course (IFC), at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Beijing. There are approximately 100 students on the 10 month course and there are four separate English classes (A-D), streamed by language ability (IELTS score at acceptance onto the IFC). My rationale is to demonstrate how the tool can be used by teachers – a mixture of local and international - and students alike on the IFC. I have already described the context in detail in the background information section and the expectations of both institution and students. I have already outlined the constraints at this institution in terms of impatience by the institution for proof of learning having taken place. The only evidence that matters in this context, however contentious this may seem, is improved IELTS scores. pedagogy is an additional constraint. Monitoring of lesson delivery also takes place. The barrier in convincing the institution to allow an untested One method of overcoming this barrier is to demonstrate the alignment of English and Art content, as I will now explain.

CONSTRUCTIVE ALIGNMENT In designing the course for the teachers, I am demonstrating the ‘constructive alignment’ principle proposed by Biggs (1999) mentioned earlier. Outcomes, activities and assessment can be consciously aligned (Sharpe and Oliver, 2007: 42). Although the course itself is not necessarily based on this model, I am suggesting this approach to the teaching. The power of assessment to shape students’ experience comes into this, in terms of the feedback that teachers can deliver from the presentations the students create. By connecting their speaking activities to the wider art course, I hope to inspire the teachers to make this alignment, engender motivation to complete activities and, ultimately, for the students to perform more confidently in both IELTS speaking tests and overseas institution applications. In the second and fifth lessons, I propose a discussion over pedagogy in the digital age, with a follow-up, as shown by the two slides below. I propose introducing the concept of ‘constructive alignment’ and try to make links with the art course on the IFC.

Slide from lesson 2

Slide from lesson 5

In Fine Art, the stimulus may be, for example, a painting, a photograph, a critique or a body of work that students are required to respond to in some way. They may discuss the work’s significance or explore a concept that it is intended to illustrate. This discussion might then inform further work. The stimulus will produce a response but not an ‘answer’. (Derek Harding and Bruce Ingraham, in Beetham and Sharpe, 2007: 144. Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age, London/New York : Routledge)

PEDAGOGY AND JUSTIFICATION My own justification for persuading the teachers to ask the students to use MyBrainshark is as follows; taken from slide 9 of first PP:

Speaking is the least practiced macro skill for many second language learners. It is certainly the case amongst Chinese learners. This is because of a lack of opportunities to engage with native speakers outside of the class. identity (Xuesong Gao, 2008: 60). I now need to discuss the teachers’ technical skills to deliver this material. Although Even ‘English Corners’, mentioned earlier, don’t usually have this, although they can enhance autonomous learning and foster changes in self-

ultimately this proposal is for MyBrainshark to be used by the students, this will not happen if the teachers do not learn the tool for themselves. That is the objective of designing the course material. I am assuming that the teachers at CAFA will have no prior knowledge or experience of using MyBrainshark but they have the aptitude to learn it quickly. The technical skills required can be placed somewhere on a ‘skills pyramid’, as outlined by Hampel and Stickler (2007, see adapted image below). Although discussing a completely online Open University course, they have some salient points about the training of ‘tutors’, as they refer to them.

I will assume that the CAFA teachers already have the most basic skills of using computer applications; they would not be employed if they didn’t. The second level is concerned with ‘the skills necessary to use the specific software application [which] ‘tutors need to familiarize themselves with […] before they can be expected to use (sic. Ibid: 317). The next level is concerned with problem solving and the constraints of using the software. This requires some effort on the teachers to adapt their material to incorporate MyBrainshark. My training intentions effectively stop at this level, because the teachers will still have classroom contact and the ability to create an online community (ibid: 317-318) is less important in this context. To summarise, the CAFA teachers need to understand how MyBrainshark works and be able to confidently overcome technical issues using it. These are my objectives and this is what my training course aims to address. There are a number of technical questions which I had to consider. The inspiration for this project proposal is undoubtedly the Teacher Training Videos website,, owned by my dissertation supervisor, Russell Stannard. We were shown MyBrainshark on the ICT in ELT course and I immediately was sold on the use of the tool for learning languages. The idea of using Camtasia Studio 7 screencasts to give step by step tuition for using the tool is also inspired by TTV. In addition, Anglia Ruskin, in Cambridge, has a selection of tutorials using Camtasia Studio 6 on its Learning and Teaching ‘Inspireplayer’ –, such as one on podcasting (Kadirire, 2009).

The decision to create online content was so that the teachers would be able to access the tutorials at any time, and this allows for individual differences in the teachers’ technological aptitude to incorporate the tool. The seven screencasts that I have made are asynchronous tutorials to help the teachers familiarise themselves with the tool. These screencasts will be partially played and linked to during the lessons. Each lesson will take place during induction week, after the students have arrived but before teaching begins. There are some out-of-class activities, using the tool, for the teachers to complete before the next session, where additional questions can be addressed. There is a review in the sixth and final class. I created PowerPoint tutorials and handouts for the sessions, using an existing template, and created the screencasts using a purchased copy of Camtasia Studio 7.


PART FIVE: COURSE ADMINISTRATION My materials consist of six PowerPoint presentations (hand outs) on using MyBrainshark. These will be delivered over six classroom lessons during an induction week (or fortnight). In addition, there are seven screencasts available. The PowerPoints, which follow after this outline of how the course will be administered, are as follows:

For the six hour long classes the teachers, consisting of the language teachers, art tutors and, if possible, an administrative representative from CAFA, will bring their own devices (laptop, netbook etc) and collaboratively work with the tool. There are seven screencasts – lesson 3 split into two (3 and 3b) - which aim to complement the classroom activities and provide out of class tuition. These screencasts are step by step guides to using the tool, but also summarise some main points from the classroom lessons. There is opportunity to ask The questions in class time after these screencasts have been watched for the first time.

screencasts are all hosted on a account, which I enabled when I purchased Camtasia. These are all included on the enclosed DVD and are available at the following URL address: Direct link to Tutorials folder::-


Powerpoints above. These are enclosed with hard copy. Screencasts are held online at See also hard copy and DVD.

PART SIX: REFERENCES Beatty, K. 2010. Teaching and Researching: Computer-Assisted Language Learning (2nd ed). Harlow: Pearson Beetham, H. and Sharpe, R (eds.). 2007. Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age: Designing and delivering e-learning. London/New York : Routledge Benson, P. 2007. ‘State-of-the-Art Article : Autonomy in language teaching and learning’. Language Teaching 40/1: 21-40. Byrne, R. 2010. MyBrainshark – Easily Share and Narrate Slideshare presentations. Available at: Accessed 24 January 2012. Byrne, R. 2012. Try Slideshark and Brainshark for sharing presentations. Available at: Accessed 4 April 2012. Cabal, C. 2012. 5 Students using MyBrainShark for their landmarks presentations. Available at: Accessed 4 April 2012. Dunan, M. 2010. ‘Dubbing projects for the language learner: a framework for integrating audiovisual translation into task-based instruction’. Computer Assisted Language Learning 23/5:441-456 Gao, X, 2008. ‘The ‘English Corner’ as an out-of-class learning activity’. ELT Journal 63/1: 60-67 Hampel, R. and Stickler, U. 2005. ‘New Skills for New Classrooms: Training tutors to teach languages online.’ Computer Assisted Language Learning 18/4: 311-326 Heisey, Mr. 2011. Introduction to Mr Heisey – a MyBrainshark Presentation. Available at Accessed 14 March 2012. Ho, J. and Crookall, D. 1995. ‘Breaking with Chinese Cultural Traditions: Learner autonomy in English Language Teaching’. System 23/2: 235-243. James, I, 2011. The Balance of PowerPoint. Blog Entry. Available at: Accessed 5 April 2012. Kadirire, J. 2009. Podcasting. Anglia Learning and Teaching Inspireplayer. Available at: Accessed 5 April 2012. Laurillard, D. 2012. Supporting the teacher as innovative learning designer. Plenary Session at IATEFL conference, Glasgow, 21 March. Available at: Accessed 30 March 2012.

Littlewood, W. 1999. ‘Defining and developing autonomy in East Asian contexts’. Applied Linguistics 20/1: 70-94. Longwell, P. 2012. MyBrainshark. Blog Entry – 22 January. Available at: Accessed April 2012. Longwell, P. 2012. TP Timeline. Available at: Accessed April 2012. Mayes, T and de Freitas, S. 2007. ‘Learning and e-learning : the role of theory’ in Beetham, H. and Sharpe, R (eds.). Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age: Designing and delivering elearning. London/New York : Routledge Scollon, R. and Scollon, S. 1994 ‘The Post Confucian Confusion’ . Research Report No.37. Department of English, City Polytechnic of Hong Kong, in Ho, J. and Crookall, D. 1995. ‘Breaking with Chinese Cultural Traditions: Learner autonomy in English Language Teaching’. System 23/2: 235-243. Sharpe, R. and Oliver, M. 2007. ‘Designing courses for e-learning’ in Beetham, H. and Sharpe, R. (eds.). Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age: Designing and delivering elearning. London/New York : Routledge Smith R. and Ushioda, E. 2009. ‘Autonomy: Under whose control?’ in Pemberton, R., Toogood, S. and Barfield, A. (eds.). Maintaining Control: Autonomy and Language Learning. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Stannard, R. 2011. MyBrainshark – step by step tutorials. Available at: and Accessed at various times, January-April 2012. Stannard, R. 2012. The Flipped Classroom and the Connected Classroom. Lecture Notes. Delivered at the University of Warwick, 23 January. Ushioda, E. 2011. ‘Language learning motivation, self and identity: current theoretical perspectives’. Computer Assisted Language Learning 24/3:199-210 VanderMolen, J. 2011. Using Brainshark as a Visual/Audio Discussion Board. Available at: Accessed 14 March 2012. Watkins, D.A. and Biggs, J.B. (Eds.) 1996. The Chinese Learner: Cultural, Psychological, and Contextual Influences. Comparative Education Research Centre, Hong Kong.

Word count (1) 334+(2)2222+(3)694+(4)1144+(5)2000 (approximate equivalent of course administration page + 6 x PowerPoints and 7 x screencasts!) = 6394

Notes/Image references:
Part one:;; Longwell, P (2010). Part two: Part three:;;;; Part four: Longwell, P (2009). Part five: Longwell, P (2012). Images on PowerPoints used by fair use terms. All photos, including original ones from CAFA, on PowerPoints: Longwell, P (2009). I used a licenced copy of Camtasia Studio 7 for the screencasts, Windows Movie Maker 6.0 for creating the CAFA Open Day video. I used Microsoft Windows 7 ‘snipping tool’ to capture many of the images used. All materials would be legal to use in the UK. However, the material is intended to be used in China. It is assumed that access to MyBrainshark is permitted, but also that access to certain social networking sites and, possibly, other web tools are restricted. No specific guidance using material design was followed. The PowerPoints are based on standard templates and no music has been used for the materials. The only instance of music is on the You Tube video of CAFA: Open Day which is briefly linked to in the PowerPoint no.5, slide 9, which uses ‘1979’ by James Blunt, written by Mark Batson and James Blunt and published by Atlantic/Warner Music Group.

Contents on enclosed DVD:

MA ELT (Multimedia and ICT) Profession Practice Core Module

student no: 1163612

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

Project Specification Sheet Professional Practice Project Presentation Proposal – Blended Version (Full) 21m:57s PowerPoint/Handout 1: Introduction PowerPoint/Handout 2: Uploading Content and Recording Audio PowerPoint/Handout 3: Working with Photos or Video PowerPoint/Handout 4: Working with a Presentation (PPP) or Document (PDF) PowerPoint/Handout 5: Being Creative + Constructive Alignment PowerPoint/Handout 6: Further Ideas + Review Screencast 1: Introduction 6:28 Screencast 2: Uploading Content and Recording Audio 13:25 Screencast 3a: Working with Photos 16:39 Screencast 3b: Working with Video 13:00 Screencast 4: Working with a PPP or PDF 18:21 Screencast 5: Being Creative 15:00 Screencast 6: Review 7.03

Note: All the above content has been uploaded to YouTube (PPPPP - Blended Version), Scribd (project specification sheet), (6 x Powerpoints) and (7 screencasts). The complete content is linked to on my ICT in ELT blog:


1. Introduction
With Phil Longwell


Each lesson is one hour long. We shall be in this room all day this week Monday – Saturday (inclusive) time: tbc Aim: to introduce a digital cloud-based software tool to use with students on the International Foundation Course @ CAFA Requirement: BYOD (Bring your own device)

 

An asynchronous, cloud-based software tool. What does that mean? What do you think it can do? Here’s an example: My Timeline

An asynchronous, cloud-based software tool which allows you to:  Upload different kinds of content to share online.  e.g. a document, PPP,  photo album or video.  You can add a voice-over or  narration.  It also allows podcast to be  produced.  It allows sharing and  embedding (+ tracking).

 

Multimedia digital presentations It’s free for individual users.

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Quick four minute tour of ‘my Brainshark’: Quick Tour There are thousands of presentations already uploaded. Authentic listening practice. They are mostly created by sales and marketing teams to sell their products. However, we could still use them with our students.

Do you know of some other software which is similar to my brainshark? Discuss..

Images used under terms of ‘fair use’ policy

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1. Getting started + Introduction 2. Uploading content and recording audio 3. Working with photos or video 4. Working with a PPP or PDF 5. Being creative + constructive alignment 6. Sharing and Storing +Further Ideas + Review

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It helps students to practice and perfect their speaking skills It helps students to improve pronunciation (with classroom feedback) It is based on a communicative and situated pedagogy It potentially overcome issues over face-loss and weaker speakers It encourages autonomous learning (already happening on the art side) It is useful to watch other Brainshark presentations for authentic listening practice It encourages reflective practice It creates space for classroom feedback and other connected activities It allows students to create, practice and present their work It allows students to build up a digital portfolio of their art work

Discuss possible uses with another person.

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Skills Pyramid
Language Tutors.

taken from Hampel and Stickler, 2005, Open University. Skills for Online

Own style

Creativity and choice
Facilitating communicative competence

Online socialization Dealing with constraints and possibilities of the medium Specific technical competence for the software

Basic ICT competence

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Discuss and draw up a list of ways that the tool could be used: (a) in the classroom (b) away from the classroom How could the tool help with the objectives of: (a) the teachers? (b) the students? What problems do you envisage?

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So what do we think about using this tool? What about the other presentation tools mentioned today? Screencast videos are available at: The website for this tool is at: Sign up with an email and a password and try it for yourself. Next time: Uploading content and recording audio.

2. Uploading content and recording audio
With Phil Longwell

Any questions ? Any new thoughts or problems that have come up in your minds ? Have you had a look at the website yet and signed up for a free account ?

A quick thought about pedagogy…

What kind of learning theory or theories are we drawing on by using a tool like my brainshark?

…please spend a few minutes discussion this with the person next to you.

The main reason for using this tool is to get the students to work autonomously on their speaking skills. The tool is not meant to be used for all 4 skills or replace textbooks entirely (at this stage). Classroom can be a place to do pair-work, groupwork, interactive, task-based learning. We can ‘connect’ the work students do out of class with what they do inside the class.

There are currently around 2,800 presentations already uploaded and active. You can upload one of the following:

The main reason for using my brainshark is to talk over an existing file (e.g. PPP, PDF, video). The most simplest thing to do is to either record your voice from an in-built or plugged-in laptop microphone -> create a podcast. Or you can upload an existing mp3 file to share:

Podcasting is not new and there are many other tools out there that can be used to upload, create and share audio files. Do you know any?

If you haven’t already done so, sign in to your ‘mybrainshark’ account. Click here for link. Chose a word (or similar) document to upload from your device (e.g. netbook, laptop etc.).

once uploaded…

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Spend 5-10 minutes playing around with the document. What do you notice? What things can you do with it once uploaded? mybrainshark automatically formats your document ready for adding audio to each slide.

Watch this demonstration of adding audio to the document you have uploaded. Audio Input issues – microphone or headset? Display issues –document not shown. Click link to tutorials here. Try it yourself. Comments and questions?

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In what ways could the students use documents? What other documents can be uploaded? Further questions or comments?

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So what do we think about using the tool for podcasts and narrating documents? Would you use this tool or a different one? Screencast videos are available at: Or direct link to CAFA videos: Next time: working with pictures and videos.

3. Working with photos and video
With Phil Longwell

Any questions ? Any new ideas or ways that MyBrainshark could be used with the students?

Today we will look at working with photos and videos.

A quick thought about learner autonomy

What do you understand by learner autonomy and the particular context  at CAFA ?

…please spend a few minutes discussion this with the person next to you.

Find some photos or images on your device . Browse and upload some of these first before we add a description and tags.

Watch the following screencast about adding audio to a photo album. Remember: all the screencasts I am showing are available at the following link: Any questions or comments at this stage?

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Q. What could CAFA students do to improve their speaking skills using MyBrainshark and a photo album? Discuss this with the person next to you for 5 minutes. Any new ideas?

What do we know about video formats?

Watch the following screencast about adding audio to a video. Any questions or comments? Try it yourself.

If you have a video on your device that you don’t mind playing with…. Upload it before we add a description and tags.

Q: What could we get the students to do with MyBrainshark and video capture? Any other questions or comments?

So what do with think about using photos and videos + MyBrainshark for speaking practice. What are other possibilities are there using photo and video?

‘Homework’ – to do a 5 minute presentation narrating a photo album or video.
Remember: Screencast videos available at: Or clicking on tiny url: Next time: working with a PDF or PPP file.

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4. Working with a PPP or PDF
With Phil Longwell

Homework?? Any presentations to show… using photos or video? Any technical issues or other problems with using the tool that you want to report?

Today we will look at working with other kinds of documents such as PPP and PDF.

What do you know about PowerPoint already? MyBrainshark works well with PP because it automatically reads each slide as something which requires audio and breaks the PP down in that way. So each slide audio can be individually recorded and/or edited. Is PP something out students would use and, if so, in what way? If you haven’t done so already, sign into your MyBrainshark account.

Watch this screencast on adding a PPP.

More detail about each editing option on the screencasts.

Direct link:

Try it for yourself. Spend 10 minutes uploading an existing PowerPoint from your device, if you have one. Play around with the editing features. Although there are tutorials which go into these in more detail, it is often better to learn the different options yourself by trial and error.

The final main kind of document that you can upload is a PDF but you can also add other text files.

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What is special about a PDF? Why might the students work with one?

More detail about each editing option on the screencasts.

Direct link:

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So what is the most useful thing we have seen so far? Any further questions or comments? ‘Out of class’ work – finish off a 5 min Presentation using a PPP or PDF. Remember the full training videos are always accessible at: Next time: Being creative. More features of My Brainshark + how to ‘align’ or connect what we do on the language programme with what the students do in the art studio.

5. Being creative + constructive alignment
With Phil Longwell

Any presentations to show narrating a PDF or PPP? Today we will look more at the editing features, additional features that exist on MyBrainshark and we will discuss the alignment of speaking practice, presentations and the work the students will be asked to do on the IFC art course. Q. What technology do the students have access to at CAFA? - ‘ Bring Your Own Device’

A reminder about pedagogy… discussed in lesson 2…. Pedagogy + the Digital Age:

What kind of learning theory or theories are we drawing on by using a tool like my brainshark?

We usually talk about pedagogy being an approach or methodology which is applied to our teaching.

‘Constructive Alignment’ is a concept first written about by John Biggs, who did a lot of research in East Asia.
In designing this course, I am trying to demonstrate the ‘constructive alignment’ principle proposed by Biggs (1999) in that outcomes, activities and assessment can be consciously aligned (Sharpe and Oliver, 2007: 42). I am suggesting this approach to the teaching. The power of assessment to shape students’ experience comes into this, in terms of the feedback that teachers can deliver from the presentations the students create. By connecting their speaking activities to the wider art course, I hope to inspire the teachers to make this alignment, engender motivation to complete activities and, ultimately, perform more confidently in both IELTS speaking tests and overseas institution applications.

◦ “In Fine Art, the stimulus may be, for example, a painting, a photograph, a critique or a body of work that students are required to respond to in some way. They may discuss the work’s significance or explore a concept that it is intended to illustrate. This discussion might then inform further work. The stimulus will produce a response but no an ‘answer’.”
 (Derek Harding and Bruce Ingraham, in Beetham and Sharpe, 2007: 144. Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age, London/New York : Routledge)

Here is an example of a photo album which has been used to show a timeline:

Please sign in to your MyBrainshark account and open your previously uploaded photo album.

1. Tracking and Viewing Reports 2. Sharing Options

Some of the additional features, such as merging content, adding a guestbook managing privacy 3. Add attachment or URL andlink password protection and running a detailed viewing report, usually meant for businesses. 4. Add a question NEED PRO TRAINER – 19.99 per month.
5.Print slides 6.Link to or download the podcast of the presentation

Play video: Open Day at CAFA in 2009.

The whole essence of teaching students on the IFC at CAFA is the obvious autonomous creativity required to pass the course. General discussion: how can MyBrainshark (and other tools) be used in the English language class to tap into that creativity that is obviously there and the autonomy which is obviously required to progress and survive in an overseas institution?

BrainShark also offers myBrainshark for Android to share presentations One of BrainShark's signature offerings is their SlideShark service for that you narrate on myBrainshark. Here's how myBrainshark works; sharing PowerPoint presentations over iPads. SlideShark converts upload a slide presentation that you've created then use your your PowerPoint files without losing any of your original formatting, computer's microphone to record your voice over each slide. If you transitions, or animations. To use SlideShark just upload your PPT don't have a microphone My Brainshark provides a phone number that files to your free SlideShark account, SlideShark converts the files for you can call to create a voice recording. you, then you can access your converted files on your iPad at anytime using the free SlideShark app. See video below: (Jason Byrne, FreeTeach4Teachers, 2012)

What have we discussed so far? Creativity + Technology

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There is only one more class, but you are probably all set to go…. Unless….. you have….

Any more comments or questions at this stage?

6. Further Ideas + Review
With Phil Longwell

Presentation status inactive -> active To share, simply click on the ‘share this’ link beneath the presentation, or you can get the embed code to put onto another website, such as a blog.
Or you edit presentation and then follow the screen prompt to add to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and More.

With the free version you can see what percentage of the presentation is watched and from where in the world it is viewed.

By now you have seen all the main possibilities for using the tool. During this week, have you come up with any other creative ideas that the tool could be used for. Could you integrate other tools, software with mybrainshark to optimise learning opportunities?

What is the ‘flipped classroom’ and what is the relevance to ELT? What are the advantages of ‘flipping’? What are the disadvantages? What does the ‘connected classroom’ mean? What is the relevance to ELT? To the IFC at CAFA?

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My idea not common language. We can get students to do much more interesting things in language outside of the class. We can use tools like myBrainShark, Eyejot, Audioboo, MailVu to record themselves speaking outside of the class. Russell Stannard, University of Warwick, 2012

What we do in class and what we do outside of the class ( connect them) For example set up and practice a speaking activity in the lesson but do speaking on own at home and then send it to the student. It is the CONNECTION that is key. The more preparation work you do, the better the students will do the activity. Russell Stannard, University of Warwick, 2012

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Using the tool for: Uploading and narrating: Documents, photos, videos. Sharing, embedding. and tracking. How to deal with problems / constraints. Pedagogy of e-learning.

Final question: What is going to work on the IFC at CAFA? Don’t feel limited to just using myBrainshark, although this is the tool proposed to be used for practising speaking and presentation skills. Other skills – Reading, Writing, Listening?

The End. Good luck!

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