Monday, May 2, 2011

comic strip websites

Of the two comic strip websites I was able to utilize both allowed for unique development of interactive classroom tools.  I can foresee myself in the future expanding on lessons with this tool to make learning more fun and interactive.  Both of these sites do provide great tools with a limit to their features which gives a good censorship to the site allow for safe and creative instruction.  These are definitely recommended tools in my book.

Now when looking at the third site of stirpgenerator I would have to say that all three options bring a creative and functional side to the classroom each in their own way.  All of these programs allow for students to be creative without needing a PHD in computers.  I feel that in the future I can make good use of these programs.

I just made a new Voki. See it here:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Description of digital storytelling

What is a “digital storytelling”? 

With there being many different ways of ways to define/explain what this is I will give you the laymen version.  “Digital storytelling” is taking any information on any computer (digital) and adding a story line to it.   As the University of Houston states on their website “storytelling is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories.”  Simple, right. Well, from this point everything becomes interesting.  The ‘any information on any computer’ refers to all information that is found on, through, or can be put on a computer.  The story line refers to you the creator(s) adding information in the form of sound recordings (voice or otherwise) to the information selected.

How does it all work?

To create a digital story on needs to select material (digital) from a computer.  Arrange the material in an order they feel tells a story and then add recordings to the material to tell the story.
(Center for Digital Story Telling)

The creator takes a story recording and finds material to match the recorded input.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

101 ways (and More) to use Samorost

After looking over the activities on the site, I have found some of the activities able to work certain games, while others can only work through the use of blogging and animation.  For example Twin Screen Walkthrough would work well with any role playing game, while ransom note would work well for a pre-created animation where each student is given a scene to add their commentary to and then the instructor can play this back for the students.  Relay Reading can be used to create new movies or commercial with the students’ voices as the new voice over.  However, most of the activities on the list are not able to be used with the current games I am familiar with.   With a little research and creativity new activities can be made to the game that peek the students’ interests.

Language Learning with New Media and Video Games

The 3 most important issues raised in the article are the value of subtitles as means to educating, the ability to use mod tools as a means to instruction, and authentic culture. 

The use of subtitles shows the value of simple things to aid learners.  This article presents the value of simply adding subtitles to a program allowed for an increase of learning and at a low cost. 
Mod tools allow for instructors to manipulate some of the most popular game titles out there to make them not only fun but very educational while at times at a low cost.  Another benefit to the mod tools is the ability to assign the students work that can be later used as part of future lessons on the game.  This also allows for the amount of work by the instructor decrease and the creativity of the student increases.
Authentic culture is a feature available to all instructors and is expanding as fast as the internet is.  The goal of any instructor is to present students with material that is relevant and authentic.  With the use of the internet instructors can gather material that is not only culturally correct but is also authentic to the modern culture.

3 games in a blog by Larry Ferlazzo up for review

Larry Ferlazzo's  "Best of"series
After reading through his list and getting to the section of gaming, and choosing the games from the list on The Best Learning Games For Advanced ELL’s & Non-ELL’s  I choose the only three games available  Headline Clues, Wordmaster, and Free Rice. 
Headline Clues is a cloze activity where the student needs to read a lead paragraph of a news article then try to file in the title of the article using the contextual clues in the paragraph.  The titles are presented with the first letter of each missing word present and the student needs to type in the word missing.    This game can be useful in an ESL classroom.  To improve this game I would also use the reverse, with the title complete and the lead paragraph missing select words.   
Wordmaster is another cloze word game where the student is given a sentence and is asked to input the correct word.  This game is very useful in the ESL classroom; it allows for students to improve spelling and vocabulary.  To improve this game further I would have multiple options / alternate options for each word.  This would allow students to learn synonyms.    
Free Rice  is meaning definition game where the student is presented with a word and has to select the correct answer as a reward they donate 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme.  This is a useful game that can be used in the ESL classroom as a way to motivate students to learn word definitions.  To improve on this game further would be for the students to be able to receive a list of the incorrect words along the frequency of errors.

Kyle Mawer's wiki and EVO (Electronic Village Online) wiki by Kyle Mawer & Graham Stanley

Kyle Mawer's wiki / EVO wiki
After reading through these two wiki’s on what computer gaming is and means to ESL instructors I have come to the conclusion that the EVO classification of gaming is more prevalent and useful to read through as a concise presentation of computer gaming.  The rational for this decision was based on the depth of presentation.  In EVO they present the argument for computer gaming based on explanatory use of different platforms of gaming; while Mawer’s wiki presented the obvious and glaring positive aspect of games in the classroom.   
This is not to say that there is no value in Mawer’s wiki, there is.  His wiki presents a great coverage of his personal adaptation of computer games to his classroom and his found valuable uses.  This material presented is very valuable for any instructor who is lacking the base of information, the materials, previous experiences with gaming (in and out of the classroom), and those who are not creative.  An added benefit to his page is the inclusion of links to the games he is referencing too.
In conclusion, I have to say the use of (Electronic Village Online) wiki by Kyle Mawer & Graham Stanley is useful as an overview of computer gaming and the various platforms.  Kyle Mawer's wiki is a great starter kit for beginners in using computer games in the classroom.