Oh mann, ihr habt vergessen euren Teil der Evaluation zu schreiben!!
Our visit to the Alfred-Wegener-Schule (AWS) February 2, 2010
Here we are again!!
In our entry from November the 24th we spoke about a field trip to the Alfred Wegener Schule (AWS) in Kirchhain. This plan, however, was delayed due to illnesses and the winter holidays. But last week we managed to realize our visit to the school and got information about locations, equipment, teaching concepts, etc..
It was really interesting to see which ideas and proposals that we had discussed in the seminar were put into practice in the school. We visited, for instance, a computer lab that was included in a library. In this computer lab, also called ‘Lernwerkstatt’, the students can improve their language skills via learning software which is installed on the computers.
Next to the ‘Lernwerkstatt’ there existed also other computer labs for younger and older students. According to the subjects and their demands these rooms were equipped with, learning islands (Lerninseln), individual computers or a SMART board.
In the following our guide Mr. Schouler, an informatics and English teacher from the AWS, found time to answer some of our questions that we previously posted in our blog and which you will find below this article.
I got the opportunity to ask Mr. Schouler in which subjects and for which purposes students use the new media. He replied that the new media is not only used in order to gather information and present it, as for example in projects, but that there are certain computer lessons in which young students are thought basic computer skills, such as how to save documents, create own folders, working with Microsoft word, etc. .
Another aspect I was curious about was the question, as students are obviously well trained, if all the teachers know how to use the new media appropriately. He answered that some years ago all teachers were trained in using the new media in a seminar. In the following, however, it became clear that every teacher designs his lesson according to his or her own principles. This means that older teacher who follow a more traditional concept, reject the computer whereas mostly younger colleges are eager to include them in their lesson planning.
So we have seen that already today new media is incorporated into the teaching process. It is, however, still a matter of motivation and willingness of each individual teacher that decides whether new media is used or not.
Internet Communication – E-Mail Exchange Projects January 26, 2010
Nowadays almost any kind of communication can be done via the Internet. In this Virtual Session the interactivity via the Internet is discussed. Through e-mail exchange projects for instance students may use the chance to get in contact with foreign students in order to improve their skills. In this unit different topics will discussed, for instance Didactical Background, Preparation, Mail Exchange and so on. You will get an overview of all this themes and also the advatages and disadvantages will be discussed. Step by step you will get the opportunity to inform yourself about the way of communication and new possibilities.
Other ways of interactivity by messengers for example are a very good invention, too. People from all over the world can be connected to each other without any efforts and at the same time. Neither does it cost anything, i.e. that expensive telephone call or letters can be avoided. The e-mail exchange can be between individuals, complete classes or small groups. Often it is easier for foreign language students to write about a given topic and just make up ideas themselves. In this kind of communication they can learn new vocabulary and talk to others even if they are shy. But all in all it should be taken into consideration that the usage of the Internet must be treated careful. By using this projects in class, it should be clear from the beginning that the e-mail exchange is not a private matter of the students, but a school project.
Dear Sebastian and Benjamin,
Unfortunately, I could not take part in todays session. Therefor I have a few questions to you. I hope you can answer them:-)
1. Can you explain the concept/function of Webquests?
2. Are Webquests important for us?
3. What should we know about them?
4. What are the advantages / disadvantages?
5. Are you able to create your own Webquest after all the information?
Digitale Schultasche – (The digital schoolbag) December 8, 2009
The digital schoolbag is a collection of portable software that is stored on a portable harddrive such as a USB-drive or a flash card. The concept of portable software allows the user to access the programs he or she needs to use on any computer.
There is a various complement of freeware all combined in one package that covers the most common office and web applicalions, image-, audio- and video editing and various other slim and useful tools.
The great advantage of this software on a USB-Stick is, that you can be sure you have all needed software, whereever you go. You don’t need to fear, that your presentation doesn’t work on a computer in university or school, because you have all needed programs with you.
Another aspect is, that the school doesn’t need to spend any money on software and you as a teacher don’t need to consult the IT-Administrators and wait for permission to install a new program on the school server. Just plug in your stick and it’ll all work out. Each student will need a stick with the programs on it, or one can install the free software on the computers, if the admins permit.
School Project November 24, 2009
Our trip to the school will not take place until January 2010.
Gaming in the classroom?? November 17, 2009
Todays session was about the question, wether computer games could be considered as a fruitful tool while teaching foreign languages.
As the majority of us obviously is convinced that computer-games are something that the students can do in their freetime but have nothing to do with learning, the topic is so interesting. Why shouldn’t there be games that are due to the principles of ‘edutainment’, a term which in itself unifies the concepts of education on the one hand and entertainment on the other hand?
I approached this question via a webquest in which I followed the hints given in our instructors weblog (http://annamariagallus.wordpress.com/webquest-software/) after having established a list of 7 central criteria that I considered to be crucial for an ‘edutaining’ game: general didactic aspects, field of application, adaptation, evaluation, do computer games fulfill the premiss of ‘edutainment’?, do the students acquire media competence while gaming?, can gaming be monitorized/controlled by the teacher?
While skimming the pages, I got to know lots of games that mostly are related to tasks on lexis. However, after having tested them carefully in accordance to my parameters, I came to the conclusion that the great majority could not be recommanded for teaching purposes, as most of them are too time consuming and lack any possibilty of monitorization. Finally there arose the question if there is any benefit at all?
Nonetheless, the last link in our list: http://www.english-online.org.uk/games/gamezone2.htm offered acces to a variety of interesting games which are not linked to lexis exclusively but also include tasks on grammatical topics such as comparison or prefixes as well as ideas that are related to England and English culture in general. By filling in gaps the genral design is rather conventional, however, they are interesting, funny, and what is central also show some kind of benefit for a student of English.
After having discussed the possibilty of gaming, my conclusion is that gaming is definitly no appropriate complement for in-class teaching, as actually in none of the games I checked all criteria were fulfilled. However, one should not reject gaming as such. In a given context (carefully selected games, benefit for learning, done at home) computer games could work as a fruitful complement to the teaching process.