Thursday, September 22, 2005

a moment to blog

Hello to everyone, as I start to feel finally that I have a handle on the report of research and have a moment to post something to the blog. I found the tabulation of data in Excel to be a very valuable exercise and have really learned a lot by looking for ways that the different information can be analyzed. I started with some of the obvious simple formulas related to my data such as simply getting a percentage of the respondents who answered any particular category of the 4 possible responses to any question. Doing that successfully gave me more ideas. For example, during the discussion section, I wanted to say how many technology types were used by at least half of the respondents. Since my sample size wasn't that large (12 surveys returned) with only 13 different types of technology, I was tempted to just count manually by looking at the different charts. Having learned how to use the "countif" function in class I decided to attempt using it and having Excel do the counting. I highlighted the cells that were pertinent, started the function and used the criteria "countif" the numerical value in the cell was ">50%" and hit the "enter" key. A number appeared in the cell. I did a quick visual count and realized I was one short. The figures on the tables revealed that one of the technologies was used by 50% of the teachers. I quickly understood that I needed to revise my formula and tried at first to do an "or" statement; something like "= or >50%" but got "bubkis" (nothing for the non-Yiddush speakers). Putting my years of critical thinking and math classes to work, I tried the much simpler ">49%" and had my "Eureka" moment. I must say it was quite gratifying. I would like to encourage my classmates to experiment with using the formulas, if only for an academic exercise. (I guess at some point I'll have to find out how to write the equation using = and > together) We won't always have small sample sizes to work with.

Finally, even though I first thought that there wouldn't be all that much to write about in the discussion section from such a small survey and sample size, as I started to look at each chart and understand the implications of the data, I found quite a bit to comment on. I'm pleasantly surprised.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

DON'T MISS THIS!! Free Online APA style bibliography creator

The online journal, Classroom News (eSchool News) arrived in my inbox today and in it was an article titled "" saves researchers time - and makes citations a cinch." In the body of the article it stated " has created a free-to-use web site that quickly produces "works cited" pages for its users in there simple steps. First, the user must choose from among three style formats - Modern Language Association, American Physiological Association, or Chicago citation style - as well as the type of medium (print, electronic, or audio/visual) and the source of the material (book, film, web site, newspaper, etc.) The user then enters the appropriate information into the blank fields, including title, author, page, published date, etc., for printed works. Finally, the user saves the information and is able to export it to Microsoft Word, where it is properly formatted and ready to print"

I said to myself "This is worth checking out.", and wouldn't you know it, it WORKS! It's easy, just like the article says, you fill in the boxes and click "Export" and you are sent a Word Document with all of your citations in alphabetical order ready to cut and paste into your paper. I suggest you try it ASAP!

Monday, September 12, 2005

consent form as used for survey

Informed Consent Form

Survey on ESL Instructor use of available technology at Pacoima Skills Center

The purpose of this study is to examine the amount of awareness that ESL instructors at Pacoima Skills Center have of the types of technology available to them for use in their classrooms at Pacoima Skills Center and to determine how instructors use that technology. This study is completely voluntarily and is not a requirement or duty of your employment.

The information generated from this study will be used primarily to fulfill the project requirements of a class in educational research that Barry Bakin is taking as part of a Masters of Education in Instructional Technology at American Intercontinental University (AIULA). Results may be shared with the administration and staff of Pacoima Skills Center at the completion of the class.

Your participation is voluntary and confidential. Your names will not be on your survey response forms. You are free to withdraw from the research study (not turn it in) at any time or to decline to answer any questions without penalty. The study involves no risk to your physical or mental health beyond those encountered in the normal course of everyday life.

I consent to take part in the survey on ESL Instructor use of available technology at Pacoima Skills Center with the understanding that my responses will remain anonymous and no personal information will be collected nor divulged. I am aware that this survey is a project for a class in educational research and I permit Barry Bakin to utilize the responses I will be giving as part of his class assignment. I am aware that results of this research may be shared with the administration and staff of Pacoima Skills Center at the conclusion of his class.

I agree and consent (mark an X in the box) BOX APPEARS HERE ON DOCUMENT

I disagree and do not consent (mark an X in the box) BOX APPEARS HERE ON DOCUMENT

Research Project Progress

I finalized the survey document this past class session and made one change to the consent form at Dr. Miller's suggestion: providing check boxes for "I consent and agree" and "I do not consent and I disagree" instead of a signature line. That allows me to just pass out and collect the survey keeping the consent form attached to it, alleviating the need for establishing a system for getting the survey back separately from the consent form while keeping the survey anonymous but knowing which surveys had consent forms.

I received the principal's ok to distribute the survey quickly. As it turns out, we had an ESL departmental meeting today so I was able to distribute and get surveys returned easily. There is another meeting for the evening teachers tonight and the surveys will be distributed by our ESL department chair at that time. Even though I stated that the teachers had until Friday to respond, it appears that I'll get all of the surveys back by tomorrow. The actual number of ESL teachers who I thought would be filling out the survey is smaller than I had assumed because while we have a lot of teachers on campus, many teach other types of classes and I'm not including ESL teachers who work off-campus. Also, some of the teachers who work Saturdays also work nights or mornings so the Saturday group is smaller than I planned.

On to analysis!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Finalized Research Survey

As a result of today's session, I narrowed the research topic considerably. At this point the survey will only determine if teachers at Pacoima Skills Center use the available technology, and if so, determine whether or not they use it solely for their own class preparation, whether students only use the technology or whether the teacher uses it for him or herself and also has the students use it in their learning. The complete survey follows.

Survey on ESL Instructor use of available technology at Pacoima Skills Center

Information about you:

How many hours a week do you teach at Pacoima Skills Center? ______________

Years teaching ESL at Pacoima Skills Center: ___________________

Years teaching ESL prior to your current employment at Pacoima Skills Center ________________

The following is a list of technologies currently available at Pacoima Skills Center. For each technology type, describe your use of that technology.
• “Instructor use only” means that you as the instructor use the technology for such activities as preparing for your class, doing background research, creating a homework exercise, presenting material to the students, or maintaining class records.
• “Students use only” means that your students use the technology for such activities as studying grammar, watching a video-based lesson, presenting a topic to the class, or doing research.
• “Both Instructor and Students Use” means that you as the instructor use the technology in the ways described above AND you have your students use the technology in their studies.
Please fill in the circle under the descriptor that best represents your usage. Please fill in only ONE circle per question.

(The four circles after each technology type represent the following categories: "Never", "Instructor use only", "Students use only", "Both Instructor and Students Use")
1. TV with built-in videocassette ○ ○ ○ ○

2. Audiocassette/CD player ○ ○ ○ ○

3. Overhead projector ○ ○ ○ ○

4. Computer (non-Internet)
productivity software
(Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) ○ ○ ○ ○

5. Computer (non-Internet)
ESL software
(ELLIS, Sequoyah, etc.) ○ ○ ○ ○

6. Computer (Internet use)
Not ESL specific
(Email, Search Engines, OTAN
Government Website, MapQuest,
Email discussion list, etc.) ○ ○ ○ ○

7. Computer (Internet use)
ESL specific (Online grammar site,
English For All website,
Email exchange, etc.) ○ ○ ○ ○

8. Cardreader machine ○ ○ ○ ○

9. Interactive Whiteboard ○ ○ ○ ○

10. LCD projector ○ ○ ○ ○

11. Inkjet or Laser printer ○ ○ ○ ○

12. Digital Camera ○ ○ ○ ○

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Research Proposal for EDU 670

Technology capacity (defined as access to computers, whiteboards, LCD projectors, Overhead projectors, etc.) is quite high at Pacoima Skills Center, the adult school where I teach, yet the use of technology for instruction on a regular basis varies greatly from teacher to teacher. For example my classroom is equipped with 17 Internet-connected desktop computers that are always present, 10 dedicated (always in the room) laptop computers on a wireless network that are also Internet-connected, and another 25 laptop computers accessible on a cart that are sometimes not accessible (other classes use them) but usually available because they are stored in the room. Additionally, I have a dedicated LCD projector (instructor doesn't have to "checkout" a projector from the office), overhead projector, cassette recorder, and a TV with a built-in video cassette player hanging from the ceiling. I also know that the instructor who uses the room at night NEVER uses any of the available technology for instruction. (No evidence of student work on computers, no evidence of any assignments ever given for using computers or any of the other technology, etc.) There is evidence that the instructor uses the teacher's computer to prepare tests.

I would like to explore one of two areas that relate to the issue of instructor use of technology for instruction but have not made a final decision as to which one. The population focus for both would be the ESL instructors at Pacoima Skills Center The first question I thought about researching would be to examine whether teachers at Pacoima Skills Center are aware of all the technology available at the school and then survey how many have actually used each type of technology for instruction. I would then have them look at the types of technology that they are currently not using and have them rank those technologies in terms of their interest in obtaining skills in using that technology with their students. The goal of the research would be to find out where training in technology use should be focused in the next year.

The second research project idea is related to the same issue but skips ahead a bit. It assumes that the ESL teachers are fairly aware of the technology that is available , has the teachers rank the technologies that are available in terms of interest in acquiring new skills in incorporating those technologies into instruction, but then would try to ascertain how teachers would like to be trained in using those technologies. There are several approaches to training in technology that are quite common: self-learning (reading a book or article), technology workshops (teachers attend a 2 or 3 hour workshop on a particular technique), technology mentoring (a teacher with experience in using technology "mentors" a colleague on a one-on-one basis), some combination of any of the previous techniques. or a few others not mentioned. The goal of the research would be to find out where training in technology use should be focused and ascertaining the method of instruction that most teachers prefer.

I welcome your comments as to which of the two projects might be the better one to undertake as well as any comments about the two projects themselves.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

on Stand and Deliver

The articles I mentioned in class that give background information on the actual events at Garfield High and background information on Hiram Johnson High in Sacramento are:

James, Stephen, “The power principal”, Sacramento News & Review online, June 21, 2001,

Jesness, Jerry, “Stand and Deliver Revisited,”, July 2002,

La Prensa San Diego, “Famed Teacher Can’t Duplicate Success in Northern California, May 22, 1998,

Saturday, July 23, 2005

weekly course content

Week 1
Pre-test of computer literacy (names of computer parts)
introduction to the keyboard and mouse
introduction to keyboarding
Start first project “About Me”
Review or introduction to Simple Present Tense

Week 2
Complete “About Me” project
Start second project “My Usual Schedule”
More practice with Simple Present Tense
Week 3
Complete “My Usual Schedule”
Introduction to Present Continuous Tense

Week 4
Start third project “Do/Doing”
Introduction to the Internet and the Web Browser

Week 5
Complete third project “Do/Doing”
Introduction to Blogging
Create Student Blog

Week 6
Weekly Blog post on an activity student usually does
Student views a classmate’s blog and posts a response
Mid-Semester Evaluation

Week 7
Weekly Blog post on an activity student a student is doing
Introduction to Comparatives and Superlatives
Introduction to Paint
Start fourth project “Comparatives and Superlatives”

Week 8
Weekly Blog post on comparing three consumer products the student uses
Introduction to Simple Past Tense
Complete project “Comparatives and Superlatives”

Week 9
Weekly Blog post on something the student “did over the weekend”
Students form teams and start “Research Project”
Students complete “Research Project” on Excel and start PowerPoint presentation

Week 10
Weekly Blog post on the “Research Project”
Students present PowerPoint presentation orally
Final evaluations

Writing assignments

Students will complete the following writing projects:

“About Me” – a brief autobiography of one or two paragraphs
“My Usual Schedule” – A paragraph explaining what the student usually does during the week
“Do/Doing” – students interview a campus employee to find out what that employee usually does at his or her job, then takes several photos of the employee performing different tasks, and then writes about what the employee usually does and what the employee was doing at the time the pictures were taken.
“Comparatives and Superlatives” – Students use Paint to draw three simple images that can be compared to each other. The drawings are transferred to Word and compared.
“Research Project” – Students conduct a simple research project in class, create a graph displaying the results in Excel, and create a slide presentation in PowerPoint. The final step in this writing project is to present the results to the class orally, accompanied by the PowerPoint slides.
The textbook for the course will be: Learning Computers, Speaking English: Cooperative Activities for Learning English and Basic Word Processing, Steve Quann, Diana Satin, University of Michigan Press, July 2000, ISBN: 0472086839

catalog course description for edu660

This course will introduce ESL students to the basic computer skills needed to use computers for creativity, communication, and organizing information. It will instruct students in how to type, compose basic word processing documents, work with digital images, create new graphic images, find and use existing graphic images, use presentation software, and use an Internet browser. It will increase a student’s confidence in working with computers for home use and in the workplace. ESL subjects are integrated into all of the lessons to promote improved language competency in reading, writing or listening.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Reaction to Chapter 16 of Computer Education for Teachers

"You could spray a video display from a can on any surface and be able to print it out" (p. 419, Computer Education for Teachers) I'm not exactly sure what is meant by that particular futuristic idea but the rest of the chapter is pretty informative. There are some potentially scary ideas, like the idea of "electronic creatures capable of independent thought and action" (p. 428) which hint at "Terminator" like scenarios, and "mutually immersive mobil telepresence" (p. 431) HUH?, but overall, it seems pretty safe to say that technology isn't going away and educators who can keep up with the advancements and in turn incorporate them into their teaching so their students can also keep up with the technology, are more likely "not to go away" either. In that sense, being an educator who uses cutting-edge technology with students is a form of job preservation in the face of job losses due to technology.

Reaction to Chapter 15 of Computer Education for Teachers

I didn't find much that I wasn't already aware of in the "issues" portion of this chapter having used computers in a classroom setting for more than 5 years in a wide range of situations from having only one computer in a classroom, to running a dedicated ESL computer lab where all of the other classes in the school rotated into the room for 90 minutes sessions once a week, before reaching my current classroom which has, as you already know, both desktop computers and laptop computers available for every single student every day if desired. I'm pleased that the chapter covers wireless laptop carts and notes that one benefit is that teachers do not have to take students to a separate lab. I totally agree with the concept that computer assisted learning has to be completely integrated into the curriculum and providing direct access to computers in the room is certainly one way to start that process.

I found the research portion of the chapter to be a good start at covering many issues involved with using computers in education. Much still has to be done in determining if all of the effort that teachers and schools invest in buying and installing computers,and training teachers, is worthwhile from the standpoint of educational gains.

Monday, June 13, 2005

check out the cool clock on my blog!

What do you think of the ticking clock? Get one for yourself at or just copy the code off of my page and paste it into the "Template" on your own page.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Website for viewing a site as a color blind person would see it
is the website I referred to in class that allows you to view a webpage as if a color blind person would view it. It actually shows you how people with different types of color blindness would see the page.

Click on the "Vischeck" link at the left and then on "Run Webpages" and you can enter the URL of your blog or any other website to see it as a color blind person might!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Reaction to Chapter 14 of Computer Education for Teachers

More and more educators have access to computers right in their classroom, but it has been my experience that woefully few of them make use of them to their complete capability as "teacher support tools". Much needs to be done in this area in my experience. I doubt if I would be happy teaching without a computer, Internet connection, scanner and high-output printer in my classroom. I rarely use the copy machine anymore because I can prepare many materials right in the classroom. I can find song lyrics on-online, copy them to a word document and have them ready to be distributed in 5 minutes or less. When a reading passage mentioned the cities of El Paso, TX, USA and Ciudad de Juarez, Mexico, I could go to the Internet, find a map of that area, print it to an overhead transparency and display it for the class (Now that I have a wireless connection to one of my laptops, I can actually skip that last step and project the image directly from the Internet to my overhead projector). I won't bore you with too many examples but last year when a student wanted to know why children hunt for Easter Eggs but the symbol of Easter is a bunny which as far as he knew didn't lay eggs, I was able to clarify after a few minutes of searching (Easter being a fertility inspired holiday, both eggs and bunnies symbolize prolific offspring) I produce handouts, tests, worksheets right in the classroom for use that same day as needed or as inspired by what the students are doing at any particular moment.

I'm also fortunate to have a web-based attendance recording system. No more filling out registers for me. I just log-on and fill out a web-based interface to record attendance now. Click a button and print out the completed register to be turned in at the end of the week. (The system also has benefits for adminstration as they get immediate data on division-wide attendance, whereas in previous years that information was delayed by at least a month).

Reaction to Chapter 13 of Computer Education for Teachers

This is a really crucial issue that is often overlooked by educational providers, but virtually all educators could benefit by the information in this chapter. Those working with adult students are no less likely to encounter learning disabilities or students with various issues in their classrooms. From general issues such as the difficulty that adults of all ages and abilities have with using computer touch pads, or specific issues with individual students who exhibit evidence of a learning disability, instructors will benefit from being aware of ways that computer assisted education can both help overcome learning disabilities or present even more difficulties for those particular students.

Another issue that anyone working with websites is that there are definitely issues of accessibility that need to be considered. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 does appear to include website accessibility.
For a general website with information about creating websites that are accessible see

This is another site that allows instructors to create games. The major difference with this site is that the games you create here can be played online. It is a fee site so instructors have to either have their school purchase a subscription or pay for it themselves. I tried out the 30 day free version and created a small vocabulary practice game based on words I'm actually teaching this week in class (so it would be realistic for my teaching situation) that you can try at It costs $49 a year for an individual subscription (only $39 if you get 9 colleagues to sign up at the same time) but I think that would be well worth it to a teacher who uses online activities on a regular basis. For the game that I created, by the way, I drew the images myself in Paint, saved them, and uploaded them to the Quia server for use in the game. I wanted to see how easy it was to create an online puzzle. It took about 30 minutes for the whole process including drawing the drawings from scratch. Try my game!

This is one of several such sites which can greatly assist classroom teachers in producing fairly interesting assignments for in-class use in a quick and easy manner. If a teacher feels that there is educational value to having students work on puzzles to memorize or learn vocabulary, then this site can be very useful. I was able to customize a provided list of vocabulary words (delete some words I thought were not appropriate for my class) and create a puzzle within a few minutes that I could print out and distribute to my class (assuming I had the computer, Internet connection, and printer in the room) a few short minutes after thinking it might be nice to have just such an exercise to pass out. It's a good example of how technologically aware teachers can enhance their lessons with a minimal amount of work. Let's say that you're teaching a lesson on the days of the month in a beginning level class and you realize that you might have an extra 10 minutes of classtime near the end of the day when some students are starting to get fidgety. While the students are working on some other assignment, you can visit this site, create a custom puzzle using the vocabulary words that you want your students to know from that day's lesson, print it out and have it be ready for that that last 10 minute period, giving students the opportunity to make complete use of every minute of the time period for productive learning. If the 10 minutes never materializes because a student has asked a question and your answer or explanation has made use of that ten minutes, you have a homework assignment or a warm-up/review worksheet for the next class session already prepared.

It's always good to view sites and resources from many angles. While I probably won't actually ever teach art directly, there IS a movement within ESL instruction towards incorporating language instruction within subject matter instruction. So from that angle, I'm going to file this site away for future reference for the time when I might be asked to teach an art subject as part of an ESL program.

But more than that, sometimes sites are important not only for their content, but for the example they present as a way of PRESENTING INFORMATION itself, or in this case actually, the way this site led me to another site which I would possibly have never seen but is a fantastic example of the way in which educational content can be delivered taking full use of the multimedia capabilities of the computer. You might recall that in my comments on some earlier websites we visited for this class, ,my comment was "it's just a page from a book displayed on the computer". In other words, "Who needs an expensive computer when you can just hand the student a worksheet?" The website I found after a bit of exploration is
(the first link when you click on the "EXPLORE" tab) an ingenious and extremely interesting site that teaches about Martha Graham's work through the eyes of a dancer who has been assigned to dance several of her most famous roles. The visitor to the site is presented with the dancer's locker , filled with notebooks, journals, background information, music CD's and videos (realistic photos of each object). As the learner explores the locker and its content by clicking on the different items, they learn as if they are really that dancer studying for an actual role. For example, they view a video of a segment from a dance and are presented with several questions to think about basing their answers on the video clips they just watched. It's a site with high production values and was obviously not cheap to produce, but it certainly is a great demonstration of the way educational content can be delivered making optimal use of the delivery technology selected. I highly recommend that anyone interested in using computers to make instructional content more interesting visit this site.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

First student blogs achieved today

I took the plunge and tried a second time to get introduce my students to both the class homepage I created at as well as the blog I created at blogger. It went much better today with 4 students actually creating their own new blogs! Those four are now able to access the blog from home and post responses. It was very exciting actually and the students were very excited about the whole thing, quickly grasping my intent that they can maintain contact with the class even if they are absent. To see the first 4 student blogs visit and look for the four links at the right side... Note that Flori actually posted her answer to the June 7th assignment and I was able to give her some feedback leading to a correct sentence.

One observation about the difference between the two sites is that it is much easier to get students to the point of being able to log in at the scholastic site. On the other hand, the more sophisticated students quickly realized that by starting their own blogs, they would have their very own Internet presence, with one student asking me, "If I tell my friends about my blog, and they make their own blog, than we can send messages back and forth to each other?, and what about photos?"

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Cutting Edge Instructional Technology-virtual language simulations and training

The first URL below is a general description of what some folks are working on in terms of providing language practice in a simulated environment using virtual reality/video game/voice recognition technology. The second is a video of a professor explaining how the program works with actual samples of the program. No comment about who is funding it and why. Just something to think about and it’s impact on language instruction. Note the description of the task as "tactical language learning"...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

an online journal that might interest you

Innovate is an online journal that seems especially appropriate for members of edu640. From its own description: "Innovate is a bimonthly, peer-reviewed online periodical (ISSN 1552-3233) published by the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University. The journal focuses on the creative use of information technology (IT) to enhance educational processes in academic, commercial, and government settings." You have to "subscribe" but it's free. You can subscribe at

The article that brought me there was on blogging in education. By Stuart Glogoff, it's titled "Instructional Blogging: Promoting Interactivity, Student-Centered Learning, and Peer Input" Once you register you'll see the link to the article on the left side of the website.

Some other titles in this issue of the online journal that caught my eye:
Freedom and Empowerment: An Essay on the Next Step for Education and Technology
James Shimabukuro

What Can You Learn from a Cell Phone? Almost Anything!
Marc Prensky

Creating Effective Web-Based Learning Environments: Relevant Research and Practice
Kay Wijekumar

The Changing Shape of Corporate Universities
David Baucus and Melissa Baucus

Monday, June 06, 2005

explanation of RSS feeds from

This article provides a clear explanation of RSS feeds and how they can be used in education. I wasn't completely clear on what they were or even that we already are using an RSS feed since we started using bloglines to "aggregate" our own class blogs. Essentially, the technology that allows a posting on one of the listed blogs to appear in our aggregator at bloglines is RSS technology. The article is titled "The ABCs of RSS" and its author is Will Richardson. The direct link is

Saturday, June 04, 2005

I continue to learn about using blogs and cooperative learning of technology

Working in the lab with my co-students in the program has been very productive. There were several instances where we were able to attack a problem together and reach a satisfactory outcome. For example, I had been frustrated in my inability to delete a post on one of my blogs that was posted by me, but under a username of one of my students. I wanted to replace that posting with a correct one. I had been unsuccessfully trying to delete it for about two weeks because I was trying to delete it from the editing page instead of from the comment itself. Yacine, who had done this previously (deleting the infamous naked acrobat posting that appeared on her blog) was able to quickly demonstrate the correct procedure.

View my new class homepage at

Access my experimental class homepage created at by going to

A new page will appear with a Login box.
Enter the Class User Name: eslclass
Enter the Class Password: practice


Reaction to Chapter 12 of Computer Education for Teachers

Who knew that BASIC meant "Beginner's All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction"? Again, this chapter features many explanations of necessary aspects of Computer Assisted Instruction and is useful for the differentation between different types of learning software approaches (i.e. "simulation" vs. "drill and practice" programs). After visiting the selected websites, I thought there would be more information about software and websites for special education, but there was only the one paragraph. The main focus of the chapter, integrating software is an area that I have great prior interest in, because it has also been my focus in the classroom for some time. I make use of both commercially produced software specifically for ESL as well as general application programs such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint as teaching tools for my students on a daily basis. It's important to be familiar with both general types and this chapter does a good job of discussing both types of software.

Reaction to Chapter 11 of Computer Education for Teachers

This author is very good at producing easy to read and clear summaries of different topics and this history of the Internet is another good example of that. On the other hand, I found myself getting bored by screen shot after screen shot of website for each different topic taught at school. I was pleased to note the inclusion of eblogger and web development tools as I'm starting to move into using those myself. I never really knew what Java and JavaScript were and now I do.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

my blogline set up

I want to 2nd Dr. Partovi's suggestion to make use of the blog "accumulator" found at It really saves a lot of time when trying to read all of the blogs of everybody in the class. I was even able to add a button on my browser toolbar which allows me to instantly add a blog I'm visiting to my list of blogs that it's keeping track of. For example, when I visited each of your blogs, instead of typing in the URL for each respective blog, I just clicked on that new button in my browser and that blog was added to my list of blogs. I think I got everybody, but I'm not sure about Michael's. (I'm using but I don't see any postings :( so I don't know if that's correct.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Seems like a very competently made and well thought out site of use to professionals working with special education. Again, the most interesting part of the site were the discussion forums which allowed a peak inside the world of "sped" teachers. If I were involved with this population this would obviously be a "must bookmark" site

Kept getting a 400 error (bad request invalid host name) and couldn't find this page, but found perhaps an older version archived on google. I did find out that "NICHCY stands for the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities." even though I can't figure out the relationship between the acronym and its meaning...

I think this would be an invaluable resource for a k-12 teacher, especially theTeacherChat forums where teachers can post questions and get back responses from other teachers who have suggestions and solutions. I found myself getting drawn into one discussion about a 3 year old autistic student and how the teacher was concerned he was fixating on his set of beads for hours and hours and whether that was a good thing because it was calming or a bad thing because it was preventing communication. The responses were quite interesting including many specific suggestions for using some shaping (I hope I'm remembering all that stuff we learned just last semester) to increase time away from the beads by using the beads as a reward for doing a simple task, first for one minute, then for two minutes, then for three minutes, etc. Another posting had to do with a teacher who wanted more information about self-mutilation and how prevalent it is , and then later in the discussion reveals that she has one student who apparently is cutting himself and asks for info about what should be done about it. I'm SO glad I work with adult populations! On a lighter note this posting about controlling behavior strikes me as a great idea

Another unique part of the site is the store of teacher created materials, many that can be purchased as .pdf downloads, so teachers who need an instantaneous lesson or teaching aid and don't have an educational store in town or even within 100 miles can get materials as needed. And of course, since they are teacher-created, the materials are classroom tested.



Pacoima Skills Center provides vocational, academic, basic skills and English language education to the community of Pacoima and the neighboring communities of Sylmar, Mission Hills, Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Sun Valley, North Hills, Van Nuys and Panorama City. The 7th Council District of the City of Los Angeles, home to Pacoima Skills Center, has the highest percentage of Hispanic-Latino residents in the city (80.4% according to the 2000 Census). The area has the highest rate of unemployment in the San Fernando Valley (9.6% compared to 5.6% in the San Fernando Valley as a whole) and, a 30% poverty rate compared with 22.1% countywide. The annual per-capita income is $9,266 (about 57% of the per-capita income of the city of Los Angeles as a whole). The Pacoima Skills Center is located in a Federal Empowerment Zone as well as a State of California Enterprise Zone, a City of Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency Zone and a City of Los Angeles Targeted Neighborhood Initiative.

Adult ESL students in Literacy thru Advanced Low ESL classes are the specific targeted population. The central strategy of the
Technology Center will be a “Technology Help Desk” consisting of instructors and staff available for training and assistance in the implementation of technology in the ESL curriculum.

Technology Facilitation Standard I. (TF-I)
Technology Operations and Concepts. Educational technology facilitators demonstrate an in-depth understanding of technology operations and concepts. Educational technology facilitators:

TF-I.A. Demonstrate knowledge, skills, and understanding of concepts related to technology . Candidates:

1. Assist teachers in ongoing development of knowledge, skills and understanding of technology systems, resources, and services that are aligned with district and state technology plans.

Technology Help Desk instructors and staff will survey teachers to determine baseline data on teachers' knowledge, skills, & understanding of technology resources using available survey tools such as the CTAP2 (California Technology Assistance Project )

Implement Staff Development Series consisting of at least 6 3-hour workshops focusing on integration of both computer-assisted language learning and other technologies into the language classroom. The first four workshops will be: 1) Integrating Microsoft Word Projects into the ESL curriculum, 2) Integrating Microsoft PowerPoint Projects into the ESL curriculum, 3) Integrating Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Paint Projects into the ESL curriculum, 4) Using the Overhead Projector, Video, and Card Reader Technologies with ESL students, 5) Integrating the Internet into the ESL curriculum, 6) Effective Use of Commercial ESL software in the ESL computer lab.

2. Provide assistance to teachers in identifying technology systems, resources, and services to meet specific learning needs.

Implement “Technology Help Desk” program with email, phone, and classroom visit capability so that individual instructors can obtain prompt assistance as needed.

TF-I.B. Demonstrate continual growth in technology knowledge and skills to stay abreast of current and emerging technologies. Candidates:

1. Model appropriate strategies essential to continued growth and development of the understanding of technology operations and concepts.

Technology Help Desk instructors and other staff will maintain current membership in related professional organizations such as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) Interest Section, Technology Mentor Network, Computer Using Educators, etc.

Technology Help Desk instructors and other staff will maintain current participation in CALL related email discussion lists (TESLCA-L, Technology Mentor Network, etc.)

Technology Facilitation Standard II. (TF-II)
Planning and Designing Learning Environments and Experiences. Educational technology facilitators plan, design, and model effective learning environments and multiple experiences supported by technology.
Educational technology facilitators:

TF-II.A. Design developmentally appropriate learning opportunities that apply technology-enhanced instructional strategies to support the diverse needs of learners. Candidates:

1. Provide resources and feedback to teachers as they create developmentally appropriate curriculum units that use technology.

Technology Help Desk instructors and staff will be available to observe teachers in the classroom as well as to “team teach” or teach a demonstration lesson for teachers who would like a more concrete experience with a technology lesson as implemented in their own classroom with their own students.

2. Consult with teachers as they design methods and strategies for teaching computer/technology concepts and skills within the context of classroom learning.

Technology Help Desk instructors and staff will be available to consult with teachers in the classroom as well as to “team teach” or teach a demonstration lesson for teachers who would like a more concrete experience with a technology lesson as implemented in their own classroom with their own students.

3. Assist teachers as they use technology resources and strategies to support the diverse needs of learners including adaptive and assistive technologies.

Technology Help Desk instructors and staff will have a wide-range of adaptive and assistive technologies and strategies available for demonstration to teachers working with special needs adults and will assist in converting or adapting classroom or computer lab technology as necessary to meet the needs of those learners.

TF-II.B. Apply current research on teaching and learning with technology when planning learning environments and experiences. Candidates:

1. Assist teachers as they apply current research on teaching and learning with technology when planning learning environments and experiences.

Technology Help Desk instructors and staff will be familiar with current research on teaching and learning with technology and have Internet or other resources available for teachers to read or view via email, video, a training website or 1-hour staff development training sessions during the semester.

TF-II.C. Identify and locate technology resources and evaluate them for accuracy and suitability. Candidates:

1. Assist teachers as they identify and locate technology resources and evaluate them for accuracy and suitability based on district and state standards.

Technology Help Desk instructors and staff will use various evaluation rubrics for software and Internet websites to assist teachers in identifying appropriate computer-based materials and Internet resources for adult learners.

For an example of two such evaluation worksheets see the “Technology-Based Material Evaluation Checklist" and the “Web Site Evaluation Checklist” (appendices B and C of the ESL/CBET & Citizenship Technology Guide of the Division of Adult and Career Education, LAUSD) found at

2. Model technology integration using resources that reflect content standards.

Incorporate reviewed software and websites in staff development workshops as needed.

TF-II.D. Plan for the management of technology resources within the context of learning activities. Candidates:

1. Provide teachers with options for the management of technology resources within the context of learning activities.

Technology Help Desk instructors and staff will provide training on technology resource management techniques such as rotation of students to computer stations using timers or other strategies when there are more students than computers available, training students to help set up laptops and other technology equipment instead of taking “teacher time” to do it, identifying students who can serve as “technology assistants”, etc.

TF-II.E. Plan strategies to manage student learning in a technology-enhanced environment. Candidates:

1. Provide teachers with a variety of strategies to use to manage student learning in a technology enhanced environment and support them as they implement the strategies.

In addition to providing training on resource management techniques such as those mentioned in TF-IID above, Technology Help Desk instructors and staff will observe and assist teachers in the classroom as they implement those strategies initially.

TF-II.F. Identify and apply instructional design principles associated with the development of technology resources. Candidates:

1. Assist teachers as they identify and apply instructional design principles associated with the development of technology resources.

Technology Help Desk instructors and staff will be familiar with instructional design principles as they relate to technology resources and be available for design of lesson plans and curriculum as needed.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

some more references to esl related blogging

Here are some more academically oriented papers discussing blogging and ESL.

(go here to download a pdf file of the paper)

A good site for finding other sites! For example, the site that I found most interesting was not actually the electricteacher site, but this one instead! Lots of actual usable resources from teachers who use technology all the time. I got to it by clicking on the "Electric Trainers" link near the bottom of the page. Another link that I found directly from the electricteacher site that I'll be bookmarking is about creating student "Online Portfolios". The direct link to the page I found interesting is . I definitely plan to spend more time looking at samples and techniques there.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Reaction to chapter 10 of Computer Education for Teachers

The point of information that distance education started back in 1873 with the establishment of the Society to Encourage Studies at Home b Ann Ticknor was worth the price of this chapter. It never occurred to me that a discreet event could be identified in such a way. I enjoyed the mention of desktop video conferencing having just seen and experienced an international video-conference put on by k-12 schools that featured students from all over the world presenting topics that interested them via the Internet. Some participants had two-way interaction (visual/oral/aural), they could both see and speak, while visitors like myself could only view the goings on and interact in a text-based chat. When I'm back at my school computer I'll post a link to the archives of their presentations so you all can view what I'm talking about. It was an exciting event for the kids, and you could really see the amount of work they put into researching their presentations. There was also excellent use of the multimedia capabilities of such a virtual conference with one school in Canada presenting as part of their time, a live musical performance of First Nation People drumming and chanting. I think that we'll see more and more such virtual conferences in the near future.

Reaction to Chapter 9 computer education for teachers

I liked this chapter for it's clear and brief descriptions of various technical terms related to using the Internet and World Wide Web. The language isn't that difficult to understand and even intermediate level ESL students might get a lot out of this chapter.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Reaction to Chapter 8 of Computer Education for Teachers

I found the section on the development of hypermedia/hypercard/hyperstudio minimally interesting as they always seemed like antiquated technology to me. I have more experience with PowerPoint and the discussion in the chapter about PowerPoint interested me a bit more. The most interesting part of the chapter was the discussion about negative aspects of using hypermedia in the classroom. Later in the chapter, one software program, ImageBlender by Tech4Learning was described which I'll remember for possible future use. ImageBlender allows students to create stories which can then be posted on a website. As I start to work on web-based activities, I'll probably experiment with this type of project.

One point about the paragraph on Music Technology. While the text does mention the iPod and other music-based formats, it doesn't mention some of the new uses that some teachers are finding for language learning using them, such as pod casting (Click here for one explanation, and here for another)

Here's a description of a presentation to be held at JALTCALL 2005 in June in Japan. JALTCALL is Japan Association for Language Teaching Computer Assisted Language Learning.

RYAN, Kevin
Showa Women's University (JAPAN)

Time: Saturday, 11:50 to 12:30 in Room P113

Digitally Editing Sound for Portable Listening Activities

Tired of using the language lab? Want your students to have the freedom to do their listening on the train? Use free software (Audacity) to edit sound clips to create short listening activities that can then be ported to a cheap MP3 player and archived on the web for easier access. Look at what commercial software can do that the free one can't. Cover the process of planning, production, archival and downloading to the player. Look at different ways these clips can be used for individual study and class-related work. Format exercises to make them more portable and transportation friendly. Look briefly at mixing (and even mashing) commercial broadcast with self-produced material. Find out about Pod-casting. See a few instances of adding interactivity to the clips by using software like Hot Potatoes and Quandary and make it available on the web. Ask about doing this for cell-phones.

and here's another talking about mobile phones and ESL instruction:

"In Integrated CALL, students will no longer view CALL as a special activity undertaken in separate computer labs but, rather, will use it when and where needed to support learning activities. We present mobile technologies as an important part of Integrated CALL, describing two projects that aim to make mobile technologies ubiquitous, useful tools in the language learner’s toolbox. The first project is Poodle, a course management system (like Moodle) with the unique feature of being easily accessed on mobile phones. We present our ongoing experience creating and using in classes Poodle’s various functions, which include quiz, forum (discussion board), real-time in-class polling, and distribution of educational materials (including web pages, video and Flash programs) -- all designed to be used on mobile phones."

To see the complete listing of presentations at this upcoming conference see

Of course, these uses of technology weren't even technically possible when the author was writing her book! Now, instructors are using them to foster language learning and practice.

Reaction to Chapter 7 of Computer Education for Teachers

I have used spreadsheets with my students so I have a basic familiarity with some functions at the most basic level. This chapter was very informative as a window into more complex features. Of course, it could only provide summary paragraphs about the features and not real experience with them even though the author suggests doing some of the exercises with the computer.

Reaction to chapter 6 of Computer Education for Teachers

I don't use databases much and don't have a lot of experience with them so this chapter was useful mostly for its definition section, describing the different types of databases I'll file it away for future reference.

Technology disaster on implementation and a good reminder

I was reminded in a brutal fashion of the cardinal rule of integrating technology into the classroom today! CARDINAL RULE: TEST EVERYTHING FIRST ON THE COMPUTERS THE STUDENTS WILL BE USING BEFORE LETTING THE STUDENTS DO IT!

In this case, I found out too late (i.e. as I was doing it) that the security settings on the student computers were set at a higher level than on the teacher's computer, so when I tried to show them how to set up their own blogs and create their own accounts from the student computers it absolutely would not go past a certain step and just kept showing the same "please log in first screen". By the time I figured out the problem, all the momentum and interest had waned considerably. :( Oh well, I'll try again with them tomorrow, but I was reminded once again that there are steps to take when introducing new techniques or technology!

Remember some of the cognitive tests from last semester

Here's an online version of a left brain/right brain task:
try it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Finding out others are experimenting with blogs and esl as well

It finally occurred to me (DUH!) to reach out to other ESL teachers who use technology to see if any have started to experiment with blogging and ESL. I posted a query to three discussion lists that I participate in {[NIFL-TECHNOLOGY:3605]; the tech mentor network (tmnetwkca); and TESLCA-L discussion list} and got back several replies mentioning different blogs to look at! I've listed a few of them here:
(which led to
which discusses a complete workshop presented at TESOL 2005 (the international conference for the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages professional organization) and has a list of ESL/EFL blogs included. Check out for one such ESL/EFL blog.

The one that I think is most relevant and is the best example of the things I would like to do that I've been directed to so far is:

I also found this description of a presentation to be given at the upcoming JALTCALL 2005 conference (JALTCALL is Japan Association for Language Teaching Computer Assisted Language Learning at

Kansai Gaidai University (JAPAN)

(with Janet Listoe)

Time: Sunday, 14:20 to 15:00 in Room P22

Accessing the Global Community Through Blogs

As globalization grows at an increasingly rapid pace, the use of weblogs (blogs) enables EFL students to engage in authentic discourse with the online community. EFL teachers can act as gatekeepers to help learners access this global community. This presentation outlines a year long project at Kansai Gaidai University that involved 191 second year students and two EFL instructors who created and maintained blogs as part of a second year required reading and writing course. After a brief introduction to blogs, the presentation will examine how blogs can be used with EFL learners, as well as the rationale behind using blogs and the implications for increasing the English language proficiency of learners. The presentation describes how students were able to engage in authentic dialogue in English and use experiential writing as a developmental step towards expository writing while entering the on-line global discourse and learning to negotiate meaning within a community. The presentation then focuses on blogs as a tool to develop basic communication skills, and as a tool to assist students with continuous independent learning outside the classroom. Finally, examples of blogs created by the students will be looked at before considering student evaluations of blogs as a learning tool. This interactive on-line presentation is open for questions and comments from participants. Participants are invited to share their views on the writing and reading of blogs in the EFL classroom and specifically, their views on blogging as a valid task for language learning. Handouts will be provided."

More information about the conference presentations can be found at

The tucows site is one of the earliest sites for downloading programs that are called freeware and shareware. I suggest reading the information for new visitors at for a good description of what the site is and how it works. I think I would use it more than the c/net downloads site as it appears to me to be more user friendly. I would also recommend the articles found at They're easy reading and informative.

This is a good resource for most people who would like to download a software program. The programs are supposed to be free but as Yacine discovered, note comment below about one program that is only free "for a while". It has a good definition of spyware and adware, which are both new concerns for computer users, and an area with basic explanation of downloading techniques and things to be concerned about. A very useful feature is that comments from others who have downloaded the different programs can be accessed. The comments often provide real information about problems associated with any particular type of software. For example, in one review of a particular item, it noted that while ostensibly free, that particular program charges your credit card automatically if you go over a certain amount of usage. There is also a large music download area which appears to support legal downloading which I plan to check out when I get some more time. Interestly enough, the third area on the site "games" did not pass the criteria of the filtering software at my school district and was blocked so I couldn't access it from my school computer.

Did you notice that the designer of this website is only 19 years old? He started designing websites when he was 15! It's a pretty good site, but here again, there are not very many parts of it which take advantage of the unique qualities computer-based education can offer for training. It seems like most websites are just books on the internet. Print out the pages, staple them together and start reading!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A fairly clear self-guided/self-paced tutorial on using Excel. I'll keep this one for when I have some time to learn more about Excel than the basic skills already possess. It's still a lot of reading and static diagrams not really making complete use of the capabilities of computer-based education, but for a free tutorial it's quite adequate. I especially like the way the author introduces and teaches the use of equations but it would also be nice to have some way of knowing where you are in any one particular lesson. But then again, it is free...

I thought this site was about milking cows at first! I will most likely never use this site but knowledge that it exists isn't a bad thing. Maybe sometime in the future I'll have a student or colleague who needs an answer to a question about using Micosoft Access and I'll remember that this site exists. Otherwise, I won't be spending much time visiting it.

This is a site that I'll keep as a reference, primarily because someone else has already invested a lot of time and effort in searching out and cataloguing other sites that I most likely might need at some point in the future. The categories and organization of the site is clear and logical. It's not the type of site one can completely explore in a short time, but that's not really its function. It's meant to be a resource to use when the need arises. A good site to bookmark.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

see some photos from my classroom

To see a couple of pictures of technology use in my classroom (ESL Beginning High level) go to

After it downloads, go to page 86 of the technology guide for a couple of images. Incidentally, the Technology Guide that it's found in is a document created by adult teachers for adult teachers and includes numerous articles (some written by me) about incorporating technology in the classroom, website reviews and suggestions, video and software reviews, and detailed lesson plans for all levels of ESL instruction.

If you go to the ESL department webpage (Division of Adult and Career Education, LAUSD) at the first 4 pictures running across the top are of my students. In the first one, they're using "card reader" technology for listening practice.

Scroll down that page to the heading "ESL Instructional Materials" for a set of downloadable photos appropriate for language instruction that I created. The direct link is
Pictures 3 and 4 also give good views of my classroom, but 10 of the computers along the wall have been replaced by Gateway Profile 5.5 computers to save space on the desktops. ( for a picture)

Reaction to Chapter 5 of Computer Education for Teachers (desktop publishing)

My reactions to this chapter are similar to my reactions to the previous chapter about word processing. Didn't really learn anything new.

Reaction to chapter 4 of Computer Education for Teachers

This is one of the areas of classroom integration of technology that I most often utilize with my students so I didn't find too much new information. I would point out that the list of uses (page 62) of word processing uses divided up into uses by students and teachers creates an articificial distinction that doesn't need to exist. Students can and should be doing most if not all of the tasks listed on the "Teacher" side (at least in the context in which I work: adult immigrant ESL students).

Reaction to chapter 3 of Computer Education for teachers

A good introduction to some basic theory about how a computer works and simple discriptions of virtually all of the hardware/accessories available for use with computers.

reaction to chapter 2 of "Computer Education for Teachers"

This chapter is important because it points out the interrelationship between the advances of the hardware end of technology and the advances in educational theory and how educators not only need to have the hardware tools but also the belief that using the hardware is of educational value or at the least has a theoretical basis in educational practice. I also appreciated the reminder that the World Wide Web is just one part of the worldwide electronic system of communication known as the Internet.

reaction notes to book chapter one

I like knowing where to find a concise history of computers that is not too complex. High intermediate and advanced ESL students could probably get at least some benefit from this summary.

Don't forget to check out for information about IBM (International Business Machines), its Hollerith punch card technology (see page 6 of the Sharp textbook), and the Nazi Third Reich's systematic decimation of European Jewry making use of IBM technology.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

2nd attempt at posting a photo

This is my second attempt at posting a photo to the Tech4ESL blog. You may be interested in knowing that I took the picture with my treo 650 cell phone/pda, emailed it to the mobile version of blogger ( which posted it directly to the blog. Now let's see if it stays this time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Did any of you see the photo that I thought was posted earlier?

I thought I had posted a picture to this blog (not the other one) earlier this morning. I viewed the blog on the computer at my other website and there it was (I'm standing behind a cubicle partition at work in the photo), but now, at this computer I don't see it. I wonder what happened to it? Did any of you see it when you visited this blog earlier today?

This site is obviously meant for individuals interested in developing a home-based business in graphic arts and type setting and while of probable use to them is, in my opinion, of extremely limited use in the educational context in which I work. Besides being too technical, it is extremely cluttered with links and advertising and topics not even related to desktop publishing at all (links to popular videos and movies). It goes without saying that the level of English competency required to navigate this site, much less understand it, is way above the level of most ESL students.

While there is a lot of information here, written in a non-technical conversational format that is easy to understand, this site doesn't really take advantage of the very qualities that make a modern multi-media computer an engaging learning tool. It is essentially pages of a report reproduced on a computer screen. Viewers of the site sit in front of the screen and read. Where are the interactive lessons, the images, the interactive activities that are all possible and take greater advantage of a computer's capabilities?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

check out a blog to foster teacher/student communication/interaction

I started a second blog as an experiment in using a blog with a class. Check out to see my attempt at creating a site which my students could visit in an interactive fashion. No students have posted yet because I'm still getting familiar with the whole process, and they need to take our division's "Internet safety test" before they can use the Internet and they haven't done it yet because the semester just started.

While this site could be useful for an instructor who needs to find the definition of some computer terminology quickly, I don't think it would really be of much use to the typical ESL student because the level of English language used is quite advanced: not only the English of a typical definition, but everything on the page around that definition as well, from the menus to the advertising.

This site is a general activity site that I would find useful in my work only as a site that students who are parents might want to visit together with their children. There are lots of activities organized in 6 major areas. The Scholastic Book Club area, for example, includes a writing area, a test-taking strategy area, a homework area and an area for very young children. Except for the Scholastic Book Club area, however, this site is very commercially oriented with the other major areas completely structured on television (the WB Kids area, Fox Kids, and Disney Channel) or on other commercial enterprises of dubious educational content such as Pokemon. It is so heavily commercially oriented that I would most likely recommend to my students that they skip the homepage and go directly to the scholastic homepage bypassing much of the commercial garbage.

This is a very interesting site if only to demonstrate to students how far computer technology has come in 30 years. I graduated from high school in 1976, the year the first Apple 1 came out. I wish I was a a reader of Popular Science at that time and had gotten one of those first ones! The picture of the first Apple in a wood box you had to make yourself is especially amazing. Of course, this site would be too difficult for beginning students to read, but they could still derive value from the pictures and dates. It would be most appropriate for more advanced classes.

getting used to blogging

I'm still getting used to posting a comment and responding. I'm not sure when I'm able to create new comments or not. For example, how did I get to this screen? I need some more instruction I think!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

New Blog

This one lesson was worth the entire course! Thank you! Blog on!