Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Reviving Tech4ESL

Since finishing up my Masters in Educational Technology, I haven't really revisited the Tech4ESL blog that I created while in my course. I was inspired to revive it after reading Adult Basic Education instructor Delondra Williams' blog urbanreadingteacher and realizing that perhaps using Tech4ESL as a forum for sharing my ongoing experiences with integrating technology into an adult-level ESL Intermediate Low class would be of use to other instructors thinking about using technology. So here goes!

Two items of note today. First, my new computers arrived! The 6 older student computers (didn't even have USB ports) are on their way to salvage and have been replaced by lovely new Gateways with flat panel screens. It's easy to see that the stations that had been the last ones to fill up if at all (they'd become almost unusable) will now be priority destinations for my students! The truth is, they had become almost unusable, and a big headache as well since they had become so unreliable. I've also moved my students to using USB flash drives to save their work and since those computers didn't have USB ports I still had to create floppy disks everytime anyone did work at the older computers. Now, I can phase out the floppy disks completely and use them as a new example whenever I teach the word "obsolete."

Now comes a period of adjustment as I, with the help of our school technical support person Tom, go about configuring the new computers with all of the programs, settings and icons that my students are used to. These will be the first computers that I'll be using that have a "protection" software installed so I'm interested in seeing how that will work out. We're going to be using "Deepfreeze" to help maintain them. I'm hoping that I won't experience new difficulties and that it works as advertised.

The second item of note is a new online application called Bubblr that I came across. Bubblr is an application that works in conjunction with Flickr the photo sharing website that lets anyone browse through the photos at Flickr and add their own speech "bubbles!" You can turn any of the public photos at Flickr into a a little comic strip of one or more frames. I've been doing this project using Word and ClipArt for several years and it's always been popular. Now I can introduce an online version of the same project. You can see one of the first examples I created here:

1 comment:

Marian Thacher said...

Hi Barry - glad to see you're blogging again! I posted a little note and added a link to your blog from mine, http://marianthacher.blogspot.com