Some Ideas to Bring Web Applications into Our English Classrooms
Diah Fakhmawati teaches English at MTs Muallimaat Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta. She is currently interested in teaching reading and bringing technology into her classrooms. She has recently joined the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) program to expand her network and build her knowledge.
The following article presents ideas on using Padlet, Edpuzzle, Quizlet, Blog, Canva, Fotojet, Sway, Movie Maker, and WebQuest. These tools will assist teachers in creating engaging activities in their classrooms and hopefully will also help students in improving their English performance.
The 21st century education demands language teachers to bring technology into their language classrooms. Some teachers might have difficulties because they are not familiar with the technology and/or activities that might be used to engage the students. The aim of this paper is to present some ideas on how to bring technology into language classrooms. The paper focuses on some web applications that can be accessed using computers in school as some schools do not allow their students to bring their own mobile phones. Each would be described below.
Padlet (https://padlet.com/) is a free online application to create a board for bulletin, wall of discussion, portfolio, or presentation. It has multi platforms comprising image, audio, video, map, free-hand drawing and embed links; and it gives some opportunities for autonomous learning (Rashid et.al, 2019). In my English class, Padlet is used to teach writing and reading. Here is the Padlet that I use for teaching writing recount text: https://padlet.com/diahfakhma/occ5wplcfz1y and for teaching reading: https://padlet.com/diahfakhma/x5ci5h1t7li5.
Blog is a short web log, like a journal. It has some space for blog content, comments, embedded audio and video files. Teachers often use blog to publish material or instruction to attract the student to learning (Ahluwalia et.al, 2011); and blog motivates students to be autonomous learners (Gorąca-Sawczyk, 2015). There are free blogging sites such as wordpress (http://wordpres.com), wix (https://wix.com) , or weebly (https://www.weebly.com) that can be used for teaching and learning process. Here is a sample of a blog that I made for my classes: https://diahfakhma.blogspot.com. I have put some links that are used in my teaching.
Edpuzzle (https://edpuzzle.com/) is an online video-based learning platform that enables teachers provide videos with embedded questions. By using Edpuzzle, students can get exposure to language, improve their language skills and comprehension. Edpuzzle can also promote students autonomous learning and is suitable for flipped classroom where the students can save time of learning and integrate intercultural learning (Douglas, 2018). Here is an example of a lesson that makes use of Edpuzzle https://edpuzzle.com/media/5ae68d3efb93dc40da4f388f. Students are asked to access the Edpuzzle to watch the video provided, answer the questions embedded, and learn from the answers provided.
Quizlet (https://quizlet.com/) has some features that can guide students to keep on track for their learning progress by doing exercises provided. For learning vocabularies, for instance, students can try using the online flashcards or the exercises on spelling. While learning the meaning of the vocabularies, students also get opportunity to learn how to pronounce and spell the words. Quizlet also has a feature that enables it to get linked to other applications such as Padlet. Here is an example of a lesson I had in my class when I used Quizlet and Padlet applications. I asked my students to read a recount text via https://padlet.com/diahfakhma/x5ci5h1t7li5 and to use Quizlet to discuss the text (refer hhttps://quizlet.com/282358452/flashcards) and to understand the meaning and the spelling of the key vocabularies (see https://quizlet.com/282574799/test).
Canva and Fotojet
Canva (https://www.canva.com/) and Fotojet (https://www.fotojet.com/) offer free web-based designing and authoring tools. Both have drag and drop features to create presentations, cards, posters, documents, and social media posts. Such applications provide students opportunity to work on designing language product.
Sway (https://sway.office.com/) is an internet application that can be used to develop and present multimodal text since it constitutes some features such as image, text size, audio video, layout, and embedded links. Sway has the potential to encourage students to develop creative writing in the form of multimedia texts or texts which are readable through the written words and images around the texts which are attached to the available context (Hyland, 2003). An example of work can be found here https://sway.office.com/RNEvf46aS1wEbYtV?ref=Link.
In my teaching, Movie Maker (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/movie-maker-10-free/) is often used for my writing class. My students start their writing lesson by reading the text provided to learn more about the text features or characteristics, for example reading a recount text to understand the structure of a recount text. After getting the full understanding, they are asked to write a short composition and to turn their writing into a video. The teacher helps the students throughout the process and uploads the final video to social media. An example is https://youtu.be/HK_CJbQiM-A.
Webquest is often defined as a mini-project in which a large percentage of the input and material is supplied by the Internet. WebQuest uses templates such as this one https://sites.google.com/site/studentwebquesttemplate/. Webquest can be teacher-made or learner-made, depending on the learning/teaching objective and activity. According to Levine-Goldberg (2012), WebQuest might be one of the best practices on training students to get 21st century skills. WebQuest gives students opportunity to work independently or in small groups and use their creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and ICT practice. With the proper guidance, students can get all advantages from developing their WebQuest. An example of the WebQuest in online mode is provided on my blog https://diahfakhma.blogspot.com.
The 21st century requires teachers and students to maximize the use of technology in their classrooms. It is important to note that the integration of technology in language classroom should be related with the language skill improvement. I hope that my short paper will give readers some ideas on how to integrate technology into the classrooms and to give students some language exposure, motivation, and digital experience.
Ahluwalia, G., Gupta, D., & Aggarwal, D. (2011). The use of blogs in English language learning: A study of student perceptions. Profile Issues in Teachers Professional Development, 13(2), 29-41.
Douglas, P. (2018). Edpuzzle. Retrieved from https://www.actfl.org/sites/default/files/tle/TLE_JanFeb18_TechWatch.pdf
Gorąca-Sawczyk, G. (2013). Using Blogs for Foreign Language Teaching and Learning. Glottodidactica. An International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 40(2), 87-99.
Hyland, Ken. 2003. Second language writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Levin-Goldberg, J. (2014). Webquest 2.0: Best Practices for the 21st Century. Journal of Instructional Research, 3, 73-82.
Rashid, A. A., Yunus, M. M., & Wahi, W. (2019). Using Padlet for collaborative writing among ESL learners. Creative Education, 10(3), 610-620.
Please check the Practical uses of Technology in the English Classroom course at Pilgrims website.
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