2 Replies Latest reply: Jan 3, 2013 11:39 PM by rpalafox RSS

What Worked? What Didn't?

rpalafox Novice
Currently Being Moderated

An African proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree is yesterday, the next best time is today”, that’s a good reminder that now might be a good time to reflect on which  first semester activities worked , which ones didn’t, and how can we “tweak”  those that didn’t. First semester began with some new ideas learned at the summer Social Media Workshop put on by LARC (Language Acquisition and Resource Center) at San Diego State University. Ideas were presented, explained, and modeled. My first step was to decide which “tools” would work best for my situation. I may have over planned on this one.  The plan was to use the following sites for class projects:  Storybird, Google Maps, Wallwisher, CAST, Tumblr, Today’s Meet, You Tube, and Vocaroo.  The following is quick summary of where we are today:

What worked? Why did it work? What were the problem areas?

  • Using Tumblr as a class page
  • Students could submit work (text, pictures, and presentations) via email from a computer or their smart phone and there were no questions as to who did or who didn’t submit their work.
  • Not many, but the Tumblr email address for each class page must be very clear. Students must also make sure to add their name to the email.
  • Google Maps to learn about places in Spanish speaking countries.
  • Students choose their own locations and at the same time learned 21st Century skills that they can use in other classes. (researching information about each place, adding pictures for each location)
  • Pictures were a problem because not all pictures websites give permission to use their pictures. Also “embedding a picture” is a lot different than “copying and pasting” a picture.
  • Using Storybird to write a collaborative story.
  • Students had to prewrite their story and choose the pictures to go with their story as a group. One student was selected from each group to log in and write the story.
  • Students need to know how to use language tools (setting language, adding accent marks)
  • Using Wallwisher to get quick student responses to class assignments.
  • Most students had internet access at home and could do this at home and it was easy to see all comments.
  • Find a way for students without internet access (not many) to add their comments. Prompts must be worded carefully and students must not “copy” what others have written.
  • Using Vocaroo to record student responses to prompts
  • Easy access to website, students could record at home and email recording directly to teacher email.
  • Find a way for students without internet access (not many) to record their comments.

You will notice that some of the websites listed in the beginning are not listed in the summary, that’s because those still need some “tweaking”.  Your ideas, comments, or questions for me or anyone in the group are appreciated. Hope everyone has a great second semester!

  • Re: What Worked? What Didn't?
    tengrrl Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    I love the proverb that you mention at the beginning of your post. Such a great roundup of tools to try too. I didn't know of Vocaroo, but now I'm going to look into it.


    When you use so many different tools (all at different sites), do you have any trouble with the different logins and multiple places to go? I'm always curious about how the process works for other teachers.


    • Re: What Worked? What Didn't?
      rpalafox Novice
      Currently Being Moderated

      Thanks, that was a tweet from someone on my twitter page. If the question is about my log in to all of the places the answer is no, I have a system that works for me. As for the students, Google Maps is the only site where students need their own log in. For Vocaroo, and Wallwisher they only need the website. For Storybird a password was generated so that individual students could use my account. At the beginning of each unit students are given a calendar for all of the classwork, homework, tests, and quizzes. At the top of the calendar all the websites are listed as well as the email to send work to Tumblr. Also, I don't use every website for every class level. This semester I may switch some sites so that different levels use different sites and hopefully all of the "bugs" from first semester have been worked out. In March I will be presenting this entire project at the California Language Teacher's Association Conference in Orange County. When the Prezi or PowerPoint is ready I'll post it here in Docentes.

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