TESOL Video News

TESOL Video News, Volume 20:1 (March 2009)

by User Not Found | 11/01/2011
In This Issue...
Leadership Updates Editorial Note

Kenneth Chi, Fu Jen Catholic University & National Taipei University, Taipei, Taiwan, kennethchyi@gmail.com

Happy New Year and Happy Chinese New Year!
Welcome to the February issue of TESOL Video News. I hope all of you enjoyed your winter break and had enough rest. For the past 6 months, the global economic recession has had an impact on every aspect of our lives. I hope everything will be OK with you, and let’s pray for the world.

This issue, as usual, starts with the words from our VDMIS Chair Scott Shinall. Then it’s our honor to have Hanson-Smith’s article, in which she recaps her presentation in the 2005 TESOL conference. Finally, Eve Ribeiro shares her personal experience of how to design an online e-portfolio.

The Video IS is soliciting articles for future issues of TESOL Video News. If you are interested in using movies or creating digital media lessons, you are welcome to share your experience with us. Submit articles or announcements tokennethchyi@gmail.com. You may also send opinions and suggestions at any time to the leaders (see the end of this issue for contact information) or to the e-list. We look forward to hearing from you.

Kenneth Chi received his TESOL teacher certificate from Teachers College, Columbia University, and his MA from New York University and is currently teaching at Fu Jen Catholic University & National Taipei University, Taipei, Taiwan. He has been teaching English as a foreign language for more than 10 years. His interests are incorporating movies and digital media into language lessons, assessment, and grammar teaching.  

Note From the Chair

Scott Shinall, Associate Professor at Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka, Japan, scott@edgycation.org

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

I hope 2008 has treated everyone well. I trust that 2009 will be an even more exciting and eventful year.

This past autumn has brought some changes to TESOL, and the TESOL Board of Directors have handed down an interesting one for the interest sections. All interest sections must transition to electronic voting for officers by January 2010. This shouldn't be too big of a problem for us here in VDMIS, and the timeframe will allow for a smooth transition to the new rules. We will discuss this more at the business meeting in Denver, so if possible, stop by.

Speaking of Denver, it is shaping up to be quite a whirlwind conference. Starting with the EVO (Electronic Village Online) in January and February, the preconference events, and all of the great presentations, there will be a lot to see in a short time.

Once again VDMIS is sponsoring the EVO and I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of this fantastic resource. It is coming up fast!

There are many exciting things happening in TESOL and VDMIS in particular. So, let me wrap this up with a question: What are you planning in 2009? Let us hear about it!

Happy New Year,

Scott Shinall, currently an associate professor at Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka, Japan, has been teaching in Japan for about 5 years and has been in the field of TESOL for about 12. His interests have been in digital audio and video. Besides teaching, he and his colleague Scott Duarte have been running the EdgyTesol show for the past couple of years as a side project.

Articles and Information Video Online: What’s New? What’s Cool?

Elizabeth Hanson-Smith, Professor Emeritus, California State University, Sacramento, ehansonsmi@yahoo.com

At TESOL 2005, I presented “Video Online,” demonstrating a series of free Web sites with video that can be downloaded or streamed to the user’s desktop. Here I provide a recap of my presentation.

Sites With Lessons or Lesson Plans
These allow the teacher to easily create materials for use in class. They include English Bites and Living Language, both of which are based on Australian TV shows that teach English. Real English has 10 free videos with exercises, but a subscriber can also, for a low fee, get a license to access dozens of hours of video with comprehensive lessons. Other television stations, such as PBS and Discovery Channel, have data banks of lessons and lesson planning tools for teachers that can be used with shows videotaped from TV, although these are not ESL/EFL specific. Public institutions, such as NASA or the Smithsonian, also have wonderful lesson plans, although they are not organized for language learning. English Trailers is a great site that uses links to movie trailers as the basis for cloze exercises, discussion questions, and composition ideas, specifically for ESL/EFL.

Sites With Videos Appropriate for ESL/EFL
Sites with videos appropriate for ESL/EFL but without prefabricated lessons are also a good resource. The BBC’s Video Nation archives are divided by categories and the videos are made by viewers, so you get a great deal of authentic language on topics of real interest, such as teenage smoking. Videos made at conferences and the Council of Europe, which records all its sessions, are other good language resources.

On the light side, sites with concert videos, such as RealAudio, or the dance demo at NuStudios Dance Community can be used as the basis for listening, speaking, and writing activities. Webcams are also a good source of content, particularly those set up to observe wildlife. What I call “simulated webcamming,” using video made from digital cameras, is found at many tourist sites. Examples are the London Video Bus Tours, which take you through the streets on a double-decker bus, and the Beijing Guide: The Great Wall of China, which has an interactive panorama feature to explore the Wall. Students can write about what they observe.

Ways to Create Our Own Video-Based Lessons
I strongly recommend that teachers and students use Hot Potatoes, which can be licensed for free, as long as resulting lessons are noncommercial and shared freely. I showed several examples made by Video Webhead teachers who belong to our users group, Real English Online. We discuss how to create lessons and the pedagogy of video, store resources, and links, and offer help with making Hot Potatoes exercises, WebQuests, and other activities. Most of these are linked from our site so that members can share them easily. We organize or sponsor a free video-oriented session every year at TESOL’s Electronic Village Online, and in 2008 offered a mini-workshop later in the spring as well.

Student Video Projects
Finally, I recommend strongly that teachers let students take over the camera. Even little digital photo cameras can take 15- to 20-second videos, and these can be manipulated with free software, such as iMovie (Mac) or Movie Maker (PC), or inserted as media objects into a PowerPoint or HyperStudio presentation. Students can enter their work in online video competitions, such as Video Nation, mentioned above, or mount them on web pages. The experience of video making is an incredibly motivating authentic task that will provide hours of intensive holistic language practice. You can find links to all resources mentioned in my presentation and this short report on my Web site at http://www.geocities.com/ehansonsmi/video_references.html.

Elizabeth Hanson-Smith is professor emeritus at California State University, Sacramento. Lead designer for the Oxford Picture Dictionary Interactive and pedagogical consultant for Live Action English Interactive, she coedited CALLEnvironments and currently consults and teaches online courses; she also comoderates Real English Online, a group supporting language teachers using video.

Hitting the Job Market With e-Portfolios

Eve Ribeiro, ESOL teacher everibeiro@hotmail.com

I remember as a child when my father was looking for a job in the 80s. He typed every single resume by hand with a typewriter¡ªthe same typewriter I used to complete school projects. There were no photocopiers or the Internet to facilitate the hiring process. Today he marvels at the ease of access to my resume and my teaching video clip from thousands of miles away.

I designed an online portfolio, also known as an e-portfolio, after I graduated from the master¡¯s program in applied linguistics at Georgia State University. The new graduates could submit their portfolio on hard copy or online. I chose the latter not only because web design skills can be an important asset when looking for a job but also because I did not think that a stack of paper in a drawer would advance my career significantly.

There are a few things to consider before deciding if you want to build a Web site yourself or hiring someone to have it done professionally. How much help you could get is the first thing you should consider. University campuses offer a lot of resources. Find out what departments have a computer lab that offers tutoring or can do it for you at no cost. Also try to find someone in your circle of friends who works with computers and can give you a hand. Campus and community libraries may have books and workshops to get you started as well. Another factor is time versus computer knowledge. Learning a new computer skill may take a lot of time for some. If that applies to you, you might want to consider starting your e-portfolio after you graduate or during the summer. Last but not least, think about how much money you want to spend. A professional web designer can charge between US$200 and thousands of dollars depending on how sophisticated you want it to be. A web design tool called Dreamweaver is sold online for US$400 but I would not recommend it for beginners.

After the Web site is designed, you need to decide how you will publish it or who will ¡°host¡± it. Web site hosting is available online for free or for a fee. Free Internet hosting services such as Geocities and Tripod have less storage and fewer pops-ups and unwanted ads whereas fee-based ones would cost you US$6 on average a month and would offer you more storage and no ads.

After you have decided on which route you will take to create your e-portfolio, it is time to get to the drawing board. Decide on the purpose of the e-portfolio and the style you will use to speak to your clients and/or employers. Also decide what documents you want to display (final papers, lesson plans, teaching philosophy, etc.). To help you stay on track, make a flow chart of how you will link the pages, which will keep you from getting lost once you have started. Before constructing my e-portfolio, I looked at other e-portfolios online to get some ideas. Another step you might want to take is to convert your documents to PDF format, especially if you have long Word documents. If you have PowerPoint presentations, they will need to be converted to web page format. Click on FILE ¡úSAVE AS WEB PAGE¡úSAVE.

There are some things to keep in mind when designing a Web site. The most important one is that your prospective employer may not be computer savvy. Avoid changing the default settings such as the color of visited links. You do not want your employer to have a totally new experience when browsing your Web site. You do not want it to be visually polluted with pop-ups and animations either. Make it as simple as possible so your employer can find the information quickly, and add a ¡°back to home¡± button in case the viewer gets lost. Many Web sites can give you recommendations on what to avoid. Make an online search using the key words ¡°mistakes in web designing¡± to find much helpful advice.

Job hunting has definitely changed since the Internet took over the newspaper classified ads. Candidates have considerably more exposure, even more so when the candidate¡¯s information is put together in a web page. Sending e-mails with attached documents, on the other hand, may limit prospective employers¡¯ access to information. It is a good idea to attach documents to the e-mail, but in the cover letter, make sure to remind your employer that more details are available on the Web site.

Although web design comes with a steep learning curve, having an e-portfolio is a worthwhile investment. Once it is done, all you need to do is to update it or even expand it. For instance, if you have a full-time job and you decide to offer private tutoring to make some extra income, you can create another page giving your clients the information they need. Besides, it will make a great impression on your employer that you built it yourself, even if, in reality, your IT friends contributed 50% of the job.

You can visit my e-portfolio at http://www.everibeiro.com and e-mail me your comments and questions. Eve Ribeiro is currently a teacher in Prince George¡¯s County Public School. She obtained a master¡¯s from Georgia State University in Applied Linguistics/ESL. Her areas of interest are educational technology, teacher education and school leadership.