Thursday, November 02, 2006

Reflection on construction of “Australian Native Animals” Website
After my website with Hot Potatoes activities was finished I had a chance to cool down and to look around for other sites. My major disappointment was that I felt that I could have done better – technically and pedagogically. Being under pressure to submit the assignment on time has taken its toll.
What would I change?
•I would definitely spend more time reading Queensland syllabus and then weave it better through the content of my website and activities.
•I didn’t realize that I could have put more links to “scaffold” HP exercises (mental black out or just being inexperienced).
•From the other sites I have picked up a very clever idea – use tales or stories (they can be linked, too) in order to give your students more confidence with the future exercises).
•Instructions for HP tasks should have been even clearer, as the possible age group of learners would need lots of support.
•Because of the time pressure activities were not proof read and the result is obvious - some errors, which you do not see yourself.
•My “Bird” crossword puzzle definitely needs to be expanded, some nice clue pictures of Australian birds would be very appropriate there, too.
•I should have done a multiple choice exercise, as it would be very practical for students to read more and to come up with their own answers (at least they would feel this way).
•Assessment strategies could have been better worked out. Now I think that the whole point of the website would be learning and practising rather than being marked. At least it could have satisfied both of the mentioned above purposes.
Despite of all the mentioned above “missed enhancements” I still believe that my website would be a valuable tool for learning English.
It is simply incredible that I have managed to tame the Technology. Thank you, Debra and students of the group. It has been very challenging but very rewording, too. I will definitely be using blogging and HP activities further for ESL teaching.
Well done, everyone.

Friday, October 20, 2006

You can find my Australian Fauna website with HotPotatoes here:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

It is wonderful and incredible - I had some HP problems, gave up, blogged Robee and she agreed to help me within a couple of hours. A bit later, Mahsa seeing my "cheerful" mood, helped me to solve my 1 week old probled within 5 minutes. So THANK YOU DEAR GIRLS. This problem is over!
And, Oh, yes, I am very close to post all HP activities today :) Considering that they were almost ready 2 weeks ago - a huge progress.
See you all with your plates tomorrow.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My HP activities remind me the English proverb that says something like: " Not to see the forest behind the trees." After the battle with inserting HTM files to my webpage and I have understood that it was too early for throwing hats into the air. My pictures looked like a puzzle with different geometrical shapes and irrespectively of all my good will and efforts they are still there. On the top of this "minor" trouble, I can't insert the names of my animals under the pictures. At this stage (almost 11 pm), I chose to give up. Just for the sake of pure interest: has anyone managed to tame the posting of picture files with a description to your website? Would REALLY love to finish toying with it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I have come across a very useful article about Web-Based Testing (WBT) and Computer-Based (CBT) tests. Carsten Roever states that WBT can pinpoint a test taker’s ability faster and with greater precision than paper-and-pencil test. However a good WBT should “comply” with the standard requirements of any language test: reliability, validity and practicality. It should also start with defining the purpose of the test and what skills are going to be tested. He warns that pretty pictures and animated images do not define test quality.
As my HP assignment was done for the low-stakes assessment, I will just cover the pros and cons for them.
Positive aspects:
+ A teacher doesn’t need to be a programmer and doesn’t require complex code writing.
+ WBT require just a standard browser for their display
+ HTML’s contain elements that help to create common types items
+ Testing is affordable as once the test is written, it can be uploaded to a free server ( – sounds very familiar )
- WBTs have lack of security, thus cheating is possible
-It is impossible to maintain confidentiality
Link to this article is

Monday, October 09, 2006

I have shaped up my 2nd website and HP activities. I an having a trouble with drag-and-drop tasks. On some reasons just can't make them work and get right scores. Need some help in order to finish it and start working on a rationale.

Friday, October 06, 2006

In a light of coming Hot Potatoes assignment with following rationale for it, I though it would be useful to do some readings on language learning tasks using technology. According to Carol A. Chapelle the most suitable tasks for lg learning are those which learners will encounter outside the classroom. So, then there comes a question of what can be considered a task and how to define if in a CALL context. As per researchers the tasks should be goal oriented and engage learners in goal-oriented behaviour. Tasks for lg learners require them to accomplish something using target language. According to Breen (1997) task need to be just goal-directed, irrespectively of what will be accomplished. However, I strongly agree with Pica (1993) who points out that in order to make tasks more authentic teachers need to use communicative approach via which students will construct and interpret linguistic meanings.
What are the features of a good authentic task? To start with they need to remind situations which can be encountered by a learner in a real life.

As per the teacher’s perspective, it requires a good frame, which consists of the following features:
*Goal . The teacher should check if is a communicative activity and what will be the outcomes.
*Process. How learners are engaged in the process.
*Topic. What specific fields are covered: every day, academic, etc.
*Location and duration: Where learners will be accessing the task sand for how long.

The second lg task construction also needs to be accurate, complex and fluent, as Skehan (1996) suggests the task-based instruction should be done for learners in such a way , so that they develop the effective language balance between fluency, accuracy and complexity.