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Final Proyect

Tutor blog to enhance the 11th grade students autonomy and strength their communication skills.
by

Nicolás Mena

on 14 May 2013

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Transcript of Final Proyect

CREATION OF A TUTOR BLOG TO IMPROVE THE 11th GRADE STUDENTS’ AUTONOMY AND COMMUNICATIVE SKILLS THROUGH THE ICT TOOLS AT PRADO VERANIEGO SCHOOL The action research is basically a cycle of posing questions, gathering data, reflection, and deciding on a course of action, thus this type of research counts with some stages that are important to find out the problem and to establish the way to solve it (Ferrance, 2000) ACTION RESEARCH Gathering data Field notes Through the observation it was evident that the students have a good English vocabulary and grammar knowledge, but in some specific communicative skills the students were afraid to use them.

Workshops, photocopies and a tape recorder were the most common tools for they to learn and practice the foreign language.

That environment made some of the students show themselves lazy face to some activities in class.

Taking that into account, it was clear that an environment renovation was needed in order to direct the improvement of their communication skills in the foreign language.

To reach that goal, the use of the technological lab is a suitable alternative for the teaching-learning process and for the students to interact by means of the smart board.

The importance of the use of this lab is going to be the appliance of the ICT’s resources.

It is necessary to develop a proper curriculum that catches the interest of the students and which be designed according to Prado Veraniego School’s P.E.I. Identifying problem Objectives Proposal Observation Survey How to improve the students’ communicative skills in English and autonomy with the ICT’s as a support tool? Question General objective To identify how a virtual learning environment can improve students English communication skills and their autonomy process through the use of ICT with the design of a tutor blog in tenth grade students at Prado Veraniego School. Specific objectives To design and implement a virtual blog in order to establish the interaction portal.
To design an online poster in order to show and present a topic.
To identify students autonomous work by posting comments on a Blog and checking websites at home.
To establish the relevance of involving students in the lessons development by solving exercises on English web pages, through the use of the Smart board.
To set the development of students pronunciation skills through podcasting.
To set the development of writing skills with the creation of an animated video where the students use their voices and the writing in order to be shown in class.
To set the development of listening and reading skills by interactive online spoken readings.
To establish the importance of improving the students’ critical awareness giving them the opportunity to express their opinions by means of comments
To establish the importance of working the research abilities on students by means of web projects. Theory Glogster Web projects Xtranormal The smart board Blog Virtual environment The ICT’s as an educative support for teaching the foreign language in the classroom ICT’s tools and resources physical supplies Multimedia elements and online resources Cd's & DVD's Video beam Smart board personal computer Web pages Dudeney and Hockly (2007) advices to use ICT when there is only one computer in the classroom and a 30+ students group: • Using websites: There are plenty of pedagogical websites that helps to study and practice any of the four communicative skills.

• Internet-based project work: It is motivating for students to get involve with technology, so finding web pages where they can use their creativity while they develop their skills is really productive to strength their communicative skills.

• Using teacher’s email account: It is useful for keep a constant touch with students out of the classroom.

• A Class blog: It helps the students can do their own contributions and give opinions by comments about a specific subject worked in class.

• Using online reference tools: It is important to show the students that the web has resources online such as dictionaries or grammar correctors that are useful for any language doubt.

• Electronically produced materials The basis of smart board practice that optimizes the ITC resources consider two key elements Interaction Multimedia Web pages & internet based project work B-learning Communication skills Blog participation and autonomy Is a web-based platform on which course content can be stored. It is accessed by learners on the internet, and they can not only see course content, such as documents, audio and video lectures, but also do activities such as quizzes, questionnaires and tests. Newer virtual learning environment integrate blogs (Dudeney, 2007, p. 137). Using websites is one of the easiest ways to start with technology in the class room (Dudeney, 2007). There are some standard criteria for judging web pages:

1.Accuracy: In here the teacher have to take into account who wrote or design the page, if they are qualified or are experts in the subject matter.

2.Currency: To check if the page has been recently updated and also its content.

3.Content: To notice if the content is interesting and stimulating, if it is also attractive and easy to navigate.

4.Functionality: It is important at this point to check if there is not broken links and if the website use alternative technologies, that is to say videos or audio recordings. Internet-based project work has mandatory reasons in order to be implemented in class (Dudeney, 2007, p. 44): 1. They are a structured way for teacher to incorporate the internet into the language classroom.

2. They are group activities, thus, they encourages cooperative learning, and therefore stimulates interaction.

3. They can be used for simply for language learning purposes, and also be interdisciplinary.

4. They encourage critical thinking skills. Learners have to transform that information in order to achieve a given task. Little (2007) shows that the development of autonomy in language learning is governed by three basic pedagogical principles:

•Learner involvement – engaging learners to share responsibility for the learning process (the affective and the metacognitive dimensions).

•Learner reflection – helping learners to think critically when they plan, monitor and evaluate their learning (the metacognitive dimensions).

•Appropriate target language use – using the target language as the principal medium of language learning (the communicative and the metacognitive dimensions). Blended learning is a mixture of online (e-learning) and face-to-face course (Dudeney, 2007), and is a method that, different from e-learning, get the teacher closer to the learners to interact with him and the web resources. Analysis of results Context and population School Population PEI Prado Veraniego School has two branches placed in Prado Veraniego neighborhood, which belongs to Bogota eleventh locality, Suba.

The institution has educational places and resources such as the technological lab in which there is a smart board, a video beam, a laptop and two loudspeakers, in some classrooms there are TVs, DVDs. Moreover, there is a library, an audio visual room, a playground, a micro football field and a company store. The elementary school branch is placed on 53a Street # 128-51, and the secondary school branch is on 131 street # 43-37. The population around the secondary school branch is mainly made up by 2nd and 3rd strata families, where most of the parents work to support their homes. The economic activity in the surrounding area of the school focuses in the automotive industry; there are some other commercial locations such as grocery stores and restaurants. Components Epistemological
The processes of knowledge construction are focused to the student integral formation in accordance with society and the world; to improve the relationship teacher-student where the teacher is a guide and processes counselor and the student is the main character of his/her own learning process. Anthropological
Every single student is consider as singular, unique, unrepeatable, autonomous and transcendent being who is in a continuous formation process; a creative, critical and historical being who is in a constant searching of the ethical and moral, and the scientific, social and political issues. Pedagogical model The Pedagogical Model applied by the institution is the social-cognitive model and it is based on authors such as Piaget, Makerenko, Reigeluth, Bruber, Vygotsky, Bandura, Feuerstein, Ausubel, Novak, Freinet and Freire, these authors propose the greatest development of the students skills influenced by the society and communities, the aim whit this is to develop the student collaborative spirit and technical-scientific knowledge Institutional emphasis The institution emphasis was established from a teachers’ common agreement, they set up that due to the resources and students’ interests, Information technology was taken as the institutional emphasis.
The most important argument to establish the emphasis was this: In this global world in which the students are involved, information technology and communicative competences become in a tool that cut down the distance among students, technology and learning, and makes easy the knowledge use, therefore it is consider a need to know how to use information technology for the academic, social and work life performance. Interaction between students and classroom technology tools B-learning as a way to significant learning Communication skills development Autonomy through online participation The stimuli, beyond the use of the white board was the work on a virtual platform (the blog Interactive English), web pages and the two web projects, on them the students could choose, modify and create contents; the way they respond to these stimuli was based on the responsibility of works presentations and the need to know since, although they are immersed in technology, they still find things that are new for them like the development of an online video or cartoon (field note 10):

Teacher: “you have to log in and then you can see the options for the online activities…”
Teacher: “Is there any question?”
Students: “¿Usamos los dos o uno de los dos?”
Teacher: “only one of them”
Student: “Está chévere el del video, se le puede hacer varias cosas.”
After the explanation the students said they understood the way they have to work on the web page (Field note 10). Martinez (2007) defines interaction as the possibility of “respond” to written, visual and auditory stimuli shown by a computer in order to choose, modify and create contents. Another example of the students’ response to the stimuli can be reflected on:

The activity named learning through videos (Field note 10 and 11) as the students work together to solve a feedback quiz from the videos: Student: “I think its B… por lo que le entendí al del video” (Field note 11). The activity on the white board in the lesson named past participle practice through webpages use, (Field note 14) the stimulus was planned and designed by the teacher the web page www.kubbu.com, and the response of the students was excellent, since they concluded the activity helped by their own notes from previous lessons and work cooperatively in groups. Dudeney (2007) it is motivating for students to get involve with technology, since these activities move the student to learn by motivation and exploration, and to obtain self-confidence in the use of the classroom resources B-learning, different from E-learning, promotes interaction because is a method which combines face-to-face and virtual teaching (Coaten, 2003; Marsh, 2003) it was important to show the students the procedure of using the web pages before they start the projects (Field note 10) and offer the students a wide context about the educational use of those online resources.

Along the lessons the teacher made web pages introductions, the most important ones were the blog presentation (interactive English) which was the first class :

The students show interest during the projection of the video “what is a blog?” and they ask how they can join the blog.Teacher: “this a post where you are going to find the three web projects for this period of implementation” (Field note 1) The teacher makes an example of a Glogster presentation.
By doing a presentation it is shown how the information displayed on a resource, as the smart board, can be communicated by the use of speaking and little explanation of images and videos (Field note 7). the teacher’s role has an important modification in the teaching process but such role modification is not the extinction of their figure or the school, it is the modification of their traditional role performance (Cabero quoted in Bartolomé, 2004) The teacher clarifies concepts and ideas from the presentations when the students in the audience ask for them. He also supports the presentations in the strengthening of the speech. (Field note 15) based on Chappelle (2008) the way to follow a proper communication skills development is to start from the vocabulary and grammar, that is to say that previous the skills be tested is necessary to offer the students a basis which allows them to build their communication competences The teacher asks the students to form groups of 5 or 6 people in order to give them photocopies in which there are some social network interfaces, such as facebook, twitter, gmail, Hotmail, you tube, blog etc. They are also given copies of the vocabulary that they are going to find in those web pages. The students have to make simple sentences using the vocabulary given answering the question “What can you do or find on those web pages?” shown in the smart board with examples (Field note 2). The teacher plays pronunciation examples while he explains. The students are attending the explanation and the recordings. Students: “¿Puedes repetir para escuchar otra vez cómo se pronuncia esa palabra, por fa?” pointing at a word from the examples. The students call the teacher to make him questions about the –ed ending rules pronunciations (Field note 3). According to this Chapelle (2008) points out that learner needs an explicit introduction to vocabulary, an accurate and effective support in interpreting new vocabulary, and practice for remembering it.

the introduction a reading improvement was evidenced in the reading activity when the students tried to imitate the pronunciation of some words from the story and remembered the previous worked rules: Students: “Julia called after him”… “cows don’t ride bikes”… “his answer came back to them.” (Field note 6) listening and speaking were worked, since the important matter with these skills is to make them work together and encourage the students to work for making their speaking understandable to the people they talk to (Chun, 2002, quoted in Chapelle, 2008).

This time some students go to the teacher to get his help and advice in some pronunciation of their speech. The presentation starts and few students use cards as a support for their speech (Field note 15).
As seen the students worried for their oral presentation got better, the results were not optimal but favorable for a way to improve the speaking communication skill. Nevertheless as Ellis (1999) says the underlying idea is that the interaction that learners engage in during communication is valuable for their language development Little (2004) states learner autonomy is a psychological phenomenon that can transcend cultural difference, though learning behavior is always and inevitably culturally conditioned so to achieve that objective was hard to do. blogs give context to the information, promote the culture, offer alternative points of view, invite to the participation and incite to evaluate the information (Blood, 2002). Moreover, the blogs allow the students to access and read, and add comments to the blog outside the classroom (Dudeney & Hockly, 2007) Learner autonomy is the ability to take charge of one’s own learning, which is not inborn but must be acquired either by ‘natural’ means or (as most often happens) by formal learning, i.e. in a systematic, deliberate way (Holec, 1981, quoted in Little, 2007) It is good that some students show real interest to get involved in the web pages worked in class, but still there are students who respond to a control list to participate in the blog (Field note 4). As the lessons advanced, the students participation by means of comments increased and showed their freedom of speech and critical thinking, beyond their communication accuracy, related to the topics posted on the blog. The exercise and development of learner autonomy can be seen as an educational goal which is cross-culturally valid —even though working with it as a guiding concept requires different forms of pedagogy and meets with different kinds of constraint according to context (Smith, 2008). Conclusions and recommendations the exercise and development of learner autonomy can be seen as an educational goal which is cross-culturally valid —even though working with it as a guiding concept requires different forms of pedagogy and meets with different kinds of constraint according to context (Smith, 2008). The integration of a virtual environment, increased the students’ interest but it was hard to work their autonomy since that concept transcends the classroom and goes beyond a psychological behavior. Thus, in that way this objective, the autonomy strengthen, was hardly reach, even so is significant to mention that some behaviors take longest process than others and autonomy is one of them. The communication skills found an improvement in the students learning process and the use of ICT was the main responsible to achieve that, establishing a proper use of those tools can certainly carry the students to be constantly tested in their skills according to the current incursion of ICT in the Colombian education, it is important to keep the studies on this field in order to advance in innovation and to focus in the autonomous work as a long term process it is essential to consider the ICT as a way to get more elements and tool to teach and learn, that is to say that those technologies mustn’t be considered as the teacher’s replacement but as a support inside the classroom the institution has made an important incursion on these new technologies and is important that this path continues growing involving the students interaction with the ICT, since its participation makes their knowledge and skills improve Every day the ICT use for educational purposes is more evident and currently established, this phenomenon moves the teachers to learn new teaching strategies or to modify some already existent, The ICT appearance obeys to society evolution and education must be on the same evolutionary level.
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