Tuesday of week 3 and I am feeling more relaxed today. The Making Materials session is fantastic. This week we are learning lots about handling photos and layout in documents, where to get free pictures and texts, and ideas for using word clouds.
This time we only have to post two pieces of work to the participants forum, but I have lots of things to try out at the end of the session.
I was able to point the team in the direction of ELTpics, so I hope that they will join in and add to the collection.
For the BAW2011 sessions, we started the week by listening to Michael Coughlan talking about synchronous and asynchronous tools. I hadn't realised how lucky I was, being able to just plug in and take part, until I saw how many of the others had problems with audio or the visuals. Juggling the chat and the power-point presentation on my screen at the same time took a bit of getting used to. This was not helped when some of the other participants decided to DM me during the chat. Apologies to the people on Twitter, who might have enjoyed having the main points relayed.
One thing it did make me think about was the possibility of something similar happening when I am teaching. I think it will always be necessary to have a plan B option when using tools such as these. Yahoo Messenger was interesting. I have tried using Skype to do TESOL interviews and once with a student, but I didn't like the lack of visuals available. I was impressed with the simplicity of downloading a pre-prepared power-point to use for the visual element, while listening to the speaker explaining his points. I really liked the way he stopped regularly to ask for participation from the audience.This ability to speak, read and listen and write gives it the edge, for me, over tapped-in, which is purely chat. It is also great to be able to put names and voices together.
I feel sure that being comfortable with Blended Learning will become a necessity for teachers in the future. Already there are universities which upload their content to moodle- type facilities, allowing students to study without leaving their homes.
Today I had a lovely chat on Yahoo with Teresa. We just happened to be on-line at the same time and were able to communicate very naturally.
Some of the asynchronous possibilities are less practical if you don't spend hours of the day online. I can see that online classes would work better with these, as the course members can log on at the time that suits them best, but personally I like reasonably quick feedback.
Anyway, these are just my thoughts so far, and I reserve the right to change them as the course develops and I gain more experience with the tools.