Friday, 10 February 2012

Bubblr and Bookr – Tell Stories with Photos

What is it about?                                                                    
  • Both Bubblr and Bookr are projects based on the images from Flickr. Flickr is a website providing people space to upload and share their photos. People can tag or label their photos. Some photos are shared as copyright-free when used for non-profit purposes.
  • Using key words to search for the needed Flickr images, users can create their own photo strips with words in bubbles on Bubblr, and photo books with stories on Bookr.
Why is it good to language learning?                                     

  1. Language learners can be motivated to read the English photo strips or photo books.
  2. By creating their own English photo strips or photo books, language learners can practice writing monologues, dialogues, sentences or paragraphs.
  3. In Taiwanese College Entrance Exam, students are asked to write a story based on a comic strip containing four pictures. Bubblr and Bookr are good tools to create similar writing tasks for students to practice writing a story.
  4. Students can share their Bubblr or Bookr works on blog, and they can get peer-feedback, which can give them a sense of achievement.

How can it be used?                                                               
  1. We can use Bubblr or Bookr to introduce a topic, a grammar rules, or a sentence pattern. With the images as visual aids, learners can be motivated to learn,  understand the concepts easily, or memorize the rules for a longer period of time. Here is an example from the archives. A teacher created a strips to teach prefix and suffix.
  2.   Example1
  3. We can also use these two tools to make vocabulary cards or mini picture dictionary to help learners memorize the new words.
  4. By using Bubblr or Bookr to create comic strips or story books, learners can practice their English writing skills. Here is an example from the archives. The user used Elmo as the main character to create a story.                                                                                                                                        
  5.   Example2
  6. We can also ask students to use Bubblr or Bookr to do a presentation, like introducing the traditions of a holiday from their own country, promoting a trip to a place, or introducing their own city, their favorite singers, etc. One work from the archives shows the St. Patrick's Day in Ireland.
  7. After getting feedbacks on their works, the learners can recycle their strips on Bubblr, correct the mistakes, and then publish a new version.

What are the limitations?                                                      
  • Though the photos provide visual aids to motivate learners and the photos are tagged, sometimes it takes a long time to find the photos related to the specific topic. Without enough instructions, learners might spend too much time searching for photos that fit their needs and forget to focus on the language they should learn and practice. 
  • There are some works that are not appropriate for young learners or teenagers  in the archives. 

Thursday, 2 February 2012

QuestGarden- Grow Your Own WebQuest

#Welcome to visit the WebQuest Sam and I made together.#

What is it about?                                                                    
  • QuestGarden provides service to help build high-quality WebQuests easier and quicker. Follow the instructions step by step, teachers can grow their own WebQuests without worrying about the complicated technology.

Why is it good to language learning?                                     
  1. Teachers can build up their own WebQuests based on their teaching context. Students’ language levels, needs, class size, or local cultures can all be considered.
  2. Many example WebQuests can also be found in this website, which are good language teaching resources.

How can it be used?                                                               
  1. Working teachers can use QuestGarden to build their own WebQuest to meet their needs.
  2. It can be used in Teacher training or development program. Teachers can have a “group page” as a community on this website to share and comment on the WebQuests they create.
What are the limitations?                                                      
  • QuestGarden solves the technical problems and makes the process of building up a website easier. However, the content of a WebQuest is the key issue. It takes a lot of efforts and time to plan a sound content for a WebQuest. Having a group work might be more practical then designing one by individual ideas.