Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reflection on final project-Podcasting Chinese Song

Teaching Mandarin Chinese to foreign students has been always a challenge to teachers. As the alphabet language system is so different from the pictograph one. The students need to take quite a lot of time to be used to the character writings and the sentence structures.Normally foreign people, especially westerners are afraid of the complicated strokes of Chinese character and the four tones of inflection. It seems that they have already had many worries before they start to learn this language.

However, Mandarin Chinese is unexpectably easy in its grammar comparing to English, French or Spanish, of course, here I mean the modern Chinese language. Among the four language skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing, the foundamental ones are listening and speaking. When you feel comfortable to have oral communication in a foreign language, you will have more self-motivation to develop your reading and writing skills. It is pretty hard if you do it in an opposite way. Many people speak their mother-tone language well without being necessarily capable of reaidng and writing.

Having these above observations, we can draw this conclusion: Being able to speak and listen to one language well helps shape our thinking in the target language. We pronounce the word silently when we read, we speak to ourselve in mind before we write it down. So how to let students listen more and speak more in foreign language class is very important. To make teaching of speaking and listening very interesting, engaging the students instead of enraging the students is a challenging task.

Traditional way of teaching these two skills is not more than asking students to ' read after me' or 'follow the tapes'...or do role play and so on...Most of time this become either very boring or quite we create difficult situation to students.

Thanks to the media tools in this digital age, Audacity is an excellent teaching tools for training students to get used to a foreign language spontaneously. Here is how I do it:

-Firstly, I find two popular Chinese song for teenagers.The song word sheet attached:

The song words is beautifully written. It is a wonderful teaching material in which I can teach new vocabulary and sentence structures.

-Then I convert the song into mp3 format( Song 1; Song2) so that I can import it into Audacity, where I can make my podcast.

-Edit the podcast: create a new track under the imported music song track, click the 'record' button, then I start to recite the song poem, meanwhile the song is playing as background;

-Save the file as mp3 file and now you can listen to my podcast.

Students enjoy the song and music, meanwhile listening to my reciting of the beautiful song words. I especially choose the songs with the key sentences being repeated many times , so that students can remember these words and sentences unconsciously when they are indulging themselves in the fantastic musical world.

After class, students need to finish their own project: In groups, students present the podcast production " my favourite song " .The class learn all the songs produced by each group including the vocabulary, sentences, culture, literature....And Lastly, students can download the favourite podcasts produced by their classmates into their ipod. Isn't amazing?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cyberbullying, Whose responsibility is it?

Cyberbullying is one of the nagetive sides of the digital age. Its being worse than f2f bully lies in:

1) You have no way to escape from the virtual bullying online group;

2) Because it is 'invisible' in our physical world, parents,teachers and school officials are not aware of this kind of bully going on in some teenagers' lives.

Most of time, the students who are being bullied try to keep it with themselves. They do not share this "humiliation" with family or teachers untill they could not take it anymore one day. The worst consequence for this could be individual commiting suicide or all of sudden a bloody campus massacre might happen.

It is serious thing in this digital-native generation. No one seems to be able to survive without cell phone. When Dad Banned Text Messaging, we understand this family's frustration in this situation.

What are the appropriate actions should parents take for this?

  • Parents firstly should have the knowledge of how to identify the symptoms when the kid is being cyberbullied;
  • Parents should report the cyberbullying case to the kid's school and the relevant institutions
  • Student should keep all the evidences that the cyberbully is provable

The question here is whose responsibility for these young people to be safe online?

Harassment occurred off campus so jurisdiction unclear

  • Schools have the authority to suspend or expel students for bullying fellow students over the internet, in text messaging or by other electronic means.
  • Anti-bullying programs are to be brought to schools and to integrate anti-bullying education into school curriculum.
  • Students should have the awareness of the consequences of cyberbullying and to be educated on the appropriate online behavior.
  • See ISB High School Cyber-safety Week

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Power of the Web lies in Connection of People and Collective Intelligence

credit to Nick White Photo by ShoZu
This morning I logged into my twitter (just registered last night!). I see Kim Cofino and Jutecht. From Kim, her latest message mentions the voicethread library from the other twitter librareanne; From Jutecht, he shares a travelling service web which is unbelievably advanced of any kind of travel agency. I can go on and on to those countless educator twitters connected to
Kim and Jutecht navigating the eye-opening webpages where I
found the breath-taking media tools for teaching and learning. So What is this you think? It is the Connection power of the Web.

The traditional business meeting can be held wherever you are via skype. This web-power has already caused great reform in our business life:

"...a software firm in Palo Alto, Calif., Last year they began using Skype, a program that lets them make free calls over the Internet, with better sound quality than regular phones, using headsets connected to their PCs. Callers simply click on a name in their Skype contact lists, and if the person is there, they connect and talk just like on a regular phone call. Better quality at no cost...Almost 90% of the firm's $2,000 monthly long-distance phone bill has vanished. With 41 million people now using Skype, plus 150,000 more each day..."

With the rapid growth of the web connection power, Collective intelligence has shown its profound impact on all areas of human being's society. Here are the changes taking place:
Mass collaboration on the Internet is shaking up business

  • New Economic Order
    --Online Customers' production design and marketing
    "...Corporations, those citadels of command-and-control, may be in for the biggest jolt. Increasingly, they will have to contend with ad hoc groups of customers who have the power to join forces online to get what they want. Indeed, customers are creating what they want themselves -- designing their own software with colleagues, for instance, and declaring their opinions via blogs instead of waiting for newspapers to print their letters.
    "More companies are starting to understand the logic. If they can get others to help them design and create products, they end up with ready-made customers -- and that means far less risk in the tricky business of creating new goods and markets. So businesses are accessing the cyberswarm to improve everything from research and development to marketing…" Corporate planners are even starting to use the wisdom of online crowds to predict the future, forecasting profits and sales more precisely..."

---Other information-based industries, such as entertainment, media, and publishing, that are rapidly going digital.

"People are not only sharing songs and movies -- legally or not -- but also creating content themselves and building sizable audiences. The threat comes from more than the 10 million-plus blogs"

"The five-year-old online paper OhmyNews in South Korea has marshaled 36,000 'citizen journalists' to write up to 200 stories a day on everything from political protests to movies. Its popularity with 1 million daily visitors has made it the sixth-most influential media outlet in Korea, according to a national magazine poll -- topping one of the three television networks."

"Hollywood is under full-scale assault by 100 million people sharing songs and movies online via programs such as Kazaa and BitTorrent. The situation is the same with ad-supported media: Google Inc.'s (GOOG ) ace search engine essentially polls the collective judgments of millions of Web page creators to determine the most relevant search results. In the process, it has created a multibillion-dollar market for supertargeted ads that's drawing money from magazine display ads and newspaper classifieds."

  • New Region of Higher Education in web2.0
    University of the People is open for enrollment in April 2009.

    " What colleges should learn from newspapers' decline?"

    In 1997 the legendary management consultant Peter Drucker said, "Thirty years from now, the big university campuses will be relics. ...
    "According to the Sloan Consortium, nearly 20 percent of college students — some 3.9 million people — took an online course in 2007, and their numbers are growing by hundreds of thousands each year. The University of Phoenix enrolls over 200,000 students per year."

    Elite institutions like Stanford University and Yale University are giving away extremely good lectures on the Internet, free. Web sites like Academic Earth are organizing those and thousands more like them into "playlists," which is really just iPodspeak for "curricula." Every year the high schools graduate another three million students who have never known a world that worked any other way.

    "the public university still looks like something of a middleman here — and in the long run, the Internet doesn't treat middlemen kindly. To survive and prosper, universities need to integrate technology and teaching in a way that improves the learning experience while simultaneously passing the savings on to students in the form of lower prices.

  • Government 2.0: Broadcast Democracy to Participatory Democracy

Harness the genie of Citizen Engagement By Don Tapscott
For far too long, we’ve been living in what I’ve called a broadcast democracy. Voters only count during election time. They have little or no influence in between elections, when the lawmakers and influencers are in charge and citizenry is inert. The “you vote, I rule” model was all that was possible, until recently.

What the system has lacked until now are mechanisms enabling government to benefit from the wisdom and insight that a nation can collectively offer — on an ongoing basis.Courtesy of the Internet, public officials can now solicit citizen input at almost no cost, by providing Web-based background information, online discussion, and feedback mechanisms.

There are lots of Internet-enabled ways to engage America, from policy wikis, citizen juries, deliberative polling, ideation contests, and virtual town halls. I call one of the most promising the digital brainstorm.
Also check out this web: Apps for democracy