Saturday, September 26, 2009

Reflection on making my first voicethread presentation

It has been a great experience for me to create this voice thread digital story. This is about an introduction on traditional Chinese festivals: the food for the particular festival, the relevant activities that people participate during each festival.
  • In the past, when I taught this chapter, I made a PowerPoint slides where the quality visuals and key vocabulary are displayed.
  • Now I come to know more media tools from this course. I re-edit this PowerPoint slides by following the principles of Presentation Zen.
  • Voice Thread is one of the fantastic media tools I am introduced in this course. It has the following unique features:
  1. Still images and video files can be combined;
  2. Comments in four ways ( oral-record/telephone, type text, add video clips) on each slide/clip enable the presenter and the audience to interact with each other;
  3. Collaboration outside of class, listen to each other's messages and give feedback orally.

  • On each of the slide, I introduce the name of the festival, the food and the activities. I particularly emphasize on the pronunciation of the key vocabulary and phrases, repetition of the same sentence patterns in each festival's introduction.
  • Students can access to my voice thread slides outside of class, listening to my introduction, commenting on the slides by adding up their own images, videos or recording their opinions, questions and so on..By doing so, I created an online authentic learning environment for my students.
  • It is perfect for students to practise their oral skills in target language.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beyond the five Fuwa-the Image: BeiJing Olympic Mascots

Google image

I choose this visual image '2008 Olympic mascots' to teach the section "colours and animals" in Chinese.
I think it is the best image that can be embeded in this curricular content, as I can use it for both teaching colours and animals, meanwhile this image unfolds the traditional Chinese culture.

Each of the Fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name -- a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China.From left to right: they are Beibei-the blue fish, Jingjing-the black panda, Huanhuan- the Olympic Flame, Yingying- the Tibetan Antelope and Nini-the Swallow. When you put their names together --Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni--they say "Welcome to Beijing".

The five Fuwa(福娃, in Chinese, it means: kid bringing people good luck), in their origins and their headpieces, you can see the five elements of nature-the sea, forest, fire,earth and sky, embody the natural characteristics of four of China's most popular animals--the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow.

Beibei in blue -In China's traditional culture and art, the fish and water designs are symbols of prosperity and harvest
. A fish is also a symbol of surplus in Chinese culture, another measure of a good year and a good life

Jingjing in Black-As a national treasure and a protected species, panda is adored by people everywhere. The lotus designs in Jingjing's headdress, symbolize the lush forest and the harmonious relationship between man and nature.

Huanhuan in red: national colour of China- stands in the center of Fuwa as the core embodiment of the Olympic spirit. And while he inspires all with the passion to run faster, jump higher and be stronger, he is also open and inviting. Huanhuan is outgoing and enthusiastic.

yingying in yellow:- A symbol of the vastness of China's landscape, the antelope carries the blessing of health, the strength of body that comes from harmony with nature.

Nini in green: the winged swallow, stands for spring season's coming back, therefore green implicates new life, hope and great vigor. Her wings symbolize the infinite sky and spread good-luck as a blessing wherever she flies. Swallow is also pronounced "yan" in Chinese, and Yanjing is what Beijing was called as an ancient capital city. Among the five Fuwa, Nini is as innocent and joyful as a swallow.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Move towards the new world of teaching

I have been thinking hard of how to embed the media tools, online resources into my language teaching class, not just for the purpose of including the information technology in teaching, it is how to make the technology serve this mission: to create "meaningful learning where students construct enduring understanding by developing and applying knowledge, skills and attitudes."

-ISB definition of learning

(1) Since last school year, I have created my wiki page via wetpaint. Students at different levels can go to the webpage selecting the relevant learning materials, and do self-study. They can submit their compositions, comments, me as a way to gain their credit points for this subject; They can also simply look through those Chinese character videos to have deeper understanding of how Chinese characters were created; I am going to continue developing this wiki page, hope eventually it becomes good learning resources for my students;

(2) I have tried the tinychat room in my native class. I did not use it as a chatting room, instead, I used it as a platform where the students can share their works with each other; I asked my students to do the immediate translation in the chatting room after listening to the CD I played Or to do the summary writing in the chatting room after reading a paragraph of an article, then each student displayed his work to the public chatting room at the same time when I allowed them to submit it, and they can compare each other's work and see what mistakes they made and what are the better ways of doing the translation and writing the summary;

I have tried the podcasting in my Mandarin level 2 classes. ( see my blog post: podcasting Chinese song)

What do I hope to learn from this course:

I also have been constantly searching for images from online-google, flickr, make the teaching of Mandarin understood easily, to simplify the complicated language items, to visualise the abstract learning activities via showing students the suitable images, videos...; During this process, I found it hard to get the pics or videos that exactly serve my teaching purpose. Most of the time, students are attracted by something else in the pic or video, and changed their focusing points discussed; I wish I can obtain more knowledge on this area and even start to make my own video and pictures in the near future.