I learned a lot during the second week of our Web Skills Course. I discovered many new valuable search engines to use with my students from NoodleTools. I was especially intrigued by SweetSearch and AmericanMemory because I am teaching a History in English course which would greatly benefit from these sources.

I also learned that it is important to clarify task-specific objectives with measurable behaviors. For this task I used Penn State's Learning Design Community Hub. I realized that I am used to writing objectives for high school courses, but the last time I wrote down task-based objectives according to the ABCD-model was when I was training to become a teacher and our instructors wanted to see what we were getting at when assigning a task to our class. It was refreshing to actually sit down and approach tasks from an ABCD point-of-view again. Of course I always have the model in mind when teaching, but I don't write it down anymore. It is quite automatic after years of experience to consider the audience, their expected behavior, the conditions of the classroom and the degree of mastery that I require of my students. It is a constant thought-process, but one that I have not consciously recognized for quite some time.

I am pleasantly surprised by the academic proficiency of my fellow colleagues and impressed by their web-skills. I am picking up great ideas and links by visiting their blogs and reading the discussion threads. I hope that one of the high school student teachers will want to collaborate with me on the final project. Next term, I am teaching an English course which involves applying for jobs and considering future careers. We are creating a blog or several blogs (digital portfolios on Wordpress) and using Prezi.com to create CV's and cover letters. If there is time, hopefully videos as well (maybe job interviews). Collaborating with a web-teacher professional and his/her students from another country would be a fantastic opportunity. We could comment each others' blogs, share videos together, create a Facebook page and even chat on-line.

Anyone interested? If so, I'm hoping for someone who is proficient at blogging and has advanced English students of approximately the same age, 16 - 18 years old.

Another idea that has been spawning in my head is a grading system mimicking a game. For each English course students collect a certain amount of points and in Finland, 50% is required in order to pass. If students were to see how many points they have gained by meeting deadlines and doing the assigned tasks well throughout the course, they would definitely be more motivated. Today's kids like playing on the computer, visual affects, and competing. The only problem is that numerical grades cannot be shown to other students (the law), so the teacher would have to figure out a reward system, for example, rewarding three best scores. And if the "grading game" had different levels and prizes for reaching each level (high scores, smileys, applause) within itself, that could suffice.

If anyone has ideas on where to build this sort of grading system, let me know? I have tried Janine's JupiterGrades, but it is not very visual.

I will think about all of this and hope for comments to help me along!


  1. I share your thoughts Anna that we have learned a lot in this week, when it comes to search engines and to ABCD lesson planning as well. I have read your blog and your idea of "collaborating with a web-teacher professional and his/her students from another country" and I do have to admit that it is a great one and I would like to offer myself to help, but sadly my students are not as nearly as good in English as your students, and furthermore our school equipment is not so good too, so I have to pass on this great idea sadly, but once again you have my praises for this idea and for the grading idea as well. I can see that you have experience when it comes to incorporating computer technology into teaching and I admire that, hoping that our equipment will be better soon so that I can start using it to teach English in an interesting and fun way, like you do.

  2. Hello, Anna! I am so glad to see that we all are learning something during this course. And the best thing is that we can all discuss the experience and share our ideas with each other. As well as Davorsmolic, I find your idea about collaborating in a web-course and giving our students an opportunity to communicate online to be amazing! Why is this idea so great? First of all, we have to create environments provoking the need to communicate. It goes without saying, we do it at every lesson and students communicate within the class. But having an opportunity to keep in touch with a foreigner in addition to speaking in class is so much better! It would be REAL communication. Not speaking of the Internet utilities which make the learning process so much fun.
    As for the grading game, it is something to think about. I fully agree with you here, that students must be rewarded for what they do, otherwise they can lose motivation and interest. It is very important for young learners to see their work assessed somehow. So, the idea of visual grades is quite current!
    To conclude, I want to thank you, Anna, for the ideas you share with us.

  3. I'm glad you gave me a comment, thank you so much! And I think your "collaborating with another country" idea is really exciting. I would like to raise my hand, but I have one problem. From April, I will be tranferred to a different senior high school, so I know nothing about what kind of students I teach, what type of school it will be, what kind of Internet access they have. The age range is perfect for me, and Japanese students will enjoy communicating with foreigners through web because they rarely have such opportunities. Now my classes in present school are almost over, so not possible in this semester. Just not good timing now...I'm sad, Anna. I think that's a great idea!!

    1. What a shame, Kaori. Japanese anime and food are very popular here in Finland, the students would have loved it! Let me know if there is any chance later on for collaborating, my course starts in 2 weeks :)

  4. Hello Anna,
    In the very beginning, I have to say that you are a true professional and I am glad to have you in my class. I really like your reflection for Week 2. This week was so amazing. We picked up many useful things for teaching concerning search engines and the ABDC model. I strongly support your idea for 'collaborating with another teacher of English'.
    Everything the best....

    1. Thank you, Rade! How old are your students and would you like to collaborate? For some reason, I cannot find your blog. I would like to take a look and offer you my comments as well... :)

    2. Hello Anna,
      My students are from 8 to 14 years old. My URL is: http://rade-petricevic.blogspot.com.
      Best regards.