Coursera MOOC on EFL/ESL

Elizabeth Hanson Smith, Jeff Magato and Deborah Healey are hosting a five-week MOOC on teaching EFL or ESL at Coursera starting April 7. It is free and a great way for teachers to learn about MOOCs as well as polish their skills for the classroom. I will post more as the course starts. But do, join in.

Click on image to go to course.
Click on image to go to course.

I just finished one of the top 3 MOOCs I have ever taken (been doing this 6 years now) at Coursera, History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Ed, lead by Cathy Davidson, about tech and education. This was put together well, as well as the one on Gamification, by Kevin Werbach.

The other of the top 3? ETMOOC, in 2013 and the original Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK 2008). These last two are what are called cMOOCs, that rely more on participation and self organization.

Someone said that the difference between xMOOCs (like Edx and Coursera) and cMOOCs (connectivist MOOCs) is that in xMOOCs you watch a video. In cMOOCs you make a video.


How Cloud Computing should be Changing our Pedagogy


One of the most amazing technological advances in recent years, in my opinion, is cloud computing. However, as teachers we have only just begun to see its implications.

For those of us in homogeneous EFL environments, like Japan, getting students to communicate with each other spontaneously using the target language is one of the biggest challenges we face. And yet, we have opportunity to circumvent this obstacle using technology.

Imagine an ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) environment where students from different countries are being matched within a project group. Target language communication would be a must in this situation. Impossible?

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Practical Teaching Ideas

Teach pronunciation with this 5-step smartphone approach

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How do you teach pronunciation in your language classroom?

At a TED event a couple of years ago I caught myself turning-off whenever one of the presenters had a strong accent. This experience kicked me into gear to start looking for ways I could more effectively teach pronunciation in my language classroom.

This post shares an approach to teaching minimal pairs (MP) which incorporates student’s smartphones. You can find a more detailed description of my work on this component here.

Before you get started, students will have to download the free apps, Pronunciation Power (ProPower) and  Dragon Dictation.

Step 1: Share a list of about 10 minimal pairs. (e.g., rot & lot)

Minimal Pairs demo

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