Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reflection on my website project:

Marvelous Oman Website Activities have been designed to create a context where Year 12 Omani students develop their skills in reading and vocabulary in English. Year 12 Omani students are about 17 years old and have an intermediated level of language competencies in English. The website was designed to accompany the Marvelous Oman Web Quest and to supplement a unit in the textbook called Tourism and Tourists. It intended to promote a collaborative, cooperative and autonomous learning environment and as a means to match the current pedagogical trends in teaching English in Oman.

The feedback, based on trying the activities, reflected that the website aims were achieved. This feedback deepened my understanding and has helped me to reflect critically on my proposed website. It helped to examine the effectiveness of the proposed website, in that it supported some intended pedagogical aims and helped to develop some others.

With regards to the aspects that worked well, based on the feedback, I came across some positive aspects of my websites. My classmates commented that the home page was designed well. Some stated the colour scheme and the design were better, cleaner and clearer with less animation and could be easily read compared with my webquest design. Others said that the website was enjoyable and simple to read and easy to navigate. Some others also commented that the website was attractive and informative and the pictures provided the user with a lively and real sense of Oman. The feedback also supported my intended website goals, commenting on the usefulness of self-assessment in order to understand students’ current learning situation. The feedback reflected a significant understanding of how collaborative learning was promoted, in that students were asked to exchange what they have leaned and send a group summary to the teacher after doing activities.

The feedback has also helped to develop some other aspects of my website. Firstly, some of the comments focused on the font used. I agree with enlarging the font particularly with word documents attached for self-assessment and instructions as well as to change the font into Arial or Verdana so that it can be easily read. Secondly, though I understood my classmates’ comments about the amount of websites that students are asked to read, I disagree with the comment of giving students a direct text to help them answer the activities. The reason is to help students select what is relevant to the activity and to help them develop scanning skill. In each website there is only one page to read and I intend to give students texts to go through, though they are not used in the activities, to help them develop their searching skill. Otherwise it will be spoon-feeding and contradict the aims of helping students become autonomous. Thirdly, there were some contradicting comments about providing activities with a timer. Some gave comments for and some others against saying that it was stressful. The timer is intended to give students awareness of time as most Year 12 students in Oman tend to be careless about time available to study. Finally, I agree with the comments that the vocabulary match activity can be too easy for some students. However, it intended to teach strategies for learning vocabulary by giving examples rather than getting students to translate the words in Arabic. Hence, it will be challenging but motivating students to continue doing the following activities.

To conclude, this technology unit has provided me with interesting insights into the ample benefits of integrating technology into the teaching of English in a foreign language context. It enriched my repertoire with knowledge and provided me with skills to design CALL materials to develop my learners’ language abilities. The feedback, interaction and designing tasks has sustain my skills in technology and open wider perspective for me in using technology in teaching a second language.

Comments on My classmates' Websites

Hi there :

I have posted these comments to your blogs, hope they can help you in your reflection to your websites:

Comments on Maggie's website:

I really liked your website,it is really amazing. However I would suggest the following:
- You need to help student search by giving them some specific websites to read, You gave too many websites which may confuse the students.
- It is nice to give some animation but too many will distract students from focusing on doing activities.
- You can put some home buttons in your activities to make it easy for students to navigate in your website.
- I think you need to give some more clues for the crossword because I found it difficult, perhaps you need to give some statements to make it easy for students to answer.
Generally speaking, your website is effective , it is organized well, your tasks are purposeful.Just to bear in mind that the comments I gave are only suggestions and reflect my opinion.Therefore, it might not match yours, so think about them critically. Finally, I am looking forward for your critical reflection for my website.
Good Luck

October 18, 2007 12:09 AM

Comments on Jennifer's Website:

Hi Jeniffer
Let me first congratulate you for your successful website. It seems clear that you spend sometime and you thought a lot before producing such successful activities. Having done all the activities I was really impressed of your nice website. The activities were really successful, the reading sites are also helpful and can help students to do the tasks. The instructions and hints can also scaffold students and assist them do the tasks. In general the layout , the design , the pedagogical ideas are well done.However,in my opinion I would like to give you some suggestions which might get you consider some aspects of your website:
First of all,I would say it would be better to give a button called home in each activity ,so that students can navigate easily from tasks to the home page, or buttons to link a task to the next one.
Second, In giving a title for each activity it would be better to give a title for each activity that also attract young learners. For example, Discover Christmas for vocabulary activity.
Third, I think it would be better to configure tasks with shuffle in configuration while producing the activities in the hot potatoes. This can help students to find the activity items in different order when they do the task again and again.
Fourth, There is a minor spelling mistake in the matching task " Scroll down and match".
Fifth, I would personally prefer to give students in year 6 a vocabulary activities with pictures because they are still young and this can attract students do the task better and make it more meaningful, i.e. you can still give them sentences but accompanying with pictures.
Sixth, In cross word tasks, I think you gave some times a question and the next question will answer it e.g In cross 2 and down 3 , the same for 1 down and 4 across.This will give students high guessing chances rather than challenging them do the task.It would be better to be consistent, either sentences or questions e.g it would be better to rephrase 7 down sentence and change the question which start with who into a sentence.
Overall, these are suggestions in order to improve this nice and lovely website.Wish you successful result and have a nice time in Tasmania.



October 25, 2007

Comments on Karen's Website:

HI Karen
I used the URL you sent me via e-mail to access to your website. I have tried the activities and have some comments that I hope that can hep:

First of all I like your website, in that it involves a variety of activities and intended to teach students about different language skills e.g listening and reading.I really like the gap-filling task where students have to listen and fill in the missing words. The topic of this website is interesting. You also designed the website in a very simple and clear way. However in my opinion I would suggest the following:
- I found a problem with the link you gave for your website in your blog though I used the URL you send via e-mail and I was able to access to your project.
-On the left hand of your website some suggested links to some sites but only two are accessible, others have no links.
-You build up your activities via the Masher, however only three activities are there in the index.
- I would rather ask students to reflect on their learning and assess themselves through writing some sentences rather than numerical rating scales.
- I could not figure out the aim of the slide shaw and video biographies, i.e would be better give some instructions that can help or a title.
- I want to ask you of what the aim of the list of words you gave in the filling gap activity, Could you add something to the instruction to make it clear for the users or the intended students( an instruction will help to know the aim).
-For the multiple choice task which ask students to choose numbers, I would rather give students distract ors involves dates e.g the year or the month, otherwise get students to read and reorder these pictures through drag and drop.
-For the mix up activities I would prefer drag and drop due to the feel that students play with like playing cards.

Overall, the above suggestion are just my opinion, I do not know what you think about. Overall, a good product. Well done!

Note: can you please post the comments you send via e-mail to my blog.



October 31, 2007 3:15 PM


Friday, October 26, 2007

Thanks for your valuable comments

I appreciate Jeniffer, Maggie, Esther and Billo comments on my website project. Your comments are valuable for me, I will re-read them , reflect on them in a critical way and then will write a summary in a form of a reflection commentary. Thanks all , wish you all the best , wish you a wonderful and a successful TEOSL career.



I would also like to thank Karen for her valuable comments on my website. However these comments were sent to me via e-mail as Karen due that to a problem on the blackboard. Hence , I decided to post these valuable comments here in order to reflect on them and incorporate her ideas to reflect on my website. Thanks Karen. Just on comment about navigation and accessibility, I think my activities have a two buttons one for next activity and another for home, therefore I do not think that index will cause trouble for them because it is there and I will explain that for my students. Thus, this aroused my interest to read about THE MASHER and to see what can it add to my website and might use it to build another unit or activities for my student.

Hi Zahran

I hope you haven’t finished your reflections yet. Here is my feedback on your project.

Firstly, I like the colour scheme and the design of the home page much better than the webquest. It is more enjoyable and simpler to read. Clean and clear. In terms of equitable access for all students, ie. Ones who have visual impairment or learning difficulties, research has found that like backgrounds with black print is best. I like the way you have graded the colour from light to dark, top to bottom. Mind you, I am not expert in web design. I just know what I like. I think it is great.

My eye can scan quickly for what is on the page. I also like that you have only a couple of animations, just enough. Well done.

However, I would use a sans-serif font. This looks like Times Roman, the print is too small and it is not a clear font to read.

I like the way, all the activities are simple and not cluttered up with pictures and animations. It is obvious that you like colour and children do too. However, I feel that the green is a bit strong in the background when you are trying to read the activity.

A comment about the other websites you have linked. My only concern is that, depending on the level and age of the readers, that the language and the density of the text on some of the pages might make if too challenging (soft g!) to read and therefore demotivating. You could try rewriting the main information necessary for the activities, just the bits you need. Then in Hot Potatoes, you go into File, Insert text and cut and paste your text in the window that appears. That way, your text will be the appropriate level with all the words you want as part of the quiz. See Doris’ project, only she didn’t rewrite anything, she just took direct from a website without any modifications.

I really like the way you have a clock ticking. How did you do that, please? I would like to use it next time.

I was also thinking what if students can’t get the answers at all, how will they find out what the correct ones. I am thinking about putting these into my own project. Do you have thoughts about that?

If you look at the bottom of the page, “Index”, you will see that the button doesn’t work. That is because you did not build the unit in Masher as I explained to you.

The Masher links all the units to an index page in Hot Potatoes, which is different to your index.html

The problem with setting up the page like a WQ rather than the HP unit, is that it is more difficult to navigate. Eg. When you go to the word document for the self-assessment, you have to work out how to get home. What about some instructions for students to know what to do if they find themselves lost outside the HP unit. I have the same issue but I think I put in an instruction on how to get back.

Well done. I look forward to hearing your feedback about my project but I won’t be writing that till Wed or Thurs night so no rush.

What mark did you get for WebQuest? I only got a 5.



Friday, October 12, 2007

Uploading your websites

Dear my classmates:

I have learned how to host or upload my website and I would like to share these ideas with you.
1- You can host or upload your website by saving your website files in the same H/drive file in QUT /H drive / My webs but make sure that your files names are different from your webquest files.
2- If you would like to host your files in the World Wide Web there are some sites that provides a free service like Yahoo geocities:

Then sign in as a different user, then you will have an account.
3- Click on create a website/create and upload/your page Builder if you like to use their templates.
4- If you do not like their templates and you only want to host your own project follow these steps:
- Click manage - easy upload- click Browse and upload all the files. Make sure you have an index page and you have to upload all the files including pictures files. Then click on the page index and you will get the html page ,copy the link to your blog /wiki page etc.

Personally I upload my website project via QUT H/My webs but this is a good opportunity for you to experience hosting somewhere else.

Have fun

My Website

To all my CLN618 classmates! Welcome to my website (Marvelous Oman Activities). Here is a link to my website please have a look and give some feedback. Cheers ! Zahran

Friday, September 14, 2007

Images from my country

Hi visitors

I would like to share this nice image . I hope you will like it.

Last workshop

Time runs so fast , I could not believe that tomorrow will be the last workshop . On the one hand I am excited to learn some new ideas of authorizing a website, on the other hand I little bit sad that this workshop will be the last ones. I really liked this unit because I am discovering and engaging in activities that both are useful and interesting. Wish all my classmates the best and wish my amazing tutor happy and successful life in her new career.