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Lost for words? Cool websites to teach and learn vocabulary

No Comments// Posted in e-classroom, english, english literature, ICT, learning, teaching, vocabulary, writing by on 09.30.17.

One of the main challenges for students in writing is lack of vocabulary, specifically in describing an object or situation. I’d like to share two cool websites that anyone can use to assist them in describing words more effectively. For teachers, you can facilitate the students to choose suitable words from the list of websites provided. However, they can be helpful for independent learning as well. Hope it helps!

  1. Describing Words ( http://describingwords.io/)

I like this website as it would be useful for anyone from beginner to advance as we might need a bit of vocabulary nudge to describe a person/thing/situation. Just key in the word and voila! You’ll get as many as 100 possible words! The end-user can customize the answers based on usage frequency or uniqueness.

2. Vocabulary.comhttps://www.vocabulary.com/)

Say goodbye to the boring way of learning and remembering new words! Vocabulary.com emphasizes contextual learning where learners understand the meaning and context of the words rather merely memorizing it. It teaches you words by systematically exposing you to a wide array of question types and activities by embedding the elements of games and quizzes. Not sure how to test your students’ understanding on the novel/text you’re teaching? Paste up to 100 pages of text into the box and  a learning activity will be generated for you to assign to your students. Do check it out!

 


Envisaging Beyond E-Learning: Innovator’s Mindset #IMMOOC

No Comments// Posted in e-classroom, english, IMMOOC, learning, MOOC, reflection, teaching, Uncategorized, writing by on 09.30.17.

When I signed up for the Innovator’s Mindset MOOC by George Couros, my main reason is to revive the important learning nuggets I’ve picked up from the book by discussing with others. For the first week of #IMMOOC , we are encouraged to blog on this:

 Why is innovation in education so crucial today? 

I’ve pondered upon the question, thinking where to begin and I feel the best way is to reflect on my personal journey as an educator, a learner and a researcher. I’ve been teaching for the past 16 years in a public secondary school in Malaysia and now pursuing my PhD in Management of Technology at the same time. Just like my students, I’m multi-tasking and that’s one of the challenges faced by students and many adult learners out there. Hence, there is a need for paradigm shift in understanding why there is a need to innovate ways in providing effective learning. This could be seen in ways heutagogy is now taking centre-stage of global learning where self-driven learning requires educators, instructional learning designers, technologists as well as parents to find ways to sustain lifelong learning.

There has been a robust development of teaching and learning methods as years progress but the crux of teaching and learning remains: the students. Albeit myriad innovation in the form of tools, theories and approaches, the crucial part of learning gratification lies in providing an engaging and meaningful learning for both the educators and learners. George has highlighted 10 essential characteristics of a 21st century educator. You see, in Malaysia, 21st century learning is the current buzzword in Malaysia where everyone is jumping onto the bandwagon trying to envisage the classroom of the future education via classroom management, teaching methodologies as well as teaching tools that differ from merely chalk and talk or sage on the stage.

As a practising teacher and a MOOC researcher, I’ve discovered that there is a gap that needs to be addressed in how innovation and 21st century learning should be implemented in school and higher education. The preoccupation verging on the obsession of getting hi-tech gadgets and gizmos is tad worrying. Innovation is beyond technology and hi-tech gadgets (it helps to have ’em) but you still can rock the lessons by ulitizing and optimizing the resources that are available. This was pointed out by A.J. Juliani in his book, Empower where the focus is shifting from materials but more on innovating our mindsets where accessibility of learning is beyond classroom boundaries (MOOC, OER, NOOC etc.) and collaborative learning is as important as personalized learning (heutagogy & peeragogy) as interchangibility of learning approaches occur depending on the needs and learning ethos.

A few days ago, I was invited as a forum panellist at the International University Carnival on E-Learning (IUCEL2017) and the topic was on “Envisaging Beyond E-Learning.” To understand the impact of innovation for future education, it is vital to know how innovation works and why the advancement of machine learning, AI or robotics can never replace the human touch. One of the points that I’ve highlighted during the discussion is the importance of fostering creativity and innovation in teaching and learning. As we are dealing with Gen Z (the digital natives and unfortunately, with shorter attention span), educators have to deal with ways to cater to the needs and wants of our learners. Rather than teach them to hog all the hi-tech gadgets and learn the way we do in the past, we need to facilitate them to find the potentials in creating (maker mindset, job creator) as well as improvising the existing system with the aid of multi-disciplinary knowledge & technology. (innovator’s mindset, industrial revolution mindset).

I am looking forward to sharing my views on #IMMOOC as well as learning from others too!


IUCEL 2017

No Comments// Posted in conference, e-classroom, learning, reflection, speaking, teaching by on 09.15.17.

The International E-Learning Carnival 2017  (IUCEL 2017) is organised by the Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) in collaboration with the Malaysia E-Learning Council for Public Universities (MEIPTA) and the Ministry of Higher Education. It is a platform to promote best practices and global expertise in E-Learning from myriad higher educational institutions worldwide.

It will be officiated by Dato’ Seri Haji Idris Bin Jusoh, the Minister of Higher Education. There is a distinguished line-up of keynote speakers : Prof. Dato Dr. Ansary Ahmed (Asia E University), Prof. Dr. Fong Soon Fook (UMS) and Dr. Kathryn Chang Baker (University of Science and Technology of China).

I am humbled to be invited as one of the speakers for the forum as the rest of the panelists are distinguished leaders in their fields. They are Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alyani Ismail, President of MEIPTA, Madam Rani Wemel, LTT Global founder and Prof. Dr. Yusuf Mabubul Islam, the Vice Chancellor of Daffodil International University. I’ll try my best to give my views pertaining to leveraging the e-learning practices in schools and universities.


English Literature Component F2: Cheat

No Comments// Posted in Cheat!, conference, e-classroom, english, english literature, guru cemerlang, learning, literature, teaching by on 08.10.17.

I’ve developed another online English Literature resource for my Form 2 students. This time, it’s on Cheat! a short story by Allan Baillie. I’ve curated and designed materials via Padlet, YouTube, Online Quiz Creator and hosted them on ThingLink. Students can read digital notes, watch video on Cheat! as well as take the online quiz to test their understanding on the short story.

This can be done in flipped classroom concept where students can study the digital notes and watch the video before coming to school. Then, a brainstorming session could be conducted to discuss the short story in detail. Apart from that, students can use this for revision, which supports the self-access learning. Hope the resource could be useful for others too. Do check it out!


English Literature Component Form 1: Fair’s Fair

No Comments// Posted in e-classroom, english, english literature, exam, fair's fair, guru cemerlang, learning, literature, m learning, module, novel, reflection, teaching, writing by on 08.06.17.

After completing my book chapter on MOOCs for teacher professional development in Malaysia, I’ve finally got around designing another online learning resource for my students. This time, I’ve developed a ThingLink resource on Fair’s Fair, a novel written by Narinder Dhami. Fair’s Fair is a novel in the Form 1’s English Literature Component where it mainly focuses on three best friends who want to visit a fair. I love using ThingLink because it’s a compact, interactive media platform that’s snazzy and easy to use. I’ve designed and curated materials via Padlet, YouTube and Online Quiz Creator and compiled all in a single ThingLink platform. Hence, it suits diversified needs of students in form of audio-visual stimuli and interactive assessment. I did a pilot study  with some students earlier and based from their feedbacks, I’ve tweaked and improved some areas. This definitely piqued their interest and understanding on the novel better than just reading the novel alone. Do check it out!

My 1 Simfoni students trying out the platform.

Their scores. Gamifying learning motivates students                  to learn & remember better.