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Reading Activities

Types of Reading Activities

Controlled reading with self-study quizzes

This is probably one of the most common types of reading activities on the Internet. With a controlled reading activity, students are directed to the URL of a particular reading text. Students read the text and then complete a self-study quiz. This type of activity is good for beginning to low intermediate ESL/ EFL students because it helps move the student away from a passive learning style by promoting active learn. This type of activity is also one of the easiest for teachers to develop.

Even though controlled reading activities are easy to develop, they do not foster higher level thinking tasks that are required for more advanced students. Students at upper intermediate and advanced levels often require tasks that are more challenging. The following list of activities is designed to stimulate higher cognitive learning strategies by providing a greater degree of challenge for students.

Example - The Story of Tangun

http://www.johnsesl.com/templates/reading/tangun


Hotlist

A Hotlist is a web page with a collection of links to sites that are all centered around a subject of particular topic. The topics might be a hobby, a certain subject your students have heard about or something they've always wanted to learn about.

By using a Hotlist, you will be able to add Web-based resources to a current topic. You won't be using specific Web-pages tied to identified learning outcomes, but it will be like you're wheeling in a bunch of good books from the library that learners can make use of (except you're wheeling in the wealth of the Web).

Alternatively, you might choose to have your students search the Internet and make their own Hotlist, which can then be shared with the class. Good examples of this are when students do independent study projects or you have groups studying different aspects of a larger topic

Example - Franklin Institute Educational Hotlists

http://learn.fi.edu/learn/hotlists/animals.php


Scrapbook

If your students already have a general understanding of the subject they are studying (i.e., they've done some preliminary learning in class or with traditional resources), you might want their first Web-based activity to be the exploration of a Multimedia Scrapbook. Here students dig through a collection of Internet sites organized around specific categories such as, photographs, maps, stories, facts, quotations, sound clips, videos, virtual reality tours, etc. Students use the Scrapbook to find aspects of the broader topic that they feel are important. They then download or copy and paste these scraps into a variety of formats: newsletter, desktop slide presentation, collage, bulletin board, HyperStudio stack, or Web page. By allowing students to find themselves in their interests, the Multimedia Scrapbook offers a more open, student-centered approach that allows construction of some mental schema and that affective connection that's often so rewarding.

Example - Holocaust Scrapbook

http://cliptomize.com/About/Scrapbook?gclid=COPb3qiciMECFYIHvAodRpYAqA


Treasure Hunt

When it's time to develop some solid knowledge on a subject, teachers and students can create Treasure Hunts. The basic strategy here is to find Web pages that contain information (text, graphic, sound, video, etc.) that you feel is essential to understanding a given topic. Maybe you gather 10 - 15 links (and remember, these are the exact pages you want the students to go to for information, not the top page of a huge Website and expect them to find the needle in a cyberstack). After you've gathered these links, you then pose one key question for each Web resource you've linked to.

A smartly designed Treasure Hunt can go far beyond finding unrelated nuggets of knowledge. By choosing questions that define the scope or parameters of the topic, when the students discover the answers they are tapping into a deeper vein of thought, one that now stakes out the dimensions or schema of the domain being studied. Finally, by including a culminating Big Question, students can synthesize what they have learned and shape it into a broader understanding of the big picture.

Example - American Universities: Harvard & Yale

http://iteslj.org/th/1/vm-univ02.html


WebQuest

When it's time to go beyond learning facts and to get into grayer, more challenging aspects of a topic, your students are ready to try a WebQuest. WebQuest presents student groups with a challenging task, scenario, or problem to solve. It's best to choose aspects of a topic that are under dispute or that at least offer a couple different perspectives. Current events, controversial social and environmental topics work well. Also anything that requires evaluation will evoke a variety of interpretations. The reason the Web is so critical is because it offers the breadth of perspectives and viewpoints that are usually needed to construct meaning on complex topics. Students benefit from being linked to a wide variety of Web resources so that they can explore and make sense of the issues involved in the challenge.

Logistically, all students begin by learning some common background knowledge, then divide into groups. In the groups each student or pair of students have a particular role, task, or perspective to master. They effectively become experts on one aspect of a topic. When the roles come together, students must synthesize their learning by completing a summarizing act such as e-mailing congressional representatives or presenting their interpretation to real world experts on the topic.

To learn more about Webquests, go to http://www.webquest.org

Example - Advertising

http://questgarden.com/141/60/7/120328071528/index.htm

Task

Working in groups of 3, use the template at http://www.johnsesl.com/rubrics/webquest.shtml to design a web quest for your class.




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