Wednesday, April 23, 2008

News From Mississippi

Dear all,there is an article in the April issue of Olemiss (University of Mississippi) Technews about some of the Web 2.0 tools I created with my ESL students. You can read it here:http://www.olemiss. edu/depts/ it/technews/ TechNews- April08.pdf or go to the Technews website: http://www.olemiss. edu/depts/ it/technews/ and check the April 2008 issue.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Our ESL Voicethread Projects!

My students and I have explored Voicethread - and created a couple of presentations on different topics you might find interesting and fun to watch! For teachers: I have also uploaded a lesson plan you can find on my TeacherWeb page ("Lesson Plans" section).Check on the following links if you want to find out more about:
1. Beyonce and her career as a singer and actress: (or type in "Beyonce" in the Browse section of Voicethread);
2. My experience in NY by Gabi Lu
3. Advantages of Travelling
4. Past Perfect - and
5. Modal Verbs:
6. Niagara Falls:
7. Rodeo Superstitions
8. The sttue of Liberty
Don't forget to create an account or sign in to be able to watch them.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ronaldo and TESOL 2008

Attending my first TESOL Convention, going sightseeing in New York and meeting some of the Webheads in Action f2f for the first time are all experiences I'll never forget!

You can check out all my NYC pictures here, or take a look at this album, which has webheads photos:
NYC + CTJ and Webheads

I have also blogged about this experience.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What people were complaining about

I heard a lot of complaints while I was at the TESOL Convention. Here were some of them:

It was disorganized.

The maps and signs were inadequate or unclear.

Volunteers were not well-informed, and sent people on wild goose chases.

In general, a shorter convention meant more schedule conflicts than usual, so people were double-booked and could not attend everything they needed to.

Popular speakers were scheduled in small rooms, so people had to wait a long time to get into sessions and then were sometimes turned away. The rooms on the fifth floor of the Sheraton were infamous. They were so overcrowded at one point that fire marshals or police were called in for crowd control, and there were humongous lines at the elevators. People were allowed up only when other people left. This was not a problem in the EV; events were well-attended but not over-crowded. Mini-workshops filled up but if you got there on the first day you could sign up for anything, and if you came to full sessions you could often get in if people who had signed up didn't show, or you could attend as an observer.

Inadequate and expensive internet access. In the hotels, free Wi-Fi was available only in the lobbies, and presenters were required to pay exorbitant fees for computers and internet access in their rooms (I was told over $800 per session!!!!), so many presenters opted to show only screen shots while others just resorted to presenting in the EV, which had constant internet access but very limited space.

Well, New York is an expensive city. The convention hotels were expensive, the restaurants were expensive, the convention itself was expensive for those who paid out of pocket. Everything cost more than it would in most smaller cities.

Post-TESOL Reflections - The Ginga Movement

I finally could write my reflections on the thrilling experience of meeting the Webheads again and getting to know f2f some others. New York with the Webheads could only be full of Ginga!

Here's my post about the Ginga Movement.

My photos are at

I also made a very short video during the Electronic Village so the ones who were not there could have an idea what it looks like.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pleasure to meet you Nina

It was lovely to meet you in New York and chat a little. I will be steadily connecting in the future and will search for the group on Facebook. Perhaps we can meet in tapped in as well, although I need to refresh my memory on how to do this. I picked up a lot of useful information at the conference, but I feel I missed even more. Jeff LeBow's Voicethread is interesting. I have to keep hunting. Your lovely invitation encourages me to keep at it.

Thank you.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Invitation to teach/learn American Culture Together!

Dear all,

My name is Daniela Munca, I am an ESL instructor at Ole Miss, University of Mississippi, and I am teaching American Culture to international students from all over the world. We have created a blog where we post different links, articles and online power point presentations, comment on, learn new words from, etc. My ESL students would like to find other students interested in the same subjects and exchange ideas and suggestions. This is our blog: - last week we talked about Niagara Falls and Grand Canyon.

This is our Slideshare page - you can find lots and lots of great power point presentations my ESL students have created this semester and leave comments (you will also find them on the toolbar of our ESL class blog)! let us know what you think and we will get back to you asap!

Tools for Online ESL/EFL

TESOL Conference Tools to Explore!
Dear all, my experience at the TESOL conference in New york has been equally exciting and productive. I have learned how to use a couple of online tools worth exploring: I think any ESL/EFL instructor could use them to engage language learners in creative mini projects. I would like to share these with you:
1. Dvolver: allows teachers and learners to create and direct their own mini-movies. There are a few easy steps to follow - you can choose your characters, scenes and backgrounds, add text and music and your movie is ready! You can see the one I created for my American Culture students here :

2. Online Comics Generator: as many characters as you want, give them a "mood", add a thought or a talk balloon and your comics is ready for printing and using in class (great with elementary students).

3. Screen-o-Matic: to create a tutorial for your students? Do you want your students to create online projects where they would use their own voice? Try this tool - it's easy and it's free! (I recommend it for intermediate to advanced students)

Check my blog for other tools:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Thanks Dennis!

Dennis, you are so kind!  Dennis sent us oodles of beautiful red roses, which were distributed at the webheads' second dinner last night at Becco.  There were at least twenty people with so much coming and going that some of us were afraid the restaurant staff might toss us out--but they didn't, dinner was delicious and we all had fun.  More details (and photos) to come.

Ready to Present

I am sitting at Mac 7-8 station in the EV.  My EV Fair presentation, "Before, During, and After: Connecting with Students Online" begins in ten minutes!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Webhead Disconnected!

I am in the Business Center at the Sheraton New York, where Rita and I checked in today after one (expensive) night in a hostel on 47th Street where we were given a room so small it barely fit the bed, a sink, and us (except that there was a TV, of course--no bathroom, but a TV).

Rita could almost reach out and touch both walls at the Portland Square "Hotel"!

A group of us (including some spouses and friends) met for dinner at Pongsri Thai Restaurant, 244 West 48th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue. I made the reservation. I started last week with a reservation for ten and kept calling back every couple of days as the number rose to fifteen and then twenty and then twenty-four.... People were still adding and subtracting themselves on the day of the dinner, and several just showed up at the restaurant! No matter, because the staff were very kind and flexible. I ordered pad thai, which I like because it isn't too spicy. I was surprised that several people sitting near me had never had Thai food before; it has become very popular in the DC area recently. Here are some pictures of our party at Pongsri Thai:

Mike Coghlan and Rita Zeinstejer at Pongsri Thai


Vance Stevens and Rita

Michael, Aiden and Daf

Ronaldo Lima Jr and Carla Arena

Teresa and Rita

Rita, Tere, Mike and Daf

Graham Stanley and Carla

Webheads at Pongsri Thai

After dinner, a smaller group headed to the Heartlands Brewery, W. 43rd Street and Broadway, for a beer (in my case, a very expensive bottle of water) and more conversation and webheads style bonding. Rita and I returned to our "hotel" at about 1 a.m.

Daf, Jeff, Tere and Moira at the Heartland Brewery and Chophouse

We were up at 6 and at the EV at 7:30, where we signed on as volunteers.

Rita presented her Serendity Project at the Hardware Fair, and we both attended a mini-workshop on using corpora for teaching writing, but we were so exhausted that we conked out in the middle. We grabbed a bite to eat and then took all our stuff (which had been sitting in the EV all day) to the Sheraton and were granted an early check-in. We are sharing a beautiful spacious room with my colleague Kathleen. We were delighted to find a luxurious bathroom with a plentiful supply of soap, which the PSq did not offer!

After a nap and a shower (lovely), I went to hear Tom Leverett's presentation on writing with blogs (saw Carla there and met Margot, Tom's sister).

Tom Leverett and his sister Margot with Carla Arena

Now I am on my way to the CALL-IS business meeting (I am late). My own EV Fair presentation is tomorrow at 9:30. I think I am ready.

Local webheads: see you at 8 pm at Becco, 355 West 46th St! Other webheads: Hugs and cheers from the Big Apple!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Have a wonderful dinner!

Hi, everyone.

I can't be with you personally, but I'll be thinking of all of you as you gather for dinner at the Thai restaurant this evening.

Have a wonderful time—and enjoy being together in the Big Apple.

I'll be online during the EV sessions tomorrow.

All the best—

Dennis in Phoenix