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Video review of week 2

Video review of week 2
Hello, everyone. Welcome to our end of week two video. Hello, Marie Therese. Hello, Lindsay. Hello, everyone. Hasn’t been a fantastic week lots of enthusiasm, lots of comments, lots of questions from everybody on the course and this week we talked about listening and reading and we had lots of ideas about that, but we started the week with talking about planning lessons and we raised the question about this question about synchronous versus asynchronous online learning. Lindsay, follow up a little bit on that.
Just, obviously you need to make the decision when you’re running a course - is everything going to be synchronous or are you going to have learners do some things asynchronously and if so what learning management system are you going to use as well? And hopefully the lesson plans helped you to see the difference between purely synchronous and a lesson that achieves the same objectives but is asynchronous and synchronous as well. Yeah and I think you can make the decision about how worthwhile the time spent online is and I think that’s what you need to think about. Is this something that my presence as the teacher is required for this activity?
Or can the student just be doing this in their own time at home? I know there’s the question of you have people who haven’t done the preparation and they arrive in class and so some people have done it, some people haven’t done it, but there are ways of dealing with that by putting the people that have done the task in a group with people that haven’t, to share what they did in their own time. So I think really it’s valuing the time that people have paid for– paid for you for - and whether you need it or not.
I agree and also I make the point that which things you do asynchronously and synchronicity really depend on the context and that’s so true for much of our courses, isn’t it? Although we make suggestions really depends on your context there’s no right way to do things. There are lots of different ways. Thank you, everyone, for sharing your ideas on reading and listening materials, we hope you find that useful. I’ve got a new one to explore in Endoo News looks really good so thank you whoever posted that, it’s daily news in different levels which looks good and hopefully you got to try out Padlet as well, which some of you were asking about last week. Yep and we had the assignment.
Lots of people did the assignment this week on the course and it was really interesting reading what people were saying about each other’s work. And we had a question as well it’s… everybody’s always asking about resources and materials and syllabus and how to plan and what to plan and we had a question from Michal last week - after we did the end of video they were conversations on the course about syllabus about using course books. So there isn’t really as yet very much available from publishers in dedicated course books for teaching online, they are working on it.
I have to say that this is something that they - online everybody having to go and teach online because of COVID has taken publishers by surprise. But it is something that they’re stepping up to, and something that they’re working on. And I think actually this is going to be the next big thing in ELT publishing. The course books that can be used exclusively online. For now, what the publishers have done, is many of them have produced digital versions of existing course books. And I think they work really well. And Lindsay, you’re going to show us an example. Yeah, absolutely.
And of course some course books come with presentation tools, anyway which are designed for interactive whiteboards that work really well online. So there’s a real mixture, this is one that has interactivity so this is Empower. So basically you would have a copy of this e-book, your students would have a copy of the e-book. It’s interactive, you can share your screen when you’re eliciting - when you’re setting the task and then when you’re eliciting answers. So here we can do a matching task. So Marie Therese what country is this? This is Brazil! Yeah! So we’ve got loads of Brazilians– Here we go. So let’s not do them all. But we could click and drop and add those in there.
And then we can listen to the audio: Track 1.12 A, Brazil. Perfect, OK. So we’ve got the audio embedded there. And then we can check our answers and we’ve got one correct but that’s OK, because we’ve only done one. So it gives you the answers there. So that’s the sort of thing that we’re looking at. And Lindsay while we’re on the topic, I did that thing where I was able to share– I split my screen, so that I pulled over…
so the thing that you showed was smaller, and you and I were bigger. And then when you shared, when you asked me a question, I pulled over the thing again, so that you and I became smaller and the screen became bigger. And we talked about that on the course, because it does make the lesson much more interactive, much more involving, if you teach your students to use the Split screen option on Zoom. Yeah. Because I have a different screen here, so it’s not quite the same as yours. But absolutely. You have a sort of line down the middle and you can drag it over, over the learners come which is great. OK.
So let’s stop that and very briefly, because I think Michal asked about the advantages and disadvantages of using a course book. So what are three advantages of using a course book? So the one advantage is that it sets out the syllabus, so you don’t have to decide what students need to learn. Because there’s research been going on for donkey’s years, about what is the natural order that we learn, language and tenses and so on. And the course and people that wrote the course book will have used that research to design their course book and also build on vocabulary that was taught in a previous unit, recycling language. Recycling vocabulary.
So that’s a kind of headache removed from teachers, that you don’t have to decide what to do. The topics are interested…. the topics are interesting and interactive and chosen because they’re popular with people. So, I think those are really the advantages of using a course book, you buy a book, the students buy a book. And then you’ve got extra work which students can do offline and you have work that students can do online. I think the thing that… the disadvantage is that it can be boring, that the course book follows the same stages every lesson.
So I think you could shake that up a bit, by bringing in using different apps, we talked about Wordwall we talked about using Padlet and Kahoot. Bring in games, bring in– and this week we talked about listening and reading. So you would bring in reading texts or videos or listening on the subject that’s covered in the course book. Yeah. I mean I think that the pros and cons are very similar to using a course book in face to face class.
And to be honest, but I would say that if you’re going to use a coursebook, obviously it depends as well on the length of your course and the needs of your learners, because your learners might have very specific needs that you’re working towards on a course that won’t cover them. But I think if you do use a course book in your online class, you do need to think about that value of time as you mentioned before, what activities are best done in that classroom, is the time well spent doing some gapfill activities or am I better off getting students into breakout rooms, making personalised sentences with the language.
It’s just something to consider. I personally think that those books need– and this is as a course book writer, they do need adapting for the online environment. Yeah. And as a course book writer as well Lindsay, the other thing that people need to consider is copyright laws. And that applies to course books and it also applies to material that you download from the internet. So talk first about course books and copyright. Well it does depend on your country of course, because laws are different everywhere.
However, I would say I’m sure everywhere, if your course book is downloaded from the internet, PDF, from a website where you haven’t paid for or the publisher hasn’t directly given it to you because of COVID and this situation, then that’s probably not a legal copy, to be fair. So that’s something to consider. If you’ve bought a copy of the course book and you want to share with your students then I think that’s OK. Ideally, they have their own copy bought as well and then you cover obviously. In terms of other materials online, if you want to use articles or recordings from websites, if you stream them or display them live on those sites, then that’s going to be OK.
If you download text or audio or video, that you haven’t been given permission to download, maybe you use another app to download it, that’s probably not OK either. I think the key thing to remember is, are you taking away money from the person who created the material? Fantastic. OK, I think that was pretty clear. And the last thing that you wanted to talk about Lindsay, was this the business of displaying how you are seen by your students in class, making sure that you’re not sitting in a little dark corner somewhere. I’m in my office and I have natural sunlight right now, coming in through the window. And so I don’t need any kind of extra lighting or whatever.
But show us the example you showed me earlier. Yeah. Well. This is thanks to David, who made me think of this, because he commented on him. And we didn’t put it in the course, which is silly because it is very useful. I’m in the darkest room in the house, but even in the lightest room, sometimes shadows can be cast very strangely. So I have a ring light and if I turn it off that’s what you see. So the difference is quite noticeable. If I tried to teach like this, it would be more difficult to engage my students, but like this, they can see my strange expressions and so on.
And this is what– I’ve got a tabletop ring light, so it just sits behind my laptop, and it does make a difference. So two things really that I keep going on about this business of trying to see all of the students in the room, so arrange your screen so that you can see all of the students in the room when you share your screen. And teach the students to do that, so they can see all of their colleagues in the class.
And also make sure that everybody in the class, students and teachers are lit, so that students aren’t sitting in a little dark corner as they sit near a window or with the window, with the light coming in towards them. Lovely. I think we’ve probably run out of time, Marie Therese. So thank you very much, and thank you at home very much. And thank you for your comments, keep them coming. And we look forward to seeing you in week three. Absolutely. Bye everyone.

We’ve come to the end of the second week of the course and, in this video, Lindsay and Marie Therese look back at some of the main talking points of the week. The video will appear here on Friday 13th November 2020.

Preparing learners for their English language assessments

Visit Cambridge English Resources for Teachers for more online lesson plans to help you prepare learners for their exams: A1 Movers, A2 Flyers, A2 Key for Schools, B1 Preliminary for Schools, B2 First for Schools and C1 Advanced.

You can adapt exam preparation materials in the same way you would adapt other resources for online teaching. You can use your exam syllabus or coursebook to guide your lesson activities and supplement with online resources or learner-generated resources like images and vocabulary quizzes. Some exam preparation is better suited to independent study, for example doing a practice test, reading, or doing extended individual writing. You and your learners can use your online lessons to discuss difficult questions, share useful strategies and, for example, do collaborative work, speaking practice or group writing.

This week, here are two example lesson plans to help you prepare learners for their Cambridge exams in an online classroom:

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