Friday, July 25, 2014

My Wiki Project about Marketing and Advertising Vocabulary.

For my ICT Course at Universidad Central de Venezuela, I created a Wiki project about basic vocabulary for advertising and marketing.  I was interesting in developing a tool about that specific vocabulary because my students are university students of Media, taking Advertising as their major. Even thought when the main focus of the course is grammar, I would like to integrate vocabulary related to the students major that could complement other courses, this is why I focus on Advertising and Marketing vocabulary, considering that would be helpful for their studies and future jobs.

According to Patrick Ledesman (2010), “Wikis are a powerful instructional tool for students to develop and practice vocabulary”. They way he uses Wikis for this purpose was: 

Assign each student a word or group of words to research. After they have completed their research, they create a page for each word in the class wiki. When students are finished, the class will have their own wiki showing their classroom vocabulary.

     Taking that model as an example, I planed to assign each student a weekly research about Advertising and Marketing Vocabulary, where they have to post concepts and images related to new terms. According to Ledesma, some of the benefits of using Wikis for acquired vocabulary are:

  • Students explain terms in their own words.
  • Students create no-linguistic representation, such as adding images.
  • Students can do periodically activities that help to acquire new vocabulary terms. 
  • Students can discuss the terms with one another.

  • Fill the page “About us”, writing a little about themselves, for example: name, interests, speciation and goals regarding the course.
  • Do weekly activities, filling the vocabulary list with terms about advertising and vocabulary.
  • Add images related to each concept.

            Regarding the use of the Wiki, my students should:

They should add concepts during four weeks, and in week five they will do an oral presentation selling a product to their classmates, using the vocabulary of the list. 

I think the use of the Wiki will help my students to acquire and use vocabulary related to their major, as well as will help me, as a teacher, to have an web tool that allows interaction between students.


Ledesma, P. (2010).Are Your Students Using Wikis to Strengthen Vocabulary Skills?”. In Education Week Teacher. [Online]

Montgomery, C. (2014) Wikis in the World Language Classroom: Transforming Teaching, Learning, & Teacher Preparation with Technology. Brigham Young University. [Paper] [Online]

Social Networks

We all are used to use Social Networks on a daily base. Most of us at least use Facebook, Twitter, and Linken In to communicate with our friend and colleagues. However there are other social networks to consider, such as: Pinterest, Google Groups, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, My Space, and Tagged.

But, what is a Social Network? Basically, is a platform that allows the interaction among people who share interests. Each user can create its profile, contact other users, and share information through the platform.

Even through we used Social Networks for fun, we can also use them as an educational tool since we can create a specific group for our students were we share information related to our course. Some of the benefits of using social networks in class are:

  • It allows to share information immediately.
  • Allows permanent contact with our students.
  • Inmediate comments and feadback.
  • Interaction between the teacher and his or her students. 
  • Interaction between classmates. 
If we choose to use Facebook as an educational tool, we could have a personal account were we share information with our friend and the public we choose, and create a private group for our students. This is a practical solution for make a distinction between the information we what to share as well as the public we want to address.

Wikipedia. Social Networking Service.

Videos and Movie Maker on class

We all like to watch movies, a video clips or a good video. So, why do not use them as a teaching tool? Videos are a great tool for both teachers and students. Some of the benefits of using videos as an educational tool are:

- It allows to prepare a lesson in advance, and you can share that lesson with many groups and students. 

- You can be as creative as you wish, since you can record yourself explaining a lesson, or you can use different images to develop the topic. 
- Usually videos are short, so students can quickly be introduced to a topic that could be develop on class. 
- Are entertained and fun.

For my ICT course, I created a proposal for my students using Movie Maker. It is a video about advertising and marketing vocabulary, and I explained each term using images that reflect the concept. Here is my video, I hope you like it! 

Wikis as an educational tool

A Wiki is a collaborative website that allows people to add and edit content. It allows the work of different authors, as well as edit, delete and modify information, images, comments, videos, charts, and links. According to Cherice Montgomery (2014):

"A wiki is a type of social software that allows multiple people to easily and collaboratively create, edit, discuss, and share multimedia content online using a web browser. Many wiki providers (such as Wikispaces or PBWorks) make this service available for free to anyone who has access to an internet connection, charging small fees to those who want access to additional features such as ad-free spaces, a customized appearance, or increased security options. It is also possible to install wiki software (such as MediaWiki) on a server. However, in most cases, creating a wiki is as easy as filling out a simple form."

Wikis can be a great educational artefact, since the writer can use different tools, such as image, text, links, and videos. Also, teachers can plan lessons by week, assignments, add evaluation and different pages according to the students needs.

Furthermore, Wikis allows to develop students projects, since they can add information and modify it. Some of the benefits of using Wikis as an educational tool are:

·                    Students explain terms in their own words.
·                    Students create no-linguistic representation, such as images.
·                    Students can do periodically activities. 
·                    Students can discuss classmates work.

There are infinitives projects that can be develop using Wikis, since the artefact is very flexible and allows multiple options according to the teacher and students needs. 


Ledesma, P. (2010). “Are Your Students Using Wikis to Strengthen Vocabulary Skills?”. In Education Week Teacher. [Online]

Montgomery, C. (2014) Wikis in the World Language Classroom: Transforming Teaching, Learning, & Teacher Preparation with Technology. Brigham Young University. [Paper] [Online]

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Benefits of using Blogs in ELT

Basically, a blog is an interactive homepage managed by a writer that allows comments from the reader. In English Language Teaching (ELT) blogs are a useful web tool for teacher and students. By using it, students can improve vocabulary and writing skills. Since the work of a student will be published to a community in the Internet, blogs motivate students to be more aware of grammar mistakes. Blogs also allows the interaction between peers because the student's work can be read by classmates as well as by the teacher. It also encourages the sense of community, since all the participants can read and comment the posts.

One of the main characteristics of blogging is the frequency of post by the owner. Similar to a diary, blogs are updated regularly, therefore maintaining this rhythm in the post publications is one of the challenges of keeping a blog.

In English Language Teaching blogs are useful for both teachers and students. For example: teachers can create a blog for a specific course, updating information according to the class lessons. Also, students could create their own Blogs, posting articles as their assignment, developing their creativity and own research on the web. The use of blogs also engage students in collaborative activities, it facilitates sharing knowledge with peers, allows the interchange of information and enable classmates to give feedbacks and comments.

Another element of the use of blogs for educational purpose is that allows students to work by themselves, at any time, encouraging autonomous learning. This individual work is complemented with the classmate participation in the blogging community. This motivates students since they receive feedback from teachers along with students.

Aditionally, blogs encourages creativity because the user can upload pictures, music and even video, therefore they are a useful tool that allows the use of different sources of information to improve the learning process; for example, a Blogs which main purpose is English Language Teaching allows the teacher to post articles, music and videos, in consequence, in one page students could practice their reading skills (reading the article posted), listening comprehension (e.g. watching videos), and practice writing by posting comments. Therefore, using blogs integrates different skills in the learning process English as a Foreign Language.

According to “Blogs in English language teaching and learning: Pedagogical uses and student responses”, a research about the use of Blogs in an EFL course in a Japanese university, the use of blogs to improve students' writing skills showed that:

•    Students stay working on their assignments for much more time than the class sessions, improving their learning process by themselves.
•    Students' posts usually exceeded the amount of words requested by the teacher (in that case, at least 200 words), because students took in account that their text would be published in a public web space.
•     The use of Blogs motivates students to be aware and be more careful with the structure, organization, spelling and correct use of grammar in their articles.
•    Students felt motivated to read classmates' work, give comments and share information.

Consequently, the use of blogs encourages the individual work as well as promotes collaboration between classmates in the learning process. For all those reasons the use of blogs in English Learning Teaching in very convenient since allows students to practice and improve different skills studying at any time.


Blackstone, Spiri & Naganuma. "Blogs in English language teaching and learning: Pedagogical uses and student responses”: 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Web: first steps and evolution (Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0).

We use the Web on a daily basis, it has become part of our lives, specially for new generation of students. However, some of us do not have really clear what the Web is. In this post I will expose a little bit about the terminology and evolution of the Web. Let’s start from the basic terminology:
  • What does “The Web” mean?
Web is the acronym for World Wide Web. Basically, is a collection of interconnected documents or content which works on the basis of the client and service relation: the web client requests the use to the web service, the main purpose is facilitate the exchange of information between people and computers.

The World Wide Web was created by Tim Berners-Lee. He presented his first proposal on 1989, but it wasn’t until almost 20 years after that the web was establish on the Internet. When he came up with the idea of exchange information though computers, he was working as a software engineer at CERN, The European Organization for Nuclear Research. He observed many scientists participating on CERN experiments and then returned to their laboratories to work by themselves. After the individual research, they had problems exchanging results. Berners-Lee could observe their necessity to connect and exchange content via their computers. Seen this opportunity, he presented his firth proposal, but it was rejected. (World Wide Web Foundation, "History of the Web")

In 1990, he had created the first web page editor, browser and server. From those first steps until now, the Web has evolves rapidly, changing our communication and lifestyle.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web 
  • Web 1.0
At the beginning, the main purpose of the Web was to serve as a cyberspace that allows people to share information. Thus, Web 1.0 works primary as a source of information, were the users could only read it. The Web was static and mono-directional, this means that the service provides information to the user, but he couldn’t modify it or contribute, therefore the websites were not interactive. Its main clients were business and companies that want to publish their catalogs and services, so people could read about it.

  • Web 2.0
This web allows users to read and write information, it was bio-directional because the web service presents information to the user and he could also add information to it, thereby allows interaction.  For example, the web 2.0 technologies and services include blogs, wikis and tags. 
Facebook was born as a platform to share, upload and comment information; in the beginning, its users were primarily university students who exchange content about their social live. 

  • Web 3.0
Also know as the “semantic web” because its main purpose is to be readable to machines and humans, using information in the way computers can read it. It’s a web of documents, compared to a global database, were the information (or data) is decoded first by computers, and then by people.  One of its attribute is the “mobility” characteristic, thus you can find the web in everything at any time: in computers, mobile devices (such as smart phones) and even in appliances. Another feature is that it can anticipate the user preferences.

According to "History of the Web" (World Wide Web Foundation), since 1989 “the Web has changed the world. It has arguably become the most powerful communication medium the world has ever known. (…) the Web has changed the way we teach and learn, buy and sell, inform and are informed, agree and disagree, share and collaborate, meet and love, and tackle problems ranging from putting food on our tables to curing cancer.”

As we saw, the Web evolves continuously changing how we communicate and our interaction with each other. From Web 1.0 to Web 3.0, education has also changed according to the technology evolution. Nowadays, teachers and students can share information transcending time and borders, taking advantage of the new technology.


- Ghazal, H.  Detail History of Web 1.0 to 3.0:

- International Journal of Web & Semantic Technology (IJWesT) Vol.3, No.1, January 2012. “Evolution of the Word Wide Web: from Web 1.0 to Web 4.0)”:

- World Wide Web Foundation, "History of the Web":

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pros and some cons about ICT in education

What is ICT?

ICT Is the acronym for Information and Communication Technology, according to the webpage, it “refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications (…). (It) focuses primarily on communication technologies. This includes the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums.”

People from all over the world use modern communicational technologies daily since all types of works and any professional field can take advantage of it. Education is also changing faster because of the new technology influence

In order to understand the impact that ICTs has had in the learning process, is important to know the following basic concepts of ICT used in education

E learning: refers to the use of electronic, information and communication technologies in education. Technology enriches the learning environment providing information and resources to find, understand and create knowledge.
E learning implies a broad spectrum, from using a C.D-rom for a listening comprehension exercise to a complete online course; from an audio recording to webinars. The main characteristic is the use of technology in the learning process.

Regarding the use of technology on English Learning Teaching (ESL), I have experienced:
  • Listening comprehension exercises using a CD.
  • Using of intelligent boards.
  • Interactive grammar exercises on the Web.
  • Creating Sites about English and sharing information through it.
  • Using Power Point Presentations on the classroom
  • Using email as a communication tool with my students.

Distance Education: it refers to educational process through distances, started in the 19th century with correspondence courses by mail.
It requires huge amount of compromise and motivation from students and teachers. It can be done using digital technology or not, or mixing new technology with traditional educational ways, e.g. online sessions in adition to face to face classes.
 Nowadays, the distance learning supply and demand has been increasing, but is important to consider that not all offers are legitimate,  frauds are frequent, especially in superior education.

Online or virtual educationrepresents a whole new challenge for the face to face traditional class paradigm. Virtual education allows taking courses, semester and even entire careers without actually going to a physical setting. Nowadays, first world universities are facing the challenge of mixing traditional classes with virtual education. From this necessity, appeared  Blended courses as an excellent alternative that allows maintaining personal human contact, the guidance of teachers, colleages and friends, plus benefits represented by the fast changing digital technology.  

This is my first experience in a Blended course, taking an ICT course from my Master program. It has been challenging, because I used to be digital illiterate. However, I perceive that, actually, I’m learning much faster than I had thought. Is rewarding being aware of  how fast I can improve by using technology.

On the other hand, Mobile learning is based primarily is sharing and creating information using any type of mobile device (e.g. cell phones, smart phones, iphone, etc.). New generations, and specially teenagers, are using mobile learning daily: it could be by sharing a video about a class, or receiving an email on their smart phones about homework.

Definitely, education is changing faster than ever thanks to technology, and it does bring great advantage and convenience. However, we should think about the consequences for our mental and physical health. Even though I appreciate the benefits of technology, I'm afraid we might be overusing these recourses. As a consequence, we are putting behind real human contact. I’m concern about the amount of time that we are spending in front of computers or any other type of digital device. From my personal experience, when I’m working (or “distracting”) in front of my computer, I completely lose the awareness of time, and I can spend an entire night working, just to realize at one moment that the sun has risen, it is 6:00 am, and I haven't had any rest.

Technology has invaded our life too much!!! Of course, it is an excellent source of information and education, but on the other hand we must learn how to use it in a healthy and proper way. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Understanding the concepts behind Digital Literacy

I have always liked wordsmeaning and roots. To understand what Digital Literacy means, I started searching for definitions on different dictionaries. Knowing basic terms has always helped me to understand more elaborated concepts. So, what does -digital and -literacy mean? According to the Online Etymology Dictionary:
  • Digital (adj.) from the Latin digitalis, means pertaining or related to fingers. Related to the Latin word digit, meaning the use of numerical digital below 10. After 1945, this definition was associated to the use of numerical digital, especially on computers.
Digital and digit are related by the Latin word digitus, which means “finger or toe (also with secondary meaning dealing in counting and numeral)". The numerical sense is because numerals under 10 were counted using fingers.
Digital is related to finger and numbers, because one primary way of counting was –and still is- by using our fingers. Is associated to the first computers, primarily used as calculators.
  • Literacy (n.), “formed in English from literate+cy, related to Literate.
  • Literate (adj.), from the Latin literatus/litteratus, it means “educated, learned”, one who knows the letters. In the early 15c., the term expressed “educated, instructed”.
How do these terminologies relate to the Digital Literacy concept that we use nowadays

The first logical option is to search on dictionaries that explains the regular use of the words, e.g. Cambridge Dictionaries Online, which defines:
  • Digital, “showing information in the form of an electronic image”.
  • Literacy, “the ability to read and write: knowledge of a particular subject, or a particular type of knowledge”.
Now that I know the basic terminology, these are my ideas about what Digital Literacy might be:  
  1. The ability to read and write information available in electronic tools?
  2. One that is educated about computers?
  3. A person who has been trained or educated on computer language?
One could say that Digital Literacy is the ability to effectively research, choose, read, comprehend, analyze and interpreting digital information. It also involves analytical and creative skills. For example, just posting an article on Facebook, requires the following competences:
  • Knowledge: about how to use a computer, the web, have an email and a Facebook account.
  • Research: you look for different articles on the Internet, e.g. Google.
  • Evaluate information: you deference the articles that you liked from the ones that you don’t, and choose you favourites. 
  • Analyze: you analyze the possible respond or effect caused by your post. This means that you will post certain articles or image according to your digital environment, e.g. you won't post your gramma's photo if your using Facebook as an working tool.
  • Creativity: posting, editing and add comments about the article. 
Once that you use a computer and the Web your way through digital literacy starts! As in all educational or discovering process, the knowledge can go deeper according to the person's interest. Digital Literacy means much more than just using a computer:  you can experience a continuous learning process.

The final question is how can I improve and become more digital literate? 
One important step is practicing, practicing and practicing… You will improve as you use it, understand it and practice it! As in any skill we want to develop!


- Izquierdo, E. (2009). Digital Literacy.

- New York City Department of Education

- Online Etymology Dictionary

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hello World!


This blog is one of my first experiences applying Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as part of my academic and professional roles. 
You will find basic concepts about ICT, posts related to the use of technology in teaching and learning environments, and some articles regarding to English as a Second Language.
I’m learning how to take advantage of new technology and improve my work by using it. This is why I named my blog ICT journey, because is a new chapter in my live which I hope it will be great!
I invite you to do this journey with me, so we can learn a little bit more about technology!