Our Educational Message

Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that
ICT-ELT is a TOOL, NOT a SOLUTION.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

IMovie to Promote Your Curriculum


Both David and I absolutely love Apple's IMovie.  David downloaded it as soon as he got his IPAD almost two years ago; whereas, my own personal first IPAD experience came a year later.  Since then, we have discussed at length about how we could use IMovie for educational projects in and out of the classroom, but it always got put on the back burner. Finally, a few weeks ago, a perfect opportunity came up to make a movie trailer project, as we were just finishing up a novel. As a way to review and understand what the story was about, we got the students to pretend they were going to make a movie trailer basedon the major characters and events that took place in the narrative. All in all, it took about  three lessons to properly plan, take photographs, and produce their own IMovietrailers, but their hard work paid off.  The students were blown away with what they had produced, while also having a great laugh in the process.


After this initial success, we became instantly hooked and began to brainstorm other ways we could use IMovie for our curriculum. Literally, just a few days later, I decided to put together a movie trailer that would show the highlights of our yearly program.  I took 21 pictures from the last two years of our curriculum and produced a short movie trailer. Even though it is only a first draft, I was so impressed, once again, by the ease of putting the trailer together, and yet the outcome is simply brilliant.



While it was indeed fun and engaging to show this trailer to our students, it has a much more important purpose for us as teachers in a competitive private school in Turkey.  This short movie trailer will allow us to promote our school and our curriculum to a much larger audience, including our own parents plus prospective parents.  This movie trailer could easily be uploaded to the school website, not to mention shared on social media sites in order to spread the word about the school and our innovative program.  This is something that could be immensely beneficial to all teachers and administrators in both private and public schools.  For example, we have recently helped a first grade English teacher in our school to produce her own IMovie trailer of her students in action. She plans to show it at the upcoming parent-teacher meetings, and it will without doubt be a hit.  

All it takes is an hour of your time to plan and find the most appropriate pictures for your trailer, and Apple IMovie does the rest.  It comes out so crisp and pleasing to the eye that everyone you show it to will think, you not only spent days making it, but you are also a skilled-ICT user.  Try it out today, and please let us know how you plan to use IMovie trailers in your classrooms.We would love to hear it.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

A Final Presentation...Unfortunately, yes!


Today, was the day when I hung up my metaphorical power point - presentation -slideshow hat in the context of ELT conferences. The many personal reasons for doing so are not for this blog, but suffice to say, I do have some mixed feelings at my decision. On the one hand, I will miss the adrenalin-rush normally felt when presenting at prestigious institutions (and even those less so), and on the other, I will not miss that feeling an ICT-ELT driven presenter gets when it all becomes clear that the vast majority of teachers in the audience have little hope of implementing the tools I am explaining on stage or in workshops in the near future due to a lack of tech-infrastructure at their institutions.


My reason for blogging about my decision now is that I need to change my personal ELT-focus. I have used that model in all of my presentations: that is if you aren't happy with what you are doing, don't rage against the machine; just make that leap to change and start to do, or continue doing more of, the things you really enjoy. So, I must practise what I preach, right?

Trying to promote ICT to teachers whose institutions have little or no technology-infrastructure in place is thoroughly soul-destroying in Turkey. Promoting tools that the majority of the audiences can use in their own context, although keen to be entertained with the latest tool or solution, basically means there is little hope of many taking the ideas back to their own school.  Is that their fault? Of course not! If the teachers' institutions fail to get their technological act into gear, what hope is there for those ICT-enthusiastic teachers from following through. 

It has been very frustrating trying to promote tools and methodologies, that work for me at my school, to the majority of participants. My initial reaction three years ago was that everyone would catch up; that their schools, colleges and universities would generate budgets and funds to initialize proper changes to their infrastructure. Unfortunately, however, what I have found, and today's conference was no different, is that the teachers are feeling very frustrated because they cannot develop ICT tools in their classrooms due to the lack of (working) hardware at their institutions.



I am not whining here.  I know how difficult it is to find the funds.  But, one cannot help but feel skeptical when you hear of teachers being forced to attend workshops and conferences with no hope of an immediate solution.  Do the administrations of schools and colleges not get it?  WITHOUT THE PROPER HARDWARE, THERE CAN BE NO ICT-ELT in class.

But before I start really really ranting, feel relieved, I am down off my soap-box.  I have done enough of that for three years.

On this blog, I have been gladly promoting ICT-Tools and methodologies, ELT-lessons and progressive formative assessment approaches, which I am happy to report WILL CONTINUE. My own school does support ICT and its infrastructure is really good and effective for the most part (internet connectivity in our locus notwithstanding); therefore, I can still feel satisfied in my own context. That is why when I reflect on what I am doing in my spare time, I realize that if I want to capitalize on the amazing advances in technology, rather than presenting to an eager, yet sadly frustrated audience, I should spend my weekends and evenings working to improve what I am doing in my own teaching environment.

I, therefore, would like to thank everyone who has supported me in my presentations of three years. I hope and wish that all the teachers who have been in my sessions can catch up with technology soon, so they too can support their already tried and tested methods with the brilliance that is ICT-in-ELT. 

Allow me to share my own phrase, coined two years ago on a creative moment sitting in an airport waiting to fly to a province in Turkey,

                     "ADOPT & ADAPT ICT in ELT. 
REMEMBER it's A TOOL, NOT A SOLUTION".

The main message(s) from my presentation at Beykent University,Istanbul yesterday are outlined in my "take-away" slide




Monday, 18 March 2013

INNOVATION ZONE 2: Follow-Up Post

With the reality of the 25th week of teaching firmly done and in place, one is struck with the usual feelings of frustration, disappointment, anger, irritation, sadness and most of all, fatigue as teachers.  So, how better than when least expecting it we were witness to one of the best moments in near twenty years of teaching, last Friday.  The INNOVATION ZONE, which we sent out information via this platform across the blogosphere, had its first student-presentations on the subject of BULLYING.  Since we have been doing that as part of our syllabus we felt it right for students to produce their own materials and wow us with what they come up with. THAT THEY DID. The students gave forth astounding presentations that my colleague and I had no hand in developing, molding or editing in any way.  The links to their amazing films and power points are below.  The subsequent discussions led to ideas of making the films available school wide with the Hazirlik (preparatory) students doing sessions with all school grade levels, in order to get the school message out that bullying can never be a part of school life.  If students believe that they can make a difference, then why shouldn't we?

Here are the links to their presentations that I feel you will get so much from.  Remember, most of these students came to us in September with very weak study skills, no motivation or desire to do anything academic or creative, plus their English was poor. 
Ali group   : 
They made a survey of students from middle school that led to several examples of bullied students.  It was every emotional to listen to the sad stories of students under our very own roof.  They plan to mentor these students for the next few months and be like study-buddies.  They also made their own video reenacting some social and cyber-bullying which is prevalent all over nowadays
They collaborated with students from two other private schools to make their video for awareness of the problem.  This incredible coordination, collaboration and joint outcomes had everyone's jaw dropping.  The sheer determination to make t-shirts designed by Basak, then make a video with their own messages was impressive. 
Emin group  :   
This group went one stage further and interviewed third-graders and how they felt about bullying. Again we could see form the little kids faces that even the very sound of the word bullying made them cringe.  This for me is incredible, and shows how necessary it is for us all to focus on what bullying does to everyone unfortunate enough.  They alos got together out of school and prepared pictures using make-up and scenario which were designed to shock, and that they did.
Middle-school students tend to be the group that has most issues  with bullying, or at least reported.  So to see students show a message with sadness, then rip up their feelings of joy was inspirational and emotional.  We believe this group really tapped into the seriousness of the subject of bullying.



                     

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Non-Fiction Reading with Read and Write


Read and Write for Google Docs is an amazing free tool for any ESL student to have and use.  In my previous post, I introduced Read and Write and explained each one of the productive features of the extension found only on Google Chrome. (Please click here to read the post)  In a nutshell, though, Read and Write's features include an onscreen audio text reader,a standard dictionary, picture dictionary and a note collector all in one place without having to open another tab on the web browser.  In this post, I will share with you an activity for Read and Write that my colleague and I came up with.  Then. through this, we hope that you will have a better idea of how you can use the tool with your own students.


When we first introduced Read and Write to our students about a month ago, we were teaching a unit on bullying.  We decided that a great first activity to use with the tool would be to find a short non-fiction article about bullying from a website, newspaper or magazine.  We did this because my colleague and I often find that non-fiction reading is  by and large overlooked in many ESL curricula, particularly in high schools.  Certainly, being that most English courses in high school are literature-based, there is no doubt that teachers and students should spend the majority of their time reading and analyzing novels and the themes therein.  However, non-fiction should also play a part in such courses.  Most of what everyone reads in their daily lives is non-fiction, be it in the form of newspapers, magazines, e-mails, and even Facebook and Twitter posts.  Furthermore, non-fiction writing includes a much different set of vocabulary and grammar structures that are often not found in novels.  ESL students should be shown these forms to improve their overall understanding of the English language.


We found a short, yet very interesting news article, from the BBC on the more hidden effects of bullying in schools.  In short, the article suggests that many students are afraid to show their talent in math, science, sports and music because they fear they will be teased and picked on by bullies.  Most of our students tend to associate bullying with physical threats or teasing their peers on social websites, but this was a great chance for us to show that bullying has a much wider affect than they could imagine.  However, it could perhaps lead them to become aware of the sheer negativity bullying causes on many different levels.

The Lesson and Activities

Step 1: The first step, prior to the lesson, was to get the news article onto Google Docs and share it with our students.  We created a new Google document, and then copied and pasted the article onto it.  Next, we had to make 19 copies of the Google Doc, one for each of the students in our class, so that they could make their own highlights and notes on it, plus complete the activities that will be explained below.  To do this, all you have to do it click on 'File', then 'Make a Copy', and rename each copy with your students' names.  Finally, you will need to share each of the documents with the students.

Step 2:  Once the lesson began and we introduced the topic to our students, then we had them read the article silently to see how much they could comprehend of the native text.


Step 3: After the initial reading, we then had the students use the dictionary function on Read and Write to find the meaning of vocabulary words that we had identified and underlined in the Google Doc prior to the lesson.  The students then completed the vocabulary table, as pictured above.

Step 4: Now that the students have a better understanding of the more difficult words in the article, we had them go back and read it again silently.  We also assigned them the task of highlighting what they thought were the three most important sentences in the article.  After that, they used the collect highlights function on the Read and Write toolbar to copy and paste their highlighted sentences to the Google Doc, as pictured below.















Step 5: Once all the students had finished, we then had a classroom discussion about the article and what they thought about it.  It wasn't surprising to us at all that the majority of the students found this BBC article to be true.  Many of them expressed that they, themselves, had indeed been teased in the past for being a hard-working students.



Step 6: As a final activity, because we were working on the writing process at the time, we had the students come up with thesis statements about the article.  You could also have the students write a short response about their feelings about it, and what everyone can do to help decrease bullying and its effects in schools.

All in all, it turned out to be quite the productive lesson.  In fact, our principal happened to drop by that day and was impressed by the Read and Write tool for Google Docs.  She also enjoyed the circle-conversation we had with our students about bullying.  We hope this lesson post inspires you to try Read and Write, and after which, we would love to hear any other ideas or activities that you have used with it.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Making an I-MOVIE & Focusing on the PROCESS



Today’s offering of ICT-ELT project work comes in the form of Apple’s owwwsummm(!) ipad, imovie,collaborative group work, the process  and the ability to work through a task (which, of course, our students find very difficult to do in ALL year groups and subject areas).
So, allow me to explain the project we assigned yesterday as part of our new:


                                    INNOVATION ZONE: 

We saw an oppportunity for the project quite literally by accident three days ago.  Thankfully, due to our connection and reliance on
                                                                                      
                                   COMMON CURRICULUM,

1.    We juggled things around a bit, and prepared the project. 
2.    First of all, we reminded the students that the main theme of the book we are reading is on bullying.
3.    Then we told them that since there is no movie of the book from Hollywood, they would be making a trailer for a film based on various parts of the book (of our choosing). 
4.    Next, they were put in groups and assigned the sections.  We further gave them a STORYBOARD TEMPLATE and a CHECKLIST for working too during the photo project.  This process is what we focused on for the objectives and purpose of the activity.  The students were obviously informed several times of this and it was also posted on the Arcelik smart board for all to see during the 90 minutes they were involved doing the collaborative group work. 
5.    Once the students had prepared the storyboard, they had to go off and take the photos around school. 
6.    On their return to class, they had to write up their checklist, re-label their photographs for sending to hisarhazirlik@gmail (our class gmail account). 
7.    Then Brentson and I turned their storyboards into imovie trailers on our ipads.

You can see the trailers if you click on the link below.  It is interesting to see that the trailers are not coherent, nor are they cohesive.  We know that this is down to them NOT following through properly on the objectives and rushing to get to the trailer itself.  That is why we are doing a reflective session in class today to let them see the huge importance of that, and the students will be required to complete the following REFLECTIVE GROUP QUESTIONNAIRE to see who did and who did not fulfill their roles adequately.



After speaking to the students this afternoon, and showing them the errors of their ways, they reflected and sent us google docs that highlight their own ideas about how they can improve their performance by themselves for next time.  This part of the process is so important as they try to move forward.


STUDENTS' SELF-HELP RESPONSES collated from GoogleDocs


We have to be more organized and planned. 
We have to work more carefully as a group. 
We were a disorganised chaos; next time we will turn it into an organized chaos.
We should spend more time on choosing photos. 
We will listen to the introductions carefully next time. 
We will make the transitions better. 
We will put all the group members photos next time. 
We should give different roles to our group members.
Some members didn’t participate very much. 
Also, we could organize it better and think more about it. 
We could summarize it and look at it again, so we could see our faults again. 
When we are taking the pictures, we have to be more realistic and dramatic because it is a very serious subject. 
The transitions could be better and shorter because they were hard to read and hard to  catch. 
Some pictures were meaningless and they could be better. 
Furthermore, we had a technical problem, so we could fix that.
I think we could do it much better by not changing the photos or the sentences. 
I think we could do it much better by making much better organization.
We could act more like a team.
We could be much faster and neater when we are doing our work.
I could have tried to help my team, but I didn’t do it so much.
My teammates could help me more.
We could have said sorry to our teachers because of these acts.
Some pictures were mixed, so we should be more organized.
Some transitions and photos were disconnected. We should relate them to each other.
Our project took a long time, so we should work more quickly.
We can take more interesting photos.
We can choose the characters more appropriately.
We should give the responsibilities more carefully to each other.
We can change our transitions. 
We can write more meaningful transitions. 
We can take more serious pictures. 
We laughed in some pictures and one picture was missing. 
We can take more meaningful pictures. 
Some pictures were hard to understand. 

Monday, 11 March 2013

VIDEO FEEDBACK & the WRITING PROCESS

The Writing Process deserves to be affirmed with capitals since it is genuinely something that makes us   into better writers.  No matter which stage you find yourself at for quality writing outcomes, if you adopt this method for improving yourself, in particular Academic Writing, you will see huge differences from draft-to-draft in the quality of your output.  The effect of writing, putting it down, going back later and reflecting on what you have done, then rewriting has a natural way to improve on your original thoughts.  In addition, if you then add in some feedback from a teacher or friend, the improvements are huge.  That is why I have written this post based on giving feedback, and in this case, VIDEO FEEDBACK.

I wrote my MSc thesis on this subject three years ago, so it is nice for me to reflect on what has happened since those obsessed days with my own writing process, and the belief in Video Feedback as the way to give my students support in their own writing of essays.  Although I still strongly believe in Video Feedback, my focus has changed within the paradigm to more support of Video Feedforwards as well as Feedback.  I will explain both forms of video use and how they can help you and your students get better results.

BACKGROUND to VIDEO FEEDBACK


When teachers are normally expected to give feedback, it is considered normal to write on the students' papers with biro in various colors, depending on the mood you are in.  The resultant outcomes leave students with their own dog-eared paper and a mass of teacher corrections and comments which are often illegible.  The illegibility is not only about poor handwriting, but also about the language teachers use to express themselves; very often it is full of idiomatic and cultural references that makes the comments more difficult to decipher than work on improving their own prose.  That is where VFB (Video Feed Back) comes in so handy.  By speaking clearly into the microphone on your laptop, and going down through the paper with a bouncing yellow ball as your cursor, plus some other quirky visuals you can see below, allows for you to get a much more comprehensive message of support for your students' writing. The desktop video recorder I recommend above all the others is CAMTASIA.  It is more expensive than all the rest, but it is comprehensively better. The link is an example of a Video FeedForward which I will explain in my next post.

Your students can send their paragraphs and/or essays via any computer generated word processing medium they wish.  I used to ask for emailed word documents in attachment forms, which is not what I do now.  However, it was very successful, and if that is what you are already used to, then don't change.  I would say, though, that a really good alternative to using word, email and attachments which fill up your inbox and confuse on your weekends, and that is PENZUCLASSROOM.  An earlier post about that can explain it more in detail, but suffice it to say it has made my life much easier keeping my students' work organised as it all comes into one central location, and this is the real benefit over email.


video

The video I have uploaded here is an example of a Video Feed Back that I gave to a preparatory student after we had got used to each other's styles.  I was able to be very direct with her, since she realized and accepted that teachers before me had allowed her to amble along doing very little to improve herself.  However, this method and style of feedback made this girl change her own approach to writing.  It is advisable to adopt this tone after a few softer versions just to get them hooked, and then you can be more honest with them.  The difference between video and writing comments is that you can be very personal with your students.  You can talk to them as if you were doing it face-to-face and they love it.  The data taken from surveys is testimony to this claim of mine.

The first image is from a survey I did for my own dissertation data research.  The responses are clearly in favor of more video feedback.  I showed it to my colleague when we hooked up at our school and he was suitably impressed.  he now uses it weekly with his students and he has become quite the video feed forward expert (his videos will play a part in that post) 

SA = Strongly Agree   A = Agree  D = Disagree  SD = Strongly Disagree  NO = No Opinion

The overwhelming support from a group of fifteen year old Turkish students was very encouraging for me to continue using VFB.  I have had the same response from most students since that first data recorded.  The next set of images show the feelings of my current students.  There is some differences in their feelings about it, but generally it is still a very positive way to get feedback.






Here is a quality link I got this morning after reading the post from a twitter friend, Mura Nava.  It is further evidence of how important feedback really is. FEEDBACK

My continued struggle to get VFB promoted around my colleagues and into the TwitterWorld of teachers is definitely worth the effort.  I hope this post can make you reconsider your method of giving feedback and into the one that I have students to enjoy the most out of all types.  I mean, if we listen to what they want, it surely is a start to getting better responses from them and give them the best service we can.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Read and Write on Google Chrome

Let's face it, most people don't like change.  In fact, some even abhor it. Whether it be our own daily routine; where our students prefer to sit in the classroom; or getting teachers to adapt and adopt technology in their lessons, it seems that resistance to change is just one of those characteristics that we all share as human beings. We like normalcy and comfort, and we get this when we we stick with what we know. I mention this because, only a month ago, both my colleague and I resisted to make even a very minute change in our working lives, which was with an ICT tool that we all use everyday: our web browser.

My colleague and I have both been avid users of Mozilla Firefox, since its inception nearly a decade ago.  It is a fast and easy-to-use browser with tons of cool extensions, such as a Download Helper, which allows you download videos from any website in several different formats and degrees of video quality.  We have both recommended Firefox to hundreds of friends and educators.  However, as a regular follower of Twitter, I began to see many posts about the brilliance of Google Chrome and,  in particular, several extensions that are incredibly useful for educational purposes. At first, I felt enthusiastic about the possibilities for new projects that we could do with our students, but, unfortunately, that feeling of resistance to change held me back.  I had my reasons too, though.  My Firefox browser was perfectly set up with all the many tools and bookmarks I had saved over the years.  I really didn't feel like going through the hassle of saving them all over again, by changing web browsers.  Then, again, looking through Twitter posts one day, my colleague stumbled upon a tool only found on Google Chrome called Read and Write.  After he showed me this, we decided then and there that not only would we switch to Chrome, but that we would force our students to do the same.  It is seriously that cool.




Read and Write is essentially a free add-on for Google Docs that allows users to access many different functions from a toolbar at the top of the screen. After installing the extension,  (which you can reach by clicking here) an image like the one just above automatically appears every time you create or open a Google Doc.  When you click on it, a toolbar opens up with several tools to choose from, each of which will be explained below.



What really got my colleague and I seriously excited about this tool, right off the bat, was that it reads any text on a Google Doc back to you.  All you have to do is highlight the text you would like read back to you, and click the play button on the toolbar.  A computerized voice then begins to read.  It may not be the coolest sounding voice ever, and there are several options from American to British and Australian, but this is still something that is incredibly useful for any ESL student.  In Turkey, where we work, we find that the majority of our students have a much higher ability to speak and listen in English, as opposed to reading and writing.  For this reason, we assign our students a short piece of journal writing every weekend throughout the year, on penzuclassroom.  When giving video feedback to them, the students can usually spot the mistake they made in any given sentence just from hearing it read back to them.  They can hear and feel that something just isn't right.  Read and Write now allows them to hear any sentence or paragraph read back to them 24/7, before they even send it, thus hopefully eliminating more of the surface errors they have.  


Read and Write, furthermore, has two dictionary functions for students to use.  The first, as pictured above, provides the reader with the meaning of any word on the Google Doc in an instant.  The second is a picture dictionary, as pictured below.   These two tools will allow your students to find the meanings of unknown words much faster than opening another tab on their web browser, or looking a word up in an actual paper dictionary.  In addition, if your students are still unsure about an unknown word and want to learn more, they can highlight it and click the Translator button to see the meaning in their native language.  They can also click the Fact Finder button on the toolbar and Google will do an automatic search on the web and show the results on a new tab.



Finally, there is a collect highlighter tool, which we believe is fantastic for our 9th grade students.  They despise taking notes in general, but especially when reading a novel or non-fiction text.  They always tell us that they will never go back and review the text to see their notes, so there is no point; they say!  As often as we here this, we continue to push them to take notes, and perhaps one day they will see the value of  it. 

Read and Write now basically allows your students to take notes on a Google Doc.  They simply have to highlight any part of the text with a yellow background.  After doing this to several parts of a text, they then click the collect highlights on the toolbar, and a new pop-up window appears with only the text that they have highlighted.  This is a great way to save notes while researching for an essay, for example.




If you are just as excited as I was when I first saw Read and Write for Google Docs, I urge you to watch the video below.  It shows the extension in more visual detail.  Simply put, if you are a user of Google Drive and Google Docs, you must get this and try it out with your students.  If your are currently not using Chrome, and are feeling hesitant to switch over like I was, download Chrome and just check it out for a few days.  You won't be disappointed.


Saturday, 2 March 2013

WRITING an EBOOK: It's MUCH easier now...

I guess every teacher aspires to be an author at some time in their career.  It probably comes from the belief that writing is "not that difficult", since we teachers are dab-hands at teaching it, and giving feedback on what is good and what is bad is more time-arduous than task-arduous.  However, what I have found is the difficulty with writing, both fiction and non-fiction, as those of you who have ventured down the soul-searching void can concur, is that in order for it to be any good there is the need for time to process ideas and develop them into a quality piece of prose that lasts and has an effect on the reader, rather than getting it down as quickly as possible so as not to forget the thread of an idea you believe will become the next best-seller or academic text book.

That being ranted, in order to give ourselves a chance of getting published we should try and get into a habitual process that helps to develop our ideas and practise what we have in our creative and skills-based cognitive tool bag.  Therefore, it makes sense that if we start earlier in life, with that theory of practice makes perfect, it should come true, right?  So, along comes the ebook with the help of wonderful tablet technology, and there is now a wealth of opportunities for people to start writing their own books that can be seen by others very easily.  There are literally hundreds of apps designed to help us and our students encourage writing as a worthwhile activity both for formal and informal reasons.  

This post will explain how an app called, ebook creator, has meant that I have been able to produce and "publish" my own ESL reader for my students to use in class. 

The app that I have used to make my own first ebook ESL-reader for teenagers is called, e-Book Creator.  Downloadable from the Apple App-store, it gives you the opportunity to do something you have probably always wanted to do, but were too afraid to ask, do or realize.  This is where this marvelous new opportunity is there for you to capitalize on.  You don't need to be sending off manuscripts around publishing houses, since you have become that house.  You don't need to be waiting for the green light from someone in an office telling you whether it is good enough or not.  You can do it yourself!


Once you have the app on your iphone, or even easier, ipad, you can start your process.  You are shown an option for the format you would like it in: portrait, square or landscape.  The choice for this is important in the context of your students writing, since the landscape option allows for more pictures to be uploaded simply as a matter of space.



Next you are asked for the cover page where you can put your TITLE, NAME and of course an IMAGE depicting something closely related to the content.  

Here is my ESL-Reader, CHOICES, which is about the trials and tribulations of a teenage Scottish lad who cannot make the right choice about his career.  Everything eventually goes to pot and he is forced to do that thing teenagers hate: CHOOSE for the best future.
The whole process I went through putting it together really woke me to the reality of The Writing Process.  Although I had completed my MSc dissertation on video feedback in the writing process, this was a completely different beast.  The reader is not that long, and it is far from complex (ESL readers tend to be very surface-driven and easy to grasp), but still I went through several cathartic moments of emotional turmoil.  It sounds so dramatic, but it is the truth.  You feel exposed and vulnerable to criticism.  You are frightened to show anyone for fear of negativity, and when I presented it to my students I was worried that they would hate it and say it was rubbish.  Thankfully my audience was a group of Turkish teenagers who did not want to upset me, and they said it was a great read (especially since the book was given as a holiday assignment with questions to answer and write up about, this meant a great deal to me.)

I am providing links here for both versions of CHOICES, MY ESL-Reader:




I have also included here a snapshot of how you can convert any epub book into a pdf version for anyone who still has not bought an ipad

Just go to www.zamzar.com and follow the four easy steps to convert your books:



So, since my first effort has been accepted by my teenage-student audience I wanted to share this with my blog readers.  It is not only about the book, but much more about the process you, yourself, and your students will experience should you want to begin a class project.  It is really worthwhile, and I am already working on my next fiction reader, and on an academic e-text book for Preparatory English teachers.  The latter is a project between my colleague and I, for which we are in negotiation to have the e-reader picked up by an international publishing house as both an e-reader and normal classical style publication.  Lets see how that pans out.  But for now, I hope you can take the time to try this out, it is so enjoyable and a truly worthwhile personal experience.