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

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Getting Students to Write? easy with a Video-Penzu-Monday

The idea of getting students to write journals is nothing new in TESOL. AGREED! But what we have in our teaching toolbag is an innovative, quirky and enjoyable addition that I suggest every teacher, at least, tries out: No longer do we need to humph around 22 (or more) class journals to give some feedback for students' work and responses to various subjects, states of mind, activities or anything else that may be thought of as worthy of writing down. So, how do I do it, and what is it?
The suggestion is for teachers to offer their students the opportunity to respond via their smart phones, laptops, netbooks or ipads. Below is an example of how penzu returned me 22 responses from students who have numerous other homework activities, but this whole experience was controlled by the students themselves and the wonderful help of penzu.com First of all, I assigned a student with the help of triptico.com
which is a desktop application that randomly chooses students for assignments, class groups and times them against the clock! Anywho, the student was asked to find a video of her choosing and to bring it in on Monday for her peers to watch and respond to. She was very excited that she had been given this responsibility, and as a result brought in two! However, I asked her to make the choice and she decided on the following video: We watched the video twice to get the idea of themes that could be extrapolated by the students. I then set up the IWB to record their ideas. Below is what the class produced from the 1.39 video
You can see that from a group of not-quite-14-yet students the ideas are reasonably sophisticated. This is what excites me about video in the classroom. It springboards so many varied and wonderful ideas through brainstorms of this sort that it is hard for me to see any better way for classic skills to be tapped into and utilized. The task was then for the students to go home and write up their responses via penzu.com. However, the beauty of how the original idea has been tweaked is the ace up my sleeve. I asked the students to send their responses to Zeynep, the girl who found the video, who would then collate their efforts into one email and forward them to my class email address (hisarhazirlik@gmail.com). She was then given the option of whether to write or not since she would be doing all the secreterial work. This idea of "give and take" is of the utmost importance with teenagers. She jumped at the chance not to write this time, but I KNOW she will be willing to write so much the next time round when it is her friends' chance to choose the video. So all 22 did the activity (11 to Zeynep's class, 11 to a student from the sister class) and sent them to her. She then did her secreterial job, and we looked at some of the responses on the Tuesday morning to see how people felt about the themes. Below is a selection of some entries
You can look ugly but that doesn't mean you are a ugly person in yourself. Trusting yourself and the people around yourself is the main way to accept the place you are in. If you just decided to go that way, you have to go without judging it because it isn't someone elses choice it's our own choice.
In the ad the couples that overcome their prejudice wins two Carlsberg beer and everybody congratulates them and the other thing that we can think in this ad is "be brave , you can do it" but , i think that the main idea is the "don't judge people from their appearances”.
We don't judge people by apparences.We should be respect for different people.We should trust ourself.We shouldn't be unsocial and shy.If we are biased to act we can make mistakes easily.
To judge people from their out look is a really bad thing because first you have to meet them and learn their personality. Maybe there is a very big guy and everyone is scared of him, dont be like that go and meet him if his personality is good than you can be friends or in an other way there can be a guy that is very good looking but in his inside he can be a really bad person. You can judge people from their out look but it would be your opiniont and I know a word about this dont judge a book from the title.
Some people judge others according to their appearance but some people's insides and outsides can be different. We musn't be biased.We must keep in our mind that everyone's equal. We musn't judge people according to their appearances.
So, although you can detect minor syntax and grammar issues within each entry, the quality of thoughts based on part or all of the brainstorm are clearly there. But, for me, the most important part of this activity is that students are so willing to respond tthrough writing for their English class.


  1. great idea! thanks a lot for sharing, I'll give it a try.

  2. Hi David,

    I'll be showing your comments about Penzu to the powers that be at my school, along with a couple of other recent posts about kidblog, as a further part of my ongoing push to get our 5th graders blogging. The main problem for me is numbers (I teach 170 students apread over 6 different classes!) so I had the idea of a 'blogging club' for those kids that want to be involved. Hopefully, if that's a success, we can persuade the 'grammar' teachers to take an interest as that would mean a better distributed workload...

    As for the lesson you describe, I love the idea of having a student pick out a video for discussion and using that as a springboard for writing. Student-generated content all the way! I also like the idea of each student submitting their writing to a classmate - I have found that the student who collects the work enjoys the responsibility and the others seem more likely to get it done (less like 'homework' I guess!)

    Thanks for sharing!


  3. As being an ex student I can truly say that its effective !

    1. Thanks Nazli for the testimony as a student who actually tried it. love the Nazli response in the adult world paradigm. cheers gf!