Technology in blended learning: Wall Wisher26-Nov-2012
Wall Wisher- a great way to collect ideas and contributions from learners
Nowadays young people cannot imagine their existence without network technologies. Their minds are far more engaged with “friendship-based” virtual environments. They are using social networks for various purposes – most often to keep virtual possibilities open for contacts.
I strongly believe you will agree with me that IT has become part and parcel of an amazing and always contemporary ESOL teaching profession. For me this is one of the greatest educational challenges of the 21st Century. In my opinion, hi-tech language education ideally meets the expectations of our learners, especially the younger ones, who prefer being not only taught but entertained at the same time. I would say that for us – teachers, the task is not always easy.
Encouraging students to focus on language skills and have fun is a real challenge. This is how I discovered the Wall Wisher, which has provided learners and me with a great opportunity to combine knowledge with enthusiasm.
Wall Wisher is a free tool allowing teachers to build a “friendly” wall with an amazing interface. It is nice that students do not need to register; the only thing they do is to post sticky notes electronically onto the wall. In this way I found the practical application of the wall and decided to promote it in my classes as a virtual world that could bring people together. Once more technology has proven its tremendous role in educating students because Wall Wisher has made them feel comfortable. It has engaged their efforts and allowed them express their individual ideas.
Over the last year I have created and designed several Wall Wishers, all of them with pedagogical value that has supported my lessons. I have used them for different stages of my sessions, for example:
– to pre-teach important vocabulary
– to introduce a target language item
– to revise a particular grammatical or vocabulary structure
– to develop learners’ presentational or writing skills
– to provide advice, positive criticism or information about how good or useful something or somebody’s work is
– to promote creativity
I would like to present one of my best Wall Wishers, which was entirely created by my students, and was dedicated to the topic of tourism.
The Wall Wisher was ready in June 2012. By then my students had already posted sticky notes with information about some of their favourite tourist destinations. Some of them decided to include You Tube videos, after that they presented their speech in class. There was a student who wanted to promote a more challenging approach. Her sticky note was entitled “Guess where?” with a direct link to a video about Paris and the Eiffel Tower. As a result of the note, the learners were inspired to have a wonderful discussion about the history and culture of France. Later the discussion transformed into an amazing idea of a quiz. Students posted the quiz on the wall; in class there was a debate based on the quiz, and the winner had the opportunity to receive a special award of Excellence. My teenagers had great fun and I felt satisfied with their language achievements and enthusiasm.
Another practical application of the Wall Wisher was when my students used it to advertise a Charity Bazaar. They posted on the wall recipes for typical dishes of English speaking countries, which they intended to cook and sell at the bazaar in order to raise money for SOS villages near Sofia – the capital of my country, Bulgaria.
In this way the Wall Wisher helped them to form a team spirit and united their efforts for a humane cause.
At present Wall Wishers help me a lot in my practice. If I set them to “public”, the online visitors are welcome to post their comments and suggestions. As an administrator of the wall I can always check the messages and delete those that are not appropriate.
My colleagues highly appreciate the idea of Wall Wishers and use them as a main or supplementary resource in class or outside it. As Henry Ford once said, “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”.
The Wall Wisher has turned to be my students’ “best friend” and mine, as well, because it has really motivated us to show the best of ourselves.
Please see below for more articles in the ‘Technology in blended learning…’ series: