Friday, May 23, 2008


I've been thinking a lot this week as to why I really enjoy live online language training and I think I've figured out one reason. I'm happiest when I'm at home and when I'm with people, which is exactly what live online language training brings. Sometimes I feel like this type of training is an open house as people from many nations are coming into my home where I am the most comfortable. This past week, I have had 'visitors' from Palestine, Brazil, Japan, the USA, Germany, and several others. Most of them have met my dog and know just a little bit about me that my face to face students and colleagues have probably never seen. I am really enjoying this adventure!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Google Docs

I'm really excited. I've been looking for a solution for the students to come to my website and just choose times and or for me to add a form to an email and I found one. Google Docs! All I have to do is use the spreadsheet function and then I can send the form to the prospective student or can link it to my website. It is really great! I have received five appointments today because of this! Yay!

Friday, May 9, 2008


The following was sent to me as an e-mail forward. It is about teaching and gives a great insight to what teachers need to remember, especially for live online language teaching!

A teacher teaching Maths to seven-year-old Arnav asked him, "If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?"Within a few seconds Arnav replied confidently, "Four!"

The dismayed teacher was expecting an effortless correct answer (three). She was disappointed. "Maybe the child did not listen properly," she thought. She repeated, "Arnav, listen carefully. If I give you one apple and one apple and one apple, how many apples will you have?"

Arnav had seen the disappointment on his teacher's face. He calculated again on his fingers. But within him he was also searching for the answer that will make the teacher happy. His search for the answer was not for the correct one, but the one that will make his teacher happy. This time hesitatingly he replied, "Four…"

The disappointment stayed on the teacher's face. She remembered that Arnav liked strawberries. She thought maybe he doesn't like apples and that is making him loose focus. This time with an exaggerated excitement and twinkling in her eyes she asked, "If I give you one strawberry and one strawberry and one strawberry, then how many you will have?"

Seeing the teacher happy, young Arnav calculated on his fingers again. There was no pressure on him, but a little on the teacher... She wanted her new approach to succeed. With a hesitating smile young Arnav enquired, "Three?"

The teacher now had a victorious smile. Her approach had succeeded. She wanted to congratulate herself. But one last thing remained. Once again she asked him, "Now if I give you one apple and one apple and one more apple how many will you have?"

Promptly Arnav answered, "Four!"

The teacher was aghast. "How Arnav, how?" she demanded in a little stern and irritated voice.

In a voice that was low and hesitating young Arnav replied, "Because I already have one apple in my bag."

"When someone gives you an answer that is different from what you expect don't think they are wrong. There may be an angle that you have not understood at all. You will have to listen and understand, but never listen with your mind already made up."

Monday, May 5, 2008

Language heads or something else?

I've been thinking a lot about my own personal language learning lately and wondering if I really have the stuff to learn languages. I have been tinkering with the Finnish language now for about seven years and have barely made a dent. Most native Finnish speakers change to English if they can--that is how bad I am at the language. What makes a person learn five languages when I can barely learn one? Is it motivation, determination, discipline or do these people just have a language head? I've been meeting so many live online language teachers lately who all teach other languages and I am intrigued--can I learn Finnish and then go onto another language? I know I am intelligent, but what is it that these successful language learners have done? What is there secret? I want to jump onto their band-wagon, but can I?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Last Lecture

Someone told me about this lecture and it is very inspiring. I won't say more--everything is in the video--it is quite long, but very entertaining and worth it!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Online Language Activities!

I wrote this on a forum a few months back:

I just wanted to share with you all some things that I have learned in the last year in regards to putting language activities onto the internet for our students. I started learning about this when a colleague told me about moodle and helped me install it. Once I installed the e-learning site I set out to find as many different easy-to-use software or web-based programs to fill my site with.

Jordon Online Quizzes
This site was set up by a private individual who freely shares his knowledge. There are four games and activities that you can set up. Once it is set up, you would need to then 'save as' and put it in a file on your computer for future uploads onto your site. The directions are quite clear. The activities are really creative as well! Here is an example: Dependent Prepositions & Months of the Year
This is my favorite! It is similar to hot potatoes as it can be used freely if you share it. It is also the easiest to set up. You can set up bilingual quizzes and use them online or offline with your face-to-face groups (although you will need a computer). You can add mp3s as well. The games are either flash based or html based. Unfortunately the html based games can only be used with Internet Explorer and not any of the other browsers.

The Internet TESL Journal
You can link the quizzes on here to your website or tell your students to go there. Better yet, you can contribute to their site. There is a link there that explains it. Once you contribute, it may take a few months, but they eventually get the activities online. I've contributed some bilingual quizzes for Finns.

Sign up for a free 30 day trial and you have access to a lot of games made up by fellow teachers. You can also set up a website specifically for your students. This was the first one I found and have linked a lot of my activities from Quia to my moodle site. Easier to maintain than moodle if you don't have a lot of computer expertise or time. (Use the link above and I'll get referral credit... *grin*)

Hot Potatoes
This is probably one of the most widely known software to make online activities. You can make crosswords, matching--really all types of activities. Here are some examples: Food matching & Email Forward Crossword

TexToys has activities to help the students remember the vocabulary based on the text that they may have just read. Quite good activities, especially for the advanced level student. I have added this to a packet with the Hot Potatoes activities as the software is very similar and I believe was written by the same author or company.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The adventure begins where the road ends...

I remember a theme that they had one summer volunteering at my local church camp : The adventure begins where the road ends...

That about sums up this adventure!

This adventure actually began about two years ago when I decided to start my own company. Little did I know what I was going to get into and what a wonderful ride I have been on since I started. The first thing I did was to create a website, which took longer than I wanted, but I was on a learning curve anyway. Then I learned about Moodle and all that one can do with an open source e-learning site, so I set it up. I spent hours and hours writing material and I'm still not done. I'm still coming up with concepts and ideas to make the Moodle site better than it is now.

The second part of my adventure was to sign up for a course to become a certified live online language trainer with Lancelot school. I was pleasantly surprised with the course. I knew that I would learn about language teaching and about the technology associated with language teaching, but what I didn't expect was the relationships that were formed with my classmates. These are people who are doing the same thing that I am doing and we have bonded in a great way although we have never met in real life. Many of us are hoping to continue working together as we become live online language teachers and pave the way for others as we forge our way onto a relatively new road.

I'm still on this adventure and what a ride it is!