April/May 2008 Volume 8, Issue 10
The Audacity! http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Audacity is an easy-to-use, audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems.

You can use Audacity to ..
  • record live audio.
  • convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
  • cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
  • change the speed or pitch of a recording.
  • and more, and quickly, and easily, despite being technically challenged.

Audacity is free software, developed by a group of volunteers and distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Programs like Audacity are also called open source software, because their source code is available for anyone to study or use. There are thousands of other free and open source programs all over the Web.

Why would you be interested? Following are just a few ideas that come to my mind. I know you'll come up with many more! Use Audacity to have students..

  • exchange dialog roles in ESL.
  • identify punctuation in short passages.
  • practice reading.
  • add sound and personality to blogs and wikis.
  • identify each others' names by the voice.
  • identify accents.
  • share the sounds of their children pets, streets in their US communities or home countries.
  • learn how to edit sound clips.
  • do other things that they like.

You don't need a recorder. You don't need tapes. You don't need more than your computer. Headphones are helpful, but most computers can record and play sound from their own hardware.

Video Help - No reading required!

http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/04/26/the-best-popular-moviestv-shows-for-eslefl/- From Larry Ferlazzo, who has a wonderful blog filled with resources for ESL/EFL students! "Movies and television shows can be an effective tool for teaching and learning English (or, for that matter, any academic subject) if used strategically and not as a “babysitting” device. I thought it might be useful to prepare a “The Best…” [Do click on this link!] list sharing resources that teachers might find useful related to using video in the ESL/EFL classroom. I’ve appreciated the suggestions that readers have offered and, even if they didn’t make my list, I’ve shared the titles that they have recommended."

Smart Thinking! REMINDER

The license will expire before too long. This site offers your students FREE and accurate tutoring. All you have to do is to contact your workforce center and sign up. Your students can access help from any computer with Internet connectivity. There is Spanish tutoring in math, and the writing analysis is most helpful. Let's not allow this free resource from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) to expire unused.

Summer is coming, and what better time to have students get online with a friendly person to review content while classes are out? We all want more money to pay staff; well, this expert staff is free! Click on the link below to open a fully informational student flyer with all of the details. The banquet is there. Let's eat!

Open Informational Flyer (in Word)

For more information or clarification, contact Sue Klebold at (303) 318-8824 or sue.klebold@state.co.us. 

Colorado Hybrid Initiative (CHI)

Many of you have responded, and we look forward to joining you on May 22nd and 23rd in Denver to get effective, creative, interactive and inexpensive distance education implemented among our Colorado adults. We have reached our limit on full expense coverage with equipment bonuses for AEFLA programs, but we still have room for a few more participants who do not require funding for overnight accommodations or travel. If you hurry, you may still be able to enjoy the free, expert training, with breakfast, lunch and snacks included, along with a chance to become part of the Colorado hybrid, inter-agency initiative. Professional development points are awarded as an extra bonus.

We are also delighted to announce a free, hands-on introduction to Second Life for educators, following the Retreat sessions on Friday, May 23rd, from 3 - 4:45 PM. Seats are limited to 15 people in one of our labs. You must sign up for this extra session even if you have already been selected for participation in the retreat.

You may still sign up for participation for the sponsored training and for the Second Life experience at the links that follow:

Application to be sponsored for the Denver Distance Ed Retreat


For more details about this event, check the last issue of Tech Beat at http://www.coloradoadulted.org/techbeat/techbeatmar08.htm.

Gaming and More Web Stuff for You and Students to Love

Ed Week - I learn much from http://www.edweek.org/ew/index.html even if it is K-12 focused. Many of the Ed Week resources apply readily to adults. Such is the case in this recent article, reporting research on Playing Games in Classroom: Helping Pupils Grasp Math (Benefits for poor children seen to be particularly encouraging), By Sean Cavanagh - "Few family rituals have as fixed a place in the American household, and in the popular imagination, as board games. Now, a growing body of research is revealing the potential benefits of using board games in the classroom to strengthen the mathematics skills of children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds." To our advantage is that board games are cheap, portable, and require no electricity! Students can even make their own! (Talk about project-based instruction.) It's not true that if you're having fun, you're not learning! In fact, quite the opposite! If you are relaxed, you are open to learning; if you are laughing, if you feel safe, and if you are interested, you are open to learning. That's what we now know.

Innovative-Live Portal -The Innovative-Live Portal is an excellent resource for developing or expanding ideas on what works in education. It also provides welcoming ground for experimenting and finding out what other experimenters are doing. I reviewed a couple of this month's articles, as follow, in the Innovative Journal section. Both sites are free, but you must sign up.

http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=433&action=article - Game-Based Learning: A Different Perspective, by Karl Royle: "Because the goals of games and the object of school-based learning are fundamentally mismatched, efforts to integrate games into the curriculum have largely fallen flat despite the best intentions of teachers and the gaming industry." This article offers very helpful suggestions as to why gaming may not be used more, how it should be used, and what to avoid in selecting games for instructional purposes.

http://innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=495&action=article - Moving from Theory to Real-World Experiences in an e-Learning Community, Ana-Paula Correia - The first paragraph might invite you to read further. "Many programs in higher education are focused more on the transmission and replication of knowledge than on providing opportunities for learning in real-world contexts and "[testing] in action what [students] have learned” (Kolb and Kolb 2005, 208). Similarly, many online courses deliver enormous amounts of information instead of offering pedagogies and processes that might allow for the development of transferable and professional skills (McLoughlin and Luca 2002). This pedagogical tendency to privilege information transmission over experience is a problem because employers expect colleges and universities [and adult ed programs!] to produce workers capable of leveraging information and communication technologies and instructional techniques to perform highly demanding tasks at work. Accordingly, classes need to offer experiential learning opportunities—activities that go beyond case analyses and technical training to provide real-world experiences." 

Learning Times - I love this site and its free resources for teachers. Learning Times is an open community for education-minded people. Members have free access to a wide range of opportunities to interact and to network with peers from across the globe -- live online, asynchronously and face-to-face.

Sound Recording: Creating a CD Portfolio for Documenting Student Progress, by Susan Manning, Ed.D. - "Documenting student progress in a speech class can be a challenge, regardless of whether the speaker is using a native language or a new target language. Using digital video and audio recordings along with supporting documents, the progress of student speech in an English as a Second Language class was catalogued and preserved on CD portfolios. By the end of the semester, each student had a CD that showcased progress in organization, delivery, pronunciation and grammar. The CD also contained reflective elements in which the student commented on his own progress in language acquisition and delivery. This strategy of documenting student performance is applicable to many settings and courses."

Sounds Recording: "Learning by Doing" with Clark Aldrich, by Paul Stacey and C Host Paul Stacey conducts a webcast dialogue with Clark Aldrich featuring an exploration of games and simulations from Clark’s latest book “Learning by Doing”. Find out how to select, research, build, sell, deploy, and measure the right type of educational simulation for the right situation. From simple approaches that use basic or no technology through projects on the scale of computer games and flight simulators. Clark’s insights will be of interest to all learning professionals. Clark Aldrich

Wufoo - Wuf what? This is a great little site for instantly creating and publishing forms. If you signed up for next month's DE Retreat, you will have used the site. The free version allows you to post up to three forms at a time, with a nice selection of fields and text input. The paid version is not that expensive, however. Have your students sign up for a free account and create surveys for other students to take. From there, they can gather responses, create graphs, develop % and other math skills, reading skills, organizational skills, on and on. Imagination is the only limit these days. Enjoy at http://wufoo.com/ .

Google Apps Education Edition


Google Apps Education Edition is a broad IT solution that programs can use to bring communication and collaboration tools to the entire academic community for free. Google manages all the technology details, so you can focus your time, energy and budgets on teaching.

Students, teachers and staff can share ideas more quickly and get things done more effectively when they have access to the same powerful communication and sharing tools. Google Apps Education Edition lets tech administrators provide email, sharable online calendars, instant messaging tools and even a dedicated website to faculty, students and staff for free. There's no hardware or software to install or maintain, since everything is delivered through a standard web browser -- anytime, from anyplace.

You can mix and match from the following services for your entire program :

  • Gmail - Offer email to your faculty, students and staff with 2 gigabytes of storage per account, search tools to help them find information fast, and instant messaging built right into the browser (chat can easily be disabled for the whole school if you don't want students to be able to IM with their accounts).
  • Google Talk - Teachers and students can call or send instant messages to their contacts for free -- anytime, anywhere in the world. Imagine the possibilities for people collaborating on projects from different locations.
  • Google Calendar - People can organize their schedules and share events, meetings and entire calendars with others. You can even publish the program's calendar on your website to let the community know about events and classes that are taking place.
  • Google Docs - Students and teachers can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations and then collaborate with each other in real-time right inside a web browser window.
  • Google Sites - Create a class site and edit it the same way you'd edit a document -- no technical expertise required. Your site can bring together all the information you want to share with your colleagues and students, including docs, calendars, photos, videos and attachments.

Think Again

The grid shows an incomplete crisscross grid. Fill in the 15 letters below the grid to obtain an interlocking set of common words reading across and down. Cross of the letters as you use them, since each is used only once.

  V E R S E   S
P   G   A   P I
A   O P T I O N
L E T       S  
S   I       T  
O   T O Y      
H A S          

A    D    E    F    I 

I    L    L    O    O

O   P   S     T    Y

Click Here for Answers

CONTACT ME: leecy@coloradoadulted.org