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Florida TESOL Day 2

May 18, 2013

I expect these notes will be much less complete than the ones on the first day because I presented twice on the flipped classroom and on making an ebook, so I wasn’t as focused at times as I could have been.  

I attended a very good session titled “Learning from the test: Going beyond class averages” by Dayna Foster and Jeannette Horwitz from Wright State University.  They presented very clearly the process for examining multiple choice test results using item analysis and item differentiation, which they explained in a way that clarified the process and the math for me, to determine the effectiveness of test items.  This session was one of the high points of what has been a good conference for me.

I next attended a session Li-Lee Tunceren and Susan Benson from St. Petersburg College on “Advancing Critical Literacies in Online EAP Courses.”   While I don’t think I will teach an online class in the near future, I still found the ideas about how to find and use texts very usefull.  She showed how she set up a text about Internet use at work and employers responses by using an article from Monster.com.  We had to fill in adverbs in a gapfill made from the opening paragraphs.  She also showed questions used to further develop critical literacies that students would respond to such as author’s purpose and intended audience.  Only Li-Lee was at the conference.  Still she explained well how to manage the social, cognitive, and  teacher presences in an online course.

We were supposed to have a keynote speaker, but that didn’t happen.  The first session I attended was on the The English Language Fellow Program.  Most attendees were young teachers, but as I approach retirement, I was curious about their program.  It looks like a good way for a young teacher to get experience or an older teacher to revive their understanding of other cultures while contributing to a country’s developing educational program.

The next session was a whirlwind tour of many different online applications that can be used for instruction.  This session was presented by Eman Elturki and Reima Abobaker from Washington State University.  Soem sites they showed were familiar such as Wordle and Spelling City and some were new such as http://azargrammar.com which naturally has many grammar resources and http://citationmachine.net which helps make appropriate citations for research papers.  Many many apps in a short time.

The final session of the day for me was “Supplementing Academic ESL Curricula with Authentic Materials” by Lillian E. Vargas and Victoria C. Shelly of the University of Florida English Language Institute.  For first time presenters, they looked like veterans with a clear plan and good materials showing how they supplement textbooks with authentic materials from everyday life and media to provide necessary language experiences.  

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