Sep 17, 2009
Author: Sean William John McMinn
Generally, this article is about the possibility of using podcast in language learning classroom in order to maximize time spent on as well as increasing students’ motivation in learning and practicing a target language. This is because the time allocated for language learning is not enough for a teacher to cover all the topics and for the students to practice in the classroom setting. What is worst is that students often do not have the motivation to practice the language outside of the classroom. Thus, podcasting is one of the answers to this continuing problem. Podcasting is the publishing of audio or video via the Internet, designed to be downloaded and listened to on a portable mp3 player of any type, or on a personal computer. Its advantage is that its mobility which allows students to bring it everywhere and listen to it anytime. This stretch out the time students spent to practice on the language. Besides, it is a technology all students are familiar with and they use it on a daily basis as claimed by Campbell . Barnnes, Marateo and Ferris  called these students Net Geners who values education though they learn in a different way compared to their ancestors Furthermore, podcasting is considered to be a part of m-learning in which Tynan and Colbarn  stated that m-learning is different from eLearning because it allows learner to learn outside the classroom setting and or away from the computer. Thus, with all these advantages, the author believes that with right guidance and assignments, podcasting can be used as a means to create powerful analytical and synthetic work to language learner by creating a borderless classroom and increasing the students’ time to be engaged in learning the target language. Apart from stretching out the time to learn and practice the language, podcasting also has other educational benefits in terms of providing students’ the potential for a world-wide audience, giving students purpose and motivation to create better product. This meaningful experience will be a motivation factor and is stimulating enough for learners.
To apply podcasting effectively, it us put into four different categories based on its purpose; ESL podcasts, native-English podcasts, podcasts focusing on test preparation and student produced podcasts. Each podcasts aims to teach English as a second language through audio lessons, through authentic contexts, through test preparation and through task to be produced. The HKUST Language Centre’s Campus Beat podcast is used as an example to show how podcasting can be applied to English language teaching and learning, create more interaction outside of the classroom and provide more practical and worthy practice to second language learners. The article stated that a student who is involved in the Campus Beat module said that the module is a success and a creative ways of improving one’s language skills in which the student thoroughly enjoyed.
This article captured my interest because in my opinion using my mp3 or personal computer is just another cool way to learn a language. The size of an mp3 is so small and light thus making it easy to be carried everywhere. I can listen to the podcast anytime and learn at the same time in a more relaxing and fun way. In general, I believe podcasting will solve the problem of time constraint and lack of motivation in learning a second language. The only drawback is that not all students can afford buying an mp3 or personal computer as tools to listen to the podcast especially in Malaysian context concerning on the students in rural areas. I also agree with O’Bryan and Hegelheimer  that integrating podcasting into the curriculum is in need but it should not be the centre of attention in an English language course. Probably because podcasting might lead the students to be preoccupied with the way they produce and present it and this might take away the time to practice on other aspects of the language.
Sep 11, 2009
TOPIC: Famous Personalities
TIME: 70 minutes
LANGUAGE CONTENT: The Simple Past Tense
AIMS: By the end of the lesson, students should be able to use the Simple Past Tense and know some African American Vernacular English (AAVE) words.
One computer for 2-3 students equipped with and Internet connection, a Web Browser, and speaker or headphone.
- http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlfeed.nsf/story/akon-sold-stolen-cars-to-the-rich-and-famous (additional as back-up if students face difficulty finding answers)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akon#Early_life (additional as back-up if students face difficulty finding answers)
- http://www.urbandictionary.com (additional as back-up if students face difficulty finding answers)
- Find a video clip of the song entitled “Sunny Day” by Akon in www.youtube.com and ensure that it does not contain inappropriate image.
- Check whether the lyric provided is correct and the language is appropriate in http://www.lyricsbox.com/akon-lyrics-sunny-day-feat-wyclef-jean-kdxncvb.html.
- Come out with worksheets for the lesson.
Set Induction: (10 minutes)
- Ask the students who their favourite singers are. Ask what they know about their favourite singers. Then, ask if they know what their favourite singers’ job is before they become popular. Direct students to http://www.hardlyfamous.com and let them explore about celebrities like Brad Pitt, Madonna, Rod Stewart and Ellen DeGeneres before they search for their own idols (these are examples of celebrities with normal jobs before being popular).
- Ask if they know about Akon’s life before he becomes a popular singer (Akon is not included in the Hardly Famous website). Ask them if they know his song entitled “Sunny Day”.
Task 1 (20 minutes)
- Direct students to the “Sunny Day” video clip in Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKUwxXgz2RM) and its lyric (http://www.lyricsbox.com/akon-lyrics-sunny-day-feat-wyclef-jean-kdxncvb.html). Tell them that this song is about Akon’s real experience. Let students listen to the song.
- Question students to see whether they understand what the song is all about.
- Distribute Worksheet #1 to students. Tell them that they can find the answers by using search engines. They are also allowed to search information about Akon.
- Discuss the answers with the students and ensure they understand the meaning of the song.
Task 2 (30 minutes)
- The teacher asks students in what form of tense the lyric was written.Then the teacher instructs the students to point out all examples of the Simple Past Tense used in the lyric. The teacher then distributes Worksheet #2.
- The teacher teaches the Simple Past Tense (inductively) and at the same time instruct the students to fill in Worksheet #2. All the examples should come from the students while the teacher monitors.
Conclusion: (10 minutes)
- The teacher recapitulates the lesson.
- The teacher leads students to point put the moral values learnt from the song and the Hardly Famous website.
- The teacher reminds students to do the follow-up activity.
The teacher aska students to write a paragraph of how Akon’s life is before he becomes a popular singer based on the song “Sunny Day” and their research on the World Wide Web about him to ensure they know how to use the Simple Past Tense correctly and to brush up on their writing skill. The writing will be used for the next writing lesson.
*Dr., I've sent both Worksheet #1 and Worksheet #2 to your email