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sabato 16 aprile 2016

IATEFL BIRMINGHAM - DAY 2


DAY 2-  14th April    2016
FORUM ON MOOCS
The main focus was on the following topics:
- Building the massive online community
- Peer assessment as reflective learning in language MOOCs 
- Why MOOC? Teacher development through global social interaction 

An interesting session took place on the second day. It was about  MOOCs.
Presenters  Claire  Ross and Chris Cavey  discussed the main ideas about the courses run by  British Council on the platform Futurelearn. It is an experience which I have become familiar with as I am  a  fan of MOOCs. I must confess that  I did most of them as I wanted to check the quality of the MOOCS which were organized by the British Council. My choice was also based on the idea that something which is free might not be good quality. But I realized that  British Council was using the platform to promote and support learners and teachers of English by providing links, interesting activities and videos.  
Courses are for learners of English and also for  teachers who want to work on their self-development. My CPD online was a great MOOC and I liked to work online as I could discuss and learn about better  teaching practices.  Some Moocs can help us  and provide good learning opportunities.
The focus by the speakers was on the ideas of interaction which can be improved while working online and sharing ideas in a  MOOC. As learners need to improve their language skills  the Moocs can really help them and their language improvement. They used modern tools and  social media too.
Peer interaction is also important as many activities are based on peers' evaluations . In the Moocs described  teachers used  tools like  Padlet , they also used  FACEBOOK and TWITTER for sharing ideas and made the activities online available to different learners who could work from home and  check the ideas online so later. This is probably the reason why people love  Moocs. You can work  seven days a week but you choose when you want to work.
An interesting experience online was with BLAB  - https://blab.im/. A  lot of  activities were guided and  required interactions.  In particular the sessions for teachers were considered to be an online experience where people shared pictures, they provided  feedback and  links to materials where they could learn from the others.
I could not but agree with what the presenters said about these courses: I continue checking some sources online and they have helped me a lot. 

Reflecting on Peer's  Assessment - the views by Sha Luo (Shenzhen University, China)
This session was focussed on the ideas of reflecting and sharing learning. An interesting point but also a point some learners might not agree on as learners belong to different cultures and have different  language backgrounds. But we have learnt a lot as learning can happen in different ways and with Moocs we are still learning.  Peers are now part of the group of evaluators.My first Mooc was a great surprise  as I was used to teachers who had to provide feedback.  Some ideas to follow also in our daily practice.  No everybody will agree with me. But we are changing our way of working.  


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